Which Telephoto?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Surfyboy, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Surfyboy

    Surfyboy New to Mu-43

    Apr 23, 2012
    My wife recently determined that a large DSL was not on the cards due to the size (yes she is the boss) anyhow I convinced her of getting an E-P3 as I wanted a camera with inter-changable lenses.

    I enjoy surfing and wanted to start capturing family and friends on the above system. I know the system isn't the best for this type of photography but thought I'd give it a go anyway.

    I have been researching various options and wanted to know of anyones experience with the following setups and/or peoples opinions/recommendations.

    I was thinking of one of the following:
    m.zuiko 75-300
    zuiko 70-300 (with adapter)
    Oly 50-200 (with adapter)
    Panasonic Micro 4/3 100-300.

    I'd imagine the natives would have the fastest AF but are the 4/3 lenses that much slower?

    Also has anyone used the 50-200 on a E-P3? I only looked at this lens for its f2.8-3.5 how good would it perform in lower light conditions such as an overcast day or would one of the above lenses still yield acceptable results?

    Thanks for your help in advance.
  2. ripleys baby

    ripleys baby Straw clutcher

    Aug 10, 2011
    I think if i was choosing a camera based on using a long zoom i would be more inclined to go for a camera body with an evf, or will you be getting one for your Olympus. :smile:
  3. Surfyboy

    Surfyboy New to Mu-43

    Apr 23, 2012
    Sorry that was unclear, We have had the E-P3 for a few months now and it would be for this camera.

    Yes I was also going to get a VF
  4. fdifulco

    fdifulco Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Real Name:
    The 4/3 70-300 is very slow a auto focus on the ep3. The 50-200 is better but both suffer from hunt mode if you try auto focus
    I use manual focus on my 4/3 lens and on lens.

    They are both heavy on ep3.
    You may want to look at the weight charts on the 4/3 site
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Real Name:
    Yes, the 70-300 (even though it was optimized for CDAF via firmware update) was very very slow on the EP2 and even on the GH2.

    Haven't used the 75-300 or the 100-300. But I have the 45-200, which in my opinion, is vastly underrated lens. It does a great job wide open at 45mm. At the long end, it's somewhat soft wide open. But stop it down to f8 or so, and it does well, if you want the extra sharpness. So assuming you have decent lighting conditions, and don't need (or want) the extra 100mm, the 45-200 is worth taking a look at. And it's pretty cheap relative to the other lenses!
  6. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I have the 75-300; I love it for landscapes and travel, but I can't imagine trying to get it to work on a surfer. It's got a slow aperture and it's probably the slowest lens to focus that I own (well, maybe faster than the 20mm, but not by much). I think you'd be better served by one of the cheaper telephotos (or holding out for either of the telephotos rumored to be in the works - Panny's 35-100 2.8 or Oly's 75mm 1.8). Good luck, whatever you decide!
  7. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The Panny 100-300 has fairly good AF speed, in video mode, I can track flying birds.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You are correct, the natives do have the fastest AF by a long shot. How much slower 4/3 lenses are is really a subjective question (unless you want an answer in milliseconds, in which case you probably won't get one). It all depends on your own use and requirements for AF.

    I will say though, that most non-CDAF 4/3 lenses (like the Zuiko 50-200mm) will focus slow enough that it's faster to reach for the manual focus ring instead.

    You are correct though that a fast aperture is quite essential to good low-light photography. Whether or not the slow lens will yield acceptable results is again all up to you and your use. I'm a commercial photographer and almost everything I shoot must be of exceptional print quality. What I consider "acceptable" may not be the same as you. I usually require a lower ISO for the most detail in my images, and therefore require the fastest lenses when the light gets dim.

    I personally would never give up my Zuiko 50-200mm for a native 45-250mm, 75-300mm, or 100-300mm. There is simply no replacement for high resolution glass and wide apertures, and no blazing fast Autofocus will make up for that in my books.

    Another often overlooked fact is that a wider aperture lens will also give a clearer view on the LCD or viewfinder in low light. This is very important for both focus and composition in poorly lit environments.

    Of the lenses you're thinking of... Both the m.Zuiko 75-300mm and Lumix 100-300mm are excellent native lenses if you don't mind the "standard grade" slow aperture. They both have very fast AF.

    The Zuiko 70-300mm is actually a CDAF optimized lens and focuses on a m4/3 camera nearly as fast as on a 4/3 camera. I can't actually tell the difference. However, if you've spent enough time with this lens on 4/3 cameras, you'll know that this lens hunts and focuses slow for any body. It also won't give you any significant improvement in aperture speed but the heavier, more stable build of the lens will actually improve your hand-holding ability over the lighter native lens. The biggest advantage of this lens however is its close focus ability, which gives you 1:2 macro at 300mm with just over 3' working distance. That makes it a very useful tele-macro which can be used with any standard lighting and keeps your distance from critters that won't let you close to them.

    In most cases though the Zuiko 70-300mm would not be a better choice than the native lenses unless you plan on adapting other 4/3 lenses and want to keep a similar mount setup. The Zuiko lens is WAY cheaper than the m.Zuiko lens, so you will save a lot of money that way.

    The Zuiko 50-200mm on the other hand, is in a completely different class than all three other lenses you mentioned. It has amazing resolving power, relatively fast speed, and a wonderful build. It is the slowest to AF out of all your choices, but there are no alternatives in this class of lens (fast super-telephoto) which AF well on a m4/3 body. If this is the type of lens you need, then just buy it... don't let concerns over Autofocus stop you. We have always had a need for fast, high quality optics, but we got along just fine and took great photos long before Autofocus existed. Optics are simply more important than AF.


    Or... there's also another option you may not have thought of, which would be adapted legacy primes. They will not have any autofocus at all, but the best Four-Thirds lenses are better with manual focus than autofocus anyways. The selection of old primes will allow you to get some decent fast glass in a much smaller package than a 4/3 zoom, and with a much smaller investment than either 4/3 or m4/3. I would not go for a legacy zoom though, as zoom lenses were not of the same optical quality as primes until the digital era. If you want a high quality zoom lens, then Four-Thirds has some of the best there are (including the fastest zoom lenses in the world, such as the f/2 top-pro zooms).

    For example, you could pick up a Zuiko 200mm f/4 which will give you a very compact lens which is easy to haul around, and at 200mm it's only half a stop slower than the Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5, but many times smaller.

    Or you could pick up a 135mm f/2.8 and add a 1.4x teleconverter to get both a 135mm/2.8 and a 200mm/4:

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