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

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Ovidiu
I had the Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 ED Mark I and I loved it. I used it with Olympus MMF-3 when the weather was bad and the Panasonic DMW-A1 when the weather was nice (the reason I used 2 different adapters was the build quality, the Panasonic is better built, more solid metal feeling, it gave me more confidence for longer duration of the heavyweight of the Olympus lens, this lens is 1Kg after all and a lot of the weight is forward placed especially zoomed out, while the Olympus adapter feels more plasticky and weaker but not to the point of breaking anything ... like comparing the build quality of a kit lens to a premium lens ... optically and performance-wise they are identical since it's all just gold pins inside a tube).

I found the Olympus lens very sharp even wide open and I rarely stopped it down. Vignetting was ok most of the time (nothing that Lightroom wouldn't manage with +25 in the worst-case scenarios like the bright sky), Chromatic Aberrations are acceptable, fixable in Lightroom but it can have intense blue edges when shooting against the blue sky in complex scenes like tree branches. AF is good in decent light, great in the bright day and can occasionally falter in low light but that's with the old Olympus E-M1 Mark I, I am sure with Mark II there is a significant improvement. C-AF is not great and I would not recommend it because it can only use PDAF points and the spacing between the points is not as close with CDAF and PDAF working together. making it less reliable by the fact that it needs a good amount of light.

Unfortunately, there should be a word of advice: 98% of these lenses are far from brand new (SWD aka Mark II or Non SWD aka Mark I), if they fail there is not much chance of getting them repaired, the Mark I has the AF motor linked to the AF ring so manual focusing is focus by wire so if the AF motor dies you will have a glorified 1 Kg paperweight and while Mark II version has mechanical manual focus it will still eventually fail. I had my die on me after only a few months of usage and couldn't find a place to repair it and after some painful realization I bit the bullet and got the Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 because I wanted the versatility: the sharpness is as good if not better, the other aspects are slightly better while being only 660 grams and 2 cm shorter and 1 cm narrower in diameter and better balanced with Micro Four Thirds cameras ... though admittedly it is a huge price gap between 350 to 500£ for the Olympus lens and 800 (Used) to 1400£ (New) for the Panasonic.
Another issue with the old Four Thrids lenses is that they will slow down your faster drive modes because of the old aperture mechanism so you won't get the full 10 to 60 FPS (depending on your OM-D model) unless you shoot ONLY at the widest aperture.

PS. Can't commend on the Olympus or Panasonic TC 1.4x or 2x as I haven't owned them.
 

bbarnett51

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Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
665
I had the Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 ED Mark I and I loved it. I used it with Olympus MMF-3 when the weather was bad and the Panasonic DMW-A1 when the weather was nice (the reason I used 2 different adapters was the build quality, the Panasonic is better built, more solid metal feeling, it gave me more confidence for longer duration of the heavyweight of the Olympus lens, this lens is 1Kg after all and a lot of the weight is forward placed especially zoomed out, while the Olympus adapter feels more plasticky and weaker but not to the point of breaking anything ... like comparing the build quality of a kit lens to a premium lens ... optically and performance-wise they are identical since it's all just gold pins inside a tube).

I found the Olympus lens very sharp even wide open and I rarely stopped it down. Vignetting was ok most of the time (nothing that Lightroom wouldn't manage with +25 in the worst-case scenarios like the bright sky), Chromatic Aberrations are acceptable, fixable in Lightroom but it can have intense blue edges when shooting against the blue sky in complex scenes like tree branches. AF is good in decent light, great in the bright day and can occasionally falter in low light but that's with the old Olympus E-M1 Mark I, I am sure with Mark II there is a significant improvement. C-AF is not great and I would not recommend it because it can only use PDAF points and the spacing between the points is not as close with CDAF and PDAF working together. making it less reliable by the fact that it needs a good amount of light.

Unfortunately, there should be a word of advice: 98% of these lenses are far from brand new (SWD aka Mark II or Non SWD aka Mark I), if they fail there is not much chance of getting them repaired, the Mark I has the AF motor linked to the AF ring so manual focusing is focus by wire so if the AF motor dies you will have a glorified 1 Kg paperweight and while Mark II version has mechanical manual focus it will still eventually fail. I had my die on me after only a few months of usage and couldn't find a place to repair it and after some painful realization I bit the bullet and got the Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 because I wanted the versatility: the sharpness is as good if not better, the other aspects are slightly better while being only 660 grams and 2 cm shorter and 1 cm narrower in diameter and better balanced with Micro Four Thirds cameras ... though admittedly it is a huge price gap between 350 to 500£ for the Olympus lens and 800 (Used) to 1400£ (New) for the Panasonic.
Another issue with the old Four Thrids lenses is that they will slow down your faster drive modes because of the old aperture mechanism so you won't get the full 10 to 60 FPS (depending on your OM-D model) unless you shoot ONLY at the widest aperture.

PS. Can't commend on the Olympus or Panasonic TC 1.4x or 2x as I haven't owned them.
[/QUOTE

I agree with all the above. However the non SWD can be found for roughly $300 and sometimes cheaper. So it’s not a huge concern if it breaks.
I rented the 300f4 and it was amazing BUT doesn’t offer the flexibility I personally need. I simply prefer zooms for wildfire. So I ended up spending that money on strobes. The Leica 50-200 does look nice. I just typically stick with Oly
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
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Ovidiu
I agree as well as I have found a love interest in the Zuiko glass (as with Yashica) and would love to own all of them just for the beauty and the quality of them but I don't have space for most of it (at the moment) and I still haven't made a good collection of Micro Four Thirds lenses for my own usage (my main normal zoom is still the Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 Mark I). I'm hoping in the future I will have most if not all the Four Thirds lenses (and maybe some of the beautiful Olympus and Panasonic original cameras).
 

Phocal

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I use the Olympus mmf-3 and focus on the em1mkii is great. Again the only time it’s an issue is when it racks focus andbit will hunt. This happens on birds in flight more than anything else. It acquires focus relatively fast. I’m skeptical that the 40-150 2.8 with 2x is as sharp as the 50-200 with 1.4. If it is, then I might go that route.
I honestly think it probably will be. Lenstip gives the 50-200 a MTF of 42 while it gives the 40-150 a MTF of 68 and 48 (bare lens and MC-14). Maybe we will get lucky and they will test it with the MC-20. Would love if they tested the 50-200 with the EC-14/20 and I would love if they would test the xx-300 lenses.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Messages
339
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Real Name
Ovidiu
I honestly think it probably will be. Lenstip gives the 50-200 a MTF of 42 while it gives the 40-150 a MTF of 68 and 48 (bare lens and MC-14). Maybe we will get lucky and they will test it with the MC-20. Would love if they tested the 50-200 with the EC-14/20 and I would love if they would test the xx-300 lenses.
It should be taken in considerations the cameras that were used at that time for testing, The original review was done on a 10 MP Olympus E-3 and the Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 was done on a 12 MP Olympus E-PL1, while not much difference in raw resolution the lenses would be put on a higher demand on a 16 or 20 MP sensor, possibly more so with a teleconverter.
 

Phocal

Mu-43 Legend
Joined
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It should be taken in considerations the cameras that were used at that time for testing, The original review was done on a 10 MP Olympus E-3 and the Olympus 40-150mm f 2.8 was done on a 12 MP Olympus E-PL1, while not much difference in raw resolution the lenses would be put on a higher demand on a 16 or 20 MP sensor, possibly more so with a teleconverter.
which also makes for the likelihood of the 50-200 w/ EC-14 being better than the 40-150 w/ MC-20 less likely. I honestly think it would be close but I give the edge to the 40-150. But for the money you can't beat the 50-200 w/ both EC-14 & 20, seriously great setup on the cheap. You can probably get that with an EM1 and MMF-3 for under $1000. I do know that the 50-200 w/ EC-14 is better than the 75-300, field tested it myself.
 
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