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Old Mar 9, 2011, 2:45 PM   #1
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Default I would appreciate an opinion here.

I swore I would never do this - buy another Zuiko FF legacy lens since:
a) I agree with Wrotniak that FF lenses need to have twice the resolving power to keep up with a ZD lens designed for a 4/3 sensor; and
b) this was confirmed by my experience comparing the images from a very well respected Zuiko 100mm f/2 compared to my 35-100 f/2 (I sold the Zuiko after taking just a few photos).

But, I found a Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 legacy lens for a very low price and the subsequent GAS attack allowed me to rationalize that the Zuiko 100mm f/2 comparison was unfair against what is arguably one of the 2 best lenses Oly has ever made. I.e. I rationalized my way into buying the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 legacy lens. (How hard is that when you're a camera equipment geek?)

Anyway, I am posting a pair of shots here, because I am surprised at the quality of the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 legacy lens compared to the second comparison shot - the 50-200 with the EC-14. I'm asking for an opinion because at this point in my life I'm not sure I trust my eyesight.

Here is the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 legacy lens shot - across the street on my neighbors garage (so far he hasn't come over to ask me what I'm doing). OOC jpeg, shot on a tripod with the L1 that has the Katzeye screen that allows a decent focus on a legacy lens:



This is the same shot, with the E5, 50-200 with the EC14 (which is not quite 600mm eq. - it's 560mm eq, which is pretty close).



The reason I'm into this is that the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 legacy lens is way smaller and lighter so would be way easier to carry around at the zoo (or when gators are nosing around).

So please tell me what you think - I apologize for posting large images but I would appreciate your opinions. The ZD image is significantly sharper to me.

Ted
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 2:51 PM   #2
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Default PS:

Both were taken with the camera on self-timer to reduce camera shake.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 2:59 PM   #3
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Hi Ted

Looking at the pics at that size (larger would have been even better) I'd say that the OM 300 f4.5 is doing a very fine job and compares well with the ZD. The ZD's sharper and showing more detail but the OM isn;t that far behind in my opinion. Your tests reminded me of the OM lens test that was done by Biofos a few years back.. I havent checked it again but I do remeber that some of the OM's were as good as the Zds'.

http://www.biofos.com/cornucop/omz_e330.html

Cheers

Harj
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 3:07 PM   #4
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The secod images looks sharper and, on the monitor I'm using, warmer. Some of sharpness difference could always be partly less than precise manual focusing. I know that'd be a problem with me trying to use such a lens on any DSLR, even one with a great finder like the E5.

In the upper image, do I see a tree bloom on the right-hand side of the image as you view it that almost looks in-focus? That same bloom does not look nearly as sharp in the second image, making me wonder if the two files are not quite focussed the same.... maybe the top image is a little front-focussed.

Then again, maybe I don't know what the heck I'm talking about either.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 3:17 PM   #5
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Ted: the ZD does appear somewhat sharper when closely examined, using the spotlights and the point of the shingles for reference. But I have to say, it is not that obvious in just looking at the photos. And if you have a cameras that allows you to manual focus thru the viewfinder, then I'd honestly say that you have a keeper.

I did a few test shots last year out on my lanai using a cactus which sets against the screen. I used both digital and manual lens, camera on a tripod, Aperture preferred mode. I put the results in an unlisted gallery on Smugmug. You can see them by using the following link:
http://stevenr.smugmug.com/Miscellan...02003374_QSdAe

Anyway, especially considering the cost difference, how can you go wrong by keeping it. And if you decide later you don't need it, you could easily re-sell it.
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 3:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarjTT View Post
Hi Ted

Looking at the pics at that size (larger would have been even better) I'd say that the OM 300 f4.5 is doing a very fine job and compares well with the ZD. The ZD's sharper and showing more detail but the OM isn;t that far behind in my opinion. Your tests reminded me of the OM lens test that was done by Biofos a few years back.. I havent checked it again but I do remeber that some of the OM's were as good as the Zds'.

Cheers

Harj
Yeah, Harj, to me the Zuiko is not that far behind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
The secod images looks sharper and, on the monitor I'm using, warmer. Some of sharpness difference could always be partly less than precise manual focusing. I know that'd be a problem with me trying to use such a lens on any DSLR, even one with a great finder like the E5.

In the upper image, do I see a tree bloom on the right-hand side of the image as you view it that almost looks in-focus? That same bloom does not look nearly as sharp in the second image, making me wonder if the two files are not quite focussed the same.... maybe the top image is a little front-focussed.

Then again, maybe I don't know what the heck I'm talking about either.
No, Greg, you know exactly what you're talking about. With a 600mm eq. lens this is really all about focus. When I first put the Zuiko in the E5 and tried to focus it, I got crap photos. After much experimenting I found that when I put the the Zuiko on the L1 I have with a Katzeye screen I could get an image that wasn't fuzzy. Waking up to the realization that I'm dealing with a 600mm eq lens here, I found that things got better with the steps you'd take to reduce camera shake: tripod, IS off, and self-timer.

At this point I'm going back to my original premise - no more legacy Zuiko lenses. Even though the Zuiko 300mm is way smaller and lighter than the 50-200+EC1.4, the latter is better and not really that much heavier. So:

I promise not to buy any more Zuiko legacy lenses.
I promise not to buy any more Zuiko legacy lenses.
I promise not to buy any more Zuiko legacy lenses.
I promise not to buy any more Zuiko legacy lenses.

Ted
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 3:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven R View Post
Ted: the ZD does appear somewhat sharper when closely examined, using the spotlights and the point of the shingles for reference. But I have to say, it is not that obvious in just looking at the photos. And if you have a cameras that allows you to manual focus thru the viewfinder, then I'd honestly say that you have a keeper.

I did a few test shots last year out on my lanai using a cactus which sets against the screen. I used both digital and manual lens, camera on a tripod, Aperture preferred mode. I put the results in an unlisted gallery on Smugmug. You can see them by using the following link:
http://stevenr.smugmug.com/Miscellan...02003374_QSdAe

Anyway, especially considering the cost difference, how can you go wrong by keeping it. And if you decide later you don't need it, you could easily re-sell it.
Steven, they're closer than I had expected but I already have the 50-200 and the EC14, and since that's better (sharper) than the Zuiko 300mm I just don't see a reason to keep the Zuiko. However I could easily be persuaded to send it to someone who could give it a good home. Passing equipment on to someone who would use it, is a good way to live a life...

Ted
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 4:43 PM   #8
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Here are my thoughts on the 300mm 4.5 vs the 50-200mm+EC14

Comparing the sharpness between the two: the 50-200mm is definitely sharper. You can see the differences in the asphalt shingles on the peak of the roof.
The asphalt shingles really show the differences between the clarity of the lenses as well.

Noise appears to be equal-why, I don't know but you can see the noise under the soffits.

The 300mm 4.5 also shows purple fringing: see the electrical cables going across the middle of the frame.

Having said all that, the 300mm 4.5 IMHO, is pretty darned good. The final analysis in my mind would be to do exactly what you stated as the reason for buying. Take it to the Zoo or take in the backyard and shoot a lot of photos of animals, upload those and analyze your results. My guess is that you'll like what you see. And, if you still want to sell it then that's another matter.


Me, I'd keep it.

sincerely
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Old Mar 9, 2011, 5:07 PM   #9
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You have to decide which is more important, saving a bit of weight or optical quality.

There's also the fact with the 300mm you are stuck at one focal length...for instance in the shots above if you wanted to see more of the building above with the 50-200mm you can zoom back or remove the teleconverter.

In the past I've bought a 500mm catadioptric, and a 400mm, but these days I prefer to carry my 70-300mm; I did have an OM 60-300mm, but it was a single control push-pull zoom which was great in its time but today I love autofocus.
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Old Mar 10, 2011, 5:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefellh View Post
You have to decide which is more important, saving a bit of weight or optical quality.

There's also the fact with the 300mm you are stuck at one focal length...for instance in the shots above if you wanted to see more of the building above with the 50-200mm you can zoom back or remove the teleconverter.

In the past I've bought a 500mm catadioptric, and a 400mm, but these days I prefer to carry my 70-300mm; I did have an OM 60-300mm, but it was a single control push-pull zoom which was great in its time but today I love autofocus.
Good points, Mike. I also love autofocus. I couldn't focus the Zuiko very well on the E5 - I had to use the L1 with the split image Katzeye finder.

Ted
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