Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,653
Panasonic 100-300mm mark II splash resistance

DLGW wrote:

I've also got both the Oly 40-150 f2.8 and the Panny 35-100 f2.8. Despite looking similar in spec, in use they are very different lenses. The Panny lacks the reach, but it's half the size and weight! I've also got both the Panny 100-300 (Mk 2) and the Panny 100-400. The 100-300 Mk 2 I purchased as it's also weather sealed - which is important to me.

I dunno. The only lens I've had a problem with WRT to sealing is the Panasonic 100-300mm mark II. Ever since I bought my E-1 and 14-54mm mark I lens in 2004, I have put all of my splash proof cameras and lenses to the test, mostly with rain.

In 2017, I bought a used Panasonic 100-300mm mark II lens specifically because it was splash resistant. I had been eyeing the Olympus 75-300mm lens, and from the reviews, it seemed like the better lens. But the Panasonic 100-300mm mark II was splash resistant, and I do seem to find myself shooting in wet conditions from time to time. Note, if you are buying used, the Panasonic 100-300mm mark I lens is not splash resistant, only the mark II lens is.

The day after I bought the lens, I went on one of my yearly whale watches (living in Massachusetts does have its perks). Now normally, I don't get splashed, but occasionally I do. Just in case I get splashed, I carry distilled water and a towel in my car to clean up the gear after the trip.

So we got splashed in 2017. I had with me, the Olympus E-m1 mark I with the Olympus 14-150mm mark II f/4-5.6 lens for normal shots and the Panasonic G85 with the Panasonic 100-300mm mark II lens for longer range shots. After the splash, both cameras/lenses seem fine. As I said, I come prepared, and immediately after the whale watch I clean each of the cameras with lenses attached, and dry them off.

When I get home, the E-m1 mark I + 14-150mm mark II lens is fine. However, the G85 + 100-300mm mark II lens won't turn on. I do mix and match testing. The G85 works fine with the 14-150mm mark II lens and other lenses that I didn't take on the trip. The 100-300mm mark II lens also won't turn on if I put it on an Olympus body.

I had bought the lens used, so there was no warranty. And even if I had bought it new, I might suspect Panasonic would not fix it due to the abuse clause in the warranty, and the weasel words Panasonic uses in terms of splash resistance in general. Now, I realize salt water is bad for electronics, and I can imagine that Olympus also might decline to honor the warranty.

But salt water splashes do happen. I did try the lens in sealed box of rice trick, and it didn't help.

I posted this before and somebody suggested I give the lens a good rap. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I did it, and the lens started working once again. I figure a grain of salt got in the gears of the lens, and when the camera turned on, it would try to reset the focusing, and it couldn't due to the salt in the gears. The rap knocked the salt off of the gears.

While the cameras and lenses did survive, I don't recommend subjecting them to salt water splashes. But as I said, sometimes you do get splashed.

Since then I have had to send in the E-m1 mark I for servicing twice (once because the shutter got sticky at faster shutter speeds and the other because the USB/shutter release communication got wonky). Olympus fixed the E-m1 mark I under warranty both times.

Sure, I've used the 100-300mm mark II since then, but I generally no longer bring it if I'm expecting major wet weather. I find that I'm not as drawn towards the longer focal lengths these days, so more often the 14-150mm mark II meets my needs and the 100-300mm mark II sits at home.

One of the things that I like about the E-m5 mark III is hopefully I can start using the classic 4/3rds 50-200mm mark I f/2.8-3.5 lens + MMF-3 adapter lens once again.

I had specifically bought the E-m1 mark because it had the phase detection support for using the classic 4/3rds lenses (and the E-m1 mark I was a lot cheaper than the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens). But after buying the E-m1 mark I camera, I discovered it did not have the cross shaped sensors that the E-5 had. This means the E-m1 mark I could not find straight lines in one direction.

In particular, on my 2015 whale watch trip, I used the 50-200mm mark I lens and I found that it could not get a focus lock on the E-m1 mark I due to the ocean being low contrast. I eventually changed to the trusty 14-150mm mark II lens and it found focus immediately.  On the 2016 trip, I brought the E-5 out of retirement, and with the 50-200mm mark I lens, it immediately achieved a focus lock. In the E-m1 mark II, E-m1x, and presumably the E-m5 mark III, Olympus did change to using cross shaped sensors.

If you are curious, here are the pictures from the trip:

 Michael Meissner's gear list:Michael Meissner's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 Olympus 14-150 F4-5.6 II +20 more
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