Landscape telephoto lenses

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
jwilliams Veteran Member • Posts: 5,611
I've had ...

bloodsoul wrote:


I want to talk about telephoto lenses as camping season has started. I almost exclusively shoot with Olympus 12-40 2.8 and I had many situations when I couldn't get full potential out of a location because of a short fl.

Personally I almost always use a tripod to shoot landscape, so I don't really mind bad light of the cheap zoom lenses. I know I won't get superb quality from a £100-300 telephoto. My main problem is choosing a focal length. Is 100 or 150 enough for you? Are those lenses soft when fully zoomed therefore would it be correct to consider the longer one?

I'd like NOT to consider Pana 100-300 and 100-400 because of their filter size, I don't want to play with step down rings (12-40 is 62 mm). But I am happy to hear from you who got them and how they perform. The main contenders are:

Pana 35-100 (4-5.6) - the shortest one, does any of you got it and doesn't crave for more millimetres?

Oly 40-150 and Pana 45-150 - super cheap, seems like a no-brainer, does it get soft when fully zoomed?

Pana 45-200 - I read some bad opinions about the quality of the glass, from the other hand people trouble to shoot handheld with such a light and long zoom hence the softness.

Oly 75-300 - soft on 220+, only really viable at f8 to f11 from what I read, but man, so long!

And there is so many versions of above lenses, and people are sometimes saying that 1st is superior over 2nd version and that is very confusing. It's also hard to get landscape samples, because people mostly using it to shoot wildlife.

What's your opinion and experience with telephoto landscape on budget?

I've had quite a few m43 tele lenses.  So far, from what I have sampled, 2 stand out to me and they are the Panny 35-100 4-5.6 and the Oly 40-150 2.8.  2 lenses that in some ways could not be more different but share one thing in common and that is they are both capable of delivering high IQ straight from wide open.  The 35-100 is certainly much slower, but really there is no need to stop it down for IQ purposes.  The Oly is faster, longer, much bigger and more expensive.  If your wallet can bear it and you don't mind carrying it the lens, it certainly performs.

I have the slower Oly 50-150 and it is very good at 40, decent at 100 and fair at 150.  I really never use it as the extra 50mm it provides over the 35-100 is where it is weakest and the 35-100 is better where they overlap.  No real reason to get this over the 35-100 in my mind.

I had the similar Panny 45-150 and mine was very poor.  I think It had a real problem and I sent it back.  Other copies may be better.  It really underscores the problems with both the Panny and Oly cheap teles and that is they are a bit of a crap shot as they are not manufactured to high tolerances.

Once had the Panny 45-200 and it was a total turd.  Avoid at all costs.

I've read the Oly 75-300 is a very good 75-200 (200 is not a typo) lens.  75 starting point is more limiting and you aren't rewarded with a longer tele end that is really usable so never tried one.  Again going off what I've read on this one FWIW.

I'd recommend trying the 35-100 first.  I actually use mine to compliment my 12-40 sometimes and find it works well if not needing a faster lens.  In fact I'd use the 35-100 over the 12-40 in the overlapping range as it is the better lens from 35-40.

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