Category Archives: Review

Olympus M. Zuiko 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II

I’ve had this lens for over a year now and I always get questions about it, questions like:

  • Is it any good?
  • Just how much zoom will it give me?
  • Are the photos sharp?
  • It seems a bit slow …
  • Is it heavy, bulky etc?
  • Was it expensive?
  • When will I use such a long lens?

So I’ll address them from the beginning …

Is it any good?  In short, yes.

Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II
Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II

Just how much zoom will it give me?  A lot, but if you want to get technical about it, the M.Zuiko 75-300mm II is designed to be used on a micro 4/3 camera which means you effectively get 150-600mm focal range.  Think about that next time you go to shoot some wildlife!

Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II
Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II

Are the photos sharp? Sharp enough, and I only say that because I’m generally very picky with my lenses.  For a sub $1000 lens that gives me this kind of reach I’ll definitely be less picky.  In saying that, I have absolutely no issues with it’s sharpness and when combined with the Olympus IBIS I can get the photos I need.

Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II
Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II

It seems a bit slow … First of all I don’t know if you’re asking a question or making a statement.  Since there was no question mark I’ll address it as a statement.  Yes, f4.8-6.7 is VERY slow, even for a zoom lens of this range.  The panasonic equivalent is comparably faster.  However, I can compensate for that with a combination of the great IBIS and high ISO performance of my E-M5.  So, no, it’s not a problem for me.

Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm.  Dark conditions, long focal length, small aperture, yet somehow the camera and lens combination does exactly what I need.
Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm. Dark conditions, long focal length, small aperture, yet somehow the camera and lens combination does exactly what I need.

Is it heavy, bulky?  No, especially not when I’ve been used to carrying a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM.  It all depends on what you’re used to, being a long time DSLR user, I doubt anything in the m43 or Sony CSC range will make me complain about weight/bulk.  Plus, if you can’t put up with the weight of the gear you need then maybe it’s not for you.

Was it expensive? If I remember correctly I paid around $550AUD for it, to me that was a very cheap price for what this lens is.  It’s significantly cheaper than the original version which was priced around $999 and this price is what I would expect for a m43 lens of this calibre.

When will I use such a long lens?  The photos in this post should answer your question, I mostly use it for wildlife, especially birds.  If you are of the stalker type (I don’t judge) then I suppose you can use it for that.  However I would not recommend it for any situation darker than a cloudy day.

Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II
Olympus OM-D E-M5, M.Zuiko 75-300mm II.  Long focal length makes it ideal for bird photography (during the day).

So there you go!  If you need a super long lens and own a m43 system, go out and buy this because this is one of the few lenses that are stopping me from selling my Olympus kit since buying the Sony kit.  You can get more detailed information about the lens here and here.  This was more of an informal Q&A but I can always go into more detail with it later on if you like.

The Truth About Sony a7/a7R Light Leaks

Sony a7

 

So here’s the deal, Sony admits there is a problem and most of us have seen examples of the problem, yet I still think everybody is overreacting.

If you haven’t heard, in simple terms, the lenses aren’t sealing well enough onto the mount of the Sony a7/a7r and under ridiculous (yes ridiculous) conditions will show that there is light leaking into your photo through the mount.  Here is an example of such leakage …

Sony a7 Light leak
Sony a7 Light leak

This is where it gets ridiculous and I think most people are being picky.  Yes the leak is pretty bad, yes a camera in the class of the Sony a7/a7R should not have these issues and yes nobody paid $2000 for this.  The photo above was achieved with these settings: ISO 25600, 20secs exposure.  On top of that the presence of a bright light source (flash, sun etc) needs to be in the area.

Let me just give you all a few minutes to let that sink in.  Think back on your photographic journey and tell me about the last time you took a LONG exposure photo at ISO 25600 under bright conditions. Let me guess, you can’t?  Neither can I, I do stupid shit with my camera just because I feel like it and I cannot find an example where I have personally used those settings (or anything along those lines). I have done 90sec exposures at ISO 100 in moderate lighting, 3min exposures at ISO 400 in the dark but nothing like the type of exposure required to bring out this light leak.

Anyway it’s not like this issue doesn’t happen in other cameras either, have a quick scroll through this site bringing up leaks in various DSLR’s.  So if you were thinking about buying a Sony a7 or a7R and this light leak issue is putting you off … don’t be that guy, nobody likes that guy, especially if you’re a hipster wannabe who adds light leaks to your instagram photos because clean images are too mainstream.

Neutral Bay, iPhone, Snapseed
Neutral Bay, iPhone, Snapseed

– Chris

P.S. Yes I acknowledge there are some of you who do encounter this problem in your field of work, my advice to you is to bring a DSLR.

Tribute to my OM-D

For a while I was running the risk of sounding like a massive Sony fanboy.  Most of you will know that this isn’t true, I’ve been using Canon DSLR’s for years and my first mirrorless was an Olympus OM-D E-M5.  Sony has always been an extremely innovative company that’s not afraid to push the boundaries.  Let’s face it, Canon and Nikon are too afraid to put a full frame (FF) sensor in their compact system cameras because that’ll destroy their sub $2000 AUD DSLR market.  Olympus is unlikely to make a FF OM-D because they have an extensive m43 lens range which happens to be extremely popular and extremely sharp.  Going FF would mean a whole new lens range for Olympus and Pansonic.

Don’t get me wrong, my OM-D E-M5 is one of the finest cameras I’ve ever used, some of my best photos were taken with the OM-D.

Sydney Town Hall, Taken with OM-D E-M5 and 12mm f2.0.  Speaking of lenses, the m43 range of primes is one of the finest out there for compact system cameras.  I have and still use the Olympus 12mm f2.0 and Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4.  Sharpness is incredible, focusing speed is quick and build quality is as you would expect for a fast prime (especially in the Oly 12mm).  The versatility of the m43 lens system is worth mentioning too, in case you didn’t know, Olympus and Panasonic “mirrorless cameras” share the same lens mount, which means you can use either brand on their bodies.

Did I mention how good the in body Image Stabilisation (IS) is on the E-M5?  In short, it’s incredible.  I can shoot hand held 1/15 shutter speeds with no issues.  Definitely not something I would try with my 5D2 or even the a7.  Olympus seems to have 5 axis IS figured out before the other manufacturers.  The harbour bridge photo above was taken hand held with E-M5 and Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4.

I can’t have a post about the OM-D without mentioning just how awesome the kit lens is.  Yes, I said it, kit lens .. and yes, it’s good, REAL good.  The bee photo was taken with E-M5 and 12-50mm kit lens.  It has a neat little push action to activate macro mode and the image above is typical of the kind of quality you would get.  Obviously a lot of luck comes into these photos with timing and lighting but you can rest easy knowing an OM-D kit straight out of the box has the ability to get you quality like that!

With all these qualities, it’s unlikely I’ll officially retire the OM-D.  There are too many lenses I have for it that I love and it has taken SO many great photos for me.  In fact, I might go get it out now to have a play around …

– Chris

PS. This post was mainly about the E-M5 but a lot of the qualities apply to the new OM-D versions as well.  Personally I prefer the look of the E-M5 over the newer and more improved E-M1.