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

Started Apr 4, 2013 | Discussions
Rol Lei Nut
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Anders W, Apr 5, 2013

I also have some doubts about the methodology and execution of your tests. Lens testing isn't only about using a solid tripod. Careful manual focusing on a useful subject is also a must.

I did my own (incomplete) tests on the 100-300 and the 75-3000 MkI and would certainly not say that the Panasonic "won hands down"! Also, I'd expect little to no sharpness difference between the Mk1 & Mk2 lenses.

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tt321
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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:

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.

Focusing through a window, esp. if it is double-glazed, could have funny results.

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Tony Rogers
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to tt321, Apr 5, 2013

You also need to find the aperture where the lens is sharpest. The 100-300 at 300mm is sharpest at f/7.1 for instance. Quite a lot better than f/6.3 and a lot better than f/5.6. I have no idea where the Oly is best.

I never shoot my 100-300 wide open for this reason.

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

Tony Rogers wrote:

You also need to find the aperture where the lens is sharpest. The 100-300 at 300mm is sharpest at f/7.1 for instance. Quite a lot better than f/6.3 and a lot better than f/5.6. I have no idea where the Oly is best.

I never shoot my 100-300 wide open for this reason.

Excellent point, Tony. One of my frustrations is that every lens has a different sweet spot. Some lens are okay at wide open. I may have to write a cheat sheet and paste it on the camera or lens.

I will try to test multiple apertures.

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Adjuster
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to tt321, Apr 5, 2013

tt321 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

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.

Focusing through a window, esp. if it is double-glazed, could have funny results.

It was only a single pane window, sort of like a filter. Evidently, no one on the forum puts a filter on their lenses.:-)

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Jake21
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Is the crop a center or corner? Are you comparing both center performance and corner performance ?

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Adjuster
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Jake21, Apr 5, 2013

Jake21 wrote:

Is the crop a center or corner? Are you comparing both center performance and corner performance ?

It wasn't a crop, but I focused on the sign which is on the left side of the frame.

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tt321
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 5, 2013

Adjuster wrote:

tt321 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

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.

Focusing through a window, esp. if it is double-glazed, could have funny results.

It was only a single pane window, sort of like a filter. Evidently, no one on the forum puts a filter on their lenses.:-)

I did, and in combination with shooting through my office window, with disastrous results

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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:

tt321 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

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.

Focusing through a window, esp. if it is double-glazed, could have funny results.

It was only a single pane window, sort of like a filter. Evidently, no one on the forum puts a filter on their lenses.:-)

Yes, I do. And if it's a bad filter, it can have weird effects, particularly at longer FLs.

A while ago, I was experimenting with some close-up lenses for my 100-300. The lenses were high-quality (two-element achromats) but pretty old, probably with less than perfect coatings. When I tried to AF, I noticed, to my surprise, that the focus was systematically, not just randomly, a little off.

Now that shouldn't happen with a CDAF system, right? As we all know, there is no such thing as systematic back- or front-focus due to less than perfect calibration as is the case with PDAF. So I was pretty mystified.

I then noticed that in the perfectly focused state, there was something like a flare zone (halo) around bright edges and that this phenomenon was reduced when the lens was very slightly out of focus. So in all likelihood, the system did what it should, i.e., maximize contrast. It was just that maximum contrast did not, in this particular case, correspond to what we would say is perfect focus.

I later tried the same experiment with a more up-to-date close-up lens of the same strength and everything worked just as it should.

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Bizzarrini
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Re: Panasonic 100-300 vs. Olympus 75-300 II lens test
In reply to Rol Lei Nut, Apr 5, 2013

Rol Lei Nut wrote:

I also have some doubts about the methodology and execution of your tests. Lens testing isn't only about using a solid tripod. Careful manual focusing on a useful subject is also a must.

I did my own (incomplete) tests on the 100-300 and the 75-3000 MkI and would certainly not say that the Panasonic "won hands down"! Also, I'd expect little to no sharpness difference between the Mk1 & Mk2 lenses.

I also tested the Panasonic 100-300 against the Oly 75-300 Mk1, and while the difference was small, the Oly was just a tiny bit sharper...

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

Is this just another case of "mine is bigger than yours" or is there some validity.  These lenses are built to function best with the bodies made by the same manufacturer.  Keep that in mind when you do your non-scientific testing.  I doubt that anyone would be able to tell which lens was used while viewing a print.

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

LMNCT wrote:

Is this just another case of "mine is bigger than yours" or is there some validity.  These lenses are built to function best with the bodies made by the same manufacturer.  Keep that in mind when you do your non-scientific testing.  I doubt that anyone would be able to tell which lens was used while viewing a print.

In my work, having the sharpest lens can be important. If the Panasonic were better, I can return the Olympus and save a lot of money. On the other hand, if the Olympus were sharper, I would keep it and sell the Panasonic, albeit at a loss.

You mention an interesting point about manufacturers. However, I have had great results with other Panasonic lenses (and I have most of them).

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

Bizzarrini wrote:

Rol Lei Nut wrote:

I also have some doubts about the methodology and execution of your tests. Lens testing isn't only about using a solid tripod. Careful manual focusing on a useful subject is also a must.

I did my own (incomplete) tests on the 100-300 and the 75-3000 MkI and would certainly not say that the Panasonic "won hands down"! Also, I'd expect little to no sharpness difference between the Mk1 & Mk2 lenses.

I also tested the Panasonic 100-300 against the Oly 75-300 Mk1, and while the difference was small, the Oly was just a tiny bit sharper...

I guess that the reason I am doing this is that the Oly 75-300 Mk1 I tested was much worse than the Panasonic. I am curious as to why others have not had experienced this and decided to give Olympus another try.

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

Adjuster wrote:

Excellent point, Tony. One of my frustrations is that every lens has a different sweet spot. Some lens are okay at wide open. I may have to write a cheat sheet and paste it on the camera or lens.

I will try to test multiple apertures.

That's exactly the reason for carrying out *properly done* lens tests: you get to  know how your lenses behave in various situations and conditions.

Multiple apertures are simply a basic requirement. Multiple distances are also good to test: Near infinity (200-300 metres at 300mm should approximate infinity closely enough without too much atmospheric distortion, depending on weather), medium distance (about 7-15 metres), and close range (about 2 metres, or whatever your closest focusing distance is).

Best, read up on lens testing procedures. It's not so simple and mistakes are easy to make (made plenty myself over the years - and still do!  ).

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marike6
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Really?
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 6, 2013

I came here looking for this lens test and all I found were two blurry, low-contrast images.  If you are trying to convince that you shot those two images locked down on a stable tripod, then it's likely that something else is going on here.

1/15 is a notoriously poor shutter speed with telephotos on DSLRs because of mirror/shutter vibrations, but obviously that's not the case here, so only you can say why IQ is so poor.  I've seen far better images from both of those lenses at 300mm, but from the reviews I've read, including the newest ePhotozine review of the new Olympus 75-300 (see link below), 300mm is the weakest focal length by far on both of these lenses.

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-m-zuiko-digital-ed-75-300mm-f-4-8-6-7-ii-lens-review-21689

Anyway, there is no way you can conclude that one lens is superior to the other as both images are of unacceptable quality to evaluated much of anything.

I would think that the Olympus 70-300 is only of interest to Olympus users because of the lack of OIS, and since most buy such lenses to use them at the long end, either one will give good, but not great performance.

That said, the Panasonic is f4 at the short end and f5.6 at the long end, which is reason enough to prefer the Pany 100-300.

m43 has very good short to medium primes, but long telephotos are an extremely weak point of the system as no lens maker has yet to build a good telephoto prime, i.e. 300 f4 or 400 5.6. So as long as the only options are slow max aperture consumer telezooms, I can't imagine sports or wildlife shooters are going to gravitate to m43.

Good luck, and perhaps reshoot the test.

Cheers, and happy shooting, Markus

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Peter Heckert2
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Both images suffer from instability.
In reply to Adjuster, Apr 6, 2013

Both images suffer visibly from instability, the Panasonic lens more than the Oly lens.
I know, there is a problem with shutter shock, but it is not so extreme as shown here. There must have been something very wrong.

Also there was a near object in the foreground. This changes the bokeh of any lens.

Such images , taken at 1/15 cannot been used as test images, sorry!

Peter

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tt321
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Re: Really?
In reply to marike6, Apr 6, 2013

marike6 wrote:

I came here looking for this lens test and all I found were two blurry, low-contrast images.  If you are trying to convince that you shot those two images locked down on a stable tripod, then it's likely that something else is going on here.

1/15 is a notoriously poor shutter speed with telephotos on DSLRs because of mirror/shutter vibrations, but obviously that's not the case here, so only you can say why IQ is so poor.

The OP shot through office window glass. Have you not read his posts?

Anyway, there is no way you can conclude that one lens is superior to the other as both images are of unacceptable quality to evaluated much of anything.

This is very much true.

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Adjuster
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Re: Really?
In reply to tt321, Apr 6, 2013

There is a country song entitled "Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places". So for all those who were criticizing me for my quick and admittedly dirty test, what you missed is that I was looking for a comparison at the 300mm end. Should have looked elsewhere.

Ephotozine just tested the Mark II Olympus lens. It found it equal to the Panasonic at the 300mm end, but better at the lower focal lengths (except for higher CA). Who knew?

I wrote another entry to cover this at: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3466296

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marike6
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Re: Really?
In reply to tt321, Apr 6, 2013

tt321 wrote:

marike6 wrote:

I came here looking for this lens test and all I found were two blurry, low-contrast images.  If you are trying to convince that you shot those two images locked down on a stable tripod, then it's likely that something else is going on here.

1/15 is a notoriously poor shutter speed with telephotos on DSLRs because of mirror/shutter vibrations, but obviously that's not the case here, so only you can say why IQ is so poor.

The OP shot through office window glass. Have you not read his posts?

Shooting through a window will hurt contrast, but will not cause an image to be blurred.

The point is the OP made it a point of saying how he carefully shot these images locked down on a Gitzo tripod with a BH-55 ballhead, so that is why questioned what was going on.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: Really?
In reply to marike6, Apr 6, 2013

marike6 wrote:

tt321 wrote:

The OP shot through office window glass. Have you not read his posts?

Shooting through a window will hurt contrast, but will not cause an image to be blurred.

It really *does* depend on the window. I've been in rooms where the glass visually distorted (aka blurred) the view.

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