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Panasonic 45-200mm or 100-300mm?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tom.rob, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Hi all

    I'm new here so hello :) 

    I'd like to get a lens which has some zoom capabilities, mainly for wildlife photography, for my GX1. The two front runners appear to be the Panasonic 45-200mm and 100-300mm, but I'm torn so I was hoping that people who have used either (or better still both) would be able to recommend one of the two over the other.

    Here's what I'm already thinking...
    Cheaper, more versatile (for less extreme telephoto shots?!)

    Clearly a much higher telephoto capability, I've heard crisper image at all zoom levels (?!)

    I'm not sure if the 45-200 is going to be enough zoom for me - I guess that would be a clear tie breaker but 400mm equivalent is still better then anything I've used on a DSLR... If any of you have stories of "First I got the 45-200mm but then realised I wanted the 100-300mm and I've never used my 45-200mm since" type I'd really love to hear them!

    Thanks in advance

  2. sin77

    sin77 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 9, 2011
    How often do u shoot wild life?

    Is weight n size important since u using gx1? (I bought 45-175x instead)

    Can u compromise to use ex tele conversion feature found in Panasonic to make up for that extra reach while shooting at lower resolution?
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you want a telephoto, then get a telephoto! I'd go for the 100-300mm. I assume you'll be using this with the 14mm and 14-42mm in your signature. If you need to zoom out as far as 45mm, then why not just use the 14-42mm? Reserve your telephoto for telephoto applications.

    The only way I would get a lens in the 50-200mm range over one in the 100-300mm range to use along with a lens in the 14-50mm rnge would be if it had a wider f/2.8 aperture.
  4. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks for your comments guys.

    to answer;

    I want to take lots of wildlife pictures - that and macro are what interest me the most.

    I did get the GX1 for several reasons - one being size - but the size of the 100-300mm lens on the front isn't really an issue for me. I know people say it fits better onto a larger (G3) body but the GX1 has a good grip and I'm happy to have a relatively large lens on the front.

    I'd rather not have to crop digitally to make up for not enough telephoto... Optics will always be preferred even if I won't be printing the photo on A3 paper!

    Yep, I have the 14mm & 14-42mm. The 14-42mm does cover me for wider photos and you're right about the 45-200mm not having any apparently gains over the 100-300mm.

    Thanks again
  5. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    Faced with the same choice, I went for the 45-200mm mainly because it wouldn't leave an inconvenient gap between the long end of my kit standard zoom (was 42mm, now 45mm) and the short end of the new telephoto zoom.

    I have found that I take quite a few shots with the 45-200mm zoom in the focal length range 45-100mm, so it was the right decision for me. However, if I was shooting wildlife, I would find the 300mm long end of the 100-300mm zoom very difficult to turn down. :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    100-300 is very nice, but a challenge to hold still without an EVF or a tripod/monopod.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks Colin - what sort of thing do you use your 45-200mm for?

    Do you have the 100-300mm John? Surely it's not much worse then using the 45-200mm at full telephoto? In my mind I could use the 100-300mm handheld at it's lower reaches, and then maybe hold it against something/use a tripod if I wanted to go all the way out to 300mm...

    I guess the EVF would make a difference as you'd be stabilising the body further by holding it against your head.
  8. Follow Ned's advice. I use the 45-200mm. For wildlife wishing for a longer & faster lens. Rarely shoot 45-100mm range. Price and thinking that I would miss the 45-100mm range pushed me towards the 45-200mm. Every wildlife image I've posted here have been cropped significantly. Needed a longer lens. Overall "IQ" no real complaints considering the price & relative compact nature for a 90-400mm equivalent to a 35mm. Bit tripod dependent. So I lug around a compact cf (Benro) tripod. Two items on the wish list are a 300mm and a heavier duty tripod (RRS 24).
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the 45-200mm does not perform best as it approaches 200mm. I bought one recently and can't say that it offers anything extra over my 14-140mm since I am reluctant to use it at the longest setting. If I didn't have the 14-140mm I would be happy enough with the 45-200mm given that it only cost me $180. I don't have any experience with the 100-300mm but it does sound like the telephoto lens to have if you really want to go long.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    When I read Foto's comment, my first thought was the lens Pengy mentions... if you don't want that "inconvenient gap" then the 14-150mm would be a better choice.

    I would consider swapping lenses just to go from say 40mm to 50mm to be a lot more inconvenient than to have a gap in focal range that you could make up by stepping forward or backwards in much less time than it takes to change lenses. So if being able to cover the entire range without moving your feet is important to you, then the ultra-zoom is much better suited. All of these lenses being discussed are in the slow range anyways, so the slower speed of a super-zoom is inconsequential in this case. Especially when it's a sharp one like the 14-150mm (ie, unlike the soft 18-180mm Olympus once had in the Four-Thirds DSLR lens collection).

    I never thought I'd be suggesting a super-zoom, but times they are a changin', lol.
  11. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks again Ned, I think I'm definitely leaning towards the 100-300mm now
  12. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    FWIW, I hated the 100-300 on my GF1. It was really awkward to hold and handle, and trying to use the back screen instead of an EVF felt like a major disadvantage with that lens, especially at 300 (600FoV is hard to pinpoint things, esp if they're moving.). The EVF for the GX1 is apparently really good, so you may want to look into that if you get the 100-300. I also found 100mm too long for the short end when I was trying to shoot a county fair - really wish it went down to 45. This may be totally different if you know you're going to be 100-300 away from something at all times, but if your subject suddenly heads in closer, it's really annoying. I didn't have any of the same problems when I was using a 14-150, but granted I couldn't get things terribly far away, either.

    If you're in the US, I'd recommend renting one or both from a place like borrowlenses and trying them out for a week before committing. I'm really glad I rented the 100-300 - I would have bought it instead of the 14-150 and regretted it.
  13. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Hmmmmm thanks for that. Put a cat amongst the pigeons but I guess it was bound to happen!

    There isn't anywhere I can rent either lens here, but I'm going to borrow the 45-200 from a friend to have a play with that. I won't be able to even try the 100-300mm before buying it as I'll have to buy it from overseas :S
  14. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Yes, I've got the 100-300. I like it, but it is most definitely a specialty lens. It's not a general purpose lens, as the 100mm is already quite long. At 300mm the quality is still good, but you've really got to have a steady hand (or support) and good conditions (i.e., clear day, no haze) to get the most out of it.

    Here are some samples:

    Split Window Corvette by john m flores, on Flickr

    Perilous Crossing by john m flores, on Flickr

    Run!!!! by john m flores, on Flickr

    A Heritage Softail Classic in Kansas by john m flores, on Flickr

    As I suggested earlier, I would say that an EVF or tripod/monopod are a necessity at the longer end.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks very much John, great sample pics too :)  do you always use yours with an EVF?
  16. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    Great use of distance compression in this shot! You really get a sense of the traffic gridlock in the background.
  17. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    For wildlife, I would choose the 100-300mm no question. I had the 45-200mm for a while and was not very impressed. Even 300mm for birds requires a lot of cropping, and at 5.6 on either lens it is not ideal in poor light. Can get nice enough results though.

    btw if you like macro then the Panasonic-Leica 45mm 2.8 is a very sharp and clear lens.
  18. tom.rob

    tom.rob Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks Blue :)  I do want to get the 45mm at some point, but I'm going to try out achromatic lens first
  19. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    Forgot to mention in my post that all the handling/usage issues aside, I was actually quite happy with the optics. Here are a few of the shots I got out of it that day.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  20. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    +1 on the observations that the 100-300 is a specialty lens and that it is the right one for wildlife.

    I'll amplify the comments about camera motion, though. I can't imagine that anyone could be successful with that lens if they hold it out in front of their faces and use the LCD. At full extension, it really needs lots of support. I brought 300-400 frames shot with that lens (and a G1) back from a recent trip to Africa and was dismayed to see how many were just a little soft due to camera motion. There are even some not-totally-satisfactory shots of painted dogs that I shot off a monopod. I thought I was being pretty careful about camera support, bracing against things as much as possible and using the monopod where possible, but still ...

    BTW, the 14-140 is a great complement to that lens. In Africa I carried two bodies, one with each lens. It worked great. When the leopard comes down off the termite mound and walks toward the game drive vehicle, there isn't time to change lenses! :) 
    • Like Like x 1
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