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  • 300mm f/4.0

    Like lots of us who like to photograph things a long way away I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Micro-4/3 300mm f/4 lens (while fearing the hole it would make in the wallet, of course). Recently when Ian was flogging off some of his ex-hire stuff, it occurred to me that since I already had the lovely 4/3 150mm f/2 lens, I could marry it to the EC-20 2x teleconverter and get 300mm f/4 at a fraction of the price. So I bought the converter from Ian and have used it for a couple of rugby matches.

    I am very pleased with the results. Here is an action shot from last Saturday, it was a lovely sunny afternoon so there was plenty of light and contrast to help with the focussing. According to the EXIF this was nearly 50 metres away, it is a crop of roughly 75% linear (about 3600 x 2700), shot wide open at f/4. Only post-processing is to boost the shadows and pull back highlights a lot to cope with the contrast in the sunshine:



    I think this one is a bit back-focussed, which I'm sure is down to my poor technique rather than any fault in the optics. It was still plenty good enough for an A4 print, and featured fairly big in the local paper.

    Here is another, less dynamic shot. It is the full frame, at about 40 metres. One of the things that has really impressed me about the combo is that I can't see any vignetting at all. The big zooms tend to show it, it's not a big problem and is easy to correct, but nicer when it's not there.



    And viewing at 100% shows that performance is not too shabby either:



    The lens-converter-adapter combo is pretty bulky and heavy, but still just about manageable hand-held with a shoulder pod. It will be interesting to see how it fares once we get into more traditional rugby weather. Using the combo adds the benefit of flexibility - at half-time in December I can swap the EC-20 for the EC-14 and get f/2.8, and when it gets really gloomy take the converter out and shoot at f/2.

    Ciao ... John

  • #2
    Re: 300mm f/4.0

    Interesting will have to try my 150 and 1.4 on the EM1
    Ed

    Live life in the slow lane.

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    • #3
      Re: 300mm f/4.0

      The 150 works really well with the EC-14 Ed, which is why I thought it was worth a punt to see how well it works with the EC-20. And I'm happy to say that it paid off

      John

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      • #4
        Re: 300mm f/4.0

        When I owned the 150mm F2 I found it to be a wonderful lens and the real jewel in the E-System crown. The pairing of it with the EC20 works very well, in fact IMO this is THE lens to use the EC20 with.

        If I still owned the 150 I would do as you John, purchase an EC20 to use with it and forget about the new 300mm. Yes it is a rather large and heavy lens but the results that can be obtained with it just take your breath away.

        Kind regards, Simon
        “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept”
        ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

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        • #5
          Re: 300mm f/4.0

          With results as shown against bang for bucks, I'd reckon you've knocked an upcoming GAS into touch.
          It's not what inspires us that is important, it's where the journey takes us.

          Wally and his Collie with our Oly bits & bobs

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          • #6
            Re: 300mm f/4.0

            Originally posted by Wally View Post
            With results as shown against bang for bucks, I'd reckon you've knocked an upcoming GAS into touch.
            Exactly what I am hoping, Wally. I've no doubt the new one will be smaller & lighter than the combo, although it will still be a chunky beast - physics means the front element will be 3 inches across, which is a big hunk of glass. It will almost certainly focus faster and be sharper - but the combo does pretty well anyway. On the other hand, it will cost well into 4 figures and it won't offer the flexibility of taking the converters out when the light goes.

            Thanks all for your comments ... John

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            • #7
              Re: 300mm f/4.0

              Nice image samples John of a cheaper alternative to what will be a cripplingly expensive lens.

              I have been pondering going slower and getting a four third 50-200mm (I already have the adapter that I got free with the grip when buying the EM1) interested to hear the thoughts of others (I am currently using the Pany 100-300 for long shots and while good, I am sure the 50-200 is better).
              Ian from the Cotswolds
              http://571photography.blogspot.co.uk/

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              • #8
                Re: 300mm f/4.0

                I tried the Panny 100-300 but on balance preferred the 50-200 and EC-14 combo. The 100-300 is good but there are a few things that I liked less about it. Lack of weathersealing is one - important if you are going to photograph rugby in an English winter. I also got rather confused because the zoom goes in the opposite direction from the Olys. Although that is pretty minor as with practice it's easy enough to get used to it. I think the 50-200/EC-14 combo has an edge in sharpness too.

                John

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                • #9
                  Re: 300mm f/4.0

                  Have tried that combo with an E-3 & E-30 when I rented the 150mm F2 from Ian in the past. Great results, I didn't get around to trying it with the EM-1 last time I rented it tho'



                  She’s the main man in the office in the city
                  And she treats me like I’m just another lackey
                  But I can put a tennis racket up against my face
                  And pretend that I am Kendo Nagasaki

                  Half Man Half Biscuit

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 300mm f/4.0

                    Your subjects are even bigger, slower and uglier than mine

                    John

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                    • #11
                      Re: 300mm f/4.0

                      Originally posted by Bikie John View Post
                      Your subjects are even bigger, slower and uglier than mine

                      John
                      To be fair, there's not a lot in it John. An interesting thread.

                      Ron

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                      • #12
                        Re: 300mm f/4.0

                        On a slight tangent. I now have a Nikon 300 F4, AF-S, PF. I ordered a metabones adapter on Saturday so I hope to give the 300mm a spin on the EM-1 in the near future.
                        She’s the main man in the office in the city
                        And she treats me like I’m just another lackey
                        But I can put a tennis racket up against my face
                        And pretend that I am Kendo Nagasaki

                        Half Man Half Biscuit

                        Comment

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