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View Full Version : 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?


Cathrine Stephansen
18th January 2011, 01:36 PM
I might look at supplementing my 50-200mm (with 1.4x EC14) with either the 90-250 mm 2.8 or the 300 mm 2.8 for fieldwork wildlife photography. Both are significantly heavier than the 50-200, weighing in at approximately 3300 g each. The main improvement I am looking for is the high quality and the improved speed (wider aperture), which will give me a better result and higher security of getting good images in the typical fieldwork weather (which is :eek:). Projects are costly, and a better lens would improve the catch, I hope.

I want to be able to get as close as possible, but am aware that with heavy lenses and often working from a boat, I may have trouble working with the 300 mm and actually aiming at flying birds, and that 90-250 might give me better flexibility, by being a zoom lens. On the other hand, when conditions are OK, the 90-250 partly overlaps the 50-200 which I own privately, and which I won't be selling.

Comparisons of the two, versatility, experience (good or bad) with either of these, as well as tips on what would complement what I already have would be greatly appreciated! Optical quality I suspect is superior in the 300 mm, it being a prime and a more expensive piece of equipment.

Ian
18th January 2011, 02:59 PM
Why not hire both and make your own best decision? :)

Ian

Cathrine Stephansen
18th January 2011, 03:53 PM
I suppose I can ask Olympus Norway whether I can hire both for a test. They were very helpful and lent me the 150 mm 2.0 when the 50-200 was off for repairs and I needed to do some fieldwork. That didn't bring me quite close enough but it was a lovely lens! They have super service.

I'd still like some experiences from other users, though!:)

Kiwi Paul
18th January 2011, 04:04 PM
I have the 90-250 and it's a great lens, it can take very detailed photos and is still sharp even wide open. The constant f2.8 aperture is nice too, especially at 250mm where you need all the lens speed you can get to keep the shutter speed up and ISO down.
I have used it with both the EC14 and EC20 and got good results although ideally you want good light to use it with them.
It's a heavy lens though and the tripod mount can't be removed which is a shame as it would make the lens a bit lighter, as such it can be used handheld but is a bit of a beast so really needs to be used with a monopod or tripod.
It's not an SWD lens but focussing is still reasonably fast and is always accurate. It's weather proof and the large lens hood keeps rain off the front element as I can testify from using last weekend in pouring rain.
I guess the question is, is it worth while getting one when you are keeping the 50-200?
It would seem to make more sense to get the 300mm at first glance, but the 90-250 does offer advantages over the 50-200, 50mm more reach and 1/2 a stop faster is not to be sneezed at.

Paul

Nick Temple-Fry
18th January 2011, 04:24 PM
I would concur with Pauls comments, I've often used the 90-250 with the ec2.0, the results are very acceptable providing you are not being forced to push the iso up to far.

But please do not understimate the sizw/weight of these lenses, the 90-250 with hood on is a considerable beast, not only is it quite heavy but also demands a fair bit of space. You are very aware that even the E-3 is just an accessory to the lens and you have to adapt your technique accordingly.

I would recommend (unless you are foolhardy like me) trying them out beforehand.

(and then of course there is the problem of finding a case that safely allows you to carry the 90-250 with the hood/camera attached - still not solved that one)

Nick

Cathrine Stephansen
18th January 2011, 04:28 PM
I guess the question is, is it worth while getting one when you are keeping the 50-200?

Paul

That's the dilemma really. I'm not getting rid of the 50-200, and it's the 300 I've been thinking of all along for work. But the 90-250 caught my eye after you posted your fulmars. I really liked your fulmar pictures, that's the type of weather we usually have when we plan for fieldwork :D

I have to ask - since you've had the 90-250 for a while, and just upgraded to an E5 body, have you used the lens with an E3? I would never have got that good quality in that weather with the E3 and 50-200, and was wondering how much of that super quality in the fulmar images would be attributable to the 90-250 and how much to the E5? I have the E5 now as well, and I will be using the E5 with telelenses and the E3 with the 12-60 when I need both ready for shooting. The 50-200 liked the E5 as well :)

Cathrine Stephansen
18th January 2011, 04:32 PM
Does anyone have any experience with how much better the 90-250 is than the 50-200?

Kiwi Paul
18th January 2011, 04:55 PM
Here's some pics taken with the E3 and 90-250.

Paul

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_0TYZ-W4CVzA/S2XCbmljkrI/AAAAAAAABg4/VXkn_hX8trQ/s720/-1315393.jpg

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_0TYZ-W4CVzA/S2XCampdEAI/AAAAAAAABgw/VxA7Cpj2ims/-1315389.jpg

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_0TYZ-W4CVzA/S2XCZd7NrvI/AAAAAAAABgo/CdWlJJVX6IE/s720/-1315359.jpg

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_0TYZ-W4CVzA/S3xGkMlqthI/AAAAAAAABv8/RxA7NctpI2U/-001.jpg

These 2 with the EC20

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_0TYZ-W4CVzA/S3RvLeXfZcI/AAAAAAAABk0/ffZonu8_2YM/-1305128.jpg

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_0TYZ-W4CVzA/S4Rfbhg6OVI/AAAAAAAAB6I/RmyqHXSKoWQ/-2216120.jpg

Barrie Norman
18th January 2011, 04:58 PM
The 90-250 is far better than the 50-200 but I have used both the 90-250 and 300 2.8 the 300 is very good with both EC14 and EC20 I would recommend the 300 it is slightly lighter and you have the 50-200 if you need the zoom, I would always chose a prime over a telephoto every time.

Kiwi Paul
18th January 2011, 05:08 PM
I've had both but never used them side by side, I sold the 50-200 just after I bought the 90-250.
I've got some excellent shots with the 50-200, even with the EC20 and it would be hard to say the 90-250 is significantly better, it maybe captures just a bit more detail and just looks a bit sharper in some shots that are comparable.
The advantages start to come to the 90-250 when you need 250mm as the 90-250 can be used at f2.8 with no teleconvertor whereas the 50-200 would need the EC14 to extend it up to 280mm but then it's at f4.5 and ideally needs to be stopped down a 1/2 or 1 stop for optimum performance with the teleconvertor so now you are looking at a f5.6-6.8 280mm lens with compromised performance through the teleconvertor AND having to increase the cameras ISO setting by as much as 2 stops to use the same shutter speed, by now I think the quality compared to the 90-250 is definately going to be comprimised.

Paul

Kiwi Paul
18th January 2011, 05:21 PM
I have to ask - since you've had the 90-250 for a while, and just upgraded to an E5 body, have you used the lens with an E3? I would never have got that good quality in that weather with the E3 and 50-200, and was wondering how much of that super quality in the fulmar images would be attributable to the 90-250 and how much to the E5?

I'd say the quality of those images is a combination of both lens and E5 (compared to using the E3). I've had very good results with the E3 and 90-250 even at high ISO's but I think the E3 would have struggled to match the resolution and would have been a bit noisier at those ISO's in those photos.
I must try a back to back E3 vs E5 one day just to satisfy my curiosity.

Paul

Cathrine Stephansen
18th January 2011, 06:23 PM
With both the E5 and E3 it's going to be a 4 kg weight total with either one, so I know it's going to be for certain uses only, which is why the 50-200 is staying.

Cathrine Stephansen
18th January 2011, 06:30 PM
Here's some pics taken with the E3 and 90-250.

Paul



Now the next question: Any advice for a keyboard filled with drool???:D

I'd never thought the EC20 could perform like that! WOW.

Any 300mm-examples out there?

Kiwi Paul
18th January 2011, 07:00 PM
Now the next question: Any advice for a keyboard filled with drool???:D

I'd never thought the EC20 could perform like that! WOW.

Yep, buy an Olympus keyboard, they are drool sealed :D

Yes the EC20 can perform incredibly well if conditions are right.

Paul :-)

Radar
18th January 2011, 07:11 PM
They have super service.


Good to know as I'm moving back to Norway in July. I would opt for 90-250 and I hope to get the chance to try it in the end of the month.

Melaka
18th January 2011, 08:08 PM
I bought a cosmetically damaged 300mm in September for less than half its new price. It's a super lens but you do need weight lifting training to get the best from it! Initially I used it with the E3 but more recently with the E5. With the latter I've been happier using a slightly higher ISO - typically 800 instead of 500 or 640. I've once used it with a monopod but never with a tripod. Normally I use it with a bean bag or hand held. The main drawback is that any zooming has to be done with your feet so you need to be able to judge roughly what distance you need to be for bigger birds and animals. I often use the EC14, and occasionally the EC20, to get 425 and 600mm if I'm in a hide. Overall it's an awesome piece of kit and you wouldn't be disappointed with it. If price is an issue you'll have to settle for the 90-250 but if it isn't I'd go for the 300.

David M
18th January 2011, 11:20 PM
As someone who shoots wildlife I'm still using my legacy OM 350mm f2.8 but if anything happens to that making it un-repairable I'd replace it with the 300mm f2.8.

It would be nice to have a smaller, lighter lens like the 300. :rolleyes:

CaptainD
19th January 2011, 07:20 PM
The quality of the combination of body and lens is impressive, if only I had both!!

Cheers

Chris *chr

pandora
16th February 2011, 06:56 PM
I have been showing a cross section of your posts to a friend sitting beside me that illustrate your virtuosity!

These fulfil that purpose well.

Cathrine Stephansen
22nd February 2011, 08:59 AM
My dear colleague has now ordered me a 300 mm 2.8 for the upcoming fieldwork season, and I'm like a five-year old waiting for Christmas.*chr

Melaka
22nd February 2011, 09:51 AM
I hope he's also arranged a few weight training sessions at the gym. :)

Cathrine Stephansen
22nd February 2011, 10:22 AM
Yes, he has started weight training. *chr

Every good fieldkit comes with a good mule (aka colleague).:D

Nick Temple-Fry
22nd February 2011, 11:50 AM
Yes, he has started weight training. *chr

Every good fieldkit comes with a good mule (aka colleague).:D

Uh, semoune whu baleives thut thi vuwols uro intarchengaeble, or undaad optoinul, yeur cullaegee is u male nut u mule.

Nick

Melaka
22nd February 2011, 12:04 PM
Mule, n. Beast of draught and burden and noted for its obstinacy; stupid or obstinate person.

I admire Cathrine's skill in getting someone to carry the lens for her. :)

photo_owl
22nd February 2011, 12:15 PM
My dear colleague has now ordered me a 300 mm 2.8 for the upcoming fieldwork season, and I'm like a five-year old waiting for Christmas.*chr

it's the right decision

enjoy it's capabilities

Ian
22nd February 2011, 12:34 PM
I'm now seriously thinking about selling one of our 300mm f/2.8 ZD lenses from our hire stock in order to invest in other popular lenses.

It will of course be a used example and my have some minor cosmetic marks, but apart from that it will be complete and I will be able to include a warranty.

If you are interested, please get in touch via PM.

Ian

Cathrine Stephansen
22nd February 2011, 02:13 PM
Uh, semoune whu baleives thut thi vuwols uro intarchengaeble, or undaad optoinul, yeur cullaegee is u male nut u mule.

Nick

Hahaha! I'm laughing so hard my stomach hurts! Well, to avoid being pulled down too much on one side due to my 3.3 kg excess luggage, he has ordered for himself a nice "little" Sigma 500 mm for his Pentax K5. He therefore needs to carry mine too, so he doesn't get back problems. I am only being considerate and a good colleague *yes

Cathrine Stephansen
22nd February 2011, 02:16 PM
Mule, n. Beast of draught and burden and noted for its obstinacy; stupid or obstinate person.



"Noted for its obstinacy"... I'm dying...:D:D:D

oly_om
22nd February 2011, 06:29 PM
I'm now seriously thinking about selling one of our 300mm f/2.8 ZD lenses from our hire stock in order to invest in other popular lenses.

It will of course be a used example and my have some minor cosmetic marks, but apart from that it will be complete and I will be able to include a warranty.

If you are interested, please get in touch via PM.

Ian

My partner is seriously considering going the Oly route for wildlife as she doesn't fancy carrying a 500/4 to get the reach I can get! Maybe on the cards soon...

A

Kiwi Paul
22nd February 2011, 06:32 PM
Congrats on your decision, I'm sure you will love it :-)

Paul

Ian
3rd March 2011, 11:47 AM
I'm now seriously thinking about selling one of our 300mm f/2.8 ZD lenses from our hire stock in order to invest in other popular lenses.

It will of course be a used example and my have some minor cosmetic marks, but apart from that it will be complete and I will be able to include a warranty.

If you are interested, please get in touch via PM.

Ian

I have contacted everyone that registered their interest in an ex-rental 300 2.8. If you have not had a forum message from me, please get in touch as soon as possible!

Ian

Cathrine Stephansen
3rd March 2011, 07:40 PM
My 300 arrived today, and I'm off to the gym to lift some weights! Ironically, I also picked up an Oly XZ-1, which must be at the other end of the weight extremes within the Olympus family ;-)