Panasonic 100-300mm f4-5.6
In Micro Four thirds world there are few choices of a long tele zoom. You have the Olympus 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 (both version 1 with the expensive high quality glass or the newer cheaper version which performs generally better from a "stats" point of view) or the Panasonic 100-300mm f4-5.6 which I have looked at here. The lens is surprisingly light and is a good match for the E-M5 with the grip or even the Panasonic GH3. That being said, its clear that it is an older lens as the aperture mechanism on it is unable to keep up with the 9fps (this has been acknowledged by Panasonic as seen here http://fourthirds-user.com/2012/07/fast_frame_rate_problem_with_panasonic_lumix_100300_zoom.php
) especially as you stoop down. That aside, the lens is quite a nice performer. Its not in the same league as the 50-200mm and its hard to see how it compares to the 75-300mm Oly lens, however there are some people who give the 75-300mm the edge in contrast and sharpness which would likely be a result of the quality glass it contains. The Panasonic is a bit faster which can make a difference when the light is a bit lower. Anyway, back to the test.
From 100-200mm the lens is sharp wide open and gets better till it hits its peak at about f8 and even retains good detail at f11. From the 250mm mark it starts a bit of a dive as most zooms do. At 250mm f5.4 detail seems to drop off with f5.6 marginally improving. At f8 it gets nice and sharp again with f11 starting to drop detail again but still better than f5.6. At 300mm f5.6 picks up a little compared to the same aperture at 250mm, peaks at f8 and starts dropping off a little at f11.
CA control is ok. Its not downright terrible but its not as good as the Tair 3s and certainly nowhere near as good as the 50-200mm. You can even see the CA on the brick wall shots. Its important to note, that if your using a Panasonic camera the CA is automatically removed, but not so on an Olympus.
I would love to compare this to the Oly 75-300mm to see if that quality glass makes a visible difference.
Anyway, its good for what it is and for the weight but don’t compare it to the 50-200mm. Its still noticably sharper than the Tair 3s at a fraction of the weight and size and, as at the time of writing, still focuses a ton faster than the 50-200mm on m43. I cant help to think that m43 needs a better tele zoom J
© Dave Bromwich Photography