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View Full Version : 50-200mm NON SWD V's SWD Versions


Jim
18th April 2008, 10:36 AM
With many upgrading their non SWD versions to the new SWD one. I was wondering if there now was some feedback on the real word differences between the two versions.

I am still trying to work out if the newer SWD warrants the extra money?

Ian
18th April 2008, 11:35 AM
With many upgrading their non SWD versions to the new SWD one. I was wondering if there now was some feedback on the real word differences between the two versions.

I am still trying to work out if the newer SWD warrants the extra money?

I have both here so I can produce some sample images for you to compare. Watch this space.

Physically, the SWD version is actually slightly lighter (not noticeable in reality) but noticeably wider in girth, probably to accommodate its new SWD ring motor. They have the same zoom extension and are about the same length when zoomed back to 50mm. They have the same 67mm filter thread, but the SWD version has a larger hood that incorporates a sliding hatch for access to a filter which may be fitted, like a polariser, so you can rotate it.

One fault that users of the original version sometimes notices was some flexing in the tripod mount collar. This looks like it has been addressed with a beefier looking collar.

Optically they look the same on paper, with 16 elements in 15 groups and the same closest focus, but on physical inspection of the lenses the optics look slightly different. The SWD version appears to have a slightly wider front element and the internals appear slightly different.

SWD focus does make a difference - it's very very fast and quiet, though the old version is also quiet.

As I said, I'll post some samples later.

Ian

Jim
21st April 2008, 09:45 AM
Re the tripod collar on the older 50-200mm, can the E-3 mount this lens safely using the E-3 body on the tripod rather than risking movement on the tripod collar?

I also would like to what degree this lens is hand holdable. I was looking at it for some candid wedding shots, in particular during the ceremony from the back of the church.

View and comments gratefully received :)

andym
21st April 2008, 09:50 AM
Re the tripod collar on the older 50-200mm, can the E-3 mount this lens safely using the E-3 body on the tripod rather than risking movement on the tripod collar?

I also would like to what degree this lens is hand holdable. I was looking at it for some candid wedding shots, in particular during the ceremony from the back of the church.

View and comments gratefully received :)

Jim

I use the old 50-200 hand held all the time with the tripod collar removed on the E3.I always try to use the rule of shutter speed should be twice the focal length.If I cannot achieve this then its IS.
Much of the time I will have the EC14 on also.
As for not using the collar on a tripod,I would not think its a good idea as the lens is quite heavy.

Jim
21st April 2008, 09:56 AM
Anyone know if there is any way of strengthening the mount or upgrading it? Would perhaps another makers tripod collar fit??

Ian
21st April 2008, 10:17 AM
Anyone know if there is any way of strengthening the mount or upgrading it? Would perhaps another makers tripod collar fit??

Doubtful. Anyway, it's not terrible - I only noticed it when someone else pointed it out.

Ian

Jim
21st April 2008, 10:20 AM
Well in that case, I may not notice it, and if I do, well then I will have no choice but to upgrade it for the new SWD version :)

Ray Shotter
21st April 2008, 10:53 AM
One fault that users of the original version sometimes notices was some flexing in the tripod mount collar. This looks like it has been addressed with a beefier looking collar.

Ian

I have the older version of the 50-200mm Lens and have used it with the E-1, the E-510 and the E-3. I have used it on and off a tripod and with both the battery holders of the E-1 and the E-3 fitted. When mounting on a tripod with the E-1 and the E-3 when both are fitted with their respective battery holders their is an imbalance (ie the "bending moment") is greater on the side of the camera when the lens is set at 50mm focal length. But when the lens is set at 200 mm the camera and lens are reasonably well balanced and so their is no excessive stress on the tripod mount collar.

However, I have used the lens on a tripod at varying lens focal lengths and have not noticed any flexing of the tripod collar. In my opinion it is a very robust piece of equipment - well able to cope with the various changes in the bending moments as the focal lengths are changed.

I have to admit that I have yet to use the lens without the collar attached even when I use it hand held with the EC-14 attached. I find the tripod mount is a useful grip to hold when using AF and, also, even when focussing manually.

I shall look forward to the comparison shots taken by these two lenses. Personally I am very satisfied with the performance of my 50-200mm lens and, I suspect, that even if the SWD version is clearly superior, I will almost certainly stick with my existing 50-200mm lens and will prefer to invest in one of the prime lenses if, eventually, I have that sort of money to spare.

Ray.

Jim
21st April 2008, 04:32 PM
Thanks for your views Ray, much appreciated :)

David M
21st April 2008, 09:23 PM
I was never that impressed with the optical performance of my sample of the original 50-200. I sold it last autumn and shot with the kit 40-150 until the SWD version became available.

My sample of the SWD is so much better that now it's a lens I trust to perform rather than one I avoid shooting with.

Jim
22nd April 2008, 06:54 AM
David, Interesting comment. I really was looking at the 50-200 over the 50-150 and 70-300 due to the weather sealing.

I hope that if I do managed to find a 50-200 non SWD at the right price then it will be a good copy, otherwise I will have to wait until I can afford the SWD version.

Nick Temple-Fry
22nd April 2008, 08:37 AM
There are an awful lot of happy 50-200 users out there. In fact the worry was that the swd version would fail to meet the quality of the original lens.

The only repeated problem I can recall hearing was with the weather seals becoming displaced and jamming (or at least giving problems to) the operation of the lens. And that seems to be a very few early examples.

Of course the bokeh can be 'interestingly' jagged if there is bright light behind the subject.

An awful lot of us wont be upgrading because we are happy with the lens.

Nick

David M
22nd April 2008, 10:31 AM
David, Interesting comment. I really was looking at the 50-200 over the 50-150 and 70-300 due to the weather sealing.

I hope that if I do managed to find a 50-200 non SWD at the right price then it will be a good copy, otherwise I will have to wait until I can afford the SWD version.

The difference between my two samples of the 50-200 makes me wonder if I shouldn't have sent the original version to Olympus to check it for alignment.

Ian
22nd April 2008, 01:26 PM
The difference between my two samples of the 50-200 makes me wonder if I shouldn't have sent the original version to Olympus to check it for alignment.

Some samples comparing the old and new versions of this lens will be published for download on FTU later today. I'll post a notice here once they are up. My feeling is that the difference is small but the new lens has the edge.

Interestingly, the maximum apertures at the various different focal lengths are not identical. The old lens is sometimes a smidgen faster.

Ian

Jim
22nd April 2008, 02:06 PM
Thanks Ian :)

emirpprime
22nd April 2008, 08:32 PM
Interestingly, the maximum apertures at the various different focal lengths are not identical. The old lens is sometimes a smidgen faster.

Ian

Interesting indeed. Are we talking less than 1/2 stop? Or a "practical" difference? It makes me wonder what else they have changed especially with the changed optics as you have already noted.
All the best,
Phil

Ian
30th April 2008, 05:32 PM
Interesting indeed. Are we talking less than 1/2 stop? Or a "practical" difference? It makes me wonder what else they have changed especially with the changed optics as you have already noted.
All the best,
Phil

It's a tiny difference.

You can see for yourself as I've just published some samples comparing the old and new versions:

http://fourthirds-user.com/2008/04/comparing_the_digital_zuiko_50200_old_and_new.php

Ian

Ian
30th April 2008, 05:34 PM
I have both here so I can produce some sample images for you to compare. Watch this space.

Physically, the SWD version is actually slightly lighter (not noticeable in reality) but noticeably wider in girth, probably to accommodate its new SWD ring motor. They have the same zoom extension and are about the same length when zoomed back to 50mm. They have the same 67mm filter thread, but the SWD version has a larger hood that incorporates a sliding hatch for access to a filter which may be fitted, like a polariser, so you can rotate it.

One fault that users of the original version sometimes notices was some flexing in the tripod mount collar. This looks like it has been addressed with a beefier looking collar.

Optically they look the same on paper, with 16 elements in 15 groups and the same closest focus, but on physical inspection of the lenses the optics look slightly different. The SWD version appears to have a slightly wider front element and the internals appear slightly different.

SWD focus does make a difference - it's very very fast and quiet, though the old version is also quiet.

As I said, I'll post some samples later.

Ian

Samples now up :)

http://fourthirds-user.com/2008/04/comparing_the_digital_zuiko_50200_old_and_new.php

Ian

emirpprime
30th April 2008, 06:20 PM
Just what I needed for after dinner reading :D
Phil

emirpprime
30th April 2008, 07:24 PM
Are P4188866 and P4188865 labelled wrongly? They say Mk1 but it would make more sense if they were SWD.
If they are labelled wrongly, comparing P4188866 (SWD) and P4188872 (MK1) the MK1 actually seems sharper. It didn't seem to be due to focussing in different areas but it is hard to assess on large files.

Comparing P4188862 (SWD) and P4188868 (MK1) the MK1 again looks sharper, but it is clear the light had changed so it may be to do with contrast and the conditions.

What do you see? It certainly seems that the selling point is just the SWD and that the MK1 will dissapear quite quickly (from shops atleast).
While the speed would be nice, I won't be upgrading I don't think.

All the best,
Phil

ps, thanks for posting Ian. Its hard to get decent comparison shots!

Ian
30th April 2008, 08:12 PM
Are P4188866 and P4188865 labelled wrongly? They say Mk1 but it would make more sense if they were SWD.
If they are labelled wrongly, comparing P4188866 (SWD) and P4188872 (MK1) the MK1 actually seems sharper. It didn't seem to be due to focussing in different areas but it is hard to assess on large files.

Comparing P4188862 (SWD) and P4188868 (MK1) the MK1 again looks sharper, but it is clear the light had changed so it may be to do with contrast and the conditions.

What do you see? It certainly seems that the selling point is just the SWD and that the MK1 will dissapear quite quickly (from shops atleast).
While the speed would be nice, I won't be upgrading I don't think.

All the best,
Phil

ps, thanks for posting Ian. Its hard to get decent comparison shots!

Well-spotted; the first six images are from the SWD lens and the final six are from the old lens.

The image labels have been corrected.

Ian

Melaka
25th June 2008, 07:04 PM
Does anyone have any experience of the relative speeds of focusing between the old version and the SWD please? I'm a fan of the 50-200 epecially with the EC14 but it sometimes fails to focus accurately on birds, even large ones like red kites, in flight. Sometimes it hunts a fair bit as it tries to find the bird. I am wondering if it would be worth upgrading to the newer model to get a quicker focus.

Who's_E
25th June 2008, 07:24 PM
Does anyone have any experience of the relative speeds of focusing between the old version and the SWD please? I'm a fan of the 50-200 epecially with the EC14 but it sometimes fails to focus accurately on birds, even large ones like red kites, in flight. Sometimes it hunts a fair bit as it tries to find the bird. I am wondering if it would be worth upgrading to the newer model to get a quicker focus.

I'll second the "hunting and focus speed" problem on flying birds. I was suffering the same problems with Melaka taking flying puffins this weekend.

Just to put some context round this on this for anybody who might be kind enough to reply:

We were shooting in sub-optimal light conditions and I was seeing a between 1/250th and 1/1000th at f7.0, ISO 400 and using IS on E3s. Focusing mode was the C-AF.

I tried a couple of remedies to improve the speed of focusing:

1) Move to a position where the birds were flaring for landing
2) Switching from dynamic single point (the cross one!) to "All"
3) Taking off the EC-14

I still failed to get a sharp shot. Obviously there could be an element of "me" in the failing...

I'm not complaining, I just want to get better photos and we discussed the same "new v. old" question after the trip.

Thanks,

Nick

Jim Ford
26th June 2008, 08:23 AM
Does anyone have any experience of the relative speeds of focusing between the old version and the SWD please? I'm a fan of the 50-200 epecially with the EC14 but it sometimes fails to focus accurately on birds, even large ones like red kites, in flight. Sometimes it hunts a fair bit as it tries to find the bird. I am wondering if it would be worth upgrading to the newer model to get a quicker focus.

I've shot images of red kites with my 50-200 SWD. A problem I've found is that if the lens is at infinity, the bird is such a fuzzy OOF dim grey blob that I have a problem picking it up in the VF to get the focus spot aligned on it.

I use centre spot focussing. Maybe for birds in flight I ought to use all 11 spots in the hope that one of the spots will 'hit' the subject, but I've got the feeling that if the OOF bird is indistinct for me, it will also be for the camera focussing system - which IIRC relies on contrasty edges.

Jim

michaelavis
3rd November 2008, 11:14 AM
I'm hoping to be fortunate enough to be considering the 50-200mm non-SWD v SWD question very soon and was wondering if you guys had some specific guidance for my relatively specific consundrum, especially as this thread hasn't had any action for a while, there might be some more experiences to share.

Im an E520 user with the Oly 14-42/14-54/18-180/70-300mm lenses and FL-36R. It's great, although the Nikon D90 and Canon 50D specs did force me to go round the reasons I bought into Olympus & 4/3rds which for me still hold true for price/performance, especially on the optics.

Outdoor sport probably makes up 50% of my photography and using the E520/70-300mm combo I get pleasing shots of my children and their teamates in Rubgy, Hockey and Cricket. As I've become more demanding, I know Im also missing opportunities through "hunting" or slow focussing, especially on gloomy days, not having faster continuous shooting and having to put the camera away in poor weather. I bought what I have with much more of a general purpose intention.

I wish I had more reach sometimes, often the most pleasing shots are right in amongst the action, the facial expressions are fantastic and not seen from the touchline and can occur the other end of a playing field to where you are at the time. Filling a frame with the expression of a batsman or bowler in the middle cricket pitch would be great for example. However, I would put this aside for now, I think getting over 300mm will have to wait.

I have decided to take the plunge into the world of an E-3 and very likely a 50-200/EC-14 combo to address the speed & weather aspects of increasing my chances of producing more "keepers". Having played with an E-3, the brighter/larger viewfinder, multiple focussing points and articulating LCD are all to the good too. I could offset some of the cost through selling the 70-300mm, but would be reluctant to see the E520 go as with the 18-180 its a great walkabout for taking anywhere all day.

Cost and appropriate price/performance is the big issue to me. Im not expert enough to need the ultimate in equipment performance, but I would like a significant step up compared to my E520/70-300mm when trying to capture sharp action shots in a variety of conditions, including gloomy and wet conditions.

If the "old" 50-200 would do a great job in combo with the EC-14 then I'd be pleased to find one rather than pay for overkill, but if I'd forever be thinking that the SWD version would have been another significant step up for this kind of use I would forever wish I'd found the extra money.

Any views or experience of this area would be appreciated!

Melaka
3rd November 2008, 11:42 AM
I upgraded from the old version to the SWD a few months back. I haven't done any comparative tests to see whether the difference is significant in relation to the price. They're both good lenses and adding the 1.4 to either makes a dream combination for wildlife shots. The old lens is still sitting in my bag so pm me if you are interested.

Makonde
3rd November 2008, 11:47 AM
Another E520 owner with a similar appraisal to yours of the system, I'm awaiting the arrival of the 50-200mm SWD. I've gone for the SWD over the non-SWD because at full stretch focussing speed is a significant factor for targets that move. My brief experience with the 12-60mm SWD showed how very much faster it is than the kit lenses. Also, although you can get a good used non-SWD version for half the price, you have to ask why those owners are selling it to finance the SWD version.... and lastly, later on I would only be fretting that I hadn't gone for the SWD version.

The upgrade path was also a factor - I would intend to upgrade to the E3 or preferably, its successor, in due course.

Ian
3rd November 2008, 12:14 PM
In case you haven't seen it, here are some samples comparing the old and new versions of the lens:

http://fourthirds-user.com/2008/04/comparing_the_digital_zuiko_50200_old_and_new.php

Ian