Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Started 4 months ago | Questions
Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
1

After inspection and some testing, I purchased an ancient OM 300mm to quell my expensive lust for a long lens. After purchasing it, I bicycled to Rosslyn for some more serious test shots. Lacking a tripod, and unable to get focus peaking to work, focusing was rather troublesome.

Obviously, it was rather cloudy & hazy and there wasn't lot of light. Although f4.5 is baked into the EXIF, the lens was probably at f5.6, which I used for most in this set to test my new purchase.

I have no experience with any lens longer than 150mm (300 FF equivalent), and now I have doubled that.

Granted, this is underexposed but should I expect better?

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ANSWER:
victorav Senior Member • Posts: 1,035
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Bassam Guy wrote:

After inspection and some testing, I purchased an ancient OM 300mm to quell my expensive lust for a long lens. After purchasing it, I bicycled to Rosslyn for some more serious test shots. Lacking a tripod, and unable to get focus peaking to work, focusing was rather troublesome.

Obviously, it was rather cloudy & hazy and there wasn't lot of light. Although f4.5 is baked into the EXIF, the lens was probably at f5.6, which I used for most in this set to test my new purchase.

I have no experience with any lens longer than 150mm (300 FF equivalent), and now I have doubled that.

Granted, this is underexposed but should I expect better?

Cool shot, yes it is a bit dark.

How much was the lens may I ask. I'm thinking a vintage telephoto prime might be cost effective way to start trying  out telephoto shots.

The Grumpy Snapper Regular Member • Posts: 475
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
8

A pointless test given the distance and atmospheric disturbance over that sort of distance.

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It's the image that's important, not the tools used to make it. I wonder if carpenters list the hammers they use on carpentry forums.

OP Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
1

victorav wrote:

Bassam Guy wrote:

After inspection and some testing, I purchased an ancient OM 300mm to quell my expensive lust for a long lens. After purchasing it, I bicycled to Rosslyn for some more serious test shots. Lacking a tripod, and unable to get focus peaking to work, focusing was rather troublesome.

Obviously, it was rather cloudy & hazy and there wasn't lot of light. Although f4.5 is baked into the EXIF, the lens was probably at f5.6, which I used for most in this set to test my new purchase.

I have no experience with any lens longer than 150mm (300 FF equivalent), and now I have doubled that.

Granted, this is underexposed but should I expect better?

Cool shot, yes it is a bit dark.

How much was the lens may I ask. I'm thinking a vintage telephoto prime might be cost effective way to start trying out telephoto shots.

Didn't expect a "cool shot" comment on a test photo but thanks. $150 - there were lower prices on ebay but not low enough to offset the convenience of in-store purchase sans postage, and inspection from a familiar and reputable dealer (same store used by Rob Trek).

I was rather surprised that, at two miles, the Washington Monument wouldn't fit in landscape orientation.

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OP Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

A pointless test given the distance and atmospheric disturbance over that sort of distance.

That actually answers my question. I've never shot anything at that distance or with such a long lens, so didn't know what to expect. Thanks.

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rogerstpierre Veteran Member • Posts: 4,717
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

The lens does not have the reputation to be particularly stellar, and hand held this is about as much as you can expect I would think.

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Roger

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drj3 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,850
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Put it in LR, use Dehaze and raise the exposure (it will be somewhat noisy because of the underexposure).  It appears even in the underexposed image to be much better than I would expect at that distance.

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drj3

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Henry Stamm Veteran Member • Posts: 3,363
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
4

Photo below was taken with the OM 300mm f4.5 lens in Yellowstone Park in 2006.  Paired with 5mp Olympus E-1 DSLR

From Yellowstone Park with OM 300mm f4.5

This one below is with E-1 and 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 (first version), offered for perspective of the overall scene.

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone Park, 2006

The OM 300mm lens is best used on a tripod with focus peaking.  Even with modern IBIS cameras, it is difficult to focus and avoid camera shake when shooting hand-held.  But for inexpensive telephoto, I think it's worth learning to use it if no other option is available.  I found the OM 200mm f4 lens far easier to use, but again, probably best on a tripod.  The 200mm lens also seems to have better contrast.

The photo below is from a 200mm lens shot.  Hand-held.  E-1 and OM 200mm f4

Crows feasting on a dead elk in the Madison River, Yellowstone Park, 2006

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victorav Senior Member • Posts: 1,035
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Wow really nice shots.

Henry Stamm Veteran Member • Posts: 3,363
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

All of the shots above would be better now if taken with my em1.2 camera.  But I also no longer own any of the OM lenses I had in 2006 (although I did acquire the OM 500mm f8 mirror/reflex lens a few years later and still have it).  So I can't take comparison shots now.

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Henry Stamm Veteran Member • Posts: 3,363
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

victorav wrote:

Wow really nice shots.

Thank you.  They are decent snaps, but by today's standards, lack good focus and clarity.

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Paul Auclair
Paul Auclair Veteran Member • Posts: 6,079
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
1

it's a camera lens and not a telescope.

i think there is plenty enough detail (i can see many of the individual blocks of the monument and the wire/lines of the crane) to say the lens seems pretty decent if you want to use it as a telescope.

take pictures of/post stuff closer to the camera to judge how well the lens picks up detail.

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as always,
thank you fellow DPR members for your kind words and encouragement.

OP Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

drj3 wrote:

Put it in LR, use Dehaze and raise the exposure (it will be somewhat noisy because of the underexposure). It appears even in the underexposed image to be much better than I would expect at that distance.

Thanks. I know I could PP this and get something better but this is a lens test, or a test of my expectations. The picture itself is mundane, as I live near DC.

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Albert Valentino Veteran Member • Posts: 9,023
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Bassam Guy wrote:

drj3 wrote:

Put it in LR, use Dehaze and raise the exposure (it will be somewhat noisy because of the underexposure). It appears even in the underexposed image to be much better than I would expect at that distance.

Thanks. I know I could PP this and get something better but this is a lens test, or a test of my expectations. The picture itself is mundane, as I live near DC.

These results mean nothin. First, the underexposure means more noise which means less sharpness. But, more importantly, testing lens sharpness on a subject 2 miles away is almost pointless except on the clearest of days. Atmospheric haze, with all the suspended dust and dirt over that distance is akin to looking through a dusty window. Test with something close like vehicle license plates, or trees on a windless day. One count the sharpest results. The lesser ones from a set reflect technique and conditions, the sharpest ones reflect the lens itself

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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 35,804
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
2

Bassam Guy wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

A pointless test given the distance and atmospheric disturbance over that sort of distance.

That actually answers my question. I've never shot anything at that distance or with such a long lens, so didn't know what to expect. Thanks.

Despite the urky atmosphere that crane on the left has good detail, still air would see it quite sharp indeed. I would hazard that your result looks better than I could get at 2 miles with my Oly 75-300mm where I would probably be using f/8 to try and find its sweet spot.

Is that 300/4.5 heavy or awkward to use?

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selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
Messier Object Forum Pro • Posts: 10,007
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
7

Bassam Guy wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

A pointless test given the distance and atmospheric disturbance over that sort of distance.

That actually answers my question. I've never shot anything at that distance or with such a long lens, so didn't know what to expect. Thanks.

no, that’s just one point of view.

Sure, atmospheric conditions can impact imaging over long distances, but testing on distant subjects is far from pointless, especially if you’re  viewing or capturing astronomical subjects.

The OM300/4.5 is a handy lens. It renders nice images of close birds and can produce pleasing landscapes  if you refrain from peeping too deeply.

Some purple fringing is evident Wide open if your subject has strong back lighting.

Manual Focus can be a bit tricky if the focus mechanism of your lens is a bit stiff (mine is)

Enjoy your lens, and don’t take too much notice of folks who insist that what you do is pointless.

Peter

OP Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
1

Albert Valentino wrote:

Bassam Guy wrote:

drj3 wrote:

Put it in LR, use Dehaze and raise the exposure (it will be somewhat noisy because of the underexposure). It appears even in the underexposed image to be much better than I would expect at that distance.

Thanks. I know I could PP this and get something better but this is a lens test, or a test of my expectations. The picture itself is mundane, as I live near DC.

These results mean nothin. First, the underexposure means more noise which means less sharpness. But, more importantly, testing lens sharpness on a subject 2 miles away is almost pointless except on the clearest of days. Atmospheric haze, with all the suspended dust and dirt over that distance is akin to looking through a dusty window. Test with something close like vehicle license plates, or trees on a windless day. One count the sharpest results. The lesser ones from a set reflect technique and conditions, the sharpest ones reflect the lens itself

I don't mean to be contrary but to me these results mean something. Like I said, I have no experience with lenses above 150mm.

My question was: "I have no experience with any lens longer than 150mm (300 FF equivalent), and now I have doubled that. Granted, this is underexposed but should I expect better?"

And, I infer from your reply, your answer is "no, you shouldn't expect better".

Thank you.

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OP Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Messier Object wrote:

Bassam Guy wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

A pointless test given the distance and atmospheric disturbance over that sort of distance.

That actually answers my question. I've never shot anything at that distance or with such a long lens, so didn't know what to expect. Thanks.

no, that’s just one point of view.

Sure, atmospheric conditions can impact imaging over long distances, but testing on distant subjects is far from pointless, especially if you’re viewing or capturing astronomical subjects.

The OM300/4.5 is a handy lens. It renders nice images of close birds and can produce pleasing landscapes if you refrain from peeping too deeply.

Happy to hear that.

Some purple fringing is evident Wide open if your subject has strong back lighting.

Already found that out the hard way

Manual Focus can be a bit tricky if the focus mechanism of your lens is a bit stiff (mine is)

The focus is stiff but not the least bit challenging, as I am familiar with MF-Only lenses.

Enjoy your lens, and don’t take too much notice of folks who insist that what you do is pointless.

Peter

Thank you.

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OP Bassam Guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)

Guy Parsons wrote:

Bassam Guy wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

A pointless test given the distance and atmospheric disturbance over that sort of distance.

That actually answers my question. I've never shot anything at that distance or with such a long lens, so didn't know what to expect. Thanks.

Despite the urky atmosphere that crane on the left has good detail, still air would see it quite sharp indeed. I would hazard that your result looks better than I could get at 2 miles with my Oly 75-300mm where I would probably be using f/8 to try and find its sweet spot.

The 75-300 was to be my next step if the 300 4.5 failed.

Is that 300/4.5 heavy or awkward to use?

Heavy and awkward? Compared to the 17 1.8 that was the only other lens I had with me, yes.

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Albert Valentino Veteran Member • Posts: 9,023
Re: Olympus OM Zuiko 300mm f4.5 at 2 miles (3.2 Km)
2

Bassam Guy wrote:

Albert Valentino wrote:

Bassam Guy wrote:

drj3 wrote:

Put it in LR, use Dehaze and raise the exposure (it will be somewhat noisy because of the underexposure). It appears even in the underexposed image to be much better than I would expect at that distance.

Thanks. I know I could PP this and get something better but this is a lens test, or a test of my expectations. The picture itself is mundane, as I live near DC.

These results mean nothin. First, the underexposure means more noise which means less sharpness. But, more importantly, testing lens sharpness on a subject 2 miles away is almost pointless except on the clearest of days. Atmospheric haze, with all the suspended dust and dirt over that distance is akin to looking through a dusty window. Test with something close like vehicle license plates, or trees on a windless day. One count the sharpest results. The lesser ones from a set reflect technique and conditions, the sharpest ones reflect the lens itself

I don't mean to be contrary but to me these results mean something.

they mean something. But the conditions do not test the lens potential. I have owned several long lenses, up to 500mm on an APS body. There are many variables to getting s sharp result on a long lens, including spending a lot of time mastering technique, including breathing when you roll your finger over the shutter (even a hard press on the shutter can soften the result).

when I moved to m43 I picked up the 75-300 lens and got good results with good technique. However, many times when I was at a beach shooting birds I would turn my lens  out to the big cargo ships coming into NY which were often a good mile or two away. Even in very good light, the subject looked like a compressed jpg due to all the atmospheric distortion. Any lens would smudge the details as this type shot is akin to shooting through dirty glass.

Like I said, I have no experience with lenses above 150mm.

that’s okay. We all start somewhere and learn. Sometimes the learning process is the most fun Just practice, and read to learn how the little things can enhance results, like using O second anti-shock, or electronic shutter.

My question was: "I have no experience with any lens longer than 150mm (300 FF equivalent), and now I have doubled that. Granted, this is underexposed but should I expect better?"

And, I infer from your reply, your answer is "no, you shouldn't expect better".

Thank you.

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