Tag Archives: OM-D

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.

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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.

Sony a7: Initial Impressions

In my last post I mentioned that I bought a Sony a7.  There certainly was a lot of hype regarding the camera prior to release, most of it justified.  The biggest thing about it is the sensor, literally and figeratively.  The Sony a7 has a 24.3 MP full frame CMOS sensor, yes, full frame.  Yes that sensor makes the 21MP full frame sensor on my Canon 5D MKII look fairly ordinary.  Don’t take my word for it though, I’ll let the photos in this post speak for themselves, then you can make up your own mind about this camera.

Of course it’s not all about the body, in fact I’m a strong supporter of camera gear being the least important part of creating a photograph.  I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I plan to do with all my Canon lenses, luckily Metabones figured that out for me.  I picked up my Metabones EF-FE smart adapter III on eBay for about $320 AUD.  Certain companies were giving them away as part of a promotion when purchasing a Sony a7 or a7r body only, lucky for me a lot of the people who bought these bodies already own the adapter!  When I went to featherdale wildlife park this was the perfect opportunity to test out a few aspects of this camera.

My kit on the day included:

– Sony a7 body

– Sony FE 28-70 f3.5-5.6

– Metabones smart adapter III

– Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro (EF mount)

Part of the small kit was because the Sony FE range is still really limited, plus I’ve been making a conscious decision to pack “light” and “worry less” about the photography.  I guess I’ll reflect on this strategy in a few months and see if I’m better or worse for it.

One thing I did notice, was that I was able to capture more candid moments on the fly.  I’m re-educating myself on the importance of making a limited amount of gear work for you and the situation that you’re in.  Even though I took two lenses with me on the day, I found that the only lens I used was the Tamron 90mm.  Sharp lens, autofocus worked slowly with the metabones adapter, but thanks to “focus-peaking” on the Sony a7 I was able to manual focus quickly and accurately.  There wasn’t a point when I thought I was missing out or hindered by a fixed focal length or a manual focus lens (surprising but true).

Back to the camera, the body feels rugged and it held up pretty well during a light shower on the day.  Focus peaking worked like a charm, if you haven’t seen it in action, I recomment youtubing it because it opens up a whole new world of manual focusing without having to mess with focusing screens and magnification.

The camera itself it highly customisable, there are 3 custom function features as well as 12 customisable on screen sections for quick access to most useful functions.  The camera looks great, it’s a bit like an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with a facelift and rebranding.  My only criticism, and it’s a slight one, is that the shutter button is in a slightly awkward place.  If it was moved back a cm or so it would have been a lot more natural, but you can easily get used to it.  Plus for all the great things Sony has done with this camera I’ll forgive them for this minor infraction.

The biggest and greatest advantage however, is it’s size.  Aside from being the first full frame compact system camera (Leica’s fall under a different category for me), the fact that it packs the kind of features, quality, and processing power that it does in a body so small is impressive.

Like I said in the last post, having the OM-D and the Sony a7 means I no longer need to carry around 10-15kg of gear every time I want to go take photos.  I’m not saying you have to do so with DSLR’s, but when you have a lot of lenses that you paid plenty of money for, you tend to feel guilty if you don’t bring them.

Which brings me to the last part …