Panasonic 45-200mm very soft at long end. Possible reason?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by New Daddy, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    I took a number of pictures of my kids playing in a park with the 45-200mm on GH1. I got some good results, but quite a few were disappointingly soft, especially at the long end of the 200mm. I shot mostly wide, at the shutter speed of at least 1/200 to freeze motion, with the OIS turned on. I'm trying to figure out the possible reason and wanted to hear experience of others.

    Possible reason for the softness:

    • Optics
      • The lens is not that sharp at 200mm period?
      • The lens is not sharp wide open at 200mm? Should have stopped down a bit?
    • Camera shake
      • the optical IS doesn't work that well at 200mm?
    • Autofocus
      • 45-200mm is not good at AF at the 200mm end
      • GH1 is not good at AF at that range

    To me, the autofocus is a good suspect, because I got some back-focused shots at closer range even with a stationary subject for some reason. Other factors may have contributed too. Can people with similar past experience share their view? The remedy for next time will depend on this analysis.
  2. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Real Name:
    How did you determine the softness? Viewing at 100% on a monitor?

    Was anything sharp in the photos?
    What was your F stop with the soft images? What was the distance to your subject?
    Was the softness in the corners, or the entire image?
    Posting more information would be helpful, an image even better.
  3. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    Real Name:
    The long end is 400 mm equivalent, so it's quite challenging to hold steady and also the sharpness at the long end is not best possible. It might be combination of both...
  4. Muntjack

    Muntjack Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 26, 2010
    I have had quite good results at 200mm with just a little pp involving minimal sharpening and contrast enhancement.
    However I do find it necessary to shoot at a minimum of 400th sec to achieve acceptable results. I think shake and poor contrast at the long end are the main enemies.
    Good luck,
  5. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    Real Name:
    I'm of an age where camera shake gets more obvious with the passage of time. I have found that with OIS and a faster shutter speed the 45-200 is still useable at 200 when handheld. I find it better to not linger but to chose the subject, frame and then quickly shoot. Here is a shot at 200, it may even be cropped a little.
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I personally was very disappointed with the 45-200 at the long end. Completely unacceptable sharpness for my tastes - however, I accept that if you're prepared to do some PP with contrast and sharpness fiddling and don't want to print large or pixel peep then it's probably ok for many uses. It all depends on how picky you are. However, I think by any objective measure, it's a soft lens from about 150mm onwards.
  7. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    That's an excellent shot! If I can get that kind of sharpness at 200mm, I have no issue.
  8. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    100% viewing on monitor Nothing was sharp. Entire image soft. F stop wide - f/5.6 i believe.
  9. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    Wait. Even with the image stabilization turn on, you need 1/400 sec? I only went as fast as 1/250, relying on the IS.
  10. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    Real Name:
    the 45-200 is very very good at OIS, and AF

    it can get good results at 200 5.6

    but never gets very sharp

    especially when the target is far away

    fringing is another problem

    P.S. I sold mine
  11. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    It's simply not very sharp at 200mm; see this. Apparently some copies are sharper than others, but many aren't very good.
  12. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    For people not used to long tele's, I would suggest starting at 1/1000 regardless of whether there's IS or not. Also try some non-moving objects, AF tracking with m43 can be tricky until you get used to it.
  13. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    Real Name:
  14. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The newer 45-150mm and 45-175mm lenses are much sharper at the long end. The 45-200mm does drop off at 200mm.