African Safari: Panasonic 100-300 or Olympus 75-300?

Started Oct 14, 2012 | Discussions thread
Birk Binnard
Birk Binnard Senior Member • Posts: 1,827
Re: African Safari: Panasonic 100-300 or Olympus 75-300?

I recently returned from 2 weeks on safari in Tanzania.  I used a GH1 with 14-140 and 100-300.  Both worked well for me and I was changing lenses a lot.

I shoot both stills & videos and my final output is a BluRay disk with some stills/panoramas interspersed between video clips. (Ken Burns is my hero!)  Based on comments I read here about the 100-300 I used Aperture mode with this lens and set it at f7 at least (meaning I tried hard to never go below f7.)

Overall I was quite pleased with the reach and clarity of the 100-300 shots.  What I did not like was the slow focusing and focus-hunting it would often do.  One of the ways I got around this was to use auto-focus to focus at something at infinity, and then switch to manual focus, thus keeping infinite focus locked.  This seemed to work best for animals at a distance and also birds in flight (although BIF is really hard to do at 600 effective mm.  Some sort of radar tracking device would sure be nice.)

Straight manual focus at anything beyond about 200 (400 effective) mm was pretty much impossible due to camera shake and the fact that the focus ring seems to require lots of turns to make significant changes.  Even with a beanbag on the roof of the LandCruiser as a stabilizer it was very difficult to use manual focus on a live animal, especially if the animal was moving.

I understand newer cameras have faster auto-focus and this would make a big difference if it really works.

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Birk Binnard;

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