View Full Version : Advice please 70-300 or 50-200 or? for E620

10th August 2010, 08:51 PM
Hi all,

Having posted in the introductions I thought this might be a better place to ask this. I'm very new to the E-system having only just bought an E-620 twin lens kit. But I'm off travelling in October in South Africa and would like to get either the 70-300 or the 50-200 lens. I'm not sure which at the moment, trying to weigh up the pros and cons (I also posted a wanted ad to see what's available at the moment so I do apologise for cross posting but I doubt I'll get the detailed reasoning or links to images in either of those threads, so that's why i'm posting here). If the Mods think I'm out of line for doing so, please delete this thread :B)!

One thing I know is I can afford a new 70-300 but not a new 50-200.

Anyway, my main interest are wildlife, birding, macro for this lens. Part of the trip I'm going on will involve a pelagic birding tour to see albatroses and whale watching. I'll also get plenty of use out of it back home in Norfolk.

All the best andthanks for the warm welcome.:D


10th August 2010, 09:22 PM
I own the 50-200 and it is an excellent lens, but for birding and wildlife I find the 200mm often too short. I never used the 70-300, so I couldn't comment on it's merrits, but the extra reach of the 300mm would suit your purpose much better in my opinion.

11th August 2010, 06:44 AM
It looks like you have already decided in that you can only afford the 70-300

It's no bad lens. I have one and have enjoyed using it. You will see comments about it hunting a bit at low light and this is correct, but when you get it locked on you will get some excellent pictures.

I have to admit that I'm in the process of getting a 50-200, but I don't see them as the same I will probably end up using the 50-200 more, but if I was going down there I'd take both and the EC-14 to give me the flexibility of a medium range lens and somethiing that could become the equivalent of an 840mm lens (300*2*14). Yes you need a very steady hand and/or tripod and reasonable light to use it with,, but it may just get that close up you couldn't get otherwise


11th August 2010, 08:14 AM
I would say: Go for the 50-200. It's quality is superior, and although a bit on the heavy side, you get a highly improved result.

The pros and cons as I see it:

70-300 pros are weight and price, the cons are that you won't be satisfied with images at the long end of the zoom.
50-200 pros are image quality and size compared to quality. Cons are price and size compared to the 70-300. The 50-200 (I've got version 1, which you should be able to find at a discount or used) is the perfect lens as I see it.

11th August 2010, 01:55 PM

Always start with the end in mind...

What are you going to do with the images. If the most they will ever be seen at is on a laptop at 1024x768 or a TV at 1080p then the 70-300 will do everything you want and the images will be very good. :)

If however you want to print the images at A2 and hang them on the wall then you may want to consider hiring the 90-250 f/2.8 :cool:

The 50 -200 will give you an improvement in IQ over the 70-300, however I have both thes lenses and have done some comparison shots and often find it hard to tell the difference. If I were to post the results here at the resolutions available for the site, you too would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Have a look at some of Barr1e's images http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=22830

The most significant aspect of using long lenses is controlling stability and while you will have lots of light and will get high shutter speeds, you will need to consider a good tri/monopod to keep things steady.

Have fun and do remember to show us the results


11th August 2010, 02:47 PM
I have the 50-200 (MK1 and SWD) and the 70-300.

With good light, which you should get in SA, the 70-300 is a great lens. Yes the 50-200 is shaprer at the edges and is faster, but on the camera you have (with IS) you will get some great shots. Just remember to drop it down a F stop or two to get the best results.

I was selling my old 50-200 MK1, but I have paired it up with an E1 that I purchased recently.

You can always hire lenses (see menu bar at the top of this forum), to see which one is best suited to your budget and needs.....although once you get the 50-200SWD in your hands you will want one. :)

12th August 2010, 08:21 AM

Always start with the end in mind...

What are you going to do with the images. If the most they will ever be seen at is on a laptop at 1024x768 or a TV at 1080p then the 70-300 will do everything you want and the images will be very good. :)

If however you want to print the images at A2 and hang them on the wall then you may want to consider hiring the 90-250 f/2.8 :cool:



Okay starting with the end result. I make maybe one to two trips a year with the intention of seeing and now photographing wildlife, plus the odd couple of days a month at a local nature reserve in Norfolk, the odd bit of falconry/zoo photography (which I'm not so keen on but is good practice). I tend to produce a photo book of my shots from each trip I go on and occasionally exibit a few pics as part of a local photography club in Norwich. I have also had a few of my best ones blown up to A3 / A2 ish size to hang on our walls. I've generally been reasonably happy with the results from my Panny in good light. Where I'm lacking is in low light performance, getting those atmospheric wildlife shots and birds in flight/action shots. Here's an example- this leopard was taken towards the end of the day I had to bump the ISO all the way up to 800 and hold it very steady to get this shot. I'm looking for some improvement under these sort of circumstances:



But here's another example, A Jaguar in good light in Brazil's Pantanal. I'm really pleased with this shot taken from a boat:


I'd also like to be able to isolate the subjects from the background more easily to do more creative wildlife portrature.

Here's some BIF shots. I'd like a system that allows me to take these more effectively (easier/faster tracking, more responsiveness, better IQ):


I'm fairly Au Fait with Photoshop/Topaz so don't mind doing a bit of PP to improve the shot although I have a tendency to shoot Jpeg to get the best speed from my Panny..

It sounds like both lenses are useful in different circumstances. With the safari, it'll be a mix of game drives, boat trips and walks. I could of course still take my panny FZ18 for when I want to be more mobile. Until now, I had no idea it was possible to hire lenses. I currently have the twin lens kit and no TC.

What I don't want is something as weighty as my OH's canon 30D and Sigma 170-500 for general use because to be honest I might as well take that if I'm going down that route (unlss the lenses you've suggested are in a different league to this and deliver significant improvement in IQ & creativity over that combination, which TBH I've not been overly impressed with). How would the weight compare of the lenses you've all suggested on the E620 in that regard?

I'll see if I can try the 50-200 out locally to at least get a feel for the weight- we're lucky to have warehouse express in town so hopefully that wont be a problem. I have tried the 70-300 briefly in a shop a few month ago and it was nice and light although I have seen pics from both and can honestly see the difference the 50-200 does make. Plus I see thee are other lenses to consider if I go down the hire route.

So many things to think about!

All the best


12th August 2010, 10:08 AM
I'm sure that even with the 70-300mm you would see a big improvement over your Panny outfit.

I'm not really into wildlife although I dabble a bit, but I have found that my 70 -300mm has performed well with my E-620 and E-30.

You will certainly see a big difference in ISO and image quality once you become proficiant with the equipment.

Would I have the 50-200mm, proberbly not as weight is always a issue with me and it would only get used on rare occasions for specific outing and not be carried most of the time, but thats just me.

I'm not sure how amany images you have seen from the E-620 and 70-300mm combo, so heres few images from that combo all handheld.

Lemur at ISO 800


Robin at 300mm and ISO800 and shot through double glazing.


Also it is very good at close up photography at the 300mm end.

Hoverfly at 300mm ISO400


12th August 2010, 12:12 PM
Thanks Paul. Its always nice to see images. When you say 300 mm do you mean that it's at full zoom because 300 on the 4/3 is actually 600 effective isn't it? Nice shots! I would be happy with those. :) *chr

12th August 2010, 12:29 PM

another quick question. How can I see which lens is used in a gallery?



12th August 2010, 12:59 PM
Hi Jo, yes the robin and hoverfly were taken at 300mm (600mm), the lemur was about 200mm (400mm).:)

13th August 2010, 08:01 AM
Hi all

having read comments posted so far, I'm leaning towards maybe buying a 70-300 for general use and then hiring something better to take on my trip and maybe see where I go from there. So bearing that in mind, which lens would you suggest I might go for to hire? Should I also by a teleconverter if so, which one?

To give you all a rough idea of what we'll be doing:
3 October Hermanus area: hoping to photograph the african penguins, possibly also spend a bit of time around Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens... some birding?, fynbos). Late afternoon relax around Hermanus, land-based whale watching. Overnight Hermanus area.
4 Oct Mon - great white shark cage dive in the morning, more whale watching.
5 Oct Tue - Cape L'Agulhas (if need be could do this Monday, depending on shark cage diving). Overnight Hermanus area.
6 Oct Wed - drive to Cape Town, go up Table Mountain, visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (flowers, landscape & birds will be the subject), and maybe explore some of Cape Town.
7 Oct Thu - Day trip: Drive via awesome scenic drive Chapmans Peak, to Hout Bay poss visit World of Birds. Hout Bay harbour watch seagulls, and have a fish & chips meal. Then, to Simons Town Boulders Beach for the penguins. or possibly take a boat trip out to sea from either Hout Bay or Simons Town. Overnight Cape Town.
8 Oct Fri - pelagic tour (albatrosses will be the subject, possibly whales too from a boat)
9 Oct Sat - Take train to Johannesburg
10 Oct- Pick up rental car drive Graskop Overnight Graskop
11 Oct - Visit waterfalls around Blyde River Canyon overnight near Hoedspruit.
12 Oct Birding around Blyde river canyon. overnight Hoedspruit area
13th Oct- Drive via Phalaborwa Gate to Letaba start Olifants wilderness Trail
Olifants wilderness Trail - 13, 14, 15 Oct (on foot)
Satara - 16, 17, 18 Oct (game drives- self guided)
Elephant Plains - 19 Oct (Game drives - guided)
Skukuza - 20 & 21 Oct (Game Drives- self guided).

Ther may be some night drives involved too. :D

Many thanks,



13th August 2010, 11:43 AM
Another question if I may, with the two sigma lenses, are they specifically four thirds versions or do you need an adaptor? When I mentioned it to my OH he sounded ready to dump all his canon gear in favour of the longer range you can achieve with the 4/3 sensor. :eek:

Looking at this:


It looks to be similar size to my OH's current bigma! Out of interest can you use canon mount lenses on 4/3 with an adaptor? If so, will they auto focus?



13th August 2010, 08:16 PM
The Bigma is now only available secondhand in 4/3. You really need to use it on a bean bag or tripod to get good results at the long end but that principle applies to all long lenses. There's also the 135-400 which being a bit shorter is more manageable but lacks the zoom lock of the longer lens which can be a nuisance. I've no experience of the 70-200.

Outside the rainy season game parks tend to be very dusty (I suspect you know that already!) making a dust resistant lens like the 50-200 a good choice, perhaps with the EC14 if you want a longer length. Ideally you need a dust resistant camera like the E1 or E3 as well. If you go to these places regularly it is worth splashing out for the better quality kit. Last time I went I only had an E20 but my preferred kit for the future would be E3+12-60+50-200+EC14. I'd probably find space for the Sigma 150 as well.

14th August 2010, 03:47 PM
... my preferred kit for the future would be E3+12-60+50-200+EC14...

Ditto that, the 50-200 + EC14 combination gives you 280mm @ f4.9 (560mm in old money). As I understand, the E620 has quite a good auto-focus system that would bring speedier focussing when used with the 50-200 SWD.

The Bigma is fine for static shots like those you have but the 50-200 will blow anything else away for speed of focus lock: A chap with a Canon 700D looked on in awe/envy once as I raised my E3, awakened it from sleep, focussed and took a shot of two mating moorhens and turned back to continue talking to him, all in about half a second. He had a go but they had done the business by then; it stopped some w*lly-waggling from him, too.

Hopefully somebody can confirm this would happen with the 50-200 on the E620.


15th August 2010, 11:27 AM
Dust, yes I've experienced that all right, especially in india!

25th August 2010, 08:07 AM
Another couple of questions if I may. How do I tell which version of the 50-200 is which? Is the new one the one that says SWD?

Is the 50-200 good for macro shots like the 70-300 (I've seen some wonderful dragonfly shots taken with this lens).

Does the F2.8-3.5 allow you to throw more of the background out of focus compared with the 70-300?

How usable is the 70-300 with the 1.4 TC?



25th August 2010, 08:19 AM
For the differences between the MK1 and the MK2 (SWD)

Have a look at

The 50-200 is a macro lens, but you can still get good shots. The EX-25 extension tube works with the 50-200.

The lower aperture of the 50-200 2.8-3.5 will allow you to get the background out of focus, aka Bokeh.


With enough light, and/or a higher ISO the 70-300 with the EC-14 is a great combination. John (TheMusicMan) has taken some stunning shot with that combination.

25th August 2010, 12:42 PM
Thanks that is very useful.:D

25th August 2010, 09:43 PM
I'm rather late into this discussion as I haven't been on the forum much lately. Maybe I am too late to help. I only have experience of the 70-300, but for the price I think it is excellent. The following shot is typical of what it can do. I think it is pretty sharp. It was taken, hand held, from a mokoro canoe in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. True that it wasn't at the full 300mm end (226mm according to the exif), but it was from a canoe. Camera was an E-520. It has also been cropped a bit.

Conditions were evidently very bright, so there was no problem with focus. In low light and with birds in flight, I do have more problems.


I hope this helps.

26th August 2010, 12:55 PM
Thanks, nice shot. To be honest I'm really still struggling to decide which lens to get so all opinions gratefully received. For example, I look at your fish eagle and compare it to on of my shots here:


Taken with the FZ18 at full zoom 82.8 mm possibly with the TCON17 attached. I'm struggling to see much improvement on what I can already achieve in these conditions. ut obviously its the action shots where I'm struggling. If I take both cameras I'm wondering i I'm better off with the faster lens to compliment my existing set up for reach & static wildlife shots, what do you think?

26th August 2010, 02:28 PM
I suspect that any deficiencies of my shot are down to my own age related limitations and the fact that the mokoro was a slightly unstable platform. Maybe I didn't choose the best image to demonstrate the performance of the lens, but it was already in my gallery here. It was also cropped a bit, I think, but I can't be sure how much from looking in my archive.

Maybe your best bet would be to try both of your target lenses by using the lens hire facility available via this forum.

Also, you should be able to find many other full zoom images with the 70-300 lens on this site, or maybe on Flickr, which will be better than my example.

I'm not familiar with the FZ18 other than by reputation, which I know to be excellent. For my first two trips to Africa, I used a 'bridge camera', a Sony DSC-H1, which had a 12x zoom and 5M pixels. I also thought that that was pretty good at the time. I am, however, sure that my E-system kit now provides much more flexibility and responsiveness, as well as generally more satisfying results. I really can't justify the cost of a faster long zoom lens though, so I will just have to persevere with the 70-300.

Sorry that I haven't helped your decision making. I am sure that you will make the right decision in the end.

26th August 2010, 03:11 PM
Well, I'm giving the 70-300 a punt! Kerso had one for 250 delivered with a 1 year warranty so have plummed for that and will see how I get on. Also got my eye on a near mint 50-200 ED (not SWD) on Ebay, its currently at around 400, there's also an EC14 at 180 which I'm hoping won't get much higher so I can have a punt on that too, but otherwise Kerso has them in for 269 right now so no great loss if I need to buy from there.

It has taken me a long time to make the leap from my panny. I just hope I've made the right decision! :eek:

I should hve said, even with the kit zoom, I've definitely noticed better performance at the falconry display I went to. And that's the point I want to improve my action/flight shots by using something more responsive. i considered the new crop of superzooms but IMHO they sacrificed IQ for speed e.g. FZ100, HS 10. Besides, I don't have to get rid of my old camera just because I've got a new one. I'm sure it will compliment it in many ways. :)

26th August 2010, 03:20 PM
Hi Jo.

I think you made a good decision. The rest of this reply was being typed at the same time as your recent post, so no longer relevant!!

FWIW, I have had limited use of both the 50-200 and the 70-300 on my 620 and I much preferred the balance with the 70-300.

Although it is a more flexible lens, I thought the 50-200 made the combo far too front heavy (although I admit that may have been accentuated as I have back/neck problems) but it is certainly something to consider if you're going to have the camera round your neck for any length of time.

Interested in your comments about the FZ18 too BTW as I've recently bought the pocket TZ10 and am amazed at the image quality from such a small lens, even when zoomed.

26th August 2010, 03:37 PM
Hi Kevin that is certainly reassuring. I guess proof will be in the puddin. Will see how i get on in South Africa. In the mean time take a look at my flickr galleries to see what the little FZ18 was capable of:

This one for example, taken in Brazil's Pantanal. Mostly from boats, including all the (wild) jaguar shots.


They are very good cameras for the price. :D

21st September 2010, 03:00 PM
Help! I don't know what is stopping me! I now have my 70-300 and my EC14. Great! Pretty happy with it, although finding that images at the long end are pretty soft (not seeing much improvement in static shots versus my FZ18 with the TCON 17 and i think the FZ might have the edge on really long distance with the EZ function if I'm honest). But, I'm loving the macro capabilities and responsiveness for BIF shots (and dragonflies in flight) plus detail at shorter focal lengths and indoors.

But I don't know what to do and am in a quandry. I'm still considering whether to buy a second hand 50-200 (mk1) for my trip and give them both a good work out over the three weeks that I'm in South Africa. I do have enough money at the moment to pay for it and to keep the money tied up in the lens for at least the next 6 months if I decide I like both. But something is nagging at me and I've been hesitant to buy. But I can't place why that is. :confused:

So, I guess I'm trying to say, convince me one way or the other!:D Do I need this lens? Would it be a mistake not to get it for my trip?? Or should I just take it one step at a time and focus on getting the best out of the equipment I already have?



27th October 2010, 01:02 PM
Well I ended up getting both and used the 50-200 with the EC14 throught the trip. *chr*chr Anyone want a brand new 70-300? :o

27th October 2010, 06:16 PM
Well I ended up getting both and used the 50-200 with the EC14 throught the trip.

I'm not surprised - it's one of the best combinations Oly makes.

27th October 2010, 08:43 PM
I have just put an Olympus 50 - 200mm on the for sale board. It is in brand new condition and is boxed etc. This may interest you. Some one has shown interest in the EC-20 two times converter, but that may also be of interest.

I know I am selling it, but I purchased it to replace the 70 - 300.

Private message me if you want to know more.

27th October 2010, 08:48 PM
I have just put an Olympus 50 - 200mm on the for sale board. It is in brand new condition and is boxed etc. This may interest you. Some one has shown interest in the EC-20 two times converter, but that may also be of interest.

I know I am selling it, but I purchased it to replace the 70 - 300.

Private message me if you want to know more.

I think you are a bit late. The Original poster has been on his trip with a 50-200 as posted above!

27th October 2010, 09:06 PM
I'm not surprised - it's one of the best combinations Oly makes.

Yup, agree with that. 560mm, f4.9 and great pictures.


28th October 2010, 08:31 AM
*chr*chr Yeah it certainly came in handy for the albatross trip! I still had a lot of trouble with the strobe effect flash on the night/sunset drives, but did manage to get a few nice shots of a lion nomming a giraffe, which I'm pleased with. :D