Landscape telephoto lenses

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
bloodsoul New Member • Posts: 8
Landscape telephoto lenses
2

Hi,

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?

ƒ/7.1 | 30 mm | 6 s | 100 ISO

Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 18,354
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
1

The plastic fantastic 40-150 always goes into my backpacking kit. It's not super sharp but is adequately sharp and offers that reach you have been missing, at minimal weight and bulk.

IBIS is helpful, it's more of a challenge on a non-IBIS camera like the GM5.

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Rick

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jwilliams Veteran Member • Posts: 5,607
I've had ...
1

bloodsoul wrote:

Hi,

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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Lichtspiel
Lichtspiel Senior Member • Posts: 2,320
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
1

bloodsoul wrote:

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

Yep, total no-brainer. And no, unlike the 75-300, the Oly 40-150 does not get soft at the long end.

I compared it with its large, heavy, expensive Pro-buddy, and all I can say, it's holding up very well.

Keep in mind though, when you do landscapes with a telephoto, you are compressing any atmospheric disturbances/distortions, and often end up with a muddy, soft looking shot. Not the lens' fault...

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ahaslett
ahaslett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,877
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

I’m not really a tele landscape shooter, but...

Serious work would involve the old 50-200SWD which is excellent stopped down.  My backup pocket tele is the Panasonic 35-100 kit.  My copy has weak contrast but does the job fine.

Andrew

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Terrible Photographer
Terrible Photographer Contributing Member • Posts: 603
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
1

bloodsoul wrote:

Hi,

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?

ƒ/7.1 | 30 mm | 6 s | 100 ISO

If you can find an Oly 40-150R for less than $100, it's a great deal.

It's not awesome at 150mm, but at every other range and at f/6.7-ish it's actually pretty good.

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john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 4,465
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
2

The Olympus 12-100 f/4 is an excellent single lens solution, although it is decidedly larger and heavier than other possibilities.  If you want the best image quality with wide and telephoto capability, then that is the lens to take.

If you get a lens with minimum focal length around 40+mm, then you are committing to frequent lens changes which is not ideal for outdoor work.

My main choice is the Olympus 14-150.  I do miss the 12mm minimum focal length, and the weather resistant options are very limited.  But I shoot a lot of panoramas, so even at 14mm I can get wider with a couple of shots.

I have travelled with the 12-40, 14-150, and 9-18.  Lots of overlap means I don't have to change lenses as often, and that is my key issue.  I usually take the 45mm f/1.8 and 17mm f/1.8 for low light work in cities (portraits, shows, and museums).  I usually take the 12mm f/2 for astrophotography.

But the 12-100 is such an excellent lens, I'm more inclined to take it, some fast primes, and either stitch if I need wider or bring the Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye.

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Albert Valentino Veteran Member • Posts: 8,792
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

As a fellow camper and hiker, my combo is the PL 8-18 and Oly 12-100 on my EM1. Yes, the 12-100 is a bit big but no lens changes, until I need ultra wide, and no need for a longer lens to compliment my 12+ zoom. Sold my 12-40 a few weeks after getting the 12-100 last year.

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rashid7
rashid7 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,569
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

It's not just the "meh" IQ ... but the bloated size/wgt of 45-200 which turns me off )-;

don't waste your $

just saying

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rashid7
rashid7 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,569
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

love your photo of tents on the hill!

While they both seem good, my O40-150 seemed so cheaply built.  The P45-150 has a more quality feel, as in feel of the zoom action!  And my 2 copies = quite sharp at the long end, wide open

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kcdogger Senior Member • Posts: 2,908
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

Albert Valentino wrote:

As a fellow camper and hiker, my combo is the PL 8-18 and Oly 12-100 on my EM1. Yes, the 12-100 is a bit big but no lens changes, until I need ultra wide, and no need for a longer lens to compliment my 12+ zoom. Sold my 12-40 a few weeks after getting the 12-100 last year.

+1 on this, except I still have my 12-40 also.

Peace.

John

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Rohith Thumati Contributing Member • Posts: 654
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
2

I have three telephoto zooms:

  • The 40-150 f2.8 is awesome, but it is big and heavy (relatively speaking) and pricey. It’s worth it if you use it.
  • The 35-100 f4-5.6 is really good, especially given how tiny it is. I’d say it’s a step behind the 40-150 f2.8, but it’s still excellent. Only real criticism I have is that the zoom ring on mine is a little stiff.
  • the Olympus 40-150 4-5.6 is fine. It’s definitely a 1st gen Micro Four Thirds lens. But it’s cheap though! It doesn’t match the 35-100 f4-5.6, but it does have an extra 50mm of reach. I pretty much stopped using mine after I got the 35-100 and f2.8 version  It’s so cheap new/refurbished that I can’t get rid of it.

I’ve also tried the Panasonic 100-300mm and 35-100 f2.8. I thought the 100-300 was fine. It’s a budget supertele. I was disappointed by the 35-100 f2.8; it didn’t seem much better than the F4-5.6 version, if at all. 1-2 extra stops is great though, and it is a lot smaller than the 40-150 f2.8

As for whether the 35-100mm has enough reach - there really isn’t such a thing. I often wish for more reach from my 40-150. But the 35-100 covers a classic range, gives very good results, is small enough that you likely won’t even notice it in your bag, and it’s inexpensive enough that if it’s only used occasionally, you’re not out a ton.

Jouko Senior Member • Posts: 1,762
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

I've had the Oly 40-150 (cheap version), 40-150 f2.8 and FT 50-200 SWD... All gave (or give) very good results.

If you are on a budget, or ean to go very light the plastic 40-150 is a very good option.

But you mention "bad weather". The cheap one is not weather sealed. The f2.8 and the old 50-200 SWD are. These two are also optically better, but heavier - the SWD-version the heaviest. It would also need the MMF3-adapter to be weathersealed.

But there are also al kinds of plastic bags etc available to help with the weather...

Cheers!

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cosmicnode Veteran Member • Posts: 5,261
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
1

bloodsoul wrote:

Hi,

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?

ƒ/7.1 | 30 mm | 6 s | 100 ISO

These are shot using the Oly 40-150 f2.8, on a local walk We often use , I wanted tighter shots of Greytowers than I could normally get with a 12-40mm , The second shot is a local landmark Roseberry Topping, about 4 miles away although not clear, you can see the walkers on the top, the walk over the top is part of the Cleveland Way and Coast to Coast walk, from my use of various lenses on this walk I would consider a lens that started at wide angle, although expensive and I don't own one, for a single lens for walking around for landscape think I will be looking at a 12-100mm. shooting a static shot at 150mm focal length even with IBIS is not easy hand held, the viewfinder image is difficult to keep steady, I was able on this day to use a fast shutter speed, but may have gotten a sharper image using a tripod.

Greytowers

Roseberry Topping, focused on the hill itself, it used to be a ironstone mine.

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larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 16,814
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
2

bloodsoul wrote:

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

I don't have it but I do have the 35-100/2.8 so I will say that I find it a useful range of focal lengths for landscape.  Shooting landscapes with longer lenses can be tricky because you start to have problems with atmospheric effects.  So yeah, if I wanted a budget tele for landscape, I'd definitely look at the Panasonic 35-100/4-5.6.

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.

I'm one of the people that didn't like theirs. I literally gave mine away. It was quite soft at the long end.

fft2000 Contributing Member • Posts: 883
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses
2

I use both, the PL100-400 and the Oly 75-300II. Well, used the 100-400, it is 1) too heavy for lugging around just for potential shots and 2) I am too afraid of potential damages that I used it less, last time I used it was - over 1 year ago I think... Output of course is superior to the Oly.

But the Oly is so damn small and light and output is still good. It might be too long most of the time (150-200 would be enough) but being able to get the 300mm-shot in those rare occasions it's a nice thing to have:

Not too bad for wide open at 300mm, I think.

And as nobody else posted tele landscape photos here you are.

All taken with the Oly 75-300.

rashid7
rashid7 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,569
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

fft2000 wrote:

I use both, the PL100-400 and the Oly 75-300II. Well, used the 100-400, it is 1) too heavy for lugging around just for potential shots and 2) I am too afraid of potential damages that I used it less, last time I used it was - over 1 year ago I think... Output of course is superior to the Oly.

But the Oly is so damn small and light and output is still good. It might be too long most of the time (150-200 would be enough) but being able to get the 300mm-shot in those rare occasions it's a nice thing to have:

Not too bad for wide open at 300mm, I think.

And as nobody else posted tele landscape photos here you are.

All taken with the Oly 75-300.

your last shot is a lovely subject, but not nearly as sharp as the bird

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fft2000 Contributing Member • Posts: 883
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

rashid7 wrote:

fft2000 wrote:

Not too bad for wide open at 300mm, I think.

your last shot is a lovely subject, but not nearly as sharp as the bird

Thank you!

And yes, it's not as sharp, the reasons:

Bird shot is original size and kind of optimized, while the horse shot (like all other landscape photos I posted here) is scaled down to 1600px on the long side WITHOUT sharpening after the resize. Furthermore I had the E-M1 from my dad with me. I had shot landscape at sunset. Sun was already gone, then those horses popped up out of nowhere. I had time to change the lens but not being familiar with the camera I couldn't find a fast way to change the ISO, because the horses already moved along - there were 5 of them, at the time I looked for the ISO button only two were still there. 234mm at 1/20s with strong wind blowing - the image is just a little bit shook up But as you said, lovely subject, so I posted it, despite it's technical flaws.

OP bloodsoul New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

Thanks everyone for posts! I haven't decided yet, still hunting on eBay. Found new contender in Panasonic 45-175 4.0-5.6. Weirdly nobody mentioned it. I really like the quality of samples, it looks to me like it has reduced atmospheric disturbances/distortions if it's even possible. I don't want to spend £400 for it, so I'll look for used one, same with Pana 35-100 which is my 2nd favourite right now, a lot of you mentioned it and really like it. If I happen to not find anything until about middle of the month, I'll just go for a new Oly 40-150.

By the way, I am thinking of changing system in next 2 years → what direction would you go for landscape, nature, pets and macro? Nikon full frame mirrorless seems tempting for its potential in the future. Sony kinda safe, established option.  Fuji I don't know much about, although T. Heaton recently started shooting Fuji X-T3, for some reason chose it over Nikon or Sony.

ahaslett
ahaslett Veteran Member • Posts: 6,877
Re: Landscape telephoto lenses

I’d look at what lenses are available plus those already announced.  Nikon has a lot of fans for its camera design experience.  Sony opened E mount up to third parties and has about as many lenses as MFT, although with a different approach to optimum design.

If there is any chance an A9 plus A7R4 combo would appeal, then Sony.

FF is almost inevitably more expensive than MFT.

Andrew

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