Tele lens advice for E-M1

abhisheks77

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Jul 26, 2013
Messages
101
Hello,
I need some suggestions from you guys in adjusting my M43 kit. I have E-M1 (soon will change this to E-M1 iii) with the below lenses:
12-40mm f2.8 pro
40-150mm f2.8 pro
45mm f1.8
75mm f1.8 (will sell this. Though amazing, but very less used especially due to 40-150mm f2.8 )

For some time, I have been thinking to buy tele lens. I am not in BIF exactly, but when I go out I do it. 40-150mm is good and very sharp but it can be used in the zoo, in an open area it feels short. I want to keep only one tele lens. Either I would keep 40-150mm f2.8 + MC or I will sell this, to fund another lens. So I am thinking of different combinations -
40-150mm f2.8 pro + MC-14 -> It will becomes 210mm, will lose one stop. Do people use this range for casual bird photography?
40-150mm f2.8 pro + MC-20 -> It is essentially 40-150 F2.8 and a 150-300 F5.6, but not sure if it would lose much sharpness with 2 stop reduction? Few posts are reading this combo that it will be the same as 70-300mm in IQ and sharpness.
100-400mm f/5-6.3 -> How is this lens in comparison to the above two combinations?
300mm f4 -> I used other primes, not this one, so I know this would be very sharp. But I always have confusion about how to deal with this, especially in the case of wildlife and Birds. With so long-range, one can't get a subject which is in the most appropriate position but has to choose the one which will fit in this range. For some it can be a serious limitation, for others, it can be minor. I have not used so long-range of prime so don't know about me :)
150-400 f4 Pro (upcoming) -> Specs look very good, but most predictions are high prices. I won't go beyond $2500 but this one looks like to be more expensive. Also, it is on the roadmap and there is no defined date of release.
70-300mm -> I found it soft at the longer end and I am not pro enough to handle its auto-focus. I had this long back but sold it. I used it years back on Panasonic G5. Probably it may handle well on new E-M1. If there are more number of soft pictures, then keepers will be less.

What are your suggestions/comments, please?

Thanks
 

ac12

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Do you have to walk a lot/far?
The farther you have to walk, the heavier the gear feels.

I use the 40-150/2.8 for places close to the car or where I can bring it in a cart. Weight is an issue for me.
I never got the 1.4x TC. In my mind, 1.4x isn't that much more magnification. I would go with a 2x TC.
The major advantage of the 40-150/2.8 is the speed. Without the TC, when the light level goes down, you can shoot at f/2.8, whereas both the 75-300 and 100-400 would have you at a smaller aperture. So, do you think you will shoot in low light?

I use the 75-300 for baseball/softball. I have to walk a lot, and I also need the reach of the 300 to shoot from the outfield fence to home plate.
From the weight PoV, I would go with the lighter 75-300 over the heavier 100-400.
At 300mm, the lightness of the lens works against it. A light lens is hard to hold steady. Weight adds stability.
The 75-300 does not have a tripod foot. If you want a tripod foot, you have to go with the 100-400.

If you want more reach, then the only option is the 100-400.

I would forget the 150-400 pro. My guess is that it will be well over $5,000, and some are guessing in the $10,000 area.

The 300/4 is a fast lens, compared to the 75-300 and 100-400.
Yes you have to deal with single focal length of the primve vs. zoom issue.
It is the traditional compromise, speed vs zoom.
The old saying applies, "in low light, fast glass wins."​
I shoot basketball and volleyball with f/1.8 primes, rather than a f/2.8 zoom.​

If you had trouble with the 70-300, I would guess that you will have trouble with both the 300/4, 100-400 and 150-400, simply from the high magnification. 300mm is 12x magnification, and 400mm is 16x magnification. High magnification shooting requires technique and discipline to shoot well.
The 300/4 and 150-400 pro, both have Sync-IS, so should be easier to shoot than the 100-400.

So, I would look in order at
  • 40-150/2.8 + MC20 (= 80-300) You already have the lens, so the only cost is the MC20.
  • 75-300 (if you don't like this lens, skip it)
  • 100-400
I personally feel selling the 40-150/2.8 to buy a longer zoom is not a good idea. You would go from your 12-40 to 100-400. That 40-100 gap is rather large. And neither the 75-300 nor 100-400 are fast lenses.
 
Last edited:

bargainguy

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Don
You're overthinking this. If you really want max IQ, forget the zooms and TC's, and rent the 300/4 if you need more convincing. Using a 600mm equivalent lens will really show your technique, for better or worse.
 

RAH

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Dec 1, 2013
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70-300mm -> I found it soft at the longer end and I am not pro enough to handle its auto-focus. I had this long back but sold it. I used it years back on Panasonic G5. Probably it may handle well on new E-M1. If there are more number of soft pictures, then keepers will be less.
I think you need to tell us whether this is a typo (you really meant the m4/3 75-300), or you meant the older 4/3 70-300 lens with an adapter. If you meant the 70-300, then I think you should get the 75-300; it might be enough of what you are looking for. If you meant the 75-300, then perhaps you should revisit it - I think it is a great walk-around hi-telephoto lens and might be good for BIF.
 
Last edited:

RAH

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Yes, this might be significant, or it might be another pesky typo. What I mean is, @abhisheks77 said "I had this long back but sold it. I used it years back on Panasonic G5." If this was an earlier version of this lens, perhaps he really should revisit it, because the current version may be much better than the one he originally had. This is potentially good news, IMHO.
 

Shortsonfire79

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
201
Location
Bay Area, California
You have the 40-150/2.8. That's a very good lens. Compared to the 75-300mm you will not be happy from 75-150mm (let alone the rest). If you slap an MC20 on the 40-150/2.8 you'll have 80-300/5.6 which is still faster than a good chunk of the 75-300 (f/5.6+ from 150mm+). The 40-150/2.8+mc14 is pretty good and I think with the mc20 it's still probably better than the 75-300.

Overall, with the teleconverters you get more range, f/2.8 from 40-150mm, and f/5.6 from 150-300mm. MC20 is a fraction of the cost and size of the 100-400. If you think you absolutely need 300-400mm, I'd go with the teleconverter.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
47
Real Name
Guy
Do you have to walk a lot/far?
The farther you have to walk, the heavier the gear feels.

I use the 40-150/2.8 for places close to the car or where I can bring it in a cart. Weight is an issue for me.
I never got the 1.4x TC. In my mind, 1.4x isn't that much more magnification. I would go with a 2x TC.
The major advantage of the 40-150/2.8 is the speed. Without the TC, when the light level goes down, you can shoot at f/2.8, whereas both the 75-300 and 100-400 would have you at a smaller aperture. So, do you think you will shoot in low light?

I use the 75-300 for baseball/softball. I have to walk a lot, and I also need the reach of the 300 to shoot from the outfield fence to home plate.
From the weight PoV, I would go with the lighter 75-300 over the heavier 100-400.
At 300mm, the lightness of the lens works against it. A light lens is hard to hold steady. Weight adds stability.
The 75-300 does not have a tripod foot. If you want a tripod foot, you have to go with the 100-400.

If you want more reach, then the only option is the 100-400.

I would forget the 150-400 pro. My guess is that it will be well over $5,000, and some are guessing in the $10,000 area.

The 300/4 is a fast lens, compared to the 75-300 and 100-400.
Yes you have to deal with single focal length of the primve vs. zoom issue.
It is the traditional compromise, speed vs zoom.
The old saying applies, "in low light, fast glass wins."​
I shoot basketball and volleyball with f/1.8 primes, rather than a f/2.8 zoom.​

If you had trouble with the 70-300, I would guess that you will have trouble with both the 300/4, 100-400 and 150-400, simply from the high magnification. 300mm is 12x magnification, and 400mm is 16x magnification. High magnification shooting requires technique and discipline to shoot well.
The 300/4 and 150-400 pro, both have Sync-IS, so should be easier to shoot than the 100-400.

So, I would look in order at
  • 40-150/2.8 + MC20 (= 80-300) You already have the lens, so the only cost is the MC20.
  • 75-300 (if you don't like this lens, skip it)
  • 100-400
I personally feel selling the 40-150/2.8 to buy a longer zoom is not a good idea. You would go from your 12-40 to 100-400. That 40-100 gap is rather large. And neither the 75-300 nor 100-400 are fast lenses.
I went the 40-150/2.8 + MC20 and it is really sharp and really fast focus.
 

ac12

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
3,287
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
The 300/4 is $2,900 at B&H, so it is over your budget.
I am quite sure that the 150-400 pro will be more than the 300/4. Probably significantly more. So it too is over your budget.
Scratch these two lenses from your list.

Though you could find the 300/4 used, for less than $2,900. Maybe less than your budget.
 
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