Question Regarding Lumix Long Lens Dilemma by NE Explorer Tom Ocasek

Posted Mar. 4th, 2015 by Daniel J. Cox

Dan…. I have been following your cork board blog and your advice and have migrated to Panasonic.

I have a couple GH3 bodies, 12-35,35-200, 45 macro lenses along with the 100-300 f4-5.6 ( because of IS and range ). The decision to downsize from Nikon has been great except when it comes to taking action stills with the 100-300. I too have successfully employed better technique with this lens – the German tripod collar, monopod,cable, 800-1600 ISO, making

The Canon 600mm F/4 with photographer attached is on the left. On the right is me shooting the Lumix GH3 with a 100-300mm F/4-5.6 lens. In the Micro Four thirds world all lenses are multiplied 2x so the Lumix 100-300 is actually equivalent to a 200-600mm lens. The same long magnification as the massive Canon lens.

The Canon 600mm F/4 with photographer attached is on the left. On the right is me shooting the Lumix GH3 with a 100-300mm F/4-5.6 lens. In the Micro Four thirds world all lenses are multiplied 2x so the Lumix 100-300 is actually equivalent to a 200-600mm lens. The same long magnification as the massive Canon lens.

careful menu selections. I did miss some action events in Africa recently, but not a lot. I found it interesting that 75% of the 8,000 images shot were with the 100-300 – it has a great range.

This is the Lumix 100-300mm F/4-5.6 zoom that I would love to see updated. It's a very good lens as is but a rework could make it equally stellar to the new 40-150mm Olympus.

This is the Lumix 100-300mm F/4-5.6 zoom that I would love to see updated. It’s a very good lens as is but a rework could make it equally stellar to the new 40-150mm Olympus.

My question: Does the GH4/GH3 with the Olympus 40-150 f2.8 + the TC 1.4 solve the action issue? and……Should I wait for Panasonic to solve their “missing” pro long lens issue?

Aloha,
Tom Ocasek

Sorry for the delay to this question. I just returned home from being in Yellowstone and now preparing for a handful of personal presentations in Florida and Minnesota.

Regarding your questions.

  1. I haven’t had a chance to really put the GH4 and 40-150mm to the test with fast subjects coming straight at the camera so I’m still not positive. However in all other real world situations I think the action issues have been solved with the new lens and GH4. I’m guessing you’ve seen my Kenya Blog Post on the subject?
  2. I have no idea when the GH5 will appear. I’ve been very happy with the GH4 and they have come down in price considerably.
  3. I personally would not wait for Panasoinc to solve their longer lens issue. I didn’t wait. The 40-150mm is here and now and it is spectacular. I would also make sure to buy the 1.4 teleconverter. It’s a superb addition to the GH4 and I almost never remove it from the lens and camera.

I don’t see Panasonic being nearly as bad at catching up as Nikon was over the years. The issue we are facing as still shooters is Lumix believes their advantage is the 4K Photo Mode.  Olympus is without a doubt targeting the still photographers. Panasonic knows this and has chosen to let them cater to the stills crowd. Lumix is a fabulous video camera, though I know that is of no interest to you. Thankfully, Olympus lenses work just fine on the GH4 bodies and we can use them until Lumix gets their longer lenses on the market which I’m confident they will do.

From the very beginning of my infactuation with MFT,  I wrote about the huge benefits of being able to go from one company to another without having to switch out your entire system; if the company your are with (Lumix) doesn’t have the lens (updated 100-300mm) or body you want. Can you imagine if it would have been the same with Nikon and Canon? Fortunately for Panasonic the one big downside to the Olympus system is the difficulty of learning how to use the Olympus cameras and their extremely confusing menu system. I think Panasonic is far, far superior in handing and ergonomics. Thankfully, the Olympus 40-150mm works just fine with the Lumix system. Even minus the Image Stabilization since we can shoot at much higher shutter speeds due to very good ISO performance of the GH4 and the fast F/2.8 aperture of the 40-150mm Olympus lens.

Hope this helps. I’m going to add this response to the Blog question you sent in, which by the way I really appreciate, since my answers can then be shared with the entire community. Stay in touch and let me know if you have any other questions.

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There are 4 comments on this post…
  1. David GlatzOn Mar. 6th, 2015

    Thanks Dan – I knew about the IS issue and agree that if you’re shooting action (which is likely with that focal length as you pointed out) the lack of IS on the Panasonic body isn’t a big deal, due to fast shutter speed and higher ISO’s as you noted. Wasn’t sure about autofocus but as usual you cleared up that question. Appreciate the post.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 6th, 2015

      My pleasure Dave. It’s a great system though your Nikons are equal or better. I just al boils down to how much weight a person wants to carry and how much money one’s to spend. The Lumix MFT with Olympus lenses is a great option for many people. Let me know if you have nay other questions.

  2. David GlatzOn Mar. 5th, 2015

    Dan does the Olympus lens auto-focus when used on a Panasonic body? Just curious. Thanks!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Mar. 5th, 2015

      Dave, all Olympus lenses including the new 40-150mm auto focus on the Lumix bodies. Both Olympus and Panasonic built their entire systems to work together with the one exception of Olympus building Image Stabilization (IS) in to the body and Lumix building IS in to the lenses. Since it’s an Olympus lens the one thing that doesn’t work is IS since Olympus has no IS in the lens itself. Not sure if you saw the Lumix Diaries post about the cheetah chase I shot in Kenya, but this was all shot with the GH4 set to Auto Focus as well as the lens. Even though I would love to have IS, I have to say I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how little I miss it with the Olympus lens. Since the 40-150mm is an F/2.8 and I can shoot the GH4 at higher ISO’s the shutter speeds I get are fast enough to stop all movement.  It’s not been nearly as big of an issue as I first thought it might be.  Thanks for the question.

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