Sharp telephoto at 150mm+?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dhazeghi, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    So I'm mulling over what my next lens purchase will be once I finally manage to sell off the remainder of my Nikon FX glass (a surprisingly difficult process).

    The main thing I lack at the moment is a long telephoto for landscapes and the occasional street/action shot. I actually do have a telephoto option in the Panasonic 14-140 but I've been pretty disappointed with the results from the long end of that lens - to the point that I've not bothered to use it in several months.

    I need AF and at least some ability to zoom , so that rules out primes and legacy lenses. I do shoot landscapes, so it needs to be reasonably sharp and contrasty when focused to long distances.

    At the moment I'm torn between either the Olympus 40-150, the Panasonic 45-200, or the 4/3 Olympus 50-200/2.8-3.5.

    I suspect that the 50-200 is much the sharper lens, when focused correctly, but as I've learned with my 4/3 12-60, AF is slow and not always all that accurate on adapted lenses. Plus the 50-200 will be a pig to lug around (bigger and heavier than a FF 70-200/4, and it extends enormously) - hardly in keeping with the underlying goal of m4/3 (lighten my load).

    On the flip side, I've seen a lot unhappy comments about 45-200 and 40-150 performance at the long end, and a good many samples indicating that neither lens is really 'all that' at the long end.

    Any comments/suggestions at this point would be welcomed, particularly from people who have used some or all of the lenses mentioned! Thanks!
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Real Name:
    I am happy with the P45-200. I shot quite often with it at 200.
    Here are a few examples

    At 200
    <a href="" title="P1030024.jpg by Ehud Lavon, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="734" alt="P1030024.jpg"></a>

    At 155 cropped

    <a href="" title="P1050300.jpg by Ehud Lavon, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="797" alt="P1050300.jpg"></a>

    At 200 with tripod

    <a href="" title="P1060189-Edit.jpg by Ehud Lavon, on Flickr">[​IMG]"1024" height="768" alt="P1060189-Edit.jpg"></a>
    • Like Like x 1
  3. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Real Name:
    This is one of the reasons as to why I'm not willing to sell my E-5 and lenses...RAZOR SHARP...however, I do plan on buying an adapter soon to test it out on my EPM2

    shot with the E-5, 50-200 and EC-14...
    • Like Like x 4
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm surprised there is no mention of the Panasonic 45-175mm X? That lens is sharp end-to-end. Fixed barrel length and very good contrast and colors (probably due to the nano coating). Since you're shooting with the OM-D, you shouldn't have any OIS issues.

    Here's some OM-D 45-175 samples:


  5. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    I've been very happy with my 45-175X and 100-300. Some people have complained about the 45-175, but I've had no complaints.

    100-300 @ 300mm/5.6

    45-175 @ 91mm/5.3

    45-175 @ 160mm/5.5
    • Like Like x 2
  6. troll

    troll Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 25, 2012
    50-200 is the best option but very heavy for what it is, slow/unreliable to focus, not to mention quite expensive. 45-175 is pretty good, there might be some significant sample variation but my 45-175 resolves lots of details: I've compared it with a couple of macro lenses, 55/2.8 and 105/2.8, and they're pretty much identical for the most part except the corners, 45-175 is softer there but not much softer.. It's very slow in terms of aperture though.

    There are also rumors about mft Olympus 40-150/2.8, imho unlikely to happen with large fixed aperture like this, but some telephoto zoom might be coming from Olympus so I'd wait a bit if you're not in a hurry.
  7. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I've got the 40-150 which came as the second lens in the 2 lens kit with my E-P3. It's certainly sharp PROVIDED…

    The reason for the "PROVIDED" is that I regularly find that the thing which makes it unsharp is me. Forgetting to use IS with my E-P3 and E-M5 is one of my problems, or leaving IS on and using it at higher shutter speeds when it doesn't help and can work against sharpness. Sloppy shutter technique, half pressing the shutter and then waiting. The subject moves a little and at 150mm that little can be enough to lose true sharpness. Using too big an auto focus zone and having the lens achieve focus lock on something just behind the subject.

    When I get things right I find it hard to pick anything I could criticise about the 40-150s sharpness and when I get it wrong I find myself wondering why I don't get a better lens until I think a bit more about things, sort out what went wrong, and discover it was most probably me.

    I'd love a longer lens, I'd love a faster lens, and I'm not certain that I'd get any higher proportion of better results with one. At long focal lengths I seem to be the limiting factor rather than the 40-150. I'm happy to accept that there are better native lenses out there which are longer but it is more than sharp enough for me at 150mm when I get it right and it has proved great value for money for me.

    I am interested in the rumoured F/2.8 Olympus 40-150.

    And if I really need the speed, I simply make a deliberate choice to use the 75mm and crop. I can get very nice results full screen on my 24" screen from a small area of the frame when shooting with the 75mm. Since I don't print (keep wondering about doing so), that's a viable choice for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Having a 100-300 or 75-300 may be your answer since it's typically the extremes that are problematic on zooms?
    • Like Like x 1
  9. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Real Name:
    i have the pana 45-200 and the 4/3 50-200. if i want light weight i use the 45-200, the pictures are acceptable. if i want sharp, i use the 50-200 with manual focus, forget about -SAF focus - manual is faster.
  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I use the longer lenses when I am outdoors. They are acceptable. However, it is important to note the best of the images are taken in bright sunlight. Would I love a better long zoom, you bet! The trouble is that to do so is to make a telephoto that is bigger and heavier, not to mention more expensive, than what is currently available. I hope that the m4/3's market is mature enough to bring some of those lenses to market. If Olympus produces the 40-150/2.8 that would be a wonderful start. I think that there are enough us who include nature, wildlife, birding, etc, in our photographic interests that such lenses would be welcome.

    FWIW - I use the latest version of the Oly 40 - 150 and it is nice. Yes, at it's full FL it loses some, but I have taken some nice pics with it.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I like the 45-200, images look good at normal sizes.

    They do not, however, hold up to pixel peeping. If you regularly view at 100%, you're likely to be disappointed.
  12. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    45-175x easily resolves E-PM2 16MP sensor even at 175mm

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
  13. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Gerry

    Gerry Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Bay Area, California
    Just picked one up right now. Thanks, svtquattro! You should post this in the Good Deals Found section of the forum.
  15. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
    Real Name:
    "We are not able to ship this item to your default shipping address" :mad:

    But thanks to the OP anyway :thumbup:
  16. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Bummer. I'm in Canada and they don't ship to Canada either. So I shipped to a relative in the USA and it'll take the long way to get here by Xmas when they visit! And bring me my own xmas present!

    I did post in hot deals as well.
  17. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    Here's another thought for you. While I own the 4/3rds 50-200mm and 35-100mm and find them both excellent, Olympus used to make a 4/3rds 40-150mm F3.5-F4.5 lens that was a kit lens but performed very well and was solidly built. I was pleased with mine and it is significantly smaller and less heavy than the other two I mentioned. The aperture range of F3.5-4.5 wasn't bad either. You can pick one up for $79 at KEH. Read Robin Wong's post about this lens from 2010. For $79 you can't really go wrong.

    Robin Wong: Shooting Animals with Olympus 40-150mm F3.5-4.5
  18. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I've had good luck with both the P45-200 and the P100-300:

    OM-D w/ P45-200 @ 200mm, 1/180, f/5.6, ISO 1600

    OM-D w/ P100-300 @ 300mm, 1/350, f/5.2, ISO 1600

    I'm expecting to pick up a P35-100 this week ... what say you ... this may be the lens you seek.

  19. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    If you want something that also performs well at the long end, I would recommend the Panny 45-175mm. I have one and I find it's clearly better than the Panny 45-200 that I've had three copies of and got rid of them all. The 45-200 can come up with dull, greyish pics especially at the long end and sharpness there is only so-so.

    The big but with the 45-175 is that it's prone to blurring due to shutter vibration. If you order one, make sure you test it on your preferred camera(s) at shutter speeds between 1/60...1/500 and return it if pics with those speeds are not as good as the ones with 1/1000 s or faster.

    When pixel-peeping my sample only delivers critically sharp pics at 175mm and 1/1000s or faster on my GH2. I'm actually thinking of replacing the GH2 by a G5 so that I can use the 45-175 with the G5's electronic shutter; I don't want to give up on this lens yet!
  20. mix123

    mix123 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2011
    Thanks for mentioning this lens...I hadnt even heard of it...any ideas where I could find a cheap 4/3 to m4/3 adapter?