Comparison of M.Zuiko 100-400mm verses 75-300mm

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Jeff Wahaus Regular Member • Posts: 408
Comparison of M.Zuiko 100-400mm verses 75-300mm

I recently (Finally!!!) received the M.Zuiko 100-400mm and wanted to see how it compared to the 75-300mm I already had.  So...  I shot my lens test target that I have tacked to my refrigerator and found out.

I shot under sterile test conditions.    Mounted on a tripod with remote release.  Lighting was two FL-700 strobes at 45% at 6 ft using camera TTL metering set to +2 EV flash comp.  (i.e. the mostly white target needed EV adjustment)

I shot both lenses in the range where they overlap at both wide open and at f/8.  Wide open the lenses have almost identical f/stops except towards 300mm where the 100-400 is slightly faster by about 1/3 stop.   I shot at 100, 150, 200, and 300mm for each lens at wide open and at f/8.

What I found:

The 100-400mm and 75-300mm have very similar resolution in the center of the lens both wide open and at f/8.  Most of the time the 100-400mm is just slightly sharper than the 75-300mm in the center but in one case the 75-300mm was slightly sharper.

At the edges of the frame it is a different story.   The 100-400mm is significantly sharper than the 75-300mm at the edges.  Additionally, the 75-300 shows slight purple fringing at the edges which the 100-400 didn't.

I took many photographs but I'm only going to upload what I think is the most significant.  This image is the difference in the lenses at the corners.  At the center the lenses are almost identical.

M.Zuiko 100-400mm (left)  M.Zuiko 75-300mm (right)

Not only is the 100-400 siginificantly sharper at the edges but it has a more neutral color cast.  The 75-300 has a blueish/UV color cast.   Color balance was fixed at daylight.

I didn't disable the OIS or IBIS in any of my photographs because I've found in testing that it makes no noticeable difference with the E-M1iii in previous tests.  These are straight out of the camera JPEGS at 100% magnification in the extreme corner of the frame.

I'm not trying to trash the Olympus 75-300mm as I find it a very capable lens with very good IQ at a very reasonable price and it is very light weight and compact compared to the 100-400mm.  I'm more trying to justify carrying around a lens that is much bigger and heavier.  When I want the best IQ the 100-400mm is definitely the one I'll be taking, the OIS is likely much more significant than this tripod test reveals I suppose for handheld shots.

 Jeff Wahaus's gear list:Jeff Wahaus's gear list
Olympus E-M1 III Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300mm 1:4.0-5.6 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD +11 more
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