Should I sell my Olympus 300mm f4 and buy the Panasonic 200mm f2.8????

JayZay87

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Hey everyone,

A bit of a background - I used to shoot with an Olympus EM-1 body paired with my 300mm f4 for wildlife photography. As I got more and more into shooting wildlife video I wanted to find a decent hybrid camera and ended up choosing the GX8. I knew I'd be losing sync-IS going with the Lumix body, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make because the lens IS is pretty darn good, I have a decently steady hand and I have more frequently started shooting video with a monopod for the extra stability.

Literally just yesterday I upgraded to a Lumix G9 after doing a ton of research, and went back and forth between the G9 and the GH5 for quite a while. I wanted better video specs/options than the GX8 but didn't want to sacrifice anything in the stills department which is why I went with the G9, since it has amazing stills features for wildlife, and also has some similar specs to that of the GH5, albeit with some limitations.

I've been reading a lot about the Panasonic 200mm f2.8 lately, and it has really grabbed my attention because it sounds like the optics are excellent and with the teleconverter puts it in a similar league to the 300mm F4. I'm curious what peoples opinions might be about possibly switching, would you consider it an upgrade or downgrade?
It sounds like the 300mm still has the upper hand optically (?), but if I had the 200mm it would support DFD focus and dual image stabilization. I guess I'm just intrigued about having faster and more reliable AF for birding and more image stabilization for shooting video, because at such a long focal range it's tricky to keep things stable in certain environments with wind or waves if I'm out on the water.
But.....I never thought I'd ever consider parting with the 300mm.. do you all think it would make sense for me to switch? Has anyone been in a similar boat and switched to the 200mm? If so was it worth it?

Any comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated!

-J
 

ac12

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If you are out on the water and in the winds, 300mm is just plain HARD to stabilize. There is too much magnification.
I generally try to brace myself against something SOLID, when I shoot my 300, especially if there any wind, like on the golf course or softball field. And that is on sold ground, not a moving boat.

On a moving boat, in the wind, I would shoot at a high shutter speed, just to compensate for boat movement and wind.

I don't shoot video, so cannot comment on that.
 
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I have both the 300/4 and the 200/2.8 and shoot with an Olympus EM1-mkiii. The 300/4 sharpens up a bit at f5.6. The 200/2.8 has max central sharpness at f2.8. I lose the sync-IS when I use the Panasonic lens but still love it. I have had both in the field and come back liking my Panasonic 200/2.8 photos better in many cases. It also does pretty well with the teleconverter.

IMO, get the Panasonic and its 1.4x teleconverter to use with your Panasonic bodies.
 

Bushboy

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I doesn’t matter what anybody says here.
You are gonna get that f2.8.
I just know it...
 

Rrybicki

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I have owned the 300/4 and currently own the 200/2.8. Have shot them both extensively with various Olympus EM-1s (ii, iii, x) and a Panasonic G9.

To change would not be a downgrade, definitely more of a lateral move. The 200/2.8 + 1.4 TC and 300 f/4 are neck and neck in sharpness at 300 (ish) mm. The 300/4 + 1.4 TC is sharper at 420 than the 200/2.8 + 2.0 TC at 400, but the 200 + TC is no slouch and still quite impressive. The 300/4 + 2.0 TC gives you an option the Panasonic cannot reach, but using 1200mm effective is quite a challenge and it sounds like it might not be in your use case.

On the other hand, 200/2.8 is something that the Olympus cannot offer and I very much like having that option. Might come in handy of you are shooting from a boat or a video in lower light.

You should get somewhat better AF with the G9 using 200/2.8, but I am not sure anyone can quantify how much. And better stabilization, of course.

In use they are about the same size and weight, as you would expect. But the 200/2.8 packs much smaller, which is very handy if you travel a lot. 200/2.8 + G9 should be more 'weather sealed' than a 300/4 + G9, but I never worried about it. You shoot from a boat, however.

You can probably move to a 200/2.8 and 1.4 TC at no cost if you sell the 300/4. Used prices on the 200/2.8 are low. Check with our friends at MPB, they are out of 300/4s at the moment but have a 200/2.8 at a decent price.

Its just a matter of preference, neither decision is wrong. I changed to the 200/2.8 and am very happy with my choice. And I think it is more suitable for the G9, which is probably my favorite camera ever.

Good luck with the choice, and enjoy the G9.

Russ
 

JayZay87

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I would sell the Panasonic cameras, pick up a pair of 1X's and the ZD 150/2 to go along with your 300/4.
I've definitely had my eyes on the EM1-X in the past, really intriguing especially since I already have the 300mm f4. But as my focus has been shifting to taking more and more video I felt like Panasonic was the better route to take.
I wish there was more cross compatibility between brands in the M4/3 system and I didn't have to make such a hard decision :dash2:.
I'm definitely happy with the G9 so far and can't see myself parting with it anytime soon, but I think if I was primarily a shooting stills I would most certainly have stuck to Olympus and probably eventually gone with the EM1-X or EM1-iii.

-J
 

JayZay87

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Thanks for the feedback everyone, lots of thinking to do.. Maybe I can source a shop nearby to test the 200mm 2.8 in person to compare lenses, but that means leaving the island and going on a long trek back into civilization :laugh:.
After shooting some video in the wind today with the 300, I did find myself wishing I had a little more stabilization..
 
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, lots of thinking to do.. Maybe I can source a shop nearby to test the 200mm 2.8 in person to compare lenses, but that means leaving the island and going on a long trek back into civilization :laugh:.
After shooting some video in the wind today with the 300, I did find myself wishing I had a little more stabilization..
Friday Harbor is hardly uncivilized.
When I was a kid I met John Wayne on the dock there. He was getting off his large cruise boat and I said "Hey! You're John Wayne!" He laughed and shook my hand and talked to me and my mother.
 

Stanga

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If you are familiar with shooting at f4 then why not look at getting the PL50-200mm f2.8-4.0 instead?
 

BPCS

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PL 200 2.8 (+ 1.4x) vs my 300 Pro has crossed my mind too. It seems unanimous that the Panaleica is perfect wide open. My 300 Pro needs a little stopping down (f5.0). It seems the PL with 1.4x will be similar in IQ to the 300 Pro. So the PL would give me a perfect, fast 200mm and a good 280mm. The PL is also shorter and easier to pack. The problem comes if I want more than 280mm. I find my copy of the Oly 1.4x and 2x with my 300 Pro to work well (within the issues of super tele work). So the PL 200mm starts looking like more of an option when my 40-150 Pro is too short, and it also doesn't crop very well at f2.8 (needs to be at f4.0 to sharpen up).

If I did sports from the touch line (close to the action), the PL would be the obvious choice. As my super tele work is birds, the 300 Pro makes more sense... but I still wonder about it all.
 

Robstar1963

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I have had both the Olympus 300mm f4.0 and the Pana Leica 200f2.8
I currently have the PL200 f2.8
The Pana Leica is IMO the best M43 Lens I’ve ever had and my latest copy is one I intend to keep
It was purchased 2 years ago on a very good deal at £1300 (official supply) with a 3 year Panasonic warranty which was stunning value !
Ive never seen such a good deal since
With the 1.4 TC it is more versatile than the 300 alone although the 300 + Olympus 1.4 TC gives you more ultimate reach if you need it
280mm with the PL + 1.4 is still f4.0 like the Olympus 300
I can’t judge how good the PL 200 is with the 2.0 TC (400/800mm) compared with the Olympus 300 + 1.4 TC (420/840mm)
The PL200 f2.8 provides use of aperture control ring on the lens which may be of benefit to you with a G9
I find the bokeh with the 200 to be better than that of the 300
Both lenses are superb and having both if affordable is the very best option but life is rarely that easy !
If I had to choose one or the other I would go with the added versatility and wider aperture (@200mm) of the PL with 1.4 TC and the better compatibility with your G9 ( including DFD compatibility (negligible benefit in reality perhaps ?) better dust and weather sealing compatibility (which has been the subject of various threads here) and aperture ring compatibility (does not work on Olympus bodies)
 

JayZay87

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Friday Harbor, WA
Hey everyone,
A bit of an update, and.. Bushboy called it... I ended up pulling the trigger on a 200 :laugh:.
I am however holding on to my 300 Pro until I get a chance to really test the new lens out, but so far I'm very impressed. The business I bought the lens from accidentally forgot to include the 1.4 teleconverter in the box, and is being shipped to me now, so till then I'm just shooting at the native 200mm FL. It'll be interesting to see how it compares to the 300 with the addition of the teleconverter.
The weather has been pretty gray here, but I've still been trying to get out as much as possible and snap some shots with this new lens. Here's a somewhat heavily cropped shot of a bald eagle I took yesterday as it took flight from the top of a lighthouse.
Thanks everyone for your input again, it definitely helped me pull the trigger. Looking forward to keep testing this sweet lens out.
P1187836.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Bushboy

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You beauty!
Accidentally on purpose forgot...
When I look at all the lenses in M4/3 world, 200/2.8 is the only one I really really want...
Congratulations! And I told you so. Lol
 

Little Fish

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Mar 9, 2021
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For boat and wave shots with super-teles, give the 50-200 f/2.8-4 Elmar a try. The zoom feature comes in real handy for BIF and for unpredictable fast accelerating animals. The IQ is very high. And it can be used with a 1.4 TC.

However, I use the G9's camera's built in ExTc Conv and 2X digital zoom. It's a compromise of resolution for more light magnification.
 

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