Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shooting With The Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II

Have had the opportunity to check out and shoot with the Olympus 75-300 f/4.8-6.7 II lens.

This particular copy was obtained used and was shot without a lens hood.  I shot it as I normally would shoot on any other day, any other assignment or any other outing.  I do this because I want to see if the cameras or lenses fit my shooting style.  I also post processed these images as I would any other images I share because for me, it is about the deliverable at the end of the day.  Images straight out of camera mean very little to me in the grand scheme of things.

1/320, f/8, ISO 320 @ 300mm
Why this lens?  I look at it this way.  I can optically get out to a field of view of 600mm and with the 2x digital teleconverter, I can reach out to an astounding effective FOV of 1200mm!!

1/640, f/4.8, ISO 200 @ 75mm
In order to get this kind of reach on an FX sensor size body, the cost would be a whole lot more at the current market rates.  Below I will share some images from this lens at various focal lengths and one using the 2x digital teleconverter.

1/320, f/6.1, ISO 250 @ 200mm
Right to the point - this is a great lens, but not exceptional.  It is wonderful to use right up to about 280mm(560mm FOV) at which point I noticed that it did soften up a bit.

1/800, f/5.1, ISO 200 @ 100mm
It did hunt for focus from time to time, but only at the long end of the zoom range.  It also did miss focus once or twice, but I'm not sure if that was the gears issue or mine - I was hand holding all the shots, so it is possible that the missed focus was due to user error on my part.
The 75-300 is also a relatively fast focuser (not 45/1.8 level - but respectable) and silent because it is classed as MSC (movie and stills compatible).

1/320, f/6.7, ISO 800 @ 300mm
The zoom ring is nice, smooth and precise.  It will get you where you want to be.

The manual focus ring is adequate and useful at times, especially when shooting in the zoo conditions found in our sample images.  Shooting through fences or dirty glass can cause the AF system to focus on the foreground elements and not your subject behind them.

1/800, f/6.7, ISO 200 @ 281mm
The bokeh quality is not one I would call top notch, but respectable.  I do see some jitteryness in the out of focus areas.  I will also state that I've seem way worse.  If you bow to the alter of the bokeh gods - you'll most likely hate this lens...however, you need to also understand that there are really not a lot of options for this zoom or focal length on m43.  The other options being the Panasonic 100-300mm, which optically is indistinguishable from the Olympus.  The Panasonic is also a bit bigger because it uses in lens IS and is a 1/3 stop faster.

1/200, f/6.7, ISO 1000 @ 300mm w/ 2x digital teleconverter
While the aperture is really slow, optically this lens delivers more than what you pay for it - much like the Olympus 40-150 does.  Given the current used prices, you can get yourself an adequate 600mm shooter(optical) or 1200mm (2x digiteleconverter) for under $1000.  Not bad, actually.

All images taken, handheld, with an Olympus OMD EM5, IBIS enabled.  Post processing was done in Lightroom, and any black and white processing was aided with the onOne Perfect B&W plug-in.

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