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Racking My Brains: 200mm v. 300mm Difference

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by hunyuan7, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    In your everyday use, do you find that there is a significant difference between the focal lengths 200mm and 300mm? The two lenses I am deliberating over are Panny 45-200 and 100-300.
  2. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    the differences between the lenses are pretty big (even though the difference between 200mm and 300mm may not be). The 45-200 I can pretty much keep on the camera most of the time. Sometimes there's some shots that I just can't get because something is just too close. But that 100-300.......that's pretty much just for long range shooting. I haven't used it much because I can't quite the hang of it "seeing" the shot.

    Of course there are times when I have the 45-200 on and wish like heck I had more reach.

    Here's an interesting tool...... Lens Field of View Visualisation Tool | Technical Talk | Lens reviews When I use this it shows me the biggest differences in focal lengths happen at the wider end.
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    From the same shooting point, a subject is twice as large in the frame when you double the focal length. So going from 200mm to 300mm will give you a 50% increase in "reach" (actually subject size within the frame). The real issue is at the wide end where the opposite is true. You can make subjects twice as "small" with the 45mm than the 100mm. You can always crop in, but you can't crop out. As a general purpose lens the 45-200 is probably a better "walk around" lens, unless your other lens is the 14-140.

  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    While there are times I wish for more reach than the 45-200 can offer, I can't see justifying the extra expense and lack of wide end for the 100-300.

    What I would really like is a 45-200 f/2.8 :) 
  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    the focal lengths between 45 and 100 are far more useful in day to day shooting than the ones between 200 and 300. I'm assuming you don't have those focal lengths covered.
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Actually, I was assuming the opposite from the OP's post. He only asked about the difference between 200mm and 300mm, which leads me to believe he is concerned mostly ab out the longest telephoto end and not so concerned about the wide end.

    The difference between 200mm and 300mm is 50%, so it is quite a lot. As for the wide end though, you will need as Luke says to have something that covers that focal length. For instance, if you are holding onto a 45mm or 50mm prime, then the 100-300mm will be a good complement. If you have a 14-42mm zoom lens, then again the 100-300mm will still be a good complement. If you he no other lenses, or your next lens is a wider angle like maybe 12mm, 14mm, or 17mm... then the 45-200mm would be a better complement.

    I'll go out with a 50mm and 200mm prime or a 25mm and 135mm prime, and still feel like I have good coverage. Just to give you an idea of how much variance you can have between focal lengths.
  7. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    ~1hr north of Portland OR
    Jim R
    I had the same problem on the Pentax side. Their 50-200 is so compact, their 55-300 so talented. On the :43: side of things, I have found 200mm to be plenty for what I do. There's the rub - "for what I do" may not do for you. The less expensive solution is to try the 45-200 first and see how often you're frustrated by its reach.

    Good luck with your deliberation, at least you have two very good options!
  8. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    The views HERE might help. Look at the 400mm and 600mm images to see the relative coverages.
  9. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    For what it's worth, I may be in the minority, but I was frustrated with the 45-200 when I owned it. First of all, I usually put it on mainly for the longer end, and found it pretty noticeably soft. I did not find I could leave it on as a walk around. For my shooting, 45mm wasn't minimum enough. I have found the 100-300 to be quite a bit sharper, and quite a bit faster at the 100mm end, which is really useful for sports shooting.

    I used to carry around the 14-45 and 45-200 and was annoyed to have to keep switching them all day long. Now I have the 14-140 which I love for a walk around. The range is perfect. I added the 100-300 for sports and wildlife shooting. I couldn't be happier with the combo. I have a sharper, faster long lens, and I'm not switching back and forth all day long.
  10. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for your insight! I have a 14-150, and now I might look into adding the 100-300 to compliment that!
  11. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    I don't find a 50% increase in FL really worth it. Very little difference in my opinion. Saying 50% i.e. 100 vs. 150 or 200 vs. 300 sounds significant. I find at 100% increase to make significant enough difference.

    So with that thought in mind. I would say chosing between a 200 vs. 300; the decision shouldn`t be made on reach but more on IQ and Speed advantage at maximum focal range and also at 85-135 FF equivalent for portrait work. The extra speed can help keep iso down a stop or 2 and if IQ is better (less chroma, less distortion, sharper etc.) then I would chose that one over reach.

    So I`d say the 14-140 as more of an All In One lens to be more ideal than the 45-200.

    Between the 45-200 and 100-300; Price, IQ etc I would go with the Olympus but if you wanted the option of Mego OIS as it may be more effective at the long end vs. IBIS of the Olympus bodies.
  12. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    The 100-300 is going to be faster and sharper at 200mm than the 45-200. I think that is the real reason to get it rather than for the extra focal length.
  13. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I could have written that! Had the pair, sold them for exactly the same reason, and bought the 14-140. Added a 9-18 and, with those two lenses, I am a happy tourist.

    The 100-300 is a specialist lens. I just bought one (and an extra body) for a trip to Africa. Lions & tigers & bears, etc. My plan is to sell both in December after we've returned as I rarely need a lens that long.

    I would look more at the short end and the type of photos you usually take. 200mm equivalent focal length is a pretty serious telephoto, too long for "everyday use" IMHO, where 90mm is a portrait lens. What kind of things do you usually shoot? Or do you have something else that you'll use for most of your shooting, reserving the specialist lens for the special situations?
  14. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    Oldracer and all, thank you for the helpful replies. I have never owned a 600mm focal length lens and want to try one for birding, shooting sports while sitting in the stands, and framing a landscape shot.

    Based on the replies in this thread, I can see how I can feel the need for more focal length reach. As a recent member on this forum--and reading thread after thread after thread--I am now leaning towards procuring the Panny 100-300. It won't be the lens that is constantly on my soon-to-arrive Panny G3, but I could see my own relief when I reach into my bag to pull out that 600mm focal length lens to catch that far-off-distant shot.

    Maybe there will be a 200-400 (equivalent to 35mm 400-800 focal length) micro 4/3 lens in the future? :) 
  15. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    What Olympus? Both the 45-200 and 100-300 are Panny lenses.
  16. mclarenf3

    mclarenf3 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 23, 2010
    Olympus does have a 75-300mm lens in u4/3.
  17. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    The 14-140mm is a great "leave it on your camera" walk-around lens. Now, if Tamron ever makes a native 14-210mm (eq. of their APS-C 18-270mm) in :43:, it might be replaced.
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