300mm f/4 really that poor?

Machi

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Optyczne/Lenstip tested Olympus 300mm f/4 with 73 lpmm at f/5.6, Nikon 200-500 had much lower result (35 lpmm).
So Tony's results are really weird.
 

wjiang

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Optyczne/Lenstip tested Olympus 300mm f/4 with 73 lpmm at f/5.6, Nikon 200-500 had much lower result (35 lpmm).
So Tony's results are really weird.
With a 2x crop factor and resolving for a pixel density at 20 MP that is much higher than most FF and APS-C the resolution of the lens must be much higher to match.

But yes, then they should look about even, not with the 300mm being noticeably worse.
 

bbarnett51

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I think they do a great job of testing and showing their results in general. Anything Tony claims, he has tests to back it up. Better than most channels. However his results often don’t match my results. We certainly have seen enough to know that the 300 is a great lens. Let’s not overthink this.
 
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I haven’t looked at these results, and probably won’t. But after looking at what people are getting with the 300 + 2x teleconverter over in that thread, I would have to assume that any non-sharp results from the lens by itself are either a faulty product or faulty use by the shooter.
 
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The weather on his 300mm shoot looked rotten. His hair is wet and it is obviously very misty.

His FF footage was shot on a clear day. His FF shots are mostly lit by glorious sunshine vs the haze in the MFT shots.

He also conceded in the comments that he had the 1.4x converter on.

Not a very scientific test is it?
 
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The Oly 300mm f4 is a great lens. As Tony says ,the IS is second to none. I don't know why there is all this emotionalism. I have handled a 400 mm F2.8 Canon. It can be hand held It costs $10000.00 I am very sorry,but it is a better and sharper lens than the Olympus F4 300 mm. I there are very good physical reasons for this. There are very good reasons for one to use one or the other, if you can both. For example,I can carry the 300mm every where out doors. The 400 mm ,I sold because unless you are a professional photographer the rig is unwieldy to carry. I did not use it enough to be worth it. So I believe Tony is off base in this regard.
 

Pluttis

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The Oly 300mm f4 is a great lens. As Tony says ,the IS is second to none. I don't know why there is all this emotionalism. I have handled a 400 mm F2.8 Canon. It can be hand held It costs $10000.00 I am very sorry,but it is a better and sharper lens than the Olympus F4 300 mm. I there are very good physical reasons for this. There are very good reasons for one to use one or the other, if you can both. For example,I can carry the 300mm every where out doors. The 400 mm ,I sold because unless you are a professional photographer the rig is unwieldy to carry. I did not use it enough to be worth it. So I believe Tony is off base in this regard.
Tony have a point that the Nikon 600mm f4 is the better one of them and will provide better quality (and more details when used with a higher res camera like the D850) but not to the extent shown in his video. Olympus 300mm f4 is on par with other 300mm pro lenses from the other brands.
 

Mack

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How hard is it to AFMA on an Olympus body? Does it have the Nikon style auto calibration? Are the Olympus and PL lenses consistent enough that a one time, single focus distance adjustment is good enough? (Ie, unlike the notoriously bad sigma lenses out there)
Actually, that is a big PITA job, imho, on Olympus with all their AF spots.

It would be nice if Olympus provided some sort of "kit" to do a faster calibration of the 25 AF points it uses, and make that 50 points if a zoom is used where one has to do the "Tele" and "Wide" AF tuning positions both. The newer Nikons are nice that they can self-calibrate the AF, and too bad Olympus hasn't figured out a way to so it with all 25/50 of theirs yet.

For fun I made a pheasant feather stand (Feathers are from an art supply house, i.e. Hobby Lobby, etc.) with the feathers stuck into angled holes about 1/8" apart to see how the 300mm lens would focus using the smallest AF square on the middle feather. Helps to find out how the overall DOF works with various f/stops too.

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The FocusTune software and its FocusAlign II chart is neat, but with a wide-angle lens (or lenses <50mm) the thing runs into cosine errors being so close to the small target and covering the ruler at times with the edge AF tuning squares. Moving it constantly around for all 25 spots in the Olympus body is a major pain and takes forever to do.

I found with the FocusTune software and the FocusAlign II chart that one can use its chart and software on other charts. I printed out some 17x25" checkerboard and hung the chart by a weighted thread over the top so I could move it around and just place the AF tuning square on the chart itself. Made it so I could keep from spending time (hours) moving the stuff all over the place and just move the AF square in the body. Later, I could dump the images into the software and it would read the FocusTune chart. I believe the two red dots on the chart set the software up to read it for maximum contrast for sharpness. The ruler part, although needed to complete the test by setting the six red dots on it, just goes along for the ride and is just a visual indicator for the slant ruler they use to see where the focus plane is at and not used in the calculation portion in my tests. I hung a wire spaced 2" apart with the six red dots on it so I could place the software's dots easier than counting the checkerboard's squares equally. Prerequisite seems to be to keep the FocusTune chart in the upper left quadrant and the ruler to the right. Just move the AF tuning sqaure around on the chart to set it. Alignment (parallelism) to the chart is critical and can be done by watching the corner placement in the FA grid to match up.

However, I gave up on the thing when I got to the 8mm f/1.8 fisheye. Being about 15" away, the field curvature is so strong that it was futile. Guess its best to try and do the central AF tuning square, and hope the real world outside DOF compensates for the field curvature. Even ImageAlign fails with that fisheye lens too according to the Imaging Resources review. Can't use C-AF with it if camera is in Fisheye Correction in the camera menu being ON where it makes it a rectilinear lens, only S-AF works.
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alex g

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For the record, I've definitely had mixed results from my copy of the 300/4, as has @Harvey Melvin Richards with his. Mine can produce very crisp images sometimes, and distinctly fuzzy ones at others. I've spent a fair amount of time trying to isolate the cause, and I'm fairly confident that it isn't lack of technique, at least not all the time. There is definitely some kind of intermittent issue with the focus mechanism on my copy which I haven't yet had the courage to send in for repair, and sometimes I wonder if there may be a problem with the gyros too, but that's just guesswork. Either way, I have definitely captured better images with the Panasonic 100-300mm than I have with the 300/4 on one of its bad days.

So on the basis of my personal experience, I would say that TN's findings could well be perfectly genuine. That's not to say that such results are typical of the 300/4 however, as ample evidence on this forum proves, and that's where he is being misleading, either intentionally or unintentionally.
 

The Grumpy Snapper

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There's two possible explanations for the results.

1. Simply clickbait from some youtuber.

2. A youtuber less qualified to test a lens than one of the squirrels in my yard. The squirrels have quite a bit of experience from watching me.
 

zanydroid

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Actually, that is a big PITA job, imho, on Olympus with all their AF spots.

It would be nice if Olympus provided some sort of "kit" to do a faster calibration of the 25 AF points it uses, and make that 50 points if a zoom is used where one has to do the "Tele" and "Wide" AF tuning positions both. The newer Nikons are nice that they can self-calibrate the AF, and too bad Olympus hasn't figured out a way to so it with all 25/50 of theirs yet.
Ouch. Can you just AFMA the central point and let the camera do something reasonable for the other ones? I'm more willing to live with field curvature (which I would think would be acceptable for a PL or Oly Pro lens) than sit down and calibrate 50 things. 1 is about my limit.

Also, are there other good tutorial for this so I can see what's involved? I'm thinking about buying the EM1.2 mainly for the fast PDAF focus.
 

Mack

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For the record, I've definitely had mixed results from my copy of the 300/4, as has @Harvey Melvin Richards with his. Mine can produce very crisp images sometimes, and distinctly fuzzy ones at others. I've spent a fair amount of time trying to isolate the cause, and I'm fairly confident that it isn't lack of technique, at least not all the time. There is definitely some kind of intermittent issue with the focus mechanism on my copy which I haven't yet had the courage to send in for repair, and sometimes I wonder if there may be a problem with the gyros too, but that's just guesswork. Either way, I have definitely captured better images with the Panasonic 100-300mm than I have with the 300/4 on one of its bad days.

So on the basis of my personal experience, I would say that TN's findings could well be perfectly genuine. That's not to say that such results are typical of the 300/4 however, as ample evidence on this forum proves, and that's where he is being misleading, either intentionally or unintentionally.
I have had my share of missed focus shots with the 300mm, but some of it is my fault and another part may be the camera.

Using the FocusTune/LensAlign Mark II software and doing their focus adjusting test, I have seen the software report back that the C-AF was ignored ( :wtf: ) and the camera defaulted to S-AF for a brief instant. Sometimes the software will report the test images are not right, and you can see where instead of you dialing in a -10 in C-AF, it might show a "0" (zero) in S-AF and those shots you have to toss out prior to analysis.

Seems if I tap the shutter button too quick, the focus lock is somehow lost on a quick subsequent re-press of the shutter and the camera will drop into S-AF mode instead of C-AF where it should be (C-AF is shown in the SCP, but the camera does things differently!). Very weird behavior, and I would not have seen it without the FocusTune software showing the error, which it may be getting from the EXIF image data too. I thought the lens was at fault for a while before I saw the auto-changing of C-AF to S-AF and ignoring any AF tuning data set.

Sometimes if you playback the recent image, the green AF square is missing, and other times it is present even though the shutter is set to release only on a focus lock. One has to be deliberate with the shutter release and not stab at it. I get excited when I see a bird in view and stab at the release, and then often hit at it again to fire off a burst sequence which is maybe out of focus too.

It even occurs with a remote shutter release as well. Maybe back-button focus might be a better choice, but I haven't tried it yet.
 
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Having spent many hours with Focus Tune,I was amazed at the delicacy of the process,to even do center focus. You have to focus over and over,meaning that the perfect focal point is attainable ,only within limits.The idea that you need to do each of 50 focal points is not a good thought to me.
The idea that each picture needs to be a keeper with a telephoto lens or else you don't have a good copy,would demand a large amount of proof. More than likely in high telephoto you are getting camera shake.,caused by you. And even more of a problem is atmospheric distortion. Even if you got all fifty focus points perfect,if you went outside,the temperature might have changes a bit,invalidating the whole process. Or perhaps you slammed the lens against the door,when you put it in the car. Wow.You now need to re-calibrate. I just go out and take pictures. I find a mono-pod helps.High ISO helps. Stopping the lens down helps. I can't control atmospheric conditions which are huge in long range telephoto shots and I am happy with a moderate number of keepers.
 

Mack

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Ouch. Can you just AFMA the central point and let the camera do something reasonable for the other ones? I'm more willing to live with field curvature (which I would think would be acceptable for a PL or Oly Pro lens) than sit down and calibrate 50 things. 1 is about my limit.

Also, are there other good tutorial for this so I can see what's involved? I'm thinking about buying the EM1.2 mainly for the fast PDAF focus.
You could do the center AF and call the other 24 the same. Olympus gave us a lot more AF tuning than may be necessary. That Roger guy of LensRentals thinks 3 points is "Good enough." Most of mine are within 3 points of each other now.

Fwiw, my Nikon D800E was at -19 much of the time new (Severely back-focusing.). Other times it needed a lot more, maybe a -22 but it couldn't go that far. Some days it goes for a walk-about with regards to AF tuning set and it might be heat, color of ambient light, lens aperture, or whatever causing it to differ. Nikon used a white LED for focus assist in dim light, but their own flash units used IR or a red LED pattern and some auto-focus shifts happened with flash so I had to turn flash's focus assist off. The DPReview site has some Nikon guys trying to tune their D5500 auto-focus and finding they have to use some back-focus with indoor lighting verses using outdoor daylight Kelvin.

Phocal has much of what's needed here: EM1 Micro Focus Adjustment - Why and How to Perform Best to sit down with the gear and try and set it up yourself. It does take time, and a worse headache with a lot of lenses to do too. The Micheal Tapes website of the LensAlign II has some videos on doing it, but with Olympus you got a lot of them to do if you are so inclined and have hours and days to spare.
 
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I have had my share of missed focus shots with the 300mm, but some of it is my fault and another part may be the camera.


It even occurs with a remote shutter release as well. Maybe back-button focus might be a better choice, but I haven't tried it yet.
Maybe you got an updated version,but my version was only for manual focus,not SAF or CAF. I manually refocused each time and used a cable release. Some runs are completely invalid and have to be done again.
 

zanydroid

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... Maybe I need to look for a country where the camera shop labor is cheap and good enough for me to outsource this 50 point AFMA fine tuning.

Having spent many hours with Focus Tune,I was amazed at the delicacy of the process,to even do center focus. You have to focus over and over,meaning that the perfect focal point is attainable ,only within limits.The idea that you need to do each of 50 focal points is not a good thought to me.
Well, the "right answer" is for bodies to implement a good refinement protocol after initial acquisition, to micro-tune the focus for each shot. This will cover a ton of cases - temperature, dinging, phase of the moon. Panasonic (yeah, CDAF, I know) and Sony doesn't have this problem, even on adapted glass. Either they gets close and can adjust to a good lock, or they get hopelessly confused.

This type of fine tuning calibration, if the only technically feasible way of getting good results, is eminently automatable at the factory.
 
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I seen Tony's video the other day.
What I don't get is why the studio images where he was talking about sharpness, all looked out of focus on the 300mm.
He claimed that results with other FF lenses yielded much sharper results yet actual pictures of wildlife in the rear world looked much softer on other lenses he was claiming were "sharper".

He also compared sharpness with 42-45mp cameras. Of course a 42-45mp sensor will have more resolution/detail than a 20mp sensor.

Then he made a silly argument about how m43 users praising that you get more depth of field on the Oly 300mm and that it was desirable. His counter argument is that that on FF lenses you can always raise your aperture to get more in focus but you can't get more background blur on M43. Sounds like a logical statement and while true, raising your aperture on any lens including F to get more in focus means you're getting less light. Less light means cranking up the ISO's which affects ultimate image quality. He forgot to mention that important bit of info and did so conveniently.

I remember Tony used to have very positive views regarding M43 and while he never did a review on the EM1ii, while he was using it after launch, he favored that camera with a speedbooster combo over other cameras. I forgot his exact words but it was several years ago. A lot has changed with Tony since then. Now he's against m43.
 

wjiang

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... Maybe I need to look for a country where the camera shop labor is cheap and good enough for me to outsource this 50 point AFMA fine tuning.



Well, the "right answer" is for bodies to implement a good refinement protocol after initial acquisition, to micro-tune the focus for each shot. This will cover a ton of cases - temperature, dinging, phase of the moon. Panasonic (yeah, CDAF, I know) and Sony doesn't have this problem, even on adapted glass. Either they gets close and can adjust to a good lock, or they get hopelessly confused.

This type of fine tuning calibration, if the only technically feasible way of getting good results, is eminently automatable at the factory.
The focus tuning only applies to PDAF right? S-AF should do a final CDAF confirmation, so it should not be possible to get focus errors.
 
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