How does the M.Zuiko 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 compare?

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Jeff Wahaus Regular Member • Posts: 109
How does the M.Zuiko 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 compare?

I've resisted purchasing this lens because I already had something similar but my lens was older, heavier, and didn't support C-AF on Olympus OM-D bodies.

So, I finally bit the bullet and purchased this lens to see what modern improvements this lens would bring me.  My old lens is the Zuiko 70-300mm f4-5.6 so I thought a comparison is warranted.  The new 75-300 is a half stop slower so right from the start this lens has a big disadvantage.  But with IBIS perhaps it doesn't matter?

Here is my first test comparison of the two lenses.  The test conditions are:  E-M1iii body, heavy Manfrotto tripod, about 12 feet from target.  The test target is printed on 13x19 matte photo paper from a Canon Pro-100 Inkjet from a PDF resolution chart.  I used a 3 second timer to avoid camera shake.

In all photos that follow, the M.Zuiko 75-300mm is on the left and the Zuiko 70-300mm is on the right.  I tested the focal range at 2 f stops, wide open and f8.

70/75mm Wide Open

70/75mm f/8

100mm Wide Open

100mm f/8

150mm Wide Open

150mm f/8

200mm Wide Open

200mm f/8

250mm Wide Open

250mm f/8

300mm Wide Open

300mm f/8

All of these images are at 100% magnification 1:1 pixel.  I was pretty surprised at the results.  The Zuiko 70-300 is consitently sharper and has better contrast than the M.Zuiko 75-300 when both lenses are wide open.  At f/8 however, everything is reversed, the newer M.Zuiko 75-300mm is consistently sharper and has better contrast at f/8.

Another interesting note, the old Zuiko 70-300mm has a 1.16X magnification factor over the newer M.Zuiko 75-300mm.  This essentially make the old lens an 81-348mm equivalent.

So... which one is better?   Well, it seems it really depends on how you shoot with these lenses.  I like the fact that the Zuiko is really sharp wide open and gives you a magnification advantage.  But, if you can afford to stop down to f/8 the M.Zuiko is a sharper lens.  The old Zuiko was definitely rougher and louder when adjusting the fine focus manually.  The M.Zuiko has a big advantage with focus speed, low noise, and manual focus smoothness.


 Jeff Wahaus's gear list:Jeff Wahaus's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus E-M1 III Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus 12-200mm F3.5-6.3
Canon Pixma Pro-100
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