Zoom Lens - Oly 40-150 vs Oly 300mm PRO vs Oly 100-400mm

mrjoemorgan

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Hi all,

So after upgrading my EM5.2 for a EM1.2 my next purchase will be getting more focal length with my glass.

The longest I currently has is the 40-150 PRO w/ 1.4x convertor. Giving me 420mm (35mm equiv)

When it comes to wildlife photography, I am finding I need a little more reach. 420mm on the EM5.2 meant I had to fill about 50% of the frame to get the IQ I really wanted.

Options:

I could go with the 2x converter and get 600mm with the 40-150mm - this would be the cheapest option, and give me f5.6 across the board

I could go with the 300mm PRO w/ the 1.4x converter which would give me 840mm and f7.1 across the board (I think?)

Or I could go with the 100-400mm Panasonic, which would give me 200-800mm from 4 to 6.3.


Thought Process:

Getting the 2x converter is the cheapest option and keeps my bag light. However, it "only" gives me an extra 180mm whilst keeping the aperture the lowest at the high end

The 300mm PRO is the most expensive by a long way. And whilst it gives me the longest range, f7.1 would only really work in good lighting conditions. (I found with my EM5.2 I couldn't really push the ISO past 1000 and be happy with the IQ, hopefully this changes with the EM1.2)

The 100-400mm is very well priced on the 2nd hand market. I do worry about the IQ of this lens but people seem to really like it. I wonder how this lens at 300mm compares with the 40-150 paired with the MC-20?

Wild Card

So Olympus are coming out with a 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO. This super-telephoto zoom features a built-in 1.25x teleconverter and covers a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 300mm to 1,000mm.

There is also a 100-400 coming out from Olympus. Be interesting to see what the prices are of these lenses and how they compare to Panasonic.

///

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and insight - I'm sure (hoping) that others have gone through a similar thought process.

Cheers

Joe
 

Sniksekk

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the 150-400 tc1.25 is pro will be bonkers expensive. You might afford it, but it will make the em-1x look cheap.
100-400 should cost about the same as the Pana Leica 100-400.
That would be a better buy, unless you have a bottomless wallet.
 

mrjoemorgan

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the 150-400 tc1.25 is pro will be bonkers expensive. You might afford it, but it will make the em-1x look cheap.
100-400 should cost about the same as the Pana Leica 100-400.
That would be a better buy, unless you have a bottomless wallet.
I just saw the photo of the 150-400. It screams $$$$ (and will probably double the weight of my camera bag)

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comment23

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Some clarifications on the TC options:

40-150mm f/2.8
  • with 1.4 TC = 56-210mm (112-420mm in old money) f/4.0
  • with 2.0 TC = 80-300mm (160-600mm in old money) f/5.6

300mm f/4
  • with 1.4 TC = 420mm (840mm in old money) f/5.6
  • with 2.0 TC = 600mm (1200mm in old money) f/8.0

I would (and did) go with the 2.0 TC on your current lens.
 
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Getting the olympus mc-20 would be the cheapest option to go with your 40-150mm.

Also wanted to mention the 300mm pro with 1.4x is actually F5.6. You'll get 420mm (m43 focal length) but this lens is expensive. Go this route if you can afford it otherwise if you need 400mm (m43 focal length) get the panasonic 100-400mm which is more affordable.
 
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I considered the 300 so took my 75-300 for a purposeful trial re zoom to see what the consequences of a fixed 300 was.
I found I needed to back off in many instances and would feel cramped or compromised by a fixed 300
Obviously for things more than ±30 metres then that's not such an issue.
I went panasonic 100-400mm and am happy, not wrapped, but happy and getting happier.
At 400mm it can be very ordinary. I've taken to keeping 350 or below, but still use 400.
Some, occasionally, 400 gives excellent results.
LIGHT. it loves LIGHT.

If asked would I recommend 100-400mm I'd say yes, with caveats, but yes.
The 40-150 with 1.4 is an awesome lens and I'd unhesitatingly recommend it.
I wasn't convinced the 2.0 would give me the extra reach I was after but I'd like to try one.

Panasonic 100-400mm isn't anyway as smooth to zoom, focus as the 40-150 2.8.
Chalk and cheese.
Panasonic is well made but Olympus feels far more of quality in your hands.
 

Holoholo55

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The 100-400mm is very well priced on the 2nd hand market. I do worry about the IQ of this lens but people seem to really like it. I wonder how this lens at 300mm compares with the 40-150 paired with the MC-20?
I don't have the PL 100-400 to compare with my 40-150 Pro+MC-20, but I read elsewhere in another forum where someone opined that the PL 100-400 had slightly better IQ than the 40-150+MC-20. However, the 40-150 Pro without TC was better than the PL 100-400. Which was better at what focal length, I don't know. I also heard it said that the PL 100-400 is a little soft at 400. Perhaps you can find the other thread or someone else can chime in. Generally speaking, you'll probably get better IQ with a quality zoom without a TC vs a quality zoom with a TC, but the differences may be small. In either case, you'd get better IQ with a pro-quality zoom vs a consumer grade zoom.

Ah, here's that thread. https://www.mu-43.com/threads/pany-100-400-vs-oly-mc20-with-40-150.105987/post-1329501

BTW, Thomas Stirr has done a lot of shooting with the 40-150 Pro+MC-20 combo, so if you want to see samples, his site is worth a visit.
http://smallsensorphotography.com/

I'm also curious about the consumer grade Olympus 100-400, but will wait and see.
 
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robcee

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I’m kind of in the same boat. I’ve been eyeing the MC-20 recently and it looks like a no-brainer to go with my 40-150mm. Thomas Stirr’s blog as @Holoholo55 mentioned really shows that combo to good effect.

I’d love to grab the 300mm, but money. I’m going out on a limb and thinking the 150-400 is going to be out of my league, not to mention seriously heavy. Edit: check out some of @Phocal’s amazing swamp (and wild) life photos for 300mm inspiration.

If the 100-400 is priced somewhat reasonably, that’s probably where I’ll go for reach. I don’t think Olympus has revealed whether or not it will take a teleconverter yet.

For still cheaper options, Panasonic makes a 100-300mm variable aperture lens that gives reach and turns out some decent images. The second version of it is supposed to be better. I have the original and it’s my cheap, light wildlife and long telephoto option for now.

Let us know what you end up with!
 
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mrjoemorgan

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Thank you @comment23 - thought my Math might be slightly off

@Tool Crazy - I'm not sure, but I just feel like $450 for a 2x converter is crazy money. But then its half the price of a 100-400 so maybe not?

@Holoholo55 thank you for sharing. That thread is very interesting. Makes me go back and forth on the MC20 v 100-400!

@robcee I think I might have to wait for the 100-400 Oly to be released. It will drive the Pany down, or might make me want to get the Oly.

Im also going to try and borrow these lenses in the New Year, no better way to make a decision then to try them out and see what suits my needs.
 

Holoholo55

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@Tool Crazy - I'm not sure, but I just feel like $450 for a 2x converter is crazy money. But then its half the price of a 100-400 so maybe not?
Actually, there are ways to get it for much less than that. I got it a couple of months ago refurbed on Getolympus for $363. Then on Cyber Monday, it was available refurbed for 20% off, so it was only $290. My friend picked it up when I clued him in. Good things come to those who wait and pounce! :)
 
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@Tool Crazy - I'm not sure, but I just feel like $450 for a 2x converter is crazy money. But then its half the price of a 100-400 so maybe not?
Maybe so but it is your cheapest option at the moment to get 300mm. The next cheapest option is to get the panasonic 100-300mm which is priced at $550. I have this lens but it's not a very sharp lens so it doesn't get much use unless I absolutely need more than 210mm which is what I can get with my 40-150mm pro with 1.4tc.
 

mrjoemorgan

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Actually, there are ways to get it for much less than that. I got it a couple of months ago refurbed on Getolympus for $363. Then on Cyber Monday, it was available refurbed for 20% off, so it was only $290. My friend picked it up when I clued him in. Good things come to those who wait and pounce! :)
Wow, that's a great deal!
 

mrjoemorgan

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Maybe so but it is your cheapest option at the moment to get 300mm. The next cheapest option is to get the panasonic 100-300mm which is priced at $550. I have this lens but it's not a very sharp lens so it doesn't get much use unless I absolutely need more than 210mm which is what I can get with my 40-150mm pro with 1.4tc.
Very true. It's just double the price of the Canon 2x converters I used to use.

Going to be patient and wait for a good deal to show its face.
 

AndyT

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I bought the 300mm and 1.4 TC specifically for wildlife photography.
Down our end of the planet the vegetation of "countryside" can be pretty thin so the animals keep their distance and the birds always choose the highest trees.

My first trip with the combo was a huge success, the dual I.S. is a massive bonus - all of my shots were unsupported out of my vehicle drivers seat - you can't get out of the vehicle without becoming part of the food chain.

I will someday get the 40-150 too, the results that I have seen here are too good to not get one - maybe on my EM1 mk III :biggrin:
 

retiredfromlife

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I too am waiting to see the Oly 100-400. If it is as good as the Panasonic 100-400 it will probably be mine.
The 150-400 luckily for me starts out too long for I would use it for. Sort of makes me happy since I think I could never afford it anyway.
 
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I just bought the 300mm and MC-20. Tried it this weekend. Weather was so bad, I was up at 6400 F8 and 1/100. I know ss is too slow even when on a tripod .. it wsa too windy as well. Looking forward to trying it out but think I will use 300mm on its own and very seldom use the TC.
 

D7k1

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I have used the PL100-400 since it first came out. If I don't use good technique or shoot at dusk or get tired and really shaky then yes it can produce soft image. Here is a handheld (data should show on the image) which shows what the lens can do when properly used . If you are not getting this level of sharpness its is pilot error not equipment failure:
Snozz2.jpg
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I have used the PL100-400 since it first came out. If I don't use good technique or shoot at dusk or get tired and really shaky then yes it can produce soft image. Here is a handheld (data should show on the image) which shows what the lens can do when properly used . If you are not getting this level of sharpness its is pilot error not equipment failure
I agree. That's an awesome photo. Odd looking bird, not the most handsome.
I believe there's also a distance limit that is obviously affected by atmospherics but it's really about experimenting and learning it's character. That's where I'm at right now.

It was similar with the 75-300 when I started. I nearly ditched it then decided to get serious and things changed. Same lense, different results.
The 40-150 2.8 also can give mediocre to awesome.
 

ac12

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I wonder if some of the complaints about the 100-400 being soft on the long end is due to environment and pilot error.
  • There is a lot of "stuff" in the air; dust, pollen, smog, moisture, salt spray, smoke, etc.
    • And the longer the shooting distance, the more "stuff" in the air between you and the subject.
    • Trying to take a pic through a lot of "stuff" in the air is like looking through a dirty pair of glasses.
  • Light pollution. Light reflecting off the "stuff" in the air.
  • Thermal effect in the air distorts the image, and is more visible with higher magnification.
  • Can you REALLY hold a 16x magnification lens steady enough to not have motion blur, even with IBIS?
 

D7k1

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My shot was taken at about 90 feet in fairly low humidity. Shoot over a river or lake or ocean, in the wind or high humidity and you have to get closer. @400mm you are basically shooting through a telescope and every little thing impacts image quality IMHO.

My friend and I were talking about panning and IS/bis/dual is/is of the gods today and we were not sure of the impact of the various IS setting. One thing we agree on is using tripod legs and heads rate dat about 4x the weight of your equipment SEEMS to give better images.
 
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