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Dale was right!

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Part II of our epic mini-series “The Spot on the Sensor”

    In last week’s episode, I discovered that my FZ200 had sucked up yet another dust particle and said, “Well, now I am faced with a dilemma: $100 to clean it, with no guarantee it won't happen again tomorrow; $500 for the FZ300, which is supposed to be dust-resistant; or possibly a telephoto for the EM5 . . .
    Any suggestions are welcome.”


    DaleThorn said: “I would fix it if I could be sure to keep it away from dust.
    If not, I would get the FZ300, so I could continue with a similar camera that I know I like.
    A telephoto for the EM5 wouldn't be the same, for several reasons.”


    Because I am not very bright and of advancing years and because I fell under the spell of my DSLR-owning brother-in-law (who said, “Get an SLR, you can put any darn lens you want on it”), I ignored Dale’s sage advice and ordered a Panasonic 100-300 for my Olympus OM-D E-M5.

    I had this fantasy spinning in my head that I would permanently attach the telephoto to the OMD and carry two cameras when the better half and I went walking where we might find wildlife. The OMD would capture the long-range stuff, and my LX100 would be handy for recording the grandeur of the skies. Right?!!

    RONG! The Panasonic 100-300 is a nicely made lens, but it is big, heavy, and impossible to hold steady with the OIS turned off. With the OIS activated, it settles down with a half press of the shutter, but the camera/lens combo has a disturbing tendency to jerk when the mechanical shutter clunks through its cycle.

    During a series of test shots outside on a perfectly beautiful day, comparing the OMD/100-300 combo with my FZ200, I realized that I overwhelmingly preferred the superzoom. Shooting at booth 600mm e and 1200mm e (with digital zoom engaged), I found that the results at 100% from the OMD combo were smoother but softer. The FZ200 was sharper but had more digital artifacts and noise, but it was much, much easier to frame the shot that I wanted. My photographic style, if I have one, is to wander about and shoot what catches my eye; I don’t do tripods unless it is under the night sky.

    I quickly realized that my fantasy about the 100-300/OMD was just that: a Spanish pipe dream. Dale was absolutely right: A telephoto for the EM5 wouldn't be the same, for several reasons. Any representations that I would regularly carry the 100-300/OMD combo were, as Nixon put it, inoperative.

    So I have requested a return label on the 100-300, and I expect that as soon as I can be sure I’ll get my money back, I will be ordering the FZ300. When it shows up, I’ll report my impressions here.

    Cheer, Jock
     
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  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I use an old manual focus 300mm Olympus Om lens for birding on the E-M5 and in body stabilization works great. But it's not a take wherever you go outfit.. Superzooms exist for a very good reason. There are trade-offs, but there are trade-offs with everything -- and I don't mean just cameras. I just got another - the Sony RX10, to give it a test drive instead of my Stylus 1. The size may be a deal killer, I don't know, and I really loved the Stylus 1, but I've wanted to try the Sony and it should be here Monday or Tuesday. AND... if it doesn't work for me, even with the improved IQ, I know the Stylus 1 does. Nothing like knowing you like something.
     
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  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I hope that you didn't have both lens IS and sensor IS activated at the same time.
     
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  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I re-bought an RX1 a month ago because I was hankering for a "better camera" since I slimmed down to just my RX10 zoomer. I haven't used it once. I think for many, the ability to zoom just trumps everything else.

    There's no doubt in my mind that the shots you COULD get with the OMD and your long lens with practice and patience would be great and have finer IQ, but there's no sense in fighting with your tools. And the practicality (paired with the level of quality that superzooms have finally reached in the last few years) of an all-in-one is really a big selling point for me.
     
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  5. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I find myself using my EM5 less and less, though I am not ready to part with my system camera, essential to me for some things. But what I shoot most are the compact zooms, whichever one I have, and the Leica X1. I've finally admitted that while I like having a camera that changes lenses I don't like changing lenses in the field. The rx10 is out for delivery today and I expect it will be with me a lot.
     
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  6. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Luke, I agree completely. The long lens is packed and will be on its way back tomorrow and the FZ300 is already ordered.

    Cheers, Jock
     
  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    With some cameras, any IS that's on while the camera is physically stabilized can be a problem.
     
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  8. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    This stuff gets very complicated. My experience has been that, unless the sensor is acting poorly in the image (i.e. the image overall is too noisy or washed out or otherwise corrupt), the zoom ratio squared (images are 2D) is the biggest factor. A really good DSLR 600 mm lens will obviously clobber a "600 mm" zoom on a pocket digicam. But a 600 mm effective zoom on a small non-changeable lens camera that produces a decent image, will represent a small (smaller than the overall image at max. zoom) object with 4 times the data (or pixels, assuming the pixel count is the same) that a 300 mm lens does. There will be cases where the 300 mm DSLR lens will produce a better looking small bird at distance than a small-camera 600 mm effective zoom can, but if the small camera has approximately the same pixel count and in this case is producing a good well-lit image, it will be hard to beat.

    I've also found that where small long-zoom cameras have a very good lens (Panasonic ZS50 for example), the images containing small objects (i.e. small birds) at full zoom will be very difficult to match with anything less than a monster lens on a DSLR. And that to me is a much better use of such a camera than wide-angle images, where landscapes typically have too much smearing, or group photos of faces show too many digital artifacts. Camera sites typically promoted wide-angle over long zoom for small cameras for years, until the smarter consumers finally won out.
     
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  9. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    It's an issue unique to Olympus cameras up to and including the E-M5 when used in combination with Panasonic OIS lenses. The body and lens IS are separate systems and if both are turned on there is no lockout to prevent them from working concurrently as is the case in the later model cameras. The two IS systems both try to correct the same movement and end up overcorrecting.
     
  10. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Hopefully this is on-topic ... while I'm happy with my current cameras, I've discovered that Canon makes the SX-720, with a 135-effective 960 mm optical zoom (40x), and it's a *pocket* camera with the typical 1/2.3 whatever sensor. Maybe someone can talk me out of it, but my wife's backup camera is the SX-700, and its lens is decent and the Digic-6 engine is phenominal in my experience. So I'll probably order it and maybe have to return it, but the key test for me for whether the long zoom adds a real capability is shooting a nearly-full moon. In that case the lighting would be perfect, and if I get significantly more detail than my wife's Canon G3x (600 mm eff. zoom, 1-inch sensor), it could be a keeper.

    The G3x produced a better image at its "600 mm" optical zoom setting than the Panasonic ZS50/TZ60/70 did at its 720 mm setting, so the G3x's superior sensor and/or processing engine outweighed the ZS50's zoom advantage. But 960/600 squared gives the SX-720 a 2.5 times advantage in moon pixels over the G3x, and so I'm expecting a more equal result in the final analysis.

    Of course the pocket size and $380 USD price means giving up a lot of performance compared to the larger camera, so the only relevant question for me is whether I can get that same-quality image (cropped to just the moon) with the SX-720, regardless of the other issues.
     
  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    For me the size of the RX10 was a deal killer. If I am going to carry that much weght around,the EM5 and a superzoom are a better option for me. So I sold ths Sony and got another Stylus 1. If I need better IQ, I have cameras that will give it to me. (and I find the Stylus1 IQ really quite good, especially shooting raw, which is how I shoot). I just find the Olympus checks most of my point and shoot boxes, and for me it is versatile and fun in a way the RX10 just wasn't. It' s a great camera, though. It is just not for me.
     
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