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

mumu

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Thought Process:

Getting the 2x converter is the cheapest option and keeps my bag light.
Technically correct although there is only a 75g difference between the 40-150 + 2x vs 100-400.

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 find the image quality, even at 400 @ f/6.3 to be great. I only wish Panasonic had a better reputation re repair costs / policies for the lens. Some people complain about the lens not fitting well or the zoom ring being too tight. Mine has been fine. The zoom ring is stiffer than my other zooms but it's not an issue for me. I love my 100-400 but I would recommend that you try it before buying.

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.
From what I've seen, it's not listed as a PRO series lens so I don't think it would be in the same league as the lenses you're currently looking at.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and insight - I'm sure (hoping) that others have gone through a similar thought process.
I wanted a travel lens to photograph wildlife (including small birds). I already had a 35-100/2.8. So for me, the 100-400 made the most sense. It's relatively close in size/weight to the 40-150/2.8 but has much longer reach. I'm forced to use a higher ISO, though. Also, the majority of my shots of animals in poor light are usually when they're perched on a branch so I rely on stabilization to let me bring my ISO down whenever possible. The lens isn't a slam dunk because it requires obvious compromised just like all of the lenses you're looking at; for me, its particular compromises were the easiest to live with.
 

comment23

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Thought Process:
Getting the 2x converter is the cheapest option and keeps my bag light.
Technically correct although there is only a 75g difference between the 40-150 + 2x vs 100-400.
True. Although if the OP wants to use the 40-150 ‘naked’ for other applications then adding the 2x TC is one less lens overall.
 
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Phocal

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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.
No it is not, I have never seen a zoom that is optically at it's best at the long end. Every one I have ever used, seen or saw a test of resolution has shown this to be true: LensTip's resolution test of the Panny 100-400


  • 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.
Yes, all of this can effect image quality but two different lenses being shot side by side at the same time will be equally effected. This is product of the environment, not the lens...………..being zoom or prime...……...consumer grade or professional grade (although professional lenses with higher resolving power will be effected differently).

Can you REALLY hold a 16x magnification lens steady enough to not have motion blur, even with IBIS?
Yes, easily and all the time...………………..

All images have very little or zero crop...……………...some I was very close which makes it harder because the closer the subject the more it is effected by movement of the lens.

Taken while drifting by in my kayak. I also have this image printed 40x30 on my wall and it looks amazing...…
39146617674_2fb5e8ab2f_k.jpg
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Tricolored Heron 006 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Taken while sitting next to the waters edge.
38165168942_249b5f1866_k.jpg
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What? by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Taken while drifting by in my kayak.
36868780143_880894bac2_k.jpg
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GBH 012 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Taken while standing in my kayak.
37593562501_3cad585153_k.jpg
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Green Heron 017 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

While only at 300mm and not 400mm, this image was taken handheld at a very low shutter speed. Made possible because of the dual IS.
42641855315_af3e70dcca_k.jpg
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Frog Legs by Phocal Art, on Flickr

The Panny 100-400 is softer at the long end...………………………………..not saying it doesn't produce good to great images. But it is softer at the long end, just the way it is.

my 2 copper pieces,

Phocal
 
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mrjoemorgan

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Great photos @Phocal - all with the 100-400mm handheld?

@mumu interesting difference in weight, thanks for pointing that out. Whilst the Olympus wont be pro, i wonder how it will compare with the Pany? Does Pany have a "pro" range? On their website, I cant even filter lenses for mount type which seems like a rather poorly thought through experience.
 
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I really haven't any scientific knowledge, but I know the effects of decent glass.
I have a Nikon Total Station (modern theodolite) that has ED lenses.
It is known for the clarity other makes don't have.
In low light it excels, hazy conditions are still highly affected but the ability to pierce the haze is amazing. That's not saying it's brilliant, but you appreciate the difference.

Re our camera lenses it's same. The quality of glass counts.

So yes, atmosphere has a big influence together with what we shoot across. Land, water, vegetation etc.
It's a learned or acquired experience that each of us have to work through.
Not easy.
 

mumu

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Great photos @Phocal - all with the 100-400mm handheld?

@mumu interesting difference in weight, thanks for pointing that out. Whilst the Olympus wont be pro, i wonder how it will compare with the Pany? Does Pany have a "pro" range? On their website, I cant even filter lenses for mount type which seems like a rather poorly thought through experience.
The lenses that include "Leica" in the branding are usually considered Panasonic's "pro" range although there are exceptions. For example, the Panasonic 12-35/2.8, 35-100/2.8 and 20/1.7 are considered to be very, very good lenses despite lacking the "Panasonic Leica" branding. The 100-400 is a Panasonic Leica lens.
 

mrjoemorgan

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From what I've seen, it's not listed as a PRO series lens so I don't think it would be in the same league as the lenses you're currently looking at.
Would that suggest the Panasonic will be a better quality lens then the Olympus then? Or too early to tell?

I’ve been in the UK for Xmas and out bird spotting, really makes me want to get some larger reach watching everyone with their Sigma 150-600 lens on a 7d body.
 

mumu

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Would that suggest the Panasonic will be a better quality lens then the Olympus then? Or too early to tell?

I’ve been in the UK for Xmas and out bird spotting, really makes me want to get some larger reach watching everyone with their Sigma 150-600 lens on a 7d body.
To me, that's what it suggests. But, of course, one never knows for sure, right?
 

ac12

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Would that suggest the Panasonic will be a better quality lens then the Olympus then? Or too early to tell?

I’ve been in the UK for Xmas and out bird spotting, really makes me want to get some larger reach watching everyone with their Sigma 150-600 lens on a 7d body.
Get the Olympus 500/8 mirror.
That should get their goat, 20x magnification in a "small" easy to carry lens.
But no autofocus, and I would not try to follow focus a flying bird.
 

Holoholo55

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Would that suggest the Panasonic will be a better quality lens then the Olympus then? Or too early to tell?

I’ve been in the UK for Xmas and out bird spotting, really makes me want to get some larger reach watching everyone with their Sigma 150-600 lens on a 7d body.
I think it's simply too early to tell how good the Olympus 100-400 will be. I think it's worth revisiting the issue when the lens is introduced and has been reviewed.
 
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I am in a similar situation, that is a bit even more complicated because it will be the decision that will make me buy either Panasonic G9 or Olympus E-M1 Mark II. I have the Olympus E-M1 Mark I with the Panasonic Leica 50-200mm (the only other lens I own is the old Olympus 14-54mm Mark I which I am looking to replace with the next camera as well) and I am looking at wildlife lens options because it's been something that has grown a lot on me.

I was looking to get this 2020 a high-end camera with a premium standard zoom, a premium telephoto lens, and a dedicated high-quality wildlife lens. There's a limit of size and weight I am willing to accept, which is to keep the camera and lens under 2 Kgs (closer to 1.5 Kgs if possible). The Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 sounds amazing and even if it was more expensive then I was willing to pay I would get it IF it wasn't too heavy or big. If it doesn't fit in my backpack I won't take it with me often enough to justify the price or the weight if carrying it with me (at least at this point in my life, maybe some year in the future then ... maybe).

I love my Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4, it's been so versatile that I very rarely take off. The only occasions I feel compromised is when I can't fill the frame enough (very small birds), can't get close enough (fences, private property, natural obstacles, danger, to a scared subject) and when there isn't light (I do find myself in evening and mornings opportunities to shoot wildlife (by the nature of my night shift job).
The other downside to my lens was its combination with Olympus E-M1 Mark I the autofocus can be very unreliable about 50% of the time, which can be very frustrating and why I want an upgrade of camera as well, I'm not sure if its the old age of the E-M1 Mark I PDAF or the Panasonic Leica lens wanting the DFD and 480 Refresh Rate of the latest Panasonic cameras or the challenging conditions (like low contrast or low light).

To that end I have been researching EVERYTHING I can find on the options of Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 with 2x TC, Olympus 300mm f 4, Panasonic Leica 200mm f 2.8, Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f 4-6.3 and the Panasonic 1.4x TC.
In terms of light, I just made this graph (I do a lot of spreadsheets when I am comparing specs and size as it helps me visualize a lot easier the choices) to help with the current PREMIUM options available at the moment:
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And, I'm not sure if it's of any help to you but. I made an Excel Spreadsheet with some comparative specs from Olympus and Panasonic (you will find other stuff that might not be relevant to your discussion but it was in my research), there's not IQ comparison at all because for me all of the premium lenses are amazing enough to not care if one is 5 to 10% sharper over the other, they are all beyond my non-professional level of skill to justify either the price or the brag difference.

1577934483387.png
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Not sure if its helpful for you (in terms of interest in these specific items) because the price is also local to the UK as well. But I hope it does (it doesn't help me making a decision faster :p )

Oh and I forgot to add ... I can add a visual comparison aid for the telephoto lens to give you SOME sense of size as well (with their brand cameras attached), (Fujifilm is in the comparison as well because I was tempted for a while by the X-T3 but the camera's grip is basically useless for any telephoto lens past 200mm and their lack of IBIS for everything else):
Olympus - Panasonic - Fufjifilm Comparison Size.jpg
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PS#2 ( :) ) Fujifilm seems to be really crushing it with the prime lenses in terms of size and image quality, even price all things considering the Pro Olympus lenses:
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ac12

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You can fill in for the Olympus 150-400/4.5. The objective lens diameter will be at least 89mm (400/4.5). I would guess a front filter size of 100mm+, and a lens diameter about 4-3/4 to 5 inches. That gives you some idea of the diameter of the lens . . . BIG. Length, maybe similar to the PL 100-400.
 
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You can fill in for the Olympus 150-400/4.5. The objective lens diameter will be at least 89mm (400/4.5). I would guess a front filter size of 100mm+, and a lens diameter about 4-3/4 to 5 inches. That gives you some idea of the diameter of the lens . . . BIG. Length, maybe similar to the PL 100-400.
Actually bigger:
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The Olympus 150-400mm f 4.5 will be akin to the telephoto you see on Full Frame lenses. Lengthwise it looks about double the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f 4-6.3, so it should be around 34 cm long. Weight wise I can't even guess but it's definitely more than 2 Kgs since both Olympus 400mm f 4 and Pansonic Leica 200mm f 2.8 are 1.2-1.3 Kgs already. As for the price ... well if you look at the cost of Olympus 300mm f 4 Pro and Panasonic Leica 200mm f 2.8 that is right now (and both lenses are having some age now so you can still find enough discounts and offers for them) I wouldn't be surprised to see it easily double of those, so maybe in the 4000£/5000$ range.

For me, this lens doesn't fit in my backpack and most likely needs a specialized/dedicated photography backpack (compared to a more everyday backpack). The weight will definitely be felt on the shoulders if you plan on trekking/hiking for a long period of time (especially if you have a 2 body setup). And for price, it would take me about 3-4 years to finish paying for one if I get the usual monthly payments.

But take this with plenty of saults since we don't have enough information on this. Maybe more will come from CES next week, at least some of us hope.
 

mrjoemorgan

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Wow @L0n3Gr3yW0lf - thanks for sharing, great research!

Didn't even think about the Panasonic 200mm with 2x converter. High price take though.

Whilst the Olympus 150-400/4.5 look incredible - its price size and weight are too big for me. I moved to m43 to get away from my 300 + 500m canon L lenses.
 
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Wow @L0n3Gr3yW0lf - thanks for sharing, great research!

Didn't even think about the Panasonic 200mm with 2x converter. High price take though.

Whilst the Olympus 150-400/4.5 look incredible - its price size and weight are too big for me. I moved to m43 to get away from my 300 + 500m canon L lenses.
I never experienced DSLR size and weight beyond my first ever dedicated camera 10 years ago, Pentax K200D with the 18-55mm f 3.5-5.6 WR lens (still love that camera and still want to buy it back at some point, for nostalgia but also for Doomsday camera since it functions on 4xAA batteries :p ), so I can't comment on giant telephoto lenses but I agree.

I came to M4/3 since Panasonic G1 for the size and weight advantage and for the EVF. I would more likely get the Panasonic Leica 200mm f 2.8 or Olympus 300mm f 4 Pro lenses. But I am sure both Panasonic and Olympus are not done with the telephoto lenses just yet. I am sure that, at some point, Olympus will bring back 150mm f 2 in an even more amazing form and feat of size. And I get the feeling that Panasonic will try to outdo Olympus, maybe a Panasonic Leica 300mm f 2 or 400mm f 4/5.6.

Either way, I am coming to the slow realization that rather than just wait for things to happen in the future I might just well get what's available now and use it until such need is no longer fulfilled, no point in not making pictures when I can. Sometimes the best way is to think how well it fits into your backpack/bag. your usage/interests and your life/plans/routines.

PS: Panasonic Leica 200mm f 2.8 already comes with 1.4x TC in the box so you get basically 400mm f 2.8 and 560mm f 4 for that price so I don't think it's expensive for what it offers. The price of 2x TC is quite high but you can look for sellers with buyer's remorse and get it cheaper off them.
The second idea is if you look at the aperture range of Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f 4-6.3 its almost identical with Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 with 1.4x TC so that lens feels a lot less slower then I initially thought since you get 300mm f 5.7 which is what you would get with Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 with 2x TC and I doubt that the Olympus lens can be THAT good that 2x TC would be sharper then a native focal length.
 

Holoholo55

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The second idea is if you look at the aperture range of Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f 4-6.3 its almost identical with Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 with 1.4x TC so that lens feels a lot less slower then I initially thought since you get 300mm f 5.7 which is what you would get with Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 with 2x TC and I doubt that the Olympus lens can be THAT good that 2x TC would be sharper then a native focal length.
Someone else mentioned that he thought the PL 100-400 was sharper at 300 than the Oly 40-150+MC-20 at 300. As you say, the aperture wouldn't be that much different and the "naked" lens would probably be better than a lens+TC.
 

Phocal

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Someone else mentioned that he thought the PL 100-400 was sharper at 300 than the Oly 40-150+MC-20 at 300. As you say, the aperture wouldn't be that much different and the "naked" lens would probably be better than a lens+TC.
Unfortunately Lenstip has not tested the 40-150 with the MC-20, but they have with the MC-14. They gave the 100-400 @ 300mm a MTF50 of 50 and 40-150 (with MC-14) right around 48. I would image that it would drop more with the MC-20. So I would also agree that the 100-400 is sharper at 300mm than the 40-150. But with the MC-14 or the bare 40-150 you would have sharper images with the 40-150. Plus, if shooting a Panasonic camera you get dual IS...………………….which is actually more useful than I really thought I would find it.
 

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