A PL 100-400 disaster with a silver lining

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tomhongkong Veteran Member • Posts: 5,099
A PL 100-400 disaster with a silver lining
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TLDR Yesterday morning I managed to wreck my PL100-400, ouch! As I needed it for a project I went out and bought the new version. The new version is much much sharper than the old!

The long version  I was taking shots of a test chart across my roof with OM-1 to try to find the very best 100-400 settings ready for a big shoot. I had got as far as establishing that the focus reliability using either lens or body IS was not perfect, and that it was much better with IS off (my shoot is of birds and I expect to use 1/2500 or faster)

Foolishly I attached my 1.4x convertor without a zoom preventor and climbing up to the roof I fell concertina-ing the combo. There was a crunch and the lens is stuck at 100mm. I guess it is finished! (Glass on lens and converter is perfect though, it must be a zoom helcioid which has stripped. Any ideas welcome)

So I went out looking for a replacement as I really need it next weekend. SIM city in HK could provide used old versions at about $750, or a mark 2 at $1300. I agreed with the shop that I could swap it for another if I found at home that it was not sharp (not always possible in HK) so went for the new one. (They will also try to fix my old one)

I got home just in time to take a few test chart shots. Results, it's significantly sharper than my old one, with IS on or off. I will do the whole test again when conditions are right. Murphy's struck today, it is overcast so any shots I take are not doing it any favour, but I have taken a few of Egrets across our bay. Very satisfactory wide open, much sharper than similar ones with the old lens and may give my 200 a run for its money, except for the aperture. I'll test that later.

I tried it with both my teleconverters. The connection seems foolproof and easy. Frankly in the light today I could see very little difference between the native lens at 200% and when my 2x is attached at 100%. But more testing is needed.

I can't see the 300 f4 being much better than this, and I had previously rejected it because of the size and convenience of the 100-400.

Now a couple of downers.

It comes without the big lens hood (I can use my old one or the little one for the time being)

DXO does not recognise the combo with either 1.4x or 2.0x I had to use Topaz AI sharpening to compare with the native shots.

It's put my plan to try the G9ii on hold until I review my bank balance or get rid of some stuff.

Of course it could just be sample variation at work, but for me, at least, the new lens is a winner.

Tom

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