Long Lenses for Lumix Question from Mark Kaprielian
I shoot with the Panasonic GX7. I have the two F 2.8 zooms, 12-35 and 35-100. I also have the 14-140 F 3.5 – 5.6 which I find is a great all around lens for outside. I’d like to add a longer lens for Birds. I find the 14-140 is pretty short for Birds.
I’d like to stick with Panasonic Lens’s even though my GX7 as in body stabilization. I plan on adding one of the other Panasonic bodies, e.g. the GH4 or the new G7 and want IS in the lenses just because its better to have than to have not.
My question is, of the long Panasonic lenses available, is there any reason to not go with the longest one available to add to my gear as opposed to the not as long shorter lenses.
I see my primary choices as:
— 100 – 300 F 4.0 – 5.6 released in 2010, about 5″ long and the heaviest at 520 grams
— 45 – 175 F 4.0 – 5.6 released in 2012, about 5″ long and about 220 grams
— 45 – 200 F 4.0 – 5.6 released in 2008, about 4″ long and 380 grams
I read a comment in another one of your blogs about not waiting for Panasonic to solve the long lens problem so rather than wait I’d like to proceed with one of the above.
The newest lens is the lightest but also the shortest and not much longer than the 14-140 I already have.
It seems to me that the 100-300 lens would complement my collection.
Should I consider any other lenses than this 100 – 300 ? The only other choice I see that gives me greater distance is the older and shorter 45-200 lens.
If I were to give up the IS then the OL 75-300 enters the game but its not exactly light either, its slower, F 4.8 – 6.7 and at the moment I’m not entirely sure its native MFT (It’s described as compatible, why would it need to say that?).
Unfortunately I can’t make a great recommendation on Panasonic long lenses at this point. I have both the 100-300mm and the 45-200. Although they are both telephotos, I’m not happy with the sharpness either lens produces on a consistent basis. Additionally, they are both very slow when it comes to Auto Focus performance.
I’m not sure if you shoot birds in flight, but if so, you would be disappointed in these two lenses for quick moving subjects. The 45-175 however does focus quite quickly and is the better of the two you mentioned. It’s fairly sharp but definitely not up to the same sharpness standards as the Lumix pro level lenses such as the 12-35mm F/2.8 and the 35-100mm F/2.8.
I solved the medium long lens issue by purchasing the Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 along with the matched 1.4 Teleconverter. With the 1.4X converter attached this lens is equivalent to 420mm F/4. Not as long as I would like for birds but great for most other wildlife and the combination is as sharp as any lens I’ve ever shot. And that’s with the 1.4 teleconverter attached. Along with sharpness, it is rocket fast on the GH4. The downside is lack of Image Stabilization, but with the higher ISO’s that the GH4 can shoot at and the fact the aperture is F/2.8, I’m able to shoot at shutter speeds that are plenty fast to stop camera movement or shake. Do I miss IS? Absolutely, but the lens is just too compelling to discount it for that reason alone.
Finally, depending on your timeline, Panasonic has a surprise lurking in the wings that some may be interested in. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to say what it is but you can always dream.
Regarding the Olympus 75-300mm, I can’t speak about this lens since I’ve never used it. Do keep in mind it may be a Four Thirds lens as opposed to a Micro Four Thirds lens. I actually think Olympus has both. Either way I would not be too excited about this lens when the 40-150mm is available. Hope this helps.