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Author Topic: informal testing Olympus 140-600mm (70-300) lens  (Read 5457 times)
robertwatcher
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« on: July 11, 2008, 07:21:05 PM »
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I had a lifestyle family shoot on Monday and wanted to get much more familiar with my new Olympus long reach lens so a few days before, I make to it with me to a local beach where my wife and I walk the boardwalk - - - I require this lens for the portraits  to extend the reach of my standard 12-60mm lens for compressed perspective and shallow DOF shots.

I have to admit that after playing with the 140-600 (that is what Olympus has labeled it) when I purchased it, I found it to be a bit a of a challenge getting shots that were sharp enough - mostly all a result of motion. I think that it is a case of a lens that has a focal length to die for - that is simply too long for using with a hand held freewheeling shooting style. At least without a lot of practice and some discretion in the focal length used, shutter speed, and maybe even subject matter. That said, any long 300mm to 600mm lens would be a challenge in this regard.

A trip to our nearby beach produced some hits and some misses for me to evaluate. I used the 70-300mm lens on my E-510 where my standard settings are "Natural > Contrast -1 > Sharpen -2 > Saturation 0" : Noise FIlter - Low : IS set to on : WB set to Auto or Shade on some for a warm glow that I wanted.

1) 300mm (600mm) setting : 400 ISO : f8 @ 1/400'th



2) 158mm (316mm) setting : 400 ISO : f4.6 @ 1/500'th



3) Anne took this shot of me sitting on a bench for a skin tone reference and background blurring at shorter focal lengths
78mm (156mm) setting : 400 ISO : f4 @ 1/1250'th

« Last Edit: July 11, 2008, 07:23:04 PM by robertwatcher » Logged
robertwatcher
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2008, 07:23:42 PM »
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4) 300mm (600mm) setting : 400 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/1000'th



5) 125mm (250mm) setting : 800 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/500'th



6) I tried some tracking of birds with continuous AF as they flew overhead - with varying success (I'm not an animal photographer for sure)
81mm (162mm) setting : 800 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/2000'th

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robertwatcher
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2008, 07:24:04 PM »
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7) 277mm (554mm) setting : 400 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/800'th



Cool 300mm (600mm) setting : 800 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/4000'th



9) 300mm (600mm) setting : 800 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/640'th

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robertwatcher
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2008, 07:24:27 PM »
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10)I took this shot across the water at the minimum focal length of 70mm and the maximium focal length of 300mm (both shots are uncropped showing the tremendous reach of this lens)

70mm (140mm) setting : 400 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/1000'th



300mm (600mm) setting : 400 ISO : f5.6 @ 1/1250'th



11) A shot my wife took while leaving - she likes the light blue and rust colors
120mm (280mm) setting : 800 ISO : f4.5 @ 1/250'th

« Last Edit: July 13, 2008, 05:12:13 PM by robertwatcher » Logged
Er1kksen
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2008, 09:54:19 AM »
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Some nice ones in that set of test shots, I've got to say. I've got a 70-300 in my cart at amazon (with a new CF card and some spare batteries) that should be coming to me in the next week or so, in time for canoe trip in a couple weeks.

#4 really shows the close-focus abilities well, and I really like the lighting of #6.
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2008, 11:39:37 AM »
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I hope that you enjoy your lens when it comes in. I have purchased it for a specific purpose of taking with me on trips to Costa Rica and elsewhere - because it is long and relatively small and lightweight. It is kind of a replacement to my Nikon 18-200 that has been a personal favorite since purchasing it when it was introduced and which I used primarily for its long end while in Costa Rica a few months ago (http://asifweknow.com).

I knew before purchasing though, that shooting even at 300mm (35mm equiv), it is a challenge for me to get steady shots without movement - - - and that it may be almost impossible for me to get consistently tack sharp images using 450mm or 600mm equivalents. I also knew that this lens would provide lower contrast images than say a fixed focal lenth 50mm macro, $1200 50-200mm or very expensive Olympus f2 lenses. And so I have to work around these shortcomings and am getting to know where the lens works best - with what content and  in what conditions.

As I mentioned at the start, I got some pretty decent images and I got many that did not cut it. But I was just playing around shooting in a variety of ways to get a feel for the lens. I think that there will be a fair bit of learning curve and it will still be a while before I know it inside and out. You may find the same thing when you get yours.  
« Last Edit: July 13, 2008, 11:45:31 AM by robertwatcher » Logged
stever
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2008, 03:29:44 PM »
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it would be interesting to do a direct comparison to the Canon 100-400 on a 40D which i use for much the same purpose

given design contraints i would guess there are some similarities

i have learned:

-avoid shooting wide open whenever possible even if it means ISO 800 (or even 1600)  -- there are rare reports of 100-400s sharp wide open but most are not and mine is not (but looks darn good from f8 to f11) - if the Oly is sharp wide open, they are certainly a step ahead of the Canon and Nikon equivalents.

- at marginal shutter speeds take multiples - depending on how the in-camera anti-vibration works at long focal lengths, some testing may be required (the Canon IS does seem to be worth 2 stops on the 100-400)

- shoot RAW and edit in Lightroom

- for wildlife and particularly birds, a little fill from a telephoto flash does wonders (true for any lens, but perhaps even more so for a lens that isn't tops in contrast)
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stever
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2008, 03:36:01 PM »
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not being familiar with Olympus lenses, i didn't realize that the 70-300 is probably more similar to the Canon 70-300 IS in design.  i expect this to mean that it's even more important to keep it stopped down and not expect too much from it beyond 200mm
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Er1kksen
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2008, 07:23:44 PM »
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Comparison to the canon 70-300 probably does make more sense. All indications I've seen are that the image quality of the lens is quite good wide open and at most focal lengths, though it's important to remember that the Olympus 2x crop factor uses the sweet spot of the lens, mostly. However, it isn't really a valid representative of Olympus lenses, since it's apparently a Sigma optical design, like the Olympus 18-180. Also in comparison, it's worth remembering it's a macro, though that's not advertised on the Olympus version (the sigma version does say so).
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