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panny100-300 HELP!!

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by yamark, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    I like this lens quite a bit on my EPM1. When I get a good shot, the images are crisp and sharp with excellent depth of field. Problem is, my keeper ratio is pretty low. I seem to be out of focus quite a bit with both AF and MF. If I crank up the ISO, i get a ton of noise. It seems I've been working at a shutter speed of around 200.

    What can I do to make this better? Tripod? Is my UV filter throwing things off? Poor technique? IBIS or lens stabilization? Need an EVF?
  2. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    EVF and long telephotos go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly, flies 'n ointment, cheese 'n crackers, toys 'n attics. If you're using a Panasonic body, make sure the IS is on. On an Oly body, I believe the consensus here it that IS beats IBIS, so keep the IS on and make sure the IBIS is off (unless it's an OMD-EM5, then turn off the IS and use the IBIS). Okay, just noticed you're using the EPM1, so turn on the lens IS and turn off the camera IBIS.

    The rule of thumb is the reciprocal of the focal length = minimum shutter speed for handholding a lens. So if you're shooting at 300mm your starting point for the shutter will be 1/300 of a second, then toss on a bit more speed for 2x FOV ... so without IS ... shoot around 1/500 of a sec.

    For a focal length of ... say 200mm, the reciprocal will be 1/200 of a second shutter speed, et cetera.

    After you've established you minimum shutter speed, if you're using IS you can back-off a stop or two of shutter speed. So ... if you're shooting 1/500, one full stop will be 1/250 ... two full stops will be 1/125.

    Remember that IS/IBIS only works on camera shake. So if your subject is moving, IS/IBIS will not compensate for subject movement/action. To stop real action (like sports) you're back up around 1/250 - 1/500 as a minimum starting point for shutter speed (all dependent upon the speed of the movement, how close you are to the subject ...).

    The problem is that all this stuff is interrelated, when you start messing in one area it affects another area. With practice, this will all be sorted out, I've only scrapped the surface.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    Thanks Gary, I was hoping you'd chime in. I was on the verge of returning the lens, but was able to shoot a couple of my best shots ever with it. It's tough though. I'm looking forward to the practice.
  4. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    +1 on the EVF. If you need to track something moving, shooting with both eyes open will help.

    Just me, but I'd start with figuring that IS/IBIS is cancelling out the 2x crop factor, and just try and stay at 1/focal_length or faster. If that's working consistently, then try adjusting down a stop on the shutter speed.

    The other technique thing to check out is your grip. Your left palm should be supporting the base of the camera and/or the lens from below. If your left hand is on the left side of the camera body, P&S-style, and your lens is waving about completely unsupported, you need to adjust your grip. And there's all the usual time-your-breathing, plant your feet, etc. sharpshooter advice. Be the tripod, grasshopper. Camera shake blur is the most likely culprit if you've never used a supertelephoto lens before, not just from the physical size/length of the lens, but also from the magnification of the shake (kinda of like with macro shooting). Longer the lens, faster the shutter speed needs to be.

    If the issue is autofocusing precision/timing, then you may also want to try back-button autofocus. That's where you configure your camera so that a button on the back of the camera controls autofocusing function, and remove it from the shutter button half-press. You'd be surprised at the difference it can make.
  5. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    I never shoot over 180mm without a monopod. That extra modicum of stability is the divider between pixel salads and keepers. I shoot moving stuff too much to use a tripod. Try a monopod, it makes a huge difference at long focal lengths. Mine converts to self-standing too.
  6. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    That old "1/focal length" rule of thumb mentioned above is very inaccurate and never worked for everyone. I always thought it was targeted at complete beginners to give them some idea about more or less acceptable shutter speeds so that they wouldn't try 1 second exposures handheld, but it's not like you should literally follow that rule and you're safe with 1/focal length, cause you're not. It also came from times when every camera had a viewfinder you stick your eye to. With a small piece of soap called E-PM1 where you have literally no grip and no viewfinder it becomes something like 1/2*focal length*n, where "n" depends on the person's hands and it's somewhere between 2 and 5. Luckily, IS can compensate for shaking hands up to ~2 stops, but with a "stock" E-PM1 your safe shutter speeds are still somewhere around 1/250+ at 100mm and 1/750+ at 300mm, and this is for static subjects only.

    So your only options are to add a grip (there are some for E-PM1) and a viewfinder for shooting handheld, plus paying close attention to the way you hold the camera (as inkista said). And use some "real" stabilization whenever possible like a tripod or monopod.
  7. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    Thanks folks! I was looking through all the shots I took with the 100-300 and it just so happens that all my keepers are at 1/250 +.

    Can't you just extend one tripod leg and have a monopod?

    As for handheld, I hold the bottom of the lens. It balances very well about halfway up the lens. Afterall, the epm1 seems almost weightless
  8. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've been using this lens for about a month. Even with the IS, I need at least 1/320 when zoomed out to 300mm handheld.

    I've seen some suggestions about a monopod, but with an EPM1, a monopod would seem questionable on such a small body/large lens. I might try it anyway, but I'd love a lens-based tripod mount.

    To the OP -- a monopod can be purchased very cheaply, though I'd also look to add a ball head, just for ease of use.
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Yes you can, a bit awkward but usable. The rule-of-thumb is difficult to apply to digital cameras because of the variety of sensor sizes. One never truly "stops" action, one minimizes the subjects "travel" across the sensor. So an object traveling 1/250 of a second across a sensor will appear "sharper" (have less blur) than the same subject traveling for 1/60 of a second across the sensor. Subject speed, distance to subject, steadiness/stability of the camera are a few more factors affecting blur. Many feel, like Troll, the FOV factor affects the rule-o-thumb causing the necessity to increase shutter speed to compensate for hand/camera shake. Your enlargement factor also plays out, an image which has blur at 100% crop may look fine as an 8x10.

    Good camera technique, IBIS, monopods will work to lower the camera shake thereby lowering minimum rule-o'-thumb shutter speed. The lack of mirror slap also lessens camera shake, again lowering the minimum shutter speed (very helpful with wide angle lenses un dim light).

    With an experienced photog and an afternoon, it can all be sorted out. Otherwise, it's trial and error. Start with shutter speed, no IBIS, no pod, shoot something static and something moving (like cars on a freeway). Chimp away and see at what shutter speed the image is acceptable. Repeat with IBIS on. Turn off IBIS repeat with a monopod, then with a tripod. Repeat everything with IBIS on. Take notes.

    Typically, with practice and attention to camera holding techniques, most photogs can handhold under the rule-o'-thumb.

    The exercise isn't a lot of fun, but it will be very helpful and a primary step in you learning how the hardware and you function together. The more you use the 100-300 the higher your keeper ratio and the less frustrating the experience.

    Experience is a key factor in increasing one's photographic skills.

  10. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Or instead of an LVF2 just buy a pana G2 body while they are still around and cheap, and have the best of both worlds, small body for small lenses and G2 for the big uns :wink:
  11. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Also remember the 1/focal length rule of thumb was invented in a time that there was ONLY viewfinders. Having your head as a point of stability is a huge asset with long lenses, and tiny bodies. Holding something out in space and not having it move in one or more of the 3 dimensions is VERY difficult. I'm very successful with my 100-300 even out at 300mm at pretty low shutter speeds with the IS, but I have it locked to my face, solid stance, elbows in, hand under the base of the lens. In that stance, I can shoot <1/100 even at times. Hold it out in front of me and that goes out the window.
  12. yamark

    yamark Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    I found and bought a used vf2 on eBay. I think it will help drastically. Planning on another body at some point as well. I'll take a look at the g2.
  13. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'd suggest a G3 or GH2. I find that I'm often at higher ISO's with this lens to achieve the desired shutter speeds with the longer focal lengths. I'd suggest one of the bodies with the newer sensors with better high iso performance.
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The VF2 will give you a ton of help, don't forget to smash your nose up a bit in order to attain a solid camera holding base. With the camera off-face you have an open triangle between the camera and face ... now you can close the triangle by smashing your nose.

    Good Luck and Good Shooting,
  15. phdezra

    phdezra Mu-43 Stalker Subscribing Member

    Dec 6, 2011
    New York, NY
    Out of curiosity, are you turning off all IS/IBIS when on monopod? Or do you only do that on a tripod?
  16. rjay

    rjay New to Mu-43

    May 18, 2012
    It is best to turn IS/IBIS off if using any rigid support (monopod, tripod, fence post, etc).

    IBIS on the new OMD really seems to blur the image if left on while using a rigid support (I tested using a 500mm mirror lens).
  17. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    With the 100-300, I keep the IS on even when mounted on a tripod, it helps with wind induced vibrations. I have other lenses that I can't do that with, but the 100-300 is ok.

    90% of my shooting is done with lens 400mm or longer, and getting the shutter speed up is really not optional, regardless of IS.
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