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Telephoto and C-AF Alternatives

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by TwoWheels, May 20, 2016.

  1. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    I have a dilemma and thought I’d ask for some opinions. (Note: all $$ are Canadian)

    I want a good quality, relatively long telephoto that I can use on occasion for birds, wildlife, sporting events, air shows, etc. I also want good continuous autofocus to go along with it.

    I recently sold my Canon 7D to get down to one system. I used it extensively for taking photos of my daughter’s soccer team, but that need is gone. Now I find myself wishing I hadn’t sold it. It had great CAF and there are a number of decent quality lenses available for reasonable prices.

    I was hoping the P100-400 would be a solution (on my EM1) and provide me with reach even if the CAF on the EM1 isn’t at 7D levels. However, it’s priced at $2,500 Canadian. That means $2,800 out the door after taxes. That’s more than I’m willing to pay for a lens that won’t provide me with great CAF and is relatively slow.

    So what are my options?

    Option 1: For $2,500-$2,800, I could buy a Nikon 200-500 and a used D610 (which would also scratch a slight itch to try FF) or a D7XXX. Alternatively, I could buy another 7D and a Sigma 150-600 for even less. Either would give me the reach and CAF that I want. It also would give me a second system again and weight/bulk that I don’t really want, but it would give me a good setup to take out for specific events.

    Option 2: For under $600 I could get a P75-300. It would give me a small form factor and reach. From what I’ve read, I wouldn’t expect great sharpness at the long end or much in the way of CAF. It would be a good addition to my kit for outdoor activities and much easier to carry. I could probably use this option to buy some time until the CAF capabilities of the EM1ii are known.

    Option 3: For $800-1,000 I could get a 50-200 SWD with EC14. I know some people (Phocal comes to mind) have coaxed great shots out of that combination and that it’s a quality lens. I know some others haven’t been so successful with it.

    Option 4: The O40-150 f/2.8 with EC14 would be on the short side. It would probably cost me $1,800+ used and $2,500+ out the door new. It’s a lens I’d like to have, but it’s relatively expensive and not as long as some other options.

    I’m leaning toward Option 2 just because it defers spending a lot of money until a clear, compelling alternative comes along. Are there any options I’m missing or any thoughts about which is best?
     
  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    First let me get this out of the way. The CAF of the EM1 is equal to the 7Dmk1 (never had the 7Dmk2 so I cannot comment on its performance), where the EM1 falls behind is in tracking. People tend to get the two confused or lump them together, if you can keep the focus box on target the CAF of the EM1 is pretty damn good. That said......

    First idea - In my honest opinion the Panny 100-400 is a consumer grade lens and will seriously suffer from it's slow speed when you are trying to capture sports. It will force you higher and higher in ISO because you are trying to keep shutter speed high to freeze action, something µ4/3 is really not that great at. Oh, you can also add the EC-20 to the 50-200 and have basically the same lens (1/3 stop slower on the long end). There is a post with samples from this combo compared to the Panny and the 50-200 is just behind in IQ if any at all.

    Option 1 - you are back into two systems with either camera. Something to keep in mind with Nikon options (other then the 4/5D or 300/500D) is you will not get close to the frames per second as you will with the EM1. All the Nikon options are either much slower shooting or have small buffers and fill up really fast, so you are limited when trying to capture action. The 7D is a nice camera but seriously the Sigma? Like the Panny 100-400 it's a lot of money for what really is a consumer lens.

    Option 2 - do not do it, complete waste of $600. The lens has such slow focus and aperture mechanisms you will just be frustrated with the lens. I am not saying you can't get keepers with it (I know this thread will show a bunch of photos from users to show that I am wrong), but coming from shooting a 7D you will feel like you are in the dark ages.

    Options 3&4 - honestly both of these lenses are pretty much identical.
    IQ - They have nearly identical IQ, I would probably put the 50-200 on top by a very small amount.
    Focus Speed - The 40-150 may be a bit faster at getting initial focus but the difference is going to be small enough you will not be able to really perceive it.
    Reach - Keep in mind that the 50-200 has almost the same reach as the 40-150 with the TC (210mm) but the Pro lens will be at ƒ4.0 where the 50-200 will be ƒ2.8-3.5, add in the EC-14 and now you get4 even more reach.
    FPS - The 50-200 will only do about 7fps while the 40-150 will do 10fps, this honestly is the only area where the 40-150 is better but the cost for that little bit of improvement is something only the person using it can decide if it is worth it (but have to weigh it against the increased reach in my opinion).
    Something to think about - On thing to keep in mind is when using a 4/3 lens it is easy to see where the PDAF sensors are located, something you can't really see when using a µ4/3 lens. This can make it much easier to keep the subject under a PDAF focus point. With a µ4/3 lens you can easily move outside the PDAF area and not realize it because the VF is still showing you have focus because it has switched to the CDAF which are not as good as PDAF for CAF.

    I think the above is pretty fair view of the different options you listed. I honestly believe that the best deal in µ4/3 (if not any system) for reach and performance is the 50-200 SWD, if you are shooting an EM1. If you go with the 50-200 I highly recommend getting the SWD, that instance access to manual focus when using CAF is a life saver for getting back on target quickly.
     
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  3. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    A non SWD set is for sale right now in the Buy & Sale forum for $575 US.
     
  4. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    310
    Jan 15, 2014
    I don't know anything about the non-SWD, but agree that MF on the SWD is a huge aid and a joy to use.
     
  5. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    TwoWheels: I had already sold my Canon 7D and lenses when I had to make a decision similar to yours. I couldn't afford Option 4, because it would have cost me around $1,800 US to get the 40-150+MC-14. I took Option 3 and for less than $800 I got a used 50-200 SWD, EC-14, and MMF-3. That combo has proven itself to me. The only area where I've had problems was in trying to catch airplanes in flight. But, Phocal and others have been successful doing that using the same equipment, so 1) I know it's possible, and 2) I just have to learn and practice to get there. It takes skill and experience to get the best out of any equipment, and I'm still working on it.
     
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  6. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    Thanks for the input. I'm going to give the 50-200 SWD a try. @PakkyT@PakkyT--thank for the heads up on the one in the buy/sell forum. It is an SWD and I'm buying it.

    This is a challenge for me to believe based on my experience. I was using a 70-200 f/2.8 with my 7D and the CAF and focus speed was amazing. Having said that, I haven't really had a good telephoto to use with my EM1 so it really isn't fair for me to make any judgements. You're a better photographer than I am, so I'm going to take your word for it and give it a try. I know you've posted in the past about how to make best use of the EM1 and CAF so I'll do some reading on that while I'm waiting for it to arrive.
     
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  7. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Please be sure to post back once you have had time to play with the setup and let us know how you like (or don't like) it.
     
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  8. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    I have to disagree with Phocal calling the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm a consumer lens. I posted a comparison posted on this site if your interested in the details, and my final decision was to keep the Panasonic Leica prosumer/enthusiast lens, the same category I put the 50-200mm lens in.

    The positives of the Panasonic lens over the 50-200m with a tele-convertor comes down to size and weight (the Panasonic being about 1/4" smaller diameter, 2" shorter and 1 lb less weight) and the 50-200mm lens set up will also have some play between the camera, adapters, and lens. Additionally the 50-200mm is really only an option for those that use the E-M1.

    Yet the 50-200mm along with the option and pros/cons of using the tele-converters - makes a very cost-effective and versatile set-up.
     
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  9. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    A quick follow-up as promised, @Phocal@Phocal, @PakkyT@PakkyT, @Holoholo55@Holoholo55, @Gary5@Gary5 and @Clint@Clint. I purchased the 50-200 SWD, EC-14, and MMF-3 from @sesser@sesser. Tonight was the first chance I've had to give it a try with a quick hour of shooting at a local beach/lagoon. The conditions weren't great, I didn't see anything unique and I have spent a total of ten minutes editing. But I am going to post one picture (lightly edited) that summarizes what I learned about this combo. It's not a spectacular shot, but it's at 283mm, handheld, and this is approximately a 100% crop! I am really impressed with the sharpness. I didn't really have any great opportunities for catching something in flight, so I don't have any comments on the C-AF yet. But I'm very happy with what I've seen so far. Thanks for the input everyone.


    [​IMG]
     
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  10. sesser

    sesser Zen Master

    489
    Mar 10, 2015
    Portland, OR
    randy
    Glad you're enjoying it! I miss the reach already ;)
     
  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Seems like you are enjoying it. It really is great combo.