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Tele: can't see the wood for the trees

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Vicky, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Hi all!

    In less than a month, I will be going to on a trip to Africa (wooehooe!! can't wait!! :big grin: )
    When browsing on Flickr for Exif info of shots I liked of wildlife, I noticed a lot of people used a zoom of 200mm or more...

    This made me think... The maximum zoom I have is 150 (which is giving me great results!)... I hate cropping and when seeing wildlife, I suppose they won't be right next to me.
    So I was thinking about buying an actual TELEzoom for this trip, which I can use in my daily dog photography too.

    But, after reading, and looking and reviewing and reading some more, I became completely confused. So please help me!

    I can't seem to make a choice between these three lenses:
    - Olympus 70-300 f4.0-5.6
    - Olympus 75-300 f4.8-6.7
    - Panasonic 100-300 f4.0-5.6

    Since I have a Panasonic body (DMC-G5), I'm leaning towards the Pana 100-300 since I don't have the IS in the body itself.
    But the fact is, the Oly 70-300 is a whole lot cheaper (around 300euro = 400$) compared to the Pana, which will cost me around 500 euro (=670$). The Oly 75-300 is the most expensive of all three here in Belgium (550euro = 730$).

    I really really really don't have a large budget (400$ would be ideal), so I'm not sure if the IS is an actual deal breaker. Shooting living subjects, I use high shutter speeds most of the time.

    Can someone help me?

    Example of my dog photography taken with the Pana 45-150mm f4.0-5.6. I am looking for this quality of shots!
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/100300341@N04/14263864107" title="untitled-202-LR by Vicky d., on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "480" height="640" alt="untitled-202-LR"></a>
    • Like Like x 2
  2. I would recommend the Panasonic 100-300mm and I'd also recommend looking for a used copy. I bought a near mint copy for around £300. At 300mm you will sorely miss some form of stabilisation.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    I agree with Levster, you'll wish you had IS when shooting at the longer focal lengths. The more you magnify the image, the more you also magnify even the slightest movements. In my mind, a trip like this would be well worth spending a little more for IS, since it increases my chances of coming home with memorable shots.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Third vote on the importance of stabilisation. At 300 mm, you might even have a hard time getting something in frame without very good support or IS. In the old, pre-stabilisation days, anything over 300 mm (150 mm M43) was seen as domain of specialists, with huge tripods (multiple!) and lots of experience.

    The cheap Oly 70-300 is no M43 lens, but 'just' fourthirds; it will focus slowly and with trouble (not sure how well it will work on Pany anyway), and its sharpness and rendering is not really in the same class as the newer M43 long zooms.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Just my tuppence but if my 4/3rds Olympus 40-150mm lenses (I have both the f3.5 and the f4 version) are anything to go by, then the 300mm will hunt and hunt and hunt before it finally focuses.

    I use both of mine on either my G2 or G5 and I can only say that the autofocus is as slow as pouring treacle in winter. Nice images though!

    (is my comment even relevant here? I hope so...)
  6. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    So you're actually saying; don't buy a new lens and just go with the 45-150? ;) 
  7. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    I used to own the regular 4/3 70-300 when I had a E520 SLR and the Panasonic 100-300 I have now is a better lens optically, has IS and focuses much faster than the 70-300 will on your G5. It is easily worth the extra money.

    Even if you plan on using high shutter speeds the IS is useful when framing the shot at 300mm. Without IS camera shake can confuse the autofocus and slow it way down or even fail, particularly if you are using the smallest possible focusing box or pinpoint autofocus. At 300mm my 100-300 needs to be stopped down to f8 for best results. In anything except direct sunlight you will need to bump the ISO to shoot at shutter speeds fast enough to hand hold the lens without IS.

    I visited my father a couple of weeks ago and took some pictures of his dogs with my 100-300 while I was there. I just posted them in a dog thread on this forum but am going to post them again here to separate them from the ones I took with other lenses, sorry if anyone just saw them. These were taken on the low end of the zoom range where the 100-300 performs best but should give some idea of what to expect from the lens. I have a GX7 body.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Do you normally need a telezoom longer than 150mm? Perhaps renting for the trip is the best option, as it gives you what you want, while keeping the price where you would like it to be.
  9. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Aye Vicky. You could always slap a 2x teleconverter on and increase your range. I don't know how the lens will react to that with regard to focusing - the extra glass might slow it down even more! The best solution I've come across thus far is to switch the focusing mode to 'auto tracking'. For some reason the focus area (with the boxed crosshairs) allows the lens to lock on more quickly. Might be an idea to give it a whirl before you use this setup 'in anger'. :2thumbs:
  10. dancebert

    dancebert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2014
    Hua Hin, Thailand
    What sort of trip? Specifically, in what situations will you see wildlife? Will you be in a vehicle? Able to use a tripod? Monopod? Rest the lens against the vehicle? Those I've know who went on photo safaris say the safari company had extensive detail on the shooting conditions and photo equipment recommendations. Or will you be an independent traveler who hopes to encounter some wildlife that won't eat you?
  11. kenez

    kenez Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    The EC-20 is a 2X teleconverter for 4/3 lenses. I have used it with good results with my EM-1 and ZD 50-200mm. To my knowledge, nothing currently exist in m4/3 for the native lenses. In your situation I think you are better off sticking with a stabilized Panasonic lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Definitely go with the Panasonic 100-300mm, has IS and will focus fast on your camera. The old 70-300 will require and adapter and may not focus well at all on your camera.

    I've owned both the 100-300 and the 75-300, both lenses are about even optically, so go with the Panasonic for the IS. I have an EM1/EM5 so I went with the 75-300 due to the smaller weight and IBIS in this cameras, but you really need some sort of IS with a lens this long.
  13. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    I have the Panasonic 100-300 and personally the IS does me very little good. I always use at least my mono-pod for support. YMMV
  14. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Methinks you already have the right answer. :thumbup:
  15. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa
    My view is that IS is overblown in significance in stills but is very useful in video. That said I would lean towards the 100-300 for I have heard from a range of sources that its focus is white fast on the Panasonic bodies.

    Personally I have a 200mm FD lens that I use and I sold my 45-200 after discovering that transmission of light was so much lower that I got an extra stop of shutter speed at f5.6 and the FD 200 is also f4 (meaning another stop). My persona testing revealed that the 2 stops speed more than compensated for the IS.

    Clearly with travel lighter is better, so I don't think you'll be keen on a manual focus 300mm f4 (but they are great!)

    I feel that you should go for the used Panasonic option, but as you said Euro it probably means eBay in Europe not a good photo year reseller like KEH (due to import restrictions of costs).

    It is often said when people ask which I should buy the cheapest or the middle or the dearest that you should buy the dearest up front.

    When you buy the less desirable but cheaper you will ditch it to go up a step

    Then then you buy the middle you will still year for the better one.

    A worthwhile read

    I hope you enjoy your trip to Africa
  16. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    Thank you all for your advice!

    Unfortunately, here in Belgium, micro 4/3 is pretty unknown. I've already searched the web and did not find what I was looking for. Maybe I should look outside Belgium too, but I'm not sure. I'm kind of afraid of the shipping and not being able to actually go and have a look at what you are buying...

    Same problem as above... Renting a mu43 lens in Belgium is completely non-existent. :frown:

    It's not really a photo safari, it's 'just' a safari, and I will be taking my camera with me. So unfortunately, no advice on shooting conditions. During the trip, mutliple types of safari are planned. One on horse, one on foot and a couple game drives (in a half open little bus). So a pretty good variety on shooting conditions. I will be taking my little tripod with me, but not sure if that will do the trick. I'm really looking for handheld shots. Buying a lens (which really is an attack on my wallet) like that, I want to be able to use it in my daily photography too. I do not want to invest in a lens that I can only use on mono/tripods.

    Conclusion: If I decide to buy a lens for this trip, I'll go with the Panasonic 100-300. I'm kinda torn... The cost of this lens is scaring me, but the feeling I might get on this trip, seeing loads of beautiful things and just not being able to shoot it because of the lack of reach is scaring me more :smile: It's not like I will be going to Africa every year right?
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Vicky

    Vicky Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 6, 2013
    fYI Posting this reply, I just found a website where I can rent the lens at 30euro/day (40$)... Which means, renting it for 20 days will cost me 600euro (800$). A brand new lens will cost me 730$...
  18. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    I was just in Kenya for three weeks this Feb. I had with me two G3s with various lenses one of them being the Panny 100-300. Let's just say the 14-45 and 100-300 were the lenses that I used most. If you are going on any kind of game drive, the 100-300 is indespensible. In fact, I found the 300 to be a little short at times and would have preferred a lens that was slightly longer. Early morning game drives were a problem as the 100-300 was too slow for those conditions but as there are no other native lenses available, we are stuck with what is available for these cameras unless you are willing to go with a fast and long legacy lens.

    My next trip will be to Ecuador in March; to the rainforest and the galapagos. I will probably bring the same lens combination with me on that trip.

    Good luck.

  19. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Buy it, use it, sell it. Cheaper than renting and you'll probably get 2/3rds of your purchase price (or more) back. Consider what the rest of the trip is costing you and it's an easier expense to swallow - though you may not want to sell it after getting used to having a long lens.
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