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Zuiko ED 70-300mm 4/3 review, questions

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by silver92b, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    So, I returned the Zuiko Digital 75-300 M43 lens I had just bought and decided to try a Zuiko ED 70-300 f4-5.6 4/3 since I could get a very nice unit for only $260 and I already had the 4/3 to M43 adapter *and* a 4/3 TC 14... I figured, what could go wrong?

    Well, there are issues, and I don't understand what exactly might be the cause. I tried some hand held shots in daylight and the AF was nothing short of brilliant! very fast and very accurate with my EM-1. In the EVF, the images looked sharp and clear too. However, the files came out way too soft, probably blurred!?! I tried more shots using a tripod, but the results were not good (I did not use shutter delay).

    Later tonight I tried to shot the moon. The focusing was a nightmare. Reminded me of my tribulations with the Pany 100-300... And the shot with the TC was terrible, tripod, 12 second delay and all. Without the TC it was better but not as good as the 75-300 I returned. So I set up a little test and took some carefully controlled shots inside with the tripod, careful focusing and 12 second shutter delay. The results are mush better... Of course, the last shots were taken at 98mm and 158mm and not at full zoom. These are also taken at ISO 3200...... What do you think? BTW, no WB correction of PP (except very minor straightening on the last 2 shots.

    Here is the moon shot at 300mm without the TC 14 (sharpness added, cropped and B&W in LR)
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    Here is the 98mm shot and a crop
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    These are taken at 158mm
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  2. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I bought this lens back in 2008. I call it a low cost consumer zoom, about like the 40-150 f4-6.3, although I paid $229 USD. For me, it fills the need for an occasional long lens. I think it should be used with some kind of cradle mount, It hangs too much in front of the camera on a tripod, and can shake, at least on my tripods.

    None of these have amazing sharpness, but they work for me.

    Here I rested the lens on the seat of my bicycle. 300mm 1/640, f8, ISO 320 EM5. Cropped a bit.
    egret.

    Hand Held this one, Jimmy Sohns here was with the Shadows of Knight when they Gloria to a top 20 hit back in 1965, Siill performing it here.
    169mm 1/200 f4.7 ISO1250 EPL1 SLight crop.
    jimmy.

    Lens resting in my lap, This was PP'ed a lot, Cropped too. 263mm 1/160 f5.6 ISO 250 EM5
    violins.

    Hand held, for sure. PP for color. 141mm 1/500 f ISO1600 EM5, Uncropped.
    [​IMG]

    Tripod. PP for color. 215mm 1/80 f8.2 ISO 640 EPL1 Uncropped.
    duck.

    Hand Held. 300mm 1/320 f5.6 ISO 640 EM5 Uncropped.
    bass.

    Tripod and cropped. Yes, it was hard to focus on EM5. The moon is a white overexposed disk and then sudeenly snaps in with manual focus.
    300mm 1/200 f5.6 ISO 320 EM5
    moon.
     
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  3. JanW

    JanW Mu-43 Regular

    This is my first post on this forum after lurking for more than a year.

    I can confirm your findings from what I noticed in the years I had the 4/3 70-300. It seems to me that the IQ is related to the focus distance.
    Close up IQ is fine, but when the subject is further away the image becomes soft at longer focal lengths. I suppose I bought it for the longer focal lengths....
    My example also had some ghosting problems at 300mm.

    I just sold it and bought a Panasonic 45-150. Eventually I will buy another 300mm but I don't know what to do; a manual focus 300mm/f4 or a panasonic 100-300 (OIS for my GF6 body).

    Jan
     
  4. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    The lens is definitely not a high grade item. I keep looking for a decent long lens for BIF, etc. I've tried the P100-300, the Zuiko 50-200, the Zuiko 70-300 and the humble Zuiko 40-150. The 75-300 that I just sent back gave me some very nice images. Amazingly enough, the little cheap 40-150 does a pretty good job although it's not long enough for my purposes. I had pre-ordered the 40-150 f2.8 Pro along with the new TC1.4, but got tired of waiting and cancelled the orders. Anyway, good as it might be, I wanted something closer to 300mm...

    I guess I'll have to keep searching..........
     
  5. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I own the Zuiko Digital 70-300mm lens which I paid $120 in very good condition used. Best $120 ever spent. I find this lens pretty sharp from 70-200mm and a bit soft from about 250mm to 300mm. One of the things you need to aware about extreme telephoto range is that, you are more susceptible to camera movement than you are shooting at shorter focal lengths. For example, at 300mm, you have an equivalent FOV of a 600mm lens in 35mm full frame format. Using the 1/FL as a guide for recommended shutter speed, you should be shooting at least 1/1000 sec shutter speed. At this shutter speed, you should be disabling the 5 axis IBIS as I found that past 1/500 sec, IBIS will induce a ghosting double image because the IBIS system is NOT fast enough to compensate movement after 1/500 sec. This issue is also with my Nikon VR system as well and has been well documented by Ming Thien as well. So basically when I shoot past 150mm with this 70-300, I will use a good monopod to assist in the stability department. I usually use a monopod and very high shutter speeds when I shoot @ 300mm in daylight or a beefy tripod at night. However, this is not a pro lens and so at 300mm, it's about in par with the Nikkor 70-300VR full frame lens which is also pretty soft @ 300mm.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    You have $4000 to $5000, you can own a fine high grade 90-250mm f/2.8 lens in 4/3 mount. By the way, that's pretty cheap compared to a Nikon equivalent 400mm f/2.8 FL VR (Flouride) @ $10,000
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Yes, it's only a question of money :wink: However, if I will spend north of $4K, at this point I'd be sorely tempted to abandon M43 for FF (think Leica M). I could sell some of my gear to buy one Leica lens and use the Voigtlander glass I have already :biggrin: Just out of curiosity, what lens do you speak of?
     
  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    He's talking about the Olympus 4/3 ZD 90-250mm.

    Barry
     
  9. David

    David Mu-43 Veteran

    303
    Jun 22, 2011
    Sydney
    I am wondering did you turn of the image stablisation when it is on a tripod.?
    otherwise it may be blurred.
     
  10. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Thank you very much for the tips. I did suspect very much that part, if not most of the problems could be due to camera shake. I did not know that the IBIS could work against me like that. I will try again with better physical stabilization and turn off the IBIS.
    BTW, what's the best (easiest) way to turn off the IBIS?
     
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    I have one of these lenses and I'm still learning how to get sharp photos out of it.
    It seems a bit random.
    Shake and just not-very-shrpness keeps cropping up at longer distances, and then sometimes it'll take a good sharp photo.
    I need more time with this one.
    (Got it very cheap, so no real loss)
    In good light the surprising (twist!) macro function gives me nice images.
     
  12. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    A lot of people believe IBIS is a messiah of all their photographic ailments. But it is really not. IBIS works for you when you know exactly your base shutter speed when shooting at extreme focal lengths. For example, do you really know how fast of a shutter speed can you handhold @300mm to be considered sharp? Don't use 1/FL (which is 1/FLx2 for m43) as the defacto rule. This is a common mistake most people make assuming that everyone can shoot 1/FLx2. It depends on skills.. Also, there is a common mistake most people make assuming that with IBIS or with the skills of a Navy Seals Sniper (read Lensrental article about shooting with long telephotos for advise) that sharpness in terms of resolving power will be almost half of that in line pairs of that of a photograph taken with a solid beefy tripod which eliminates all movement. If you are NOT getting consistent sharp pictures with this 70-300mm, then there is a major flaw in your photographic shooting workflow in regards to long tele. I shoot long tele for a living and know they are not easy to get sharp photos if you have inadequate skills and IBIS and VR can only take you so far. So for myself, I turn off IBIS via myset. I setup one of the myset custom menu to Sports (myset 2 is for me) with IBIS off. With IBIS off, I can attain a 9FPS burst and I use that effectively with both my 35-100 Lumix Pro and this 70-300 using my Velbon monopod. I also know my safe shutter speeds that I can attain sharp photos at long focal length @ 200 and @300. I prefer @200 with this 70-300 because it is just as sharp or sharper than 40-150 @ 150. Besides, it's also about 1/2 stop faster than my M.Zuiko 40-150 @ 150. What's not to like? The burst helps attain more keepers in expense of more memory space of course. By the way, the close focus macro on the 70-300 is nothing more than fantastic IF you master your issues with stability. The 70-300 is my go to lens more so than the 40-150 M.Zuiko. But the thing is larger and heavier than my 40-150!
     
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  13. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Good info Biker, I shall experiment with shutterspeeds and check out the 200mm to 300mm range to find the sweet spots for me.
     
  14. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Using burst mode will help you attain more sharp keepers with this lens because what I found is that, the common problem even with me if once I press the shutter release, there is a downward motion which moves the camera down and lens tilting slightly upward on the first shot and then once it stabilizes it's good. This is a substantially large lens when mounted on my E-P5. Also the JB Camera Designs wood grip I have on my E-P5 helps stabilizes the lens even more while gripping and resisting this downward motion allowing me even more keepers! I have no problems getting keepers with my E-1 on the same lens. If you master using this lens, it's a great deal if you don't mind the slow focus. Why is why I really love this lens!
     
  15. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Excellent advise bikerhiker, I'll definitely take it into account! Like I said, I already suspected my technique and/or equipment to be faulty for stability. I also just removed the cheap UV filter that was on the lens.
    My concern with this lens is fueled by the difference between what I achieved with the 75-300 *and* the 40-150 (which I like a lot!). Now I can try to minimize the effects of blurring and see what results I get. Thanks!
     
  16. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    OK, tried a coupe of more shots. I could not try the IBIS disabling for fast shutter speeds as there was not enough light for short exposures. However, I did try some *macro* shots indoors with room lights an appropriately long exposures with a tripod and delayed shutter speeds. The results are actually quite nice!

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