Olympus 300 mm options Photo comparision - Cheating Cheetah

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OZ Steve Regular Member • Posts: 102
Olympus 300 mm options Photo comparision - Cheating Cheetah
5

Recovering from a minor operation and got bored, so .......

For anyone considering getting an Olympus MFT lens that has 300 mm range.

You will need to review the originals. The JPG's are straight out of the E-Mk ii without any post processing and are all over 10 Mb so hopefully dpr does not compress/ degrade the downloaded images.

Target Focus point

Olympus 75-300, oops taken at 286 mm in lieu intended 300mm   @F 6.7

Olympus 40-150mm Pro with MC-20 attached at 300mm @ F6.3

Olympus 300 Pro @ F6.3

Regards,

Steve

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Funny Valentine Regular Member • Posts: 223
Re: Olympus 300 mm options Photo comparision - Cheating Cheetah

Great comparaison. I own the 75-300 and I can confirm at 300 the image is soft and it gets worse in low light. Even in RAW and noise reduction turned off. But for taking photos of bright subjects like the moon, somehow it has enough sharpness. And I also tried at 300mm with a flash, the flash dramatically increases the sharpness and reduces the smearing. It works well for shooting flowers or close subjects at around 7-8 meters away.

My conclusion is if you want to get the best out of the 75-300 use it in very bright conditions (sunny days, moon, etc) or use a high intensity external flash. It will dramatically improve.

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OP OZ Steve Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: Olympus 300 mm options Photo comparision - Cheating Cheetah
2

For its price and weight I think the 75-300mm does a good job.

I haven't tried it but I would guess that you could print out all of the test photo's at A4 and be hard pressed to tell the difference.

When doing the comparison I was really interested in how the MC-20, that I have just received,  in conjunction the 40-150 Pro would compare with the 300 Pro.

I really like the flexibility and user experience of the MC-20 and 40-150 Pro and it is my favourite telephoto reach combo at present.

Do find that the 300 Pro gives the more consistent results and obviously has higher resolving capability.

Regards,

Stephen

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Tech Head Regular Member • Posts: 133
Staggering difference...
2

OZ Steve wrote:

Recovering from a minor operation and got bored, so .......

For anyone considering getting an Olympus MFT lens that has 300 mm range.

You will need to review the originals. The JPG's are straight out of the E-Mk ii without any post processing and are all over 10 Mb so hopefully dpr does not compress/ degrade the downloaded images.

Target Focus point

Olympus 75-300, oops taken at 286 mm in lieu intended 300mm @F 6.7

Olympus 40-150mm Pro with MC-20 attached at 300mm @ F6.3

Olympus 300 Pro @ F6.3

Regards,

Steve

Huge difference, especially in the corners. The 40-150 Pro with TC is much better than the 75-300, and the 300 Pro is, again, much better than the 40-150 Pro with TC.

The difference between the 40-150 Pro/MC20 and 300 Pro isn't huge in the center. The difference in the corners is likely due to the addition of the TC.

The 75-300 is the only one weak in the center.

Jouko Senior Member • Posts: 1,696
Thank You!

Helps my decision... Going to refresh my setup from 75-300 and 50-200 SWD with 40-150mm + TC14 and TC20 this spring... Bit heavier than the 75-300, but more useful in the low light, and seems to work better than the 50-200 with EC's. And is a lot lighter than the 50-200.

PS. I have been satisfied with the IQ of the 75-300 - a great light tele for travels and especially at the shorter distances (less than 15m, about) sharp enough, if the lights are ok. The 50-200 has been a workhorse, but the limitations with some new tech (ProCapture, focus stacking etc).

Cheers!

Jouko
'The best camera in the world is the one you have with you when you need it'
https://www.instagram.com/jouko.k.lehto/
http://lehtokukka.smugmug.com/
http://jouko-lehto.artistwebsites.com/
https://joukolehto.blogspot.fi/ - Lenses for mFT-cameras
https://joukolehto.blogspot.fi/2015/12/what-to-dowith-camera-during-winter.html

Samuel Dilworth
Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 482
Not useful
8

Like practically all of these casual lens tests, this one is worse than useless.

I say that not to be unkind but because, at best, no firm conclusions can be arrived at. And, at worst and much more likely, viewers will draw the wrong conclusions. The latter has already happened above.

Take the comparison between the 40-150 mm f/2.8 with teleconverter and the 300 mm f/4 prime. The focus is different. In the centre, the wooden background around the cup is sharper with the zoom (compare the wood grain to the immediate left of the cup). The cup itself is sharper with the prime (compare the hash pattern of the cup texture above the cheetah’s back). Who knows if either of these is best focus: there isn’t enough information in the frame to tell.

Meanwhile, the field curvature of the two lenses, being different, combines with the non-perpendicular camera axis to give a confused picture. The knot in the wood at the extreme top-left corner is sharper with the zoom, whereas the right edge of the frame generally is much sharper with the prime, but mainly – we’re left to assume – because it’s out of focus with the zoom.

Although there are literally dozens of pitfalls with this kind of testing that I cannot exhaustively preempt others from making with a few paragraphs of text, an easy first step is to test at infinity. That makes the scene effectively perpendicular to the camera without the need for difficult alignment.

Take a landscape-type picture from some height so that the entire scene or at least key areas of the frame of interest – the left and right extreme edges near the middle, for example – are at infinity. Then do your best to focus accurately, taking many pictures and using the sharpest ones for the comparison. I hope it goes without saying that you need a sturdy tripod, good tripod technique (self-timer, etc.), stabilisation off, a largely windless day, and so on. That goes double for 600 mm-e lenses.

Tech Head Regular Member • Posts: 133
Re: Not useful
2

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Like practically all of these casual lens tests, this one is worse than useless.

I say that not to be unkind but because, at best, no firm conclusions can be arrived at. And, at worst and much more likely, viewers will draw the wrong conclusions. The latter has already happened above.

I stand by my conclusion, and I believe the results will be substantially similar if the OP repeats the test.  It may not be perfect, but the differences were substantial enough that I don't think any repeat tests will alter the ranking of the lenses.

Take the comparison between the 40-150 mm f/2.8 with teleconverter and the 300 mm f/4 prime. The focus is different. In the centre, the wooden background around the cup is sharper with the zoom (compare the wood grain to the immediate left of the cup). The cup itself is sharper with the prime (compare the hash pattern of the cup texture above the cheetah’s back). Who knows if either of these is best focus: there isn’t enough information in the frame to tell.

Meanwhile, the field curvature of the two lenses, being different, combines with the non-perpendicular camera axis to give a confused picture. The knot in the wood at the extreme top-left corner is sharper with the zoom, whereas the right edge of the frame generally is much sharper with the prime, but mainly – we’re left to assume – because it’s out of focus with the zoom.

Although there are literally dozens of pitfalls with this kind of testing that I cannot exhaustively preempt others from making with a few paragraphs of text, an easy first step is to test at infinity. That makes the scene effectively perpendicular to the camera without the need for difficult alignment.

Take a landscape-type picture from some height so that the entire scene or at least key areas of the frame of interest – the left and right extreme edges near the middle, for example – are at infinity. Then do your best to focus accurately, taking many pictures and using the sharpest ones for the comparison. I hope it goes without saying that you need a sturdy tripod, good tripod technique (self-timer, etc.), stabilisation off, a largely windless day, and so on. That goes double for 600 mm-e lenses.

OP OZ Steve Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: Not useful

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Like practically all of these casual lens tests, this one is worse than useless.

I say that not to be unkind but because, at best, no firm conclusions can be arrived at. And, at worst and much more likely, viewers will draw the wrong conclusions. The latter has already happened above.

Take the comparison between the 40-150 mm f/2.8 with teleconverter and the 300 mm f/4 prime. The focus is different. In the centre, the wooden background around the cup is sharper with the zoom (compare the wood grain to the immediate left of the cup). The cup itself is sharper with the prime (compare the hash pattern of the cup texture above the cheetah’s back). Who knows if either of these is best focus: there isn’t enough information in the frame to tell.

Meanwhile, the field curvature of the two lenses, being different, combines with the non-perpendicular camera axis to give a confused picture. The knot in the wood at the extreme top-left corner is sharper with the zoom, whereas the right edge of the frame generally is much sharper with the prime, but mainly – we’re left to assume – because it’s out of focus with the zoom.

Although there are literally dozens of pitfalls with this kind of testing that I cannot exhaustively preempt others from making with a few paragraphs of text, an easy first step is to test at infinity. That makes the scene effectively perpendicular to the camera without the need for difficult alignment.

Take a landscape-type picture from some height so that the entire scene or at least key areas of the frame of interest – the left and right extreme edges near the middle, for example – are at infinity. Then do your best to focus accurately, taking many pictures and using the sharpest ones for the comparison. I hope it goes without saying that you need a sturdy tripod, good tripod technique (self-timer, etc.), stabilisation off, a largely windless day, and so on. That goes double for 600 mm-e lenses.

Hi Samuel,

Always happy to take criticism where the reasoning behind the criticism is supplied.

I found your comment about " The focus is different. In the centre, the wooden background around the cup is sharper with the zoom (compare the wood grain to the immediate left of the cup). The cup itself is sharper with the prime (compare the hash pattern of the cup texture above the cheetah’s back). " interesting.

I checked the originals, of what I posted to dpr, taken with the 40-150 (+MC-20) and the 300 Pro at 100%. My take was that 300 Pro had better wood grain rendition to the immediate left of the cup (I only checked to about the same width as the cup) but was a slightly warmer colour. The Hash pattern that you refer to, above the cheetah (or leopard?) back is, I suspect a jpeg engine artefact as this pattern in not visible when physically holding and looking at the cup. I am guessing that the background pattern in consistent pink shaded area's is greater on the 300 Pro due to it's greater resolving ability.

You comments about a tripod have been noted.

To other people viewing the supplied images, please take Samuels comment into account.

Regards to all respondents.

Stephen

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James Pilcher
James Pilcher Forum Pro • Posts: 10,144
hugely useful comparison

Despite what Samuel says, this comparison solidly cements my conviction that my M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro with the MC-14 and MC-20 are all I’ll ever need for my telephoto photography; that’s my current setup.

I am very much  a 12-75mm µ4/3 photographer. I am blessed to have the 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro and both teleconverters at my disposal; all three “Santa” gifts.

Jim Pilcher
Summit County, Colorado, USA
Don't trust anyone under 9100 feet

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Samuel Dilworth
Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 482
Re: Not useful

You took that graciously, Stephen – making me look more than a little rude by comparison. Fair.

I wondered if the hash pattern on the cup was an aliasing artefact. Most digital cameras no longer have anti-aliasing filters (optical low-pass filters), so repeating patterns of dots or lines at the right pitch often excite aliasing. The sharper the lens, the greater the aliasing. Perhaps the prime in particular is picking up the halftone printing dots in the pink background, generating the aliasing artefact.

Samuel Dilworth
Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 482
Re: Not useful

Tech Head wrote:

I stand by my conclusion, and I believe the results will be substantially similar if the OP repeats the test. It may not be perfect, but the differences were substantial enough that I don't think any repeat tests will alter the ranking of the lenses.

I don’t doubt the ranking for a moment.

However, I’d be interested to know how much field curvature / astigmatism the 40-150 mm f/2.8 has with the teleconverter. It’s hard to tell that from these images. Can you point it at a distant horizon and have reasonably in-focus edges? The horizon of the sea, for example.

OP OZ Steve Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: Not useful

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

You took that graciously, Stephen – making me look more than a little rude by comparison. Fair.

I wondered if the hash pattern on the cup was an aliasing artefact. Most digital cameras no longer have anti-aliasing filters (optical low-pass filters), so repeating patterns of dots or lines at the right pitch often excite aliasing. The sharper the lens, the greater the aliasing. Perhaps the prime in particular is picking up the halftone printing dots in the pink background, generating the aliasing artefact.

Hi Samuel,

I am not big on conflict.

Not not being a skilled technical photographer helps on accepting feedback.     I still have a lot to learn and am looking forward to the journey, some posts on this forum help me with that.

I believe you are correct with regards to the harsh pattern. It is more noticeable on the 300 Pro picture, presumably some form of an aliasing artefact related to the conversion by the camera into jpg format.  I may have a look at the RAW file and see what it looks like.

Regards

Stephen

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OP OZ Steve Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: Looked at the RAW file

Just checked the 300 Pro RAW file with the Olympus Viewer and was somewhat surprised to see the hash pattern, on the pink background of the cup, clearly present in the RAW file.

So apparently not due to the jpg conversion.

Regards,

Stephen

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Samuel Dilworth
Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 482
Re: Looked at the RAW file

OZ Steve wrote:

So apparently not due to the jpg conversion.

Yeah. The in-camera JPEG engine usually attempts some moiré-reduction. Depending on how you processed the Raw file to view it (i.e. what software), there may have been more aliasing visible than in the camera JPEG.

These artefacts are why cameras had anti-aliasing filters until the clamour for sharpness led manufacturers to remove them from most cameras.

Inkentshane New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Thank You!

Jouko wrote:

Helps my decision... Going to refresh my setup from 75-300 and 50-200 SWD with 40-150mm + TC14 and TC20 this spring... Bit heavier than the 75-300, but more useful in the low light, and seems to work better than the 50-200 with EC's. And is a lot lighter than the 50-200.

PS. I have been satisfied with the IQ of the 75-300 - a great light tele for travels and especially at the shorter distances (less than 15m, about) sharp enough, if the lights are ok. The 50-200 has been a workhorse, but the limitations with some new tech (ProCapture, focus stacking etc).

Cheers!

Jouko
'The best camera in the world is the one you have with you when you need it'
https://www.instagram.com/jouko.k.lehto/
http://lehtokukka.smugmug.com/
http://jouko-lehto.artistwebsites.com/
https://joukolehto.blogspot.fi/ - Lenses for mFT-cameras
https://joukolehto.blogspot.fi/2015/12/what-to-dowith-camera-during-winter.html

I did not conduct any controlled tests but I was impressed at the results from the 40-150 + mc-20. And the bare lens is just wonderful. IMO a great lightweight and flexible solution

OP OZ Steve Regular Member • Posts: 102
Re: Not useful
1

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Tech Head wrote:

I stand by my conclusion, and I believe the results will be substantially similar if the OP repeats the test. It may not be perfect, but the differences were substantial enough that I don't think any repeat tests will alter the ranking of the lenses.

I don’t doubt the ranking for a moment.

However, I’d be interested to know how much field curvature / astigmatism the 40-150 mm f/2.8 has with the teleconverter. It’s hard to tell that from these images. Can you point it at a distant horizon and have reasonably in-focus edges? The horizon of the sea, for example.

Melbourne, where I live, is under a thick layer of bushfire smoke at present and taking distant horizon photo's would be (to re-use the headline above ) Not useful. The day I took the original photos was one of the few relatively clear days we have had in the last 10 days or so.

I will keep the request in mind and use it as an excuse to go to the beach when the extreme smoke and haze finally clears which unfortunately could be weeks/ months if we keep getting more fires.

It is really depressing hearing & thinking about the damage being done to farming communities, native animals and the general environment by these extreme fires.

Stephen.

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John252 New Member • Posts: 11
Re: Not useful
1

Even from half a world away in the States our hearts are breaking, seeing what’s happening in your country, and there’s a feeling of helplessness since there’s not much we can do about it. And thinking that our lifestyle may be a contributing factor makes it worse.  Please stay strong and take care of each other over there. 
Thanks for doing the test. I’m also debating the 300mm options, currently enjoying the lightweight 75-300 but struggling with its small aperture in poor light. I know the 300 4.0 is the answer but don’t want to carry the weight when on a long hike. I wish For one of those lightweight fresnel lenses for m43.

john

Kae1 New Member • Posts: 19
Very useful comparison

I found this comparison extremely helpful.

Since changing to m4/3 I've always lusted after the Pro level lenses but the cost & weight have always been the critical factors for me. Plus as I only view images on my 23" monitor the comparison you've made does give me an indication of how much quality I would gain for an additional investment!

I downloaded all three jpegs and compared them on my monitor. To me at 100% views, as one would expect, there are clear benefits to the Pro level lenses over the 75-300 consumer lens. Obviously this would also apply to cropped images.

However, at around a 30% view (i.e. the image fills the monitor) the differences whilst being there are much less noticeable.  If I then put the cost of the lenses into the equation i.e. £300 v £1200 v £1800 and consider a cost/quality curve then, thankfully for me, I would be unable to justify to me (or my wife) the additional investment of the better lenses.

Incidentally I did manage to justify a second hand Panasonic 100-400 on additional reach / quality / cost grounds 

For me, this comparison has helped to quench my GAS  Thank you.

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Jouko Senior Member • Posts: 1,696
Re: Thank You!

I did not conduct any controlled tests but I was impressed at the results from the 40-150 + mc-20. And the bare lens is just wonderful. IMO a great lightweight and flexible solution

That's what I'm looking for. Faster focusing than the 50-200 SWD, faster F-stop than 75-300. I've read some reviews (pro and user), mostly very positive. Just a few with TC20, but some seem to think that's a better combination than  with the TC14 - don't know but I'll get both, for different purposes. F4 is useful here  in wintertime daylight, F5.6 is bit slow...

And I have the 300mm F2.8 D-Zuiko for those shots I need reach and light.

Jouko
'The best camera in the world is the one you have with you when you need it'
https://www.instagram.com/jouko.k.lehto/
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http://jouko-lehto.artistwebsites.com/
https://joukolehto.blogspot.fi/ - Lenses for mFT-cameras
https://joukolehto.blogspot.fi/2015/12/what-to-dowith-camera-during-winter.html

Gary from Seattle Veteran Member • Posts: 4,203
I don't doubt your results, but.....

To be sure, you would need to repeat them. Also, I would think there is far greater sample variation on the 75-300 than on the Pro lenses. So this result may not directly apply to some with lucky copies. My 75-300 is quite sharp in the center, but is poor upper left; but that is not a big deal because I am using it mostly for creatures at the center of the frame. I didn't even notice that weakness until recently when I've used that lens a few times for more of a landscape type image.

For me, the weakness in the 75-300 has to do with stabilization at long focal lengths particularly when the light is poor. The hit rate here is not that high, but the best images are often quite good. It is also poor (relatively) for shooting moving birds because of focus acquisition speed and accuracy.

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