Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test

Started Apr 4, 2013 | Discussions
Adjuster
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Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
Apr 4, 2013

I have had the Panasonic 100-300mm lens for some time. Last year I tested it in comparison with the Olympus 75-300 lens. The Panasonic won hands down at every focal length.

I was curious whether the new Olympus 75-300 II lens would be any better. Son of gun, it is. I tested them with the OM-D on a heavy duty Gitzo carbon fiber tripod and a RRS BH-55 bullhead. Hard to have a more stable platform. Tested the lenses at 100, 200, 250, and 300mm. Lenses produced the same results except at 300mm, where the Olympus seems to be better.

Olympus 75-300mm lens

Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm lens

So the good news is that Olympus has produced a better lens. The bad news is that I am compelled to buy it. Sigh.

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FrankParis
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Mechanically, it's a beauty, too. No lens creep for one thing. Fast focusing. I know nothing about the Panny 100-300.

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Frank Paris

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Anders W
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

I have had the Panasonic 100-300mm lens for some time. Last year I tested it in comparison with the Olympus 75-300 lens. The Panasonic won hands down at every focal length.

I was curious whether the new Olympus 75-300 II lens would be any better. Son of gun, it is. I tested them with the OM-D on a heavy duty Gitzo carbon fiber tripod and a RRS BH-55 bullhead. Hard to have a more stable platform. Tested the lenses at 100, 200, 250, and 300mm. Lenses produced the same results except at 300mm, where the Olympus seems to be better.

Olympus 75-300mm lens

Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm lens

So the good news is that Olympus has produced a better lens. The bad news is that I am compelled to buy it. Sigh.

Thanks for the test. But I am not so sure about the conclusion. Note that a) the new 75-300 is optically identical to the old save for new (and hopefully better) antireflective coatings and b) the two lenses were not focused identically in your test images (focus placed closer to the camera with the Pany 100-300).

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Adjuster
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Anders W, Apr 5, 2013

Thanks for the test. But I am not so sure about the conclusion. Note that a) the new 75-300 is optically identical to the old save for new (and hopefully better) antireflective coatings and b) the two lenses were not focused identically in your test images (focus placed closer to the camera with the Pany 100-300).

I was concerned about those issues as well. I wanted to give Olympus the benefit of the doubt in case the older one was a bad copy. I tested the lenses repeatedly with the OM-D and the results were always the same. So if the focusing was off, it was off consistently. The "Do Not Enter Sign" was consistently sharper with the Olympus lens. Hard to see in the photos, but the horizontal white line was sharper with the Olympus.

Are you suggesting that I should send the Panasonic to their service center to have it adjusted?

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Anders W
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

Thanks for the test. But I am not so sure about the conclusion. Note that a) the new 75-300 is optically identical to the old save for new (and hopefully better) antireflective coatings and b) the two lenses were not focused identically in your test images (focus placed closer to the camera with the Pany 100-300).

I was concerned about those issues as well. I wanted to give Olympus the benefit of the doubt in case the older one was a bad copy.

The old may have been a bad copy. Hard to tell at this point. But there is no real reason to expect any optical difference between the new and the old lens design, except possibly with respect to flare.

I tested the lenses repeatedly with the OM-D and the results were always the same. So if the focusing was off, it was off consistently. The "Do Not Enter Sign" was consistently sharper with the Olympus lens. Hard to see in the photos, but the horizontal white line was sharper with the Olympus.

Focus may well have been different consistently. In the shots you show, neither lens is focused perfectly on the "Do not enter" sign. As far as I can tell, focus for the Oly is on the middle section of the leftmost trunk and for the Pany on the topmost section of the same trunk. It follows that the sign is more out of focus with the Pany than the Oly, which probably explains the difference you are seeing.

Are you suggesting that I should send the Panasonic to their service center to have it adjusted?

I wouldn't think so. But I am not so sure that you need to buy the Oly to replace it based on this test. Neither image looks all that sharp to me even in the part where they are perfectly focused. But this may be because of jpeg processing (e.g., the NR setting) and atmospheric conditions. I trust it you were using a tripod.

The 100-percent crop in the post I link to below shows the sharpness level that the 100-300 can actually manage at the long end:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50934220

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Timbukto
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Why would you buy another lens or any lens based on this test?  There are so many ambiguous things about this test.  You are stopped down more on one lens another.  It looks like you are shooting through a window or something.  It looks like the middle of the chain link fence is OOF, but the edges are in focus.

In the end the picture is utterly baffling and I wouldn't buy *either* lens based on either result.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

I have the Lumix 100-300, and with a GH3 the Oly lens would be poor choice.

My experience is that the 100-300 is good out to about 250 (500mm equiv) and loses a bit beyond that point -- so I try to not shoot beyond 250 with it.

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bgalb
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

The test conditions were totally wrong to compare the critical sharpness of two lenses.  The test target was really strange.  Why the foggy appearance at the bottom of the image? There wasn't enough light to make a good test.  Its hard to tell, but it looks like there may have been a pretty good wind blowing.  Different sections of the fence are in and out of focus.  Not to mention that the focus point was different for the two lenses.

To do a valid outdoor test, you need calm, clear conditions with good light and a flat surface perpendicular to the lens axis with good, but not excessive, contrast between elements of different brightness.  If it was windy during this test, then 1/15 second is too slow.  It doesn't really matter how good your tripod was.  Also, the slightest touch on the camera will induce a lot of vibration motion with the long lens attached at 300 mm. A wireless shutter release comes to mind as useful to prevent camera vibrations due to handling when mounted on a tripod.

I have the panny 100-300 with a Roesch Tripod Mount.  Am always looking for a little more sharpness at 300 mm and would get the new oly 75- 300 in a heartbeat if I was convinced it was noticeably sharper at 300.

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Adjuster
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Anders W, Apr 5, 2013

Anders W wrote:

Adjuster wrote:

Thanks for the test. But I am not so sure about the conclusion. Note that a) the new 75-300 is optically identical to the old save for new (and hopefully better) antireflective coatings and b) the two lenses were not focused identically in your test images (focus placed closer to the camera with the Pany 100-300).

I was concerned about those issues as well. I wanted to give Olympus the benefit of the doubt in case the older one was a bad copy.

The old may have been a bad copy. Hard to tell at this point. But there is no real reason to expect any optical difference between the new and the old lens design, except possibly with respect to flare.

That is why I wanted to test it.

I tested the lenses repeatedly with the OM-D and the results were always the same. So if the focusing was off, it was off consistently. The "Do Not Enter Sign" was consistently sharper with the Olympus lens. Hard to see in the photos, but the horizontal white line was sharper with the Olympus.

Focus may well have been different consistently. In the shots you show, neither lens is focused perfectly on the "Do not enter" sign. As far as I can tell, focus for the Oly is on the middle section of the leftmost trunk and for the Pany on the topmost section of the same trunk. It follows that the sign is more out of focus with the Pany than the Oly, which probably explains the difference you are seeing.

The focus rectangle was located directly over the sign.

Are you suggesting that I should send the Panasonic to their service center to have it adjusted?

I wouldn't think so. But I am not so sure that you need to buy the Oly to replace it based on this test. Neither image looks all that sharp to me even in the part where they are perfectly focused. But this may be because of jpeg processing (e.g., the NR setting) and atmospheric conditions. I trust it you were using a tripod.

The 100-percent crop in the post I link to below shows the sharpness level that the 100-300 can actually manage at the long end:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50934220

You all may be right. I was shooting through a window. Will do another series of tests this weekend when I hopefully will not be stuck at the office.

BTW, shutter shock was a 1/8 and I used the 2 second delay all to avoid unnecessary vibration.

It would be nice if the Olympus were as good as the Panasonic as it is smaller and easier to carry.

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Anders W
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Adjuster wrote:

Thanks for the test. But I am not so sure about the conclusion. Note that a) the new 75-300 is optically identical to the old save for new (and hopefully better) antireflective coatings and b) the two lenses were not focused identically in your test images (focus placed closer to the camera with the Pany 100-300).

I was concerned about those issues as well. I wanted to give Olympus the benefit of the doubt in case the older one was a bad copy.

The old may have been a bad copy. Hard to tell at this point. But there is no real reason to expect any optical difference between the new and the old lens design, except possibly with respect to flare.

That is why I wanted to test it.

I tested the lenses repeatedly with the OM-D and the results were always the same. So if the focusing was off, it was off consistently. The "Do Not Enter Sign" was consistently sharper with the Olympus lens. Hard to see in the photos, but the horizontal white line was sharper with the Olympus.

Focus may well have been different consistently. In the shots you show, neither lens is focused perfectly on the "Do not enter" sign. As far as I can tell, focus for the Oly is on the middle section of the leftmost trunk and for the Pany on the topmost section of the same trunk. It follows that the sign is more out of focus with the Pany than the Oly, which probably explains the difference you are seeing.

The focus rectangle was located directly over the sign.

For whatever reason, the focus is nevertheless not on the sign in either image.

Are you suggesting that I should send the Panasonic to their service center to have it adjusted?

I wouldn't think so. But I am not so sure that you need to buy the Oly to replace it based on this test. Neither image looks all that sharp to me even in the part where they are perfectly focused. But this may be because of jpeg processing (e.g., the NR setting) and atmospheric conditions. I trust it you were using a tripod.

The 100-percent crop in the post I link to below shows the sharpness level that the 100-300 can actually manage at the long end:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50934220

You all may be right. I was shooting through a window. Will do another series of tests this weekend when I hopefully will not be stuck at the office.

I suspected something like that. Shooting through a window is definitely not a good idea when testing lenses.

BTW, shutter shock was a 1/8 and I used the 2 second delay all to avoid unnecessary vibration.

You mean antishock was at 1/8. Note that using antishock and self-timer at the same time is a bit superfluous although it won't hurt of course. But the best solution here is to simply set antishock to a couple of seconds and forget about the self-timer. The camera then has a couple of seconds to stabilize from your touch as well as the first part of shutter action (shutter closing prior to exposure).

It would be nice if the Olympus were as good as the Panasonic as it is smaller and easier to carry.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

I was shooting through a window.

Ouch!

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Phil

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Adjuster
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to PC Wheeler, Apr 5, 2013

PC Wheeler wrote:

Adjuster wrote:

I was shooting through a window.

Well, at least it was clean. Okay guys. I won't do that again.

Ouch!

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Phil

Easy for you to say. You are in Los Angeles. I am in the Boston area and it is too cold to play around outdoors.  This weekend should be better.

Also wanted to test it with a distant target.

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jennajenna
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

You should really re-shoot your test. Try something outdoors. or Indoors. But not thru glass lol.

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sderdiarian
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

Easy for you to say. You are in Los Angeles. I am in the Boston area and it is too cold to play around outdoors.  This weekend should be better.

Where were you?  I live in the Boston metro area and last weekend was beautiful, seasonably cool but hardly cold.  Shooting through a window for a test is just plane silly.

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Sailin' Steve

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Adjuster
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to sderdiarian, Apr 5, 2013

sderdiarian wrote:

Adjuster wrote:

Easy for you to say. You are in Los Angeles. I am in the Boston area and it is too cold to play around outdoors.  This weekend should be better.

Where were you?  I live in the Boston metro area and last weekend was beautiful, seasonably cool but hardly cold.  Shooting through a window for a test is just plane silly.

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Sailin' Steve

I shot the photos today. Today was not beautiful. I just got the lens today.

Okay, is this junior high? I want to hear from more people telling me not to shoot through a window. Come on guys. You can do it.

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Chatokun
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

sderdiarian wrote:

Adjuster wrote:

Easy for you to say. You are in Los Angeles. I am in the Boston area and it is too cold to play around outdoors.  This weekend should be better.

Where were you?  I live in the Boston metro area and last weekend was beautiful, seasonably cool but hardly cold.  Shooting through a window for a test is just plane silly.

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Sailin' Steve

I shot the photos today. Today was not beautiful. I just got the lens today.

Okay, is this junior high? I want to hear from more people telling me not to shoot through a window. Come on guys. You can do it.

If you insist. Shooting through a window is pointless! It adds a whole other element to the image to add distortion, softness, and other such issues! Also, don't shoot on a hot day above pavement. The heat totally distorts the atmosphere. Don't shoot the moon. The atmosphere totally distorts the atmosphere. Don't shoot in rain. Humidity. Snow. Sleet. Under water. In the dark.... I got nothing.

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ajamils1
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Chatokun, Apr 5, 2013

Olympus 75-300 might be a great lens but lack of stablization means that it can only be used with an Olympus body with IBIS where as Panny 100-300 can be used on Oly or Panasonic bodies. So when you buy this lens make sure that you do not plan on getting a Panasonic body in future.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

Also wanted to test it with a distant target.

Distant targets, outdoors, with long lens introduce atmospheric effects, unless you have a very special day. You may get more of those in the East than we do here in L.A. area.

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Phil

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texinwien
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Buy That Window!
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

sderdiarian wrote:

Adjuster wrote:

Easy for you to say. You are in Los Angeles. I am in the Boston area and it is too cold to play around outdoors.  This weekend should be better.

Where were you?  I live in the Boston metro area and last weekend was beautiful, seasonably cool but hardly cold.  Shooting through a window for a test is just plane silly.

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Sailin' Steve

I shot the photos today. Today was not beautiful. I just got the lens today.

Okay, is this junior high? I want to hear from more people telling me not to shoot through a window. Come on guys. You can do it.

I'm not sure about the lenses, but that window appears to be an excellent piece of optics. A bargain at any price!

tex

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Ulric
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

Okay, is this junior high? I want to hear from more people telling me not to shoot through a window. Come on guys. You can do it.

You should also not shoot through a piece of cardboard or heavy cloth.

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