300mm f/4 really that poor?

Mack

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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.
Interesting.

The FocusTune I have shows version 4.0.22 and does the C-AF for both the E-M1 Mark II and the E-M1X. However, I did write him to get that version as the E-M1 II wasn't in it when I bought it. Seeing how they added it in that version, I added a couple lines to the cam.dat file located in the softwares's Share>Data folder so the E-M1X would work, i.e. these two lines that are under the one for the E-M I Mark II:

["e-m1x"] = { ["alias"] = "Oly-EM1X", ["fptype"] = "Olympus_1",},

and


-- 190301 -- Add Oly E-M1X

The FocusAlign Mark II ruler/target gizmo and the FocusTune software is shown on Amazon. Many reviewers seem to have issues with using it, but some have problems with the Olympus menu's too. I always double-check mine in the field, and at the subject distance in studio, as I know this stuff does odd things at times.
 

zanydroid

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I seen Tony's video the other day.
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.
Well, if you need more DOF, you can stop down on FF to arrive at the same point as M43. Whereas the M43 cannot suck in any more light. A high res FF sensor also gives you a built-in TC15, so you can use a 300F4 at 300 and 450, which can be nice.

Now, what's not discussed as much is that shooting at wider apertures for the same DOF means that the autofocus sensors get more illuminance, so all else being equal it will do better. Also your system has much higher tolerance for dust, if you are bad at keeping it clean like me.

Does anyone know whether M43 or FF has more allowance wrt diffraction limits to aperture? That said, I think it's rare to stop down that much in wildlife photography.
 
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What Is Real Anyway?
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 did send my 300 in to Olympus Repair and while they supposedly adjusted something I did not see any real improvement. I have never focus tuned the lens and camera either. Mine also seems to be like Alex implies, it has good days and it has bad days.
 

whumber

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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.
CDAF has finite precision just like PDAF so you can definitely still get errors with CDAF, you just won't get any systematic offset like you can with PDAF.
 

Susan G.

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Tony needs someone to advise him how to set up Lens AF micro adjustment in the menu (for CAF). My 300 Pro was soft wide open until I dialed in a +2 (out of the + or - 20 available). It is now tack sharp.

Chances are he has already calibrated his DSLR and 600 f4.0 (everyone knows DSLR 's need cslibration) but doesn't even know the EM1 series have calibration as well.

And using SAF, the mode that is supposed to be "self calibrating" with mirrorless, is also soft with my 300 and EM1X... nothing I can do about that other than use my calibrated CAF.
Did you mean “+ or -2” ?
 

Nate

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I saw this video when he first posted it.

Without getting into his totally whacked comparison techniques, I doubt anyone is surprised that a lens 5 times the price (and weight?) can produce better images by whatever degree.

While I knew he was going to be negative, those test images he chose to use were unbelievably bad.

I don't own the 300, but it was on my radar for quite some time before I decided against a long prime for wildlife (he makes this point as well). Looking at reviews and galleries of this lens, it was always the superb sharpness that stood out.

I'm convinced he knows this lens is sharper than that, and probably had the images to show it. So why the smear job?
 

masayoshi

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I think the images in the 300mm F4 showcase thread in this forum speak themselves, and we don't need to worry about his video. If somebody saw this video and decided not to buy it, so be it. That's the person's fault not to do more research.
 

dlentini

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If size, weight and money is not an issue you can just get the 300 f2.8 and the 90-250 f2.8. You can probably get both and some more for the price of a 600 f4.
 

Lawrence Beck

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As Super Moderator tkbslc posted on page 1 of this thread: "I know he's not exactly impartial, but these pictures aren't faked. Trust him more than someone with an agenda to stir the pot for internet points."

Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS PRO Lens Review ~ ROBIN WONG

Robin is not a wildlife photographer and he often admits it. The images he posted on the above thread are some of the sharpest I've seen. Robin wrote: "I was shooting hand-held all the way, hence I took off the tripod collar. The lens itself is rather long."

All but one of the first 12 images Robin posted in his review were shot wide open. I personally see nothing lacking in any of these images... especially given that they were hand held and at shutter speeds (ie the Chimp) at 1/40.

Robin later states: "It is extremely sharp. The sharpness was so incredible you can immediately tell the difference in terms of details clarity just by reviewing the images on the camera LCD screen (was on an E-M1). The level of fine details captured was beyond anything I have witnessed so far coming from Olympus lenses. Yes, someone will ask how does this 300mm PRO lens compare with the two sharpest lenses from Olympus, the 75mm F1.8 and 40-150mm F2.8 PRO. The 300mm F4 PRO beats both the aforementioned lenses."

Later in his review he posts images shot at 1/10 and at stops from f4 to f20. All are critically sharp and all were hand held. Please look at these tests rather than take my word.

This is not to diminish in any way Harvey Melvin Richard's or Alex G's "intermittent results" with this lens. Much as we'd like to think there is no sample variability in lenses at this price, there can be (as their experience shows), so hopefully the owner of any new lens will return the lens to Olympus for adjustment if such is determined within the warranty period.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if the funds were available.
 

JiLes

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Indeed the sample the visionaires get on their hands are directly from the shelves on the local camerashop, aren't they...

JiLes
 

Carbonman

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I find my results with the 300mm + MC14 pretty good. This is a SOOC crosspost from Squirrels & Chipmunks:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

whumber

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Every single test shot was with the MC14 or whatever they call it. The benchmarks have never been kind to the combo, so I would say these are not unexpected results.
The comparison with the D850 + 600E was done with the bare lens and it's equally as soft as with the MC-14 attached.
 

Mack

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I haven't seen any terrible resolution issues with the 300mm + MC1.4 combo. Sure the thing may miss the exact focus point during its lock-on, but many others do the same. I find the AF can hunt a bit in a burst in Pro Capture, and just a bit of a hunt leads to a soft image given the small DOF. Talking to Nikon Service, the guy told me "They could speed up the focus in the lens firmware, but doing so would result in more missed shots. Slowing it down might result in more accurately focused shots, but at a huge loss of speed. It's a trade-off." Somewhat like my slow-as-heck 60mm Olympus macro lens that takes several seconds to focus, but is spot on when it does.

On the 300mm+ TC combo, I took the photo of a juvenile hummer (lacking colors?) below on a limb yesterday with that combo. I used FastRawViewer at 70% magnification, and hit the "P" key to see the contrast it shows for focus (i.e. Hitting the "P" key once turns on a green contrast indication, and hitting it again turns on a red "Fine Detail" indication of feather fibers.). By hitting the left or right arrow key on the laptop in a burst of shots, I can watch the exact AF point move about on the limb until one was right at the bird's feet. It might move about an inch on the limb during the culling process by watching the green and red indication of where the camera focused at. There are times the focus seems to move as though it is stair-stepping up the limb during a burst series. However, the software does speed up the culling process a lot by eliminating missed-focus shots, imho.


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Nick779

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I haven't seen any terrible resolution issues with the 300mm + MC1.4 combo. Sure the thing may miss the exact focus point during its lock-on, but many others do the same. I find the AF can hunt a bit in a burst in Pro Capture, and just a bit of a hunt leads to a soft image given the small DOF. Talking to Nikon Service, the guy told me "They could speed up the focus in the lens firmware, but doing so would result in more missed shots. Slowing it down might result in more accurately focused shots, but at a huge loss of speed. It's a trade-off." Somewhat like my slow-as-heck 60mm Olympus macro lens that takes several seconds to focus, but is spot on when it does.

On the 300mm+ TC combo, I took the photo of a juvenile hummer (lacking colors?) below on a limb yesterday with that combo. I used FastRawViewer at 70% magnification, and hit the "P" key to see the contrast it shows for focus (i.e. Hitting the "P" key once turns on a green contrast indication, and hitting it again turns on a red "Fine Detail" indication of feather fibers.). By hitting the left or right arrow key on the laptop in a burst of shots, I can watch the exact AF point move about on the limb until one was right at the bird's feet. It might move about an inch on the limb during the culling process by watching the green and red indication of where the camera focused at. There are times the focus seems to move as though it is stair-stepping up the limb during a burst series. However, the software does speed up the culling process a lot by eliminating missed-focus shots, imho.


View attachment 761563
Mack, do you use any default sharpening settings or any other basic, essential setup options?

Ive been looking for a better way to cull and glanced at FRV but ended up writing it off as I didnt really have the time to tinker with it at the moment. That focus trick would make culling action burst shots 1000x easier.
 

Mack

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Mack, do you use any default sharpening settings or any other basic, essential setup options?

Ive been looking for a better way to cull and glanced at FRV but ended up writing it off as I didnt really have the time to tinker with it at the moment. That focus trick would make culling action burst shots 1000x easier.
I did the same. I downloaded it and toyed with the trial but gave up.

Later reading about it by some 'culler,' I found out about the Contrast (green) and Fine Detail (red) "P" key in it and it was a "Wow! This can really speed the culling things up!" revelation. However, my 30-day trial had ended and I had to buy it to try it again. Its larger histogram does help as it seems to differ from what Olympus shows, and might be Olympus uses the histogram off the JPEG, and FRV uses the RAW file as it seems to show more detail area still available to the right.

Here's an animated GIF that shows the Pro Capture Low burst mode of the hummer where the 300mm +MC1.4 goes from a slight back focus on the branch, to mid focus on bird's foot, to a bit of front focus using FRV in three shots in a 13 shot Pro Capture Low sequence. It's about as fast as pressing the forward button on the keyboard to cull for the sharpest one.

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I also tried it in Pro Capture High and the camera switches out of C-AF and into S-AF mode (Same happens in High Res mode too as it drops into S-AF automatically.) and the focus is stationary and locked in a burst. The Pro Capture Low is where it walks around.

Aside, I have a +1 Sharpen set in the camera although it is only for my chimping on the LCD. I also keep the shadows set to around a +5, Highlights to -2, and Mids to a -2 in the curves part of the camera (I dislike crushed and no detail in the blacks as default.). I generally shoot Manual and set the CWB off a color meter and add a +5 Amber to the E-M1 MK II (Now that they added that in version 3.0) and same for M1X to keep the strong blue default tint down. Might help in the shadow's contrast overall and keeping me pushed up against the right side of the Histogram in FastRawViewer which I seem to have adopted for faster culling over the Olympus software that does not show me where the camera really focused at.
 
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rezatravilla

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I still don't buy it the theory of bad copy in this lens. For US$ 3,000 the QC should be the best. I think Tony N buy an used ones or rent maybe that already ever felt or else
 

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