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Old 28th November 2010   #1
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Fun with Panasonic 100-300

I love extreme lenses which is why I couldn't resist obtaining the new Lumix 100-300 f4-5.6.

Here is my take on the lens. Nicely built in typical Pansonic quality plastic style. Less impressed with the focus throw on my copy which is stiff. Maybe it will loosen up with use (I hope). It is a big lens but not as big as, say, the equivalent focal length or even half the zoom focal length on any other system I know of. In fact, you could say the promise of m4/3rds is finally realised with this sort of lens in terms of size. Comes with a nice reversible lens hood and a soft case and caps.

Obviously, it is a hard lens to get a sharp shot from at maximum. The problem is the inevitable shake and the need for high speed. I really doubt the OIS is much use and in fact the manual even hints that you might want to turn it off at high magnification.

As a result, this means operating at high iso and unfortunately my GF-1 loses a lot of definition above iso800. I can recover some of this because I shoot raw and the raw settings tend to be soft and noisy. However, when shooting birds, for example, this leads to a loss of detail.

In typical Panasonic style the lens is capable of sharp, colourful pictures, though I feel it will take some time and practise to get the best out of this lens. And possibly a GH-2 if the improvements to high iso definition that I've seen in samples really are there.

The full size jpegs are at my Flickr stream if you feel the need to pixel peep. All pictures have minimal to no post processing.

iso640 f7.1 300mm 1/500


iso1250 f5.6 234mm 1/250 - pleasing bokeh?


iso160 f7.1 120mm 1/200


iso200 f5.0 125mm 1/200


iso640 f5.6 300mm 1/800
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Old 28th November 2010   #2
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
I love extreme lenses which is why I couldn't resist obtaining the new Lumix 100-300 f4-5.6.

Here is my take on the lens. Nicely built in typical Pansonic quality plastic style. Less impressed with the focus throw on my copy which is stiff. Maybe it will loosen up with use (I hope). It is a big lens but not as big as, say, the equivalent focal length or even half the zoom focal length on any other system I know of. In fact, you could say the promise of m4/3rds is finally realised with this sort of lens in terms of size. Comes with a nice reversible lens hood and a soft case and caps.

Obviously, it is a hard lens to get a sharp shot from at maximum. The problem is the inevitable shake and the need for high speed. I really doubt the OIS is much use and in fact the manual even hints that you might want to turn it off at high magnification.

As a result, this means operating at high iso and unfortunately my GF-1 loses a lot of definition above iso800. I can recover some of this because I shoot raw and the raw settings tend to be soft and noisy. However, when shooting birds, for example, this leads to a loss of detail.

In typical Panasonic style the lens is capable of sharp, colourful pictures, though I feel it will take some time and practise to get the best out of this lens. And possibly a GH-2 if the improvements to high iso definition that I've seen in samples really are there.

The full size jpegs are at my Flickr stream if you feel the need to pixel peep. All pictures have minimal to no post processing.
Hi Louis,
Thanks for sharing your first impressions of the Panasonic 100-300 zoom lens. Your comments and images are quite informative. My favorite is the one with lovely birds! Best,
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Old 5th December 2010   #3
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

I must be the only person who owns one of these!

iso640 300mm f5.6 1/800


iso640 100mm f5.6 1/400
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Old 5th December 2010   #4
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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I must be the only person who owns one of these!
Maybe, but I find this lens very interesting. If it's good enough (sharpness, focusing speed), I might buy one for the GH1, replacing the Nikkor 300mm on the D300 and saving a lot of weight.
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Old 5th December 2010   #5
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Thanks for the examples!

Few questions:

- Regarding the focus ring, they are electronic of course so no reason for them to have made it stiff. I do notice it appears to have been quite cold when you were shooting. Does it loosen up inside at room temperature?

- Regarding the photo of the four gents on the lock being photographed. Seems a little low contrast to me but lighting looks really challenging as well. Were you standing in the sun to take the shot and do you recall if you had the hood on? Just wondering if there was light hitting the front element.

Again, thanks for the examples. I'm ruminating on this lens!

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Old 5th December 2010   #6
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Louis,

Thanks for sharing. I had had high hopes for the lens but when I saw the samples on the Lumix website I saw waaaaaay too much chromatic aberation (particularly in the shot of the swimmer). YOUR shots have SOLD me completely (particularly the second shot of the swan and the thistle). The lens has great potential to be tack sharp and looks like it would make a good addition to my arsenal.

I'm looking forward to hearing about the GH2 which I am looking into as my new go to camera relegating my trusty G1 to back-up status.

Thanks for the shots!
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Old 5th December 2010   #7
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Ken

Ooops. I wrote 'focus' ring when I meant 'zoom'. The zoom ring is stiff and not as smooth as I would like. Might just be my copy, though.

Regarding the group shot - the sun was at right angles to the lens which did have its hood on. I could have punched the shot up by adjusting the black point in LR3 but I decided to post it 'as is'.

Peter

I've also been surprised at the lack of aberations etc but you should check out the full size jpegs just to make sure (at my Flickr site).

Thanks for the comments

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Old 5th December 2010   #8
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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I must be the only person who owns one of these!
Yes, it seems that way. I have not seen availability for these from the places I usually buy from.
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Old 5th December 2010   #9
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Panasonic.com just listed them but they show as backordered....also it isn't easy to find them. You actually need to click on the GH1 and then look in the accessories tab on that page. If you go to the regular lens page it doesn't show up....don't say it....Panny's site need a PHD to understand and they really need to revamp it.
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Old 5th December 2010   #10
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Hmmm. May be a US/UK thing. They are available from some stockists here in the UK if you look for them.
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Old 5th December 2010   #11
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Panasonic.com just listed them but they show as backordered....also it isn't easy to find them. You actually need to click on the GH1 and then look in the accessories tab on that page. If you go to the regular lens page it doesn't show up....don't say it....Panny's site need a PHD to understand and they really need to revamp it.
PhD doesn't help either...

This lens really does look promising, but it will have to wait until spring. Nothing left in the camera budget after the GH2 gets here.

Stefan
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Old 9th December 2010   #12
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Hmmm. May be a US/UK thing. They are available from some stockists here in the UK if you look for them.
They just showed up this evening as in stock on Amazon.com. Panasonic seems to stock the US slowly. Looking forward to getting this lens!
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Old 10th December 2010   #13
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

The swan on the colored water looks amazing!!
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Old 10th December 2010   #14
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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The swan on the colored water looks amazing!!
Thanks for that. As per other long zooms by Panasonic, the lens performs far better at the short end (100mm) than fully zoomed, although I should point out I pulled down the 'clarity' slider in LR3 to enhance the soft-focus effect in the other swan picture.

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Old 10th December 2010   #15
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

I struggled between two "extremes" this month - the month in which I slip a little something for myself under the Christmas tree while nobody is looking. Between this 100-300mm and the Nokton 25mm/0.95, the latter won this time around; I figured these Cosina lenses might prove shorter in supply, while the 100-300 will become increasingly readily available as time goes on. Also, it's dark & wintery here now. That said, nearly every shot I've seen posted from the 100-300 has been impressive. It's next on my list!
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Old 10th December 2010   #16
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Uh-Oh, another naysay post from me today. That's two in a row.

I think the 100-300mm Lumix is one of the worst in that range I've ever seen. It's really soft and smeary in every sample I've seen. It halos and ghosts all over the place. It's low contrast and colors unattended in post-processing are usually quite pale and washed out looking. I can even see it in the 20% scaled versions shown here. It's a slap in the face whenever I see a 100% (unprocessed) sample from it. And they want like, $600 for that? So we'll be sacrificing a heck of a lot of IQ for AF and OIS over something like the $100 FD 100-300mm f/5.6 or the $180 Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8 (with 1:1.2 macro!), both of which will just totally rock your socks (compared to this Lumix), and we'll paying 4 to 6 times the price in order to do so? Ug!

I think it's really sad that such a poor lens was developed in this day and age when all manufacturers and designers have the knowhow and toolsets to make something really kick-butt with very little R&D involved.

I'm depressed. I had hopes but they are being smashed to itty-bitty bits with each new sample I see from this lens.

Last edited by Tesselator; 10th December 2010 at 22:41.
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Old 11th December 2010   #17
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Uh-Oh, another naysay post from me today. That's two in a row.

I think the 100-300mm Lumix is one of the worst in that range I've ever seen. It's really soft and smeary in every sample I've seen. It halos and ghosts all over the place. It's low contrast and colors unattended in post-processing are usually quite pale and washed out looking. I can even see it in the 20% scaled versions shown here. It's a slap in the face whenever I see a 100% (unprocessed) sample from it. And they want like, $600 for that? So we'll be sacrificing a heck of a lot of IQ for AF and OIS over something like the $100 FD 100-300mm f/5.6 or the $180 Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8 (with 1:1.2 macro!), both of which will just totally rock your socks (compared to this Lumix), and we'll paying 4 to 6 times the price in order to do so? Ug!

I think it's really sad that such a poor lens was developed in this day and age when all manufacturers and designers have the knowhow and toolsets to make something really kick-butt with very little R&D involved.

I'm depressed. I had hopes but they are being smashed to itty-bitty bits with each new sample I see from this lens.
Tesselator, it doesn't sound like this lens is for you I also wonder of m43 is your bag, as well.

I also have a Flickr group which people are slowly adding more samples to:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/1577115@N21/

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Old 11th December 2010   #18
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Why would you wonder if M43 is my bag?

Don't mistake an honest lens review for a senseless hater post. I'm not like that. I'm very knowledgable and fairly skilled. I spend all of my time on camera gear as it's my current job. If not in critical bench tests and reviews then in design theory, history, and etc. I'm not trying to add weight to my comment but I know what I mean and I mean (most of ) what I say. Seriously, it's not that this lens isn't for me... it's not for anyone serious about image quality. In many cases it produces worse results than some super-zoom point and shoot cameras of the same equivalent focal length.

Peace!
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Old 11th December 2010   #19
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Why would you wonder if M43 is my bag?

Don't mistake an honest lens review for a senseless hater post. I'm not like that. I'm very knowledgable and fairly skilled. I spend all of my time on camera gear as it's my current job. If not in critical bench tests and reviews then in design theory, history, and etc. I'm not trying to add weight to my comment but I know what I mean and I mean (most of ) what I say. Seriously, it's not that this lens isn't for me... it's not for anyone serious about image quality. In many cases it produces worse results than some super-zoom point and shoot cameras of the same equivalent focal length.

Peace!
That's interesting, and it demonstrates the importance of looking at more than just a few selected samples posted to forums. The samples I've seen to date - and I've not been hunting all over the place for them by any means - have seemed good to me - sometimes very good. I did see one batch posted that I thought were appalling, but I put that down to user error or a bad sample (the guy had tried his hand at some over-the-top noise reduction and ruined the shots). Perhaps it's not as rosy as people are saying it is?
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Old 11th December 2010   #20
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

We have to be realistic here. This is a lens in the same class as the current crop of 70-300mm lenses from some of the leading manufacturers, although with a bit longer reach. The high-end telephoto lenses for m43 haven't materialised themselves yet. I'm waiting for Olympus, and I wouldn't be surprised if a professional m43 camera with a couple of high-end f/2.0 zooms would come from the within the next 18 months. When that happens, the question will be if it's possible to live with m43 as the main system for professional use.
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Old 11th December 2010   #21
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

I could understand The Tesselator's comments if the ONLY images he'd seen were the two pathetic samples that Panasonic had on its website. There was a swimmer that echoed nearly all of his observations.

And after seeing them (and downloading them for further examination) I, too, had begun to have serious doubts about this new lens. (Why Panasonic would post shots with such God-awful IQ as representative of the what you could expect from their new super tele in an attempt to show off it's optical prowess was totally beyond me!)

But seeing the images here (and now also on Flickr) I have now reconsidered and want to see more. If these images are more of what one can expect from this lens, bring it on. There are still more images to see but, for now, I like what I'm seeing. A lot.
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Old 11th December 2010   #22
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesselator View Post
Why would you wonder if M43 is my bag?

Don't mistake an honest lens review for a senseless hater post. I'm not like that. I'm very knowledgable and fairly skilled. I spend all of my time on camera gear as it's my current job. If not in critical bench tests and reviews then in design theory, history, and etc. I'm not trying to add weight to my comment but I know what I mean and I mean (most of ) what I say. Seriously, it's not that this lens isn't for me... it's not for anyone serious about image quality. In many cases it produces worse results than some super-zoom point and shoot cameras of the same equivalent focal length.

Peace!
Tesselator,

I'm not trying to get into an argument with you but I disagree with about everything you say about the lens and my experience with it thus far. I do agree it suffers from lower contrast than some other panasonic offerings but you would have to agree that it is far easier to cope with low contrast in pp than high contrast, so you could say it is not exactly a drawback.

At 100mm it is sharp even wide open (which is after all f4) but it does soften towards 300mm. That said, stopping down rescues the softness although inevitably there will be a trade off in IQ as you increase iso to take advantage of a slower aperture. I'm interested in the new GH2 because I think it will make a great platform for this lens with its demonstrably better higher iso performance.

I think this lens offers creative possibilities that are easier to achieve than with a third-party lens and an adaptor. Personally, I am willing to pay for ease of use - especially as my other kit cannot be similarly described.

Now, in an ideal world I personally would like to own a Nikon D700 and a VR 300/2.8. I could be very happy with that kit. But in reality, (a) I'm not prepared to sell a kidney for the amount of use I would make of it, and (b) I probably can't even lift it!

For sub-£500 which is what I paid in the UK (do not pay full RRP as there are plenty of discounters out there and you can PM me for where I got mine) I think it is a great lens for all kinds of recreational photography.

If you are a professional photographer, you probably don't want the 100-300 (although I'd argue that you might just get that picture of Charlie and Camilla in their Roller because it is easier to drag a m43 camera and this lens around with you than a D3x and a VR70-200) but for the majority of weekend photographers this is a great piece of kit.

LouisB
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Old 11th December 2010   #23
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Louis, thanks very much for the samples and comments! I think it looks pretty good.

There's a fellow who posted some nice samples at DPR, though they are resized, and to my eye oversharpened: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=37142193

Further down in that thread, he posted a "full sized image" (? 100%) which looks pretty good to me, especially considering that the lens is wide open and he shot in-camera JPEG: http://g4.img-dpreview.com/53DE57618...3541C779DC.jpg
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Old 11th December 2010   #24
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Louis, thanks very much for the samples and comments! I think it looks pretty good.

There's a fellow who posted some nice samples at DPR, though they are resized, and to my eye oversharpened: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=37142193

Further down in that thread, he posted a "full sized image" (? 100%) which looks pretty good to me, especially considering that the lens is wide open and he shot in-camera JPEG: http://g4.img-dpreview.com/53DE57618...3541C779DC.jpg
Blimey. They look good. If I did not already own the lens, I'd go out and buy it!

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Old 11th December 2010   #25
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Tessalator,

It seems that you expect a lot for a $600 lens. That is kit lens category and certainly in the neighborhood of relatively inexpensive 70-300mm lenses with similar image quality. In comparison, you have to spend well over $1000 in Canon equipment to fit on an EOS camera (not talking about old FD lenses here) to get a significant upgrade in image quality. It also seems to genuinely be better than the 45-200mm, and absolutely better than the 14-42mm. The 14-42mm should get the dog of the range award. I agree that it would be nice to have some faster zooms with pro-level optics, but you will not be buying them for $600. I would expect lenses like that would be priced well over $1000.

I am eager to get my 100-300mm so I can compare it to my 45-200mm and my converted 200mm and 300mm Canon FD lenses.

Cliff
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Old 11th December 2010   #26
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Recently we saw an Eagle pair. No long lens available. What if I had a GH1 + the 100-300 (field of view of 200-600mm). No problem to have this combo with us most of the time. This is not true for other high-end lenses with the same angle of view.

And I am not talking about price here.

100-300 is on order.
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Old 11th December 2010   #27
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Tessalator,

It seems that you expect a lot for a $600 lens. That is kit lens category ...
Cliff
Hi cliff,

Yes, I expect a lot for what is a lot of money - $600. If that's not a lot for you then please send me $600 - every week.



Hi all,
I'm being fairly clear about what I'm comparing this lens to. The FD 100-300mm f/5.6, the Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8, and other manual focus legacy lenses like it. I guess I'm a particular class of photographer. I evaluate lenses on the bases of IQ performance first and foremost. After that I look at price. And lastly I consider such features as AF, IS, EA, and etc. I don't care how consumers define the various segments of the market. I'm not a marketing agent so that's completely meaningless to me. It's also not very important to me whether people agree with my assessments or not. They are mine and stand for one man's time and effort in making such judgements. That I spend an excessive amount of time doing just this may or may not add weight to my analysis - that's for others to decide. Certainly, I can't be the only one here who wants top drawer performance at bargain prices. I'd find it strange if other here or anywhere didn't.

As for image samples of this particular lens I haven seen any "great" ones that weren't scaled down and intelligently processed to hide this lens's severe shortcomings! I think the images posted in this thread are perfect examples. The photographer is good - certainly no slouch - but the lens just can perform and it shows. These samples as far as IQ goes are pretty terrible - yes, bad! The first three are very soft and detail-less even though they have both been scaled and sharpened extensively. The 5th and 6th are much better which to me shows that this lens may have a sweet spot around 120mm if it's also stopped down. If one looks at all of these images here and thinks to themselves that they are examples of good IQ then IMHO they either haven't seen the results of a good lens so have nothing to compare to, haven't learned how to analyze images slash what to look for, or are confusing themselves with emotional content - either from the photographer's skill in composing the capture or from the marketing/forum hype that frenzies the consumer fanatics. In any case these samples do not serve as samples acceptable to actually evaluate this lens. They are not 100% crops and at least a few of them have been sharpened to death - which introduces false detail & noise and destroys some of the existing micro-detail.

In all it is still the result of my evaluation that anyone would be better suited and better equipped via the purchase of a step filter adapter (if needed) and a 2.4x Canon tele-con (telephoto converter) to place on your existing 14-140 kit lenses. The IQ will be slightly better than this 100-300mm Lumix, the OIS will still function perfectly, the AF will still work correctly, and there is no measurable light loss. It will provide about 150mm to exactly 336mm of extension without vignetting and it only costs $60 - as opposed to $600. Hey, if $600 is nothing then there's absolutely nothing to lose with this! It still may not be as good as the Tamron 60-300mm F/3.8 Macro I mentioned but it's guaranteed to provide better IQ than the Lumix 100-300mm. The tele-con can also be added to any other existing lenses of about 55mm or more...

.

Last edited by Tesselator; 11th December 2010 at 16:26.
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Old 11th December 2010   #28
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Louis, thanks very much for the samples and comments! I think it looks pretty good.

There's a fellow who posted some nice samples at DPR, though they are resized, and to my eye oversharpened: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=37142193

Further down in that thread, he posted a "full sized image" (? 100%) which looks pretty good to me, especially considering that the lens is wide open and he shot in-camera JPEG: http://g4.img-dpreview.com/53DE57618...3541C779DC.jpg
I just finished reading, thanks for the links!

The 100% crop he posted http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=37143643 actually looks pretty good. It's the best sample I've seen from this lens so far. If I start seeing more like it I may just have to reevaluate this thing.

As it stands this is one collection to about 20 that I've seen. So 1:20 isn't a good ratio but it shows there's still hope!

It would be nice to have a native lens in this length - that's worth owning. Not that I would probably use it myself but it would help to ensure some longevity to the format - and that would be a good thing for all us M4/3 shooters!
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Old 11th December 2010   #29
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Tesselator,

I'm not trying to get into an argument with you but I disagree with about everything you say about the lens and my experience with it thus far. I do agree it suffers from lower contrast than some other panasonic offerings but you would have to agree that it is far easier to cope with low contrast in pp than high contrast, so you could say it is not exactly a drawback.

At 100mm it is sharp even wide open (which is after all f4) but it does soften towards 300mm. That said, stopping down rescues the softness although inevitably there will be a trade off in IQ as you increase iso to take advantage of a slower aperture. I'm interested in the new GH2 because I think it will make a great platform for this lens with its demonstrably better higher iso performance.

I think this lens offers creative possibilities that are easier to achieve than with a third-party lens and an adaptor. Personally, I am willing to pay for ease of use - especially as my other kit cannot be similarly described.

Now, in an ideal world I personally would like to own a Nikon D700 and a VR 300/2.8. I could be very happy with that kit. But in reality, (a) I'm not prepared to sell a kidney for the amount of use I would make of it, and (b) I probably can't even lift it!

For sub-£500 which is what I paid in the UK (do not pay full RRP as there are plenty of discounters out there and you can PM me for where I got mine) I think it is a great lens for all kinds of recreational photography.

If you are a professional photographer, you probably don't want the 100-300 (although I'd argue that you might just get that picture of Charlie and Camilla in their Roller because it is easier to drag a m43 camera and this lens around with you than a D3x and a VR70-200) but for the majority of weekend photographers this is a great piece of kit.

LouisB
Thanks. I can respect that. And you own the lens so you're probably better able to assess it than I - who must go only by what others have posted - which are unquestionably some of the worst images I've ever seen from any lens. The recent DPR link of the GH2 bird images being an exception of course!

I hope to see many more such exceptions! They aren't "exceptional" but they're very good!
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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I just finished reading, thanks for the links!

The 100% crop he posted http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=37143643 actually looks pretty good. It's the best sample I've seen from this lens so far. If I start seeing more like it I may just have to reevaluate this thing.

It would be nice to have a native lens in this length - that's worth owning. Not that I would probably use it myself but it would help to ensure some longevity to the format - and that would be a good thing for all us M4/3 shooters!
Lets get this straight. You lamblast this lens without using it based on some images posted on the web and then admit that would not own it anyway?



By the way, I never said $600 is a insignificant amount of money. What I am saying is that those old Canon FD lenses are a misleading comparison as they are 20+ years old and used. The lenses you refer to were relatively much more expensive at the time they were sold new (on an inflation basis). Of course one can get those lenses cheap now, but they are used lenses. If you compare prices of new lenses and high quality ones, the $600 for the Panasonic 100-300 is not unreasonable and comparable to other NEW lenses of similar quality on the market.
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Old 11th December 2010   #31
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

>The FD 100-300mm f/5.6, the Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8,

Are they even image stabilized? Which makes huge difference in practice.
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Old 11th December 2010   #32
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Exclamation Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Lets get this straight. You lamblast this lens without using it based on some images posted on the web and then admit that would not own it anyway?

Yeah, you got it straight. I don't get the ROTFL thing tho. This isn't uncommon. In all cases I tried to qualify my remarks with phrases like "based on what I've seen so far" and etc. It's much more ROTFL to me to see people looking at images like presented originally in this thread and other threads like it and then pronouncing the lens "great" - when the images speak very loudly the exact opposite. Pretty much every commenter in this thread has done the same thing I have. Only their conclusions are the opposite as mine.

Are you challenging the practice and process of lens evaluation based on posted images? If so I guess this site and others like it should close their doors and pack it up as that's one of their purposes.

I don't intend to purchase this lens because as I explained, it's not up to snuff with what I already have in the $20 ~ $100 department. Here's a thread I composed of just lenses costing around $10 http://www.astronomyforum.net/astrop...2410-lens.html (6 of the 7 pages are all images by me from just one study - the odd page out #2 has no images on it. ) so it's not as if I'm not an active participant practicing what I preach. I'm usually very careful and meticulous when assessing the properties of a given lens. Ownership of the item while extremely helpful and convenient is not necessarily a prerequisite - and never has been (post internet).

Quote:
By the way, I never said $600 is a insignificant amount of money. What I am saying is that those old Canon FD lenses are a misleading comparison as they are 20+ years old and used. The lenses you refer to were relatively much more expensive at the time they were sold new (on an inflation basis). Of course one can get those lenses cheap now, but they are used lenses. If you compare prices of new lenses and high quality ones, the $600 for the Panasonic 100-300 is not unreasonable and comparable to other NEW lenses of similar quality on the market.
Again, I'm not a marketing agent so those classifications are meaningless to me. It's either available to me by some means or it isn't. The bottom lines to me are as I stated previously:
  1. How good?
  2. How much?
  3. What else can it do?

You're also extremely mistaken if you think $600 is an average price for a poor-to-midelin grade lens. A typical price for lenses in that quality range and FL is $150 ~ $450 new. $600 is an outrageous amount to pay for that lens! As just one of many many examples the "SMC Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED" is commonly available for $300 to $350 and it's IQ is unquestionably exceptional! Here it is on Amazon for $349.95 with free shipping:

http://www.amazon.com/Pentax-55-300m.../dp/B0012QCYNM

The "Tamron SP AF28-300 f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro (A061)" is another stunningly exceptional lens. It's a total jaw-dropper with very few caveats! It typically sells for right around $375 with many deals frequently available for $320 ~ $350. Used in mint condition it's available for $225 to $275. Here's the standard pricing on new ones from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...&condition=new

No, for $600 a lens in this FL range should be supreme and very close to professional grade with just a slightly slower aperture. In Panasonic's case however, it barely makes hobby kit-lens status. To me this is certainly reason to take issue and create posts giving my assessments of it based on posted images without ever intending to buy it!

I have both of the above though.

Last edited by Tesselator; 11th December 2010 at 18:32.
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Old 11th December 2010   #33
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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>The FD 100-300mm f/5.6, the Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8,

Are they even image stabilized? Which makes huge difference in practice.
No, they are ancient MF lenses from the 80's. That was part of my point.

But anyway, I think I've made all my thoughts on the topic known so I'll go away unless someone has some specific questions.

I want to read the thoughts of others from now. There's already been some good exchanges!

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Old 11th December 2010   #34
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

No Tesselator, I am not saying that several web sites which publish reviews of lenses with well documented practices should close up. I am saying that basing the quality of a lens on a few shots from early users is likely to lead to erroneous conclusions. You do not know their shooting practices, skill, or post processing. While some of the images are questionable, some others, as you have noted, show some promise. I have made no assessment regarding the capabilities of this lens yet. It could be good, it could be rubbish. I do think that it can augment some other lenses I have for specific needs if it produces images of sufficient quality. I am getting one next week and will base my decision on the lens based on the images I can produce.

In terms of costs of lenses, I love it when one finds a diamond in the rough. However, I know how good really good optics (like a Zeiss ZE 21mm) can be. I do have kit lenses as well, like my Panasonic 14-45mm, which has been shown to be a very good performer. A real surprise for it's cost.

As to that stunning Tamron SP 28-300mm, here is what SLRgear.com with test data that backs up the statements had to say about it:

"Wide open, it's a little soft from 28mm till about 100mm or so, but probably acceptable range for many casual shooters across that range. At 135mm though, the corners start to fall apart, and most of the frame is very soft at 200mm, improving slightly (but only slightly) at 300mm. Closing the aperture one stop helps quite a bit, and the lens actually performs surprisingly well from 28-70mm. Even stopped down though, it's quite soft from 200-300mm, to the point that we wouldn't really consider it usable for anything beyond snapshots across that range... Chromatic aberration is high at both wide angle and telephoto, and moderate to moderately high in between. At wide angle focal lengths, CA improves noticeably a full stop down from maximum aperture, but is only what we'd consider to be good from 50-70mm."

That does not sound as stunning as claimed.
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Old 11th December 2010   #35
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Can I point out that because I did not want to link to a full sized capture, I only posted 'cut down' images here (at the top of the thread).

However, in my original post, I did point out that the full size jpegs are available at my Flickr stream (see link below).

I assumed it was obvious to all and sundry that you cannot evaluate a lens without seeing full size examples.

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Old 11th December 2010   #36
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Louis,

I am curious about your opinion on the lack of tripod mount. With this lens getting pretty large, will that limit stability when shooting off a tripod? Curious if you had any thoughts there.
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Old 12th December 2010   #37
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Louis,

I am curious about your opinion on the lack of tripod mount. With this lens getting pretty large, will that limit stability when shooting off a tripod? Curious if you had any thoughts there.
I haven't used a tripod, yet. And that is by no means a boast. I have tried to make sure that at 100mm I don't shoot below 1/125 and at 300mm not below 1/250 but that means I have had to ramp up the iso. However much I like the GF-1 it does not handle noise well above iso800, which explains my comment about being interested in a GH2 as a possible second body.

When I wrote above about 'the promise of m43rds' I was referring to the ability to create smaller optics as a result of the form factor - the 100-300 is a big lens in relation to other m43rds lenses but in fact is surprisingly small and light compared to its counterparts from, say, Nikon and Canon. So you could argue that in good light conditions, with the OIS a tripod is not an absolute requirement for use.

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Old 12th December 2010   #38
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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I haven't used a tripod, yet. And that is by no means a boast. I have tried to make sure that at 100mm I don't shoot below 1/125 and at 300mm not below 1/250 but that means I have had to ramp up the iso. However much I like the GF-1 it does not handle noise well above iso800, which explains my comment about being interested in a GH2 as a possible second body.

When I wrote above about 'the promise of m43rds' I was referring to the ability to create smaller optics as a result of the form factor - the 100-300 is a big lens in relation to other m43rds lenses but in fact is surprisingly small and light compared to its counterparts from, say, Nikon and Canon. So you could argue that in good light conditions, with the OIS a tripod is not an absolute requirement for use.

LouisB
Sure, in comparison to my Canon 100-400mm, the Panasonic 100-300mm is a lot smaller and lighter. I do shoot on a tripod with my G2 a lot, the advantage of the m4/3 there is that I can get away with a lot smaller tripod than for my Canon 1DsII. Gitzo 1 series vs Gitzo 3 series. I will have to see how the 100-300mm performs on a tripod with my G2 when it arrives this week.
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Old 12th December 2010   #39
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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That does not sound as stunning as claimed.
I can't comment on corners only having used it on the GH1.

On the GH1 it clears 2,000 LPI (Lines per image) throughout it's range with flying colors. I guess by looking at my test samples it could resolve to around 2,300 had I a chart that high res. You sure they're reviewing the SP version?

Assuming they were reviewing the same lens I wonder what they wold have to say about the Lumix? Or if they would even bother reviewing it.

In any case the point wasn't that the tamron was stellar. It was that the average price for consumer grade lenses in this FL was typically under $450... like, WAY under $450 and not the $600 that Panasonic is trying to squeeze out of us.

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Old 12th December 2010   #40
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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In any case the point wasn't that the tamron was stellar. It was that the average price for consumer grade lenses in this FL was typically under $450... like, WAY under $450 and not the $600 that Panasonic is trying to squeeze out of us.
Can you please point to a 600mm eqv. zoom with AF and IS/OIS/VR/OS for any other make that costs less than $600, or even better: WAY less than $450?
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Old 12th December 2010   #41
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Any 300mm lens you put on your M4/3 camera. If your camera has IBIS then you have that too!

There's nothing special about the 100-300 that makes it 200-600mm and not all others.

But if you would like just one of 10 or 20 examples I know of off the top of my head:

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX: $358.97 at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-55-300mm.../dp/B003ZSHNCC

I could fill the post with other examples too. With the difference in price you could even pick up a camera body that can make use of it's VR too. And that body will, without a doubt produce better images than any M4/3 camera. (of course it won't have any of the other advantages, like video, real time full time live view, and the shallow flange depth that allows us to adapt just about all other lenses... but the DR and overall IQ will be better.)

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Old 12th December 2010   #42
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

>Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX: $358.97 at Amazon

Ok, is angle of view of 450 on Nikon Bodies. on all other bodies no AF.
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Old 12th December 2010   #43
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

So, you're going to let Panasonic charge an arm and a leg because their crop factor is 2:1? Really?

By that reasoning P&S cameras should cost in the thousands - as their crop factors is 5:1 and more. :P

I call baloney. A 300mm lens is a 300mm lens. Crop factor is a whole different thing. There are upsides and downsides to it you know.
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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So, you're going to let Panasonic charge an arm and a let because their crop factor is 2:1? Really?
I want AF, IS in a small form factor.
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Old 12th December 2010   #45
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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So, you're going to let Panasonic charge an arm and a let because their crop factor is 2:1? Really?

By that reasoning P&S cameras should cost in the thousands - as their crop factors is 5:1 and more. :P

I call baloney.
No, it's just business. As long as nobody else deliver the features, and most people want AF and IS these days, they can charge that much. They do what any other supplier would have done in their shoes. I agree that samples so far have been rather mixed, but I think it's far too early to make a final judgment.

I'm less worried about the quality of consumer zooms for m4/3 than I am for the almost total lack of pro quality lenses, particularly zooms with large/constant apertures. They would probably be larger than many people would like, but until they exist, I'm holding back a bit, and continue using legacy glass on my GH1. My OM Zuiko 500mm Reflex is much longer than the Panasonic zoom anyway, but still shorter
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Old 12th December 2010   #46
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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So, you're going to let Panasonic charge an arm and a leg because their crop factor is 2:1? Really?

By that reasoning P&S cameras should cost in the thousands - as their crop factors is 5:1 and more. :P

I call baloney. A 300mm lens is a 300mm lens. Crop factor is a whole different thing. There are upsides and downsides to it you know.
If the general public thinks there is no value in buying this lens, the price will drop. There are people, as Uwe says, that want fast AF as well as image stabilization. Clearly you don't see the value.
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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No, it's just business. As long as nobody else deliver the features, and most people want AF and IS these days, they can charge that much. They do what any other supplier would have done in their shoes.
Yeah, the weenies!





Quote:
I agree that samples so far have been rather mixed, but I think it's far too early to make a final judgment.

I'm less worried about the quality of consumer zooms for m4/3 than I am for the almost total lack of pro quality lenses, particularly zooms with large/constant apertures. They would probably be larger than many people would like, but until they exist, I'm holding back a bit, and continue using legacy glass on my GH1.
That's a rather interesting question. I've just always assumed there never ever would be any such things. You're talking about something the equivalent of the Canon L line-up right? 300mm at F2 or 85mm at f/1.2 with AF, OIS, excellent MTF curves, and so on? It would be nice but I kinda don't think it'll happen. Especially in Panasonic's case! The Sony mirrorless pro/semi-pro body is due out sometime in 2011. After that hits maybe Sony will have something. But I think for M4/3 we'll be using legacy glass until the format expires altogether. I think there's more hope for battery powered electronic adapters that can control AF, VR/IS and the Aperture of attached lenses myself. It'll be interesting to watch for sure.

The thing is that the m4/3 format has about a 7 year maximum lifespan. With the advent of semi-spherical sensors some years ago and what I believe is the trend/realization for FF sensors with the DR and low noise they can deliver, it won't be long till we see mirrorless full-frame offerings. Once that happens M4/3 will die almost immediately or shortly thereafter. I'm guessing that will come to pass in 7 years or less. It could be done within 2011 if someone wanted to break the ranks but that never happens anymore.

Quote:
My OM Zuiko 500mm Reflex is much longer than the Panasonic zoom anyway, but still shorter
hehehe, try hand-holding that! I scooped up a Zeiss Mirotar 500mm f/4.5 with the mount ripped off from it not long ago. I haven't had a chance to repair it yet but I'm looking forward to the day when I do. Is the OM a catadioptric design?
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Old 12th December 2010   #48
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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hehehe, try hand-holding that! I scooped up a Zeiss Mirotar 500mm f/4.5 with the mount ripped off from it not long ago. I haven't had a chance to repair it yet but I'm looking forward to the day when I do. Is the OM a catadioptric design?
Yes, it's catadioptric, and yes, I'm hand-holding it. That requires a lot of light, and 1/2000s or faster. The problem with shooting mirror lenses on a light tripod (and a heavy one kind of negates the purposes of a small telephoto lens, doesn't it?) is the low mass of the lens. Unlike heavier lenses, it picks up vibrations very easily, and even the shutter of the GH1 creates problems. But when conditions are right, it's a lot of fun. It requires a lot of practice though.

The exception from the rule is very long shutter times (3 seconds or longer), since vibrations usually die within a second or so. Unless it's windy...
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Old 13th December 2010   #49
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

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Is the OM a catadioptric design?
Have you ever thought that the members of this forum are way beyond the demographic of the intended group for the kit we use?
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Old 13th December 2010   #50
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Re: Fun with Panasonic 100-300

Me, think? Uuhhh...
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