Long Lenses for Lumix Question from Mark Kaprielian

Posted Jun. 17th, 2015 by Daniel J. Cox

Hello Dan

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?).

Mark

Mark,

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.

The new, recently released Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 zoom

The new, recently released Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 zoom

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.

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There are 11 comments on this post…
  1. Doug BrayOn Jun. 28th, 2015

    Hi Dan,

    I just received notification that our Olympus 7-14 mm 2.8 has been shipped. Lugging the D810 with the Nikor 14-24 2.8 on our recent Europe trip to get the wide images we wanted was a pain.

    Looking forward to the 300mm, but it does not appear it will be available for the Brazil trip.

    Doug

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 29th, 2015

      I’ve hard the same about the 300mm. I also just recently sold the Nikkor 14-24mm. Loved that lens but just hated packing it anywhere. Thanks for checking in.

    • Doug BrayOn Jul. 17th, 2015

      Hi Dan,

      I hope the Svalbard trip is going well.

      We have had the Olympus 7-14 2.8 for a couple of weeks. I am pleased with its performance and believe it will be a very good alternative to the D810/Nikkor 14-28 2.8 for travel photography.

      I saw the news release for the new Panasonic 100-400 4-6.3 lens. It seems to be a little slow. I think the new Olympus 300 4.0 with the 1.4 teleconverter will be a better alternative for all users since it will have IS in the lens.

      Doug

  2. DeanOn Jun. 22nd, 2015

    Dear Dan,

    Here’s some good (possible?) news for Panasonic shooters. There’s a rumor that the Olympus 300mm 4.0 M.Zuiko is being delayed because IS is being added! Check out the “rumor” at http://www.43rumors.com/

    Best wishes to all,

    Dean

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 22nd, 2015

      You beat me to it Dean. Saw this already. This is fabulous news for all of us. I’ve always felt that if Panasonic and Olympus can work together, as they started out doing, they will then have a much easier time making progress in conniving photographers there are two other options to Canon and Nikon. Neither one will do it on their own, but together they have a chance.

    • DeanOn Jun. 22nd, 2015

      I finally beat you to something? [I’m still trying to get over the fact that you beat me to Tanya! ;0( ] Yes, it would be great if the two MFT giants got together on more lenses. But, it would be easier if Panaonic would get IS into the GH5 and 4k video into the E-M1! By the way, I had a chance to put the E-M1 with the latest firmware (3.0 and 3.1) update through its paces at the Columbus Zoo during the Cheetah “runs.” (Two Cheetahs are allowed to chase a fluffy ball over a 100-yard course. Not quite like being in Kenya, but it was a good test of the E-M1 and 40-150mm f2.8 Pro. It worked flawlessly, 95% infocus images on AF-C tracking, even as the Cheetah ran behind trees. Very impressive. We photographers are so fortunate to have access to such great gear from Panasonic and Olympus.

    • DeanOn Jun. 24th, 2015

      Is it Christmas in June? Is that Santa I hear on the rooftop? This morning, at 43rumors.com, it is being reported (“rumored”) that Olympus has applied for a patent for a 500mm 4.0 M.Zuiko IS lens.

      Dean

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jun. 24th, 2015

      You beat me to it again. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. GeorgeOn Jun. 17th, 2015

    I will buy the 100-300mm f4 (or better) even if it is heavier and bigger than any current m4/3 lens, because it is still going to be significantly smaller then my Canon 100-400mm II
    I am hoping and waiting…
    Thanks Daniel to bridge the Lumix users with Panasonic. This is an important chancel for them to hear our voices.

  4. Trent AndersonOn Jun. 17th, 2015

    Dan,

    I’m sitting in JFK waiting for my connection back home to L.A.. I just spent 2 weeks photographing birds in Iceland primarily using the Olympus 45-150mm with the teleconverter. I love the lens but found that I had to shoot at 1600 ISO as an entry point to even have a chance to get tack sharp photos. I was primarily dealing with Arctic Terns and Snipes. I wound up at 3200 ISO to have a chance. Granted, I’m on the steep learning curve of trying to catch the critters but I did feel, in the lower light levels of Iceland, that the focus was laboring.
    Be that as it may (my possible ineptness) the lens is, for me, exciting to photograph with. I’ve taken it on three trip so far and find it hard to put down, even though I have another G4 on my shoulder with the smaller Lumix lenses.

  5. Mark KaprielianOn Jun. 17th, 2015

    Exactly the information I was looking for.

    Thank you
    Mark

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