pondering the impossible again - replacing my Olympus 75-300mm?

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
so it's winter again - that time of year when we ponder too much over our photo gear instead of using it :)

I really like the Olympus 75-300mm for it's size&weight to performance ratio.
It does have some shortcomings though:
-slow and not super-accurate autofocus
-in less than perfect light I have to raise the ISO and hence work fairly hard in postprocessing to remove noise to my level of happiness

My hoped for solution to this was that the next generation of m43 sensors would have been a stop or two better. Which would have solved the problem and made all my lenses faster - while keeping their wonderful compactness.
Now that Olympus announced/released the E-M1X and keep pushing for bigger and faster lenses I don't think I will get that "better m43 sensor" anytime soon.

Time to look for alternatives.

Full Frame is out of the question, I guess - I won't get a 600mm(ish) equivalent that weighs just under 500 grams.

Is there a solution in any system that gets me a 150-600mm (ish) equivalent while improving in one or more of these areas:
-better AF, better image quality
without increasing the weight of the lens all too much???

My conclusion is that the only improvement which wouldn't add any weight would be at the sensor level.
So maybe a slow APS-C lens with a fairly current APS-C sensor might do it?



Some shots of the 75-300mm that I really like. All stationary subjects and mostly manual focus: :)

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bunny rabbit
by tilman paulin, on Flickr

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black Robin
by tilman paulin, on Flickr

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Painted Hills
by tilman paulin, on Flickr

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nosey ground squirrel
by tilman paulin, on Flickr

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female Hihi
by tilman paulin, on Flickr

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Tui eating berries
by tilman paulin, on Flickr

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sunday evening walk
by tilman paulin, on Flickr
 
Last edited:
Feb 6, 2015
124
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
I love my Nikon D500 + 300/4 PF VR + TC14E-III. = 630mm field of view at f/5.6

You get more megapixels if you go with the D7200 - D7500 series, plus a smaller body and less expensive.

You do lose the convenience of the zoom though.

There are options, but outside m43.
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
You get more megapixels if you go with the D7200 - D7500 series, plus a smaller body and less expensive.
That's one alternative I was thinking about. Haven't looked at xxx-400mm DX lenses yet if there's something that might work for me. (I guess teleconverters only work with the more expensive lenses?)

There are options, but outside m43.
Yes, that's the conclusion I came to as well. I wish I could stay in the system - there's a lot of advantages to it. But as it is right now it doesn't cater all needs fully.

I was also thinking about something like the Sony RX10 IV. But realistically the smaller sensor probably negates the faster lens... (?)
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
These images are lovely, Tilman... I particularly like your painted hills and sunday evening walk. Sorry cant help with your enquiry though, unless you want to switch to DSLR, then I would be recommending Pentax... but the >300mm lenses cost arms, legs and firstborn. And they are not light.
I was looking at Pentax too. The quality is definitely there. But the prices unfortunately too 🙃
Nikon might make more sense for me realistically (as I have a D750 already).
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
Unless you want to go heavy, there is no solution to quality combined with the reach you are seeking. I've gone down in sensor size to get the reach by getting a superzoom. Honestly, I haven't shot enough or done any pixel peeping. But the FZ1000 I have now seems to have enough IQ for what I need.....and I assume the RX10 III & IV are as good (or better).
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
Unless you want to go heavy, there is no solution to quality combined with the reach you are seeking. I've gone down in sensor size to get the reach by getting a superzoom. Honestly, I haven't shot enough or done any pixel peeping. But the FZ1000 I have now seems to have enough IQ for what I need.....and I assume the RX10 III & IV are as good (or better).
yeah... I'm not looking for a huge step up (that would be unrealistic), but small improvements can add up over time too...

An RX10 IV might gain me nothing in image quality (while hopefully not making it worse). The faster lens and newer sensor technology might balance out the smaller sensor size though.

But it might be better in autofocus and gain me the convenience of an all-in-one setup from 24-600mm...
Hmmmm :)
 
Last edited:
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
yeah... I'm not looking for a huge step up (that would be unrealistic), but small improvements can add up over time too...

An RX10 IV might gain me nothing in image quality (while hopefully not making it worse). The faster lens and newer sensor technology might balance out the smaller sensor size though.

But it might be better in autofocus and gain me the convenience of an all-in-one setup from 24-600mm...
Hmmmm :)
I have the FZ1000, and its very decent for what it is. If I had the $$$ I would get the RX10 IV, for its additional reach and weather resistance. Sadly, In Australia, the RX10 is well over my budget at $2199.
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
I have the FZ1000, and its very decent for what it is. If I had the $$$ I would get the RX10 IV, for its additional reach and weather resistance. Sadly, In Australia, the RX10 is well over my budget at $2199.
It's the same number in Canadian, which is a tough pill to swallow. But the Olympus E-M1 mkII is 2000CAD even without a lens... So it might be worth it - who knows...

Might have to see if I can rent it somewhere... Reviews only tell you so much...
 
Feb 6, 2015
124
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
That's one alternative I was thinking about. Haven't looked at xxx-400mm DX lenses yet if there's something that might work for me. (I guess teleconverters only work with the more expensive lenses?)



Yes, that's the conclusion I came to as well. I wish I could stay in the system - there's a lot of advantages to it. But as it is right now it doesn't cater all needs fully.

I was also thinking about something like the Sony RX10 IV. But realistically the smaller sensor probably negates the faster lens... (?)
let me correct...the D7500 has the same sensor as the D500, which is 20mp. The D7100 and D7200 have the 24mp sensor. Out of those 2, most people are praising the D7200 for it's 51pt AF system (same as in the D700 and very close to the D750). I see them locally for around $650 USD used and cheaper than that online.

In teh back of my mind, if I need more reach or the Z6 AF does not give me what I need, getting a used D7200 is probably going to be my path. So far the Z6 has been as good as I need it to be in my current tests and has exceeded my expectations in video performance.

Another boon of the D7200 is that it has the in body AF screw, which could get you into a used AF-D 300/4 (larger and heavier than the 300/4 PF VR lens) for $500 instead of the $1700(used) or $2000 (new) of the 300/4PF.
 

tonyturley

Hall of Famer
Nov 24, 2014
124
Scott Depot, WV, USA
Tony
I'm in the same boat, Tilman. I have a G80, PL 12-60, and 75-300 II. While I've been able to get some good images with the 75-300, I've had some disappointing results, too. The PL 100-400 is the obvious first option, but is massive, heavy, and expensive. The PL 50-200 would seem to hit the sweet spot from size and IQ standpoint, but is even more expensive. I've decided to try door #3 with a Fuji X-T2 and XF 55-200. Overall size is very similar, while the Fuji combo is about 2.5 oz heavier. The 55-200 samples on Flickr look very nice.

194500
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
In teh back of my mind, if I need more reach or the Z6 AF does not give me what I need, getting a used D7200 is probably going to be my path.
That's one of my closest contenders too right now. (D7200 with a 75-300mm)

I'm in the same boat, Tilman. I have a G80, PL 12-60, and 75-300 II. While I've been able to get some good images with the 75-300, I've had some disappointing results, too. The PL 100-400 is the obvious first option, but is massive, heavy, and expensive. The PL 50-200 would seem to hit the sweet spot from size and IQ standpoint, but is even more expensive. I've decided to try door #3 with a Fuji X-T2 and XF 55-200. Overall size is very similar, while the Fuji combo is about 2.5 oz heavier. The 55-200 samples on Flickr look very nice.
Absolutely, the PL 100-400 is pretty hefty (for my needs) and still slow at the long end, so without that "better m43 sensor"... 🙃

Haven't thought about Fuji yet. Will have a look!
 
Feb 6, 2015
124
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
That's one of my closest contenders too right now. (D7200 with a 75-300mm)

Absolutely, the PL 100-400 is pretty hefty (for my needs) and still slow at the long end, so without that "better m43 sensor"... 🙃

Haven't thought about Fuji yet. Will have a look!
Just FYI, you'll get better compatibility with the older 70-300/4.5-5.6VR than the newer AF-D version. It will still work, but there are some niggles you'll need to evaluate.
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
I'm not trying to contribute to anyone's GAS, but....



$639 for a new one seems tempting. I'm not in the market, but....

:-D

I think to remember that Abes of Maine isn't the "old" Abes of Maine anymore but changed owners and gets very mixed reviews now.
The "new" Abe's of Maine mostly sells grey imports (I think). On the other hand - buying used or buying grey imports...
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
Might wait for the "future" zoom from Olympus, according to their latest Roadmap .....
Hmm, yes. Another point to consider :)

I've kind of been waiting since the release of the E-M1 mk2... but I also told myself "just the one camera and the one lens" when I bought the D750 kit last year.
Famous last words 🙃
 

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