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90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

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  • 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

    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 ). 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.
    -----------
    Cathrine

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  • #2
    Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

    Why not hire both and make your own best decision?

    Ian
    Founder and editor of:
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    • #3
      Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

      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!
      -----------
      Cathrine

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      • #4
        Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

        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

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        • #5
          Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

          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
          Nick Temple-Fry

          Medicine as a science ranks somewhere between archaeology and economics.

          www.theChurchPhotographer.co.uk 90 Churches -- Fairford St Mary's, exceptionally splendid
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          • #6
            Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

            Originally posted by Woofmix View Post
            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

            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

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            • #7
              Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

              Does anyone have any experience with how much better the 90-250 is than the 50-200?
              -----------
              Cathrine

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              • #8
                Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                Here's some pics taken with the E3 and 90-250.

                Paul









                These 2 with the EC20



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                • #9
                  Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                  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.
                  Barrie Norman

                  http://bwpn.zenfolio.com/

                  http://naturalhistorycambs.blogspot.com/

                  Digital Equipment: Olympus E1 - E30 - E-500 | EC-14 & EC-20 Teleconverter | Zukio 14-45mm, 40-150mm, 150mm F/2, 50-200mm SWD, 70-300mm | Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 SLD, 18-50 f/2.8 EX DC MACRO, 150 F2.8 Macro & 50-500mm (Bigma) |Tamron 135mm f/2.5 Macro 200mm f/3.5 | Optecka 800mm f/8 Prime | Wallimax 500mm F/6.3 Mirror Lens | Metz Mecablitz 36 AF-4 O Digital Flash | Manfrotto 055XB Tripod, Opticron Carbon Fibre "Traveller" Tripod, Sidewinder Gimbal Head, Manfratto 676B monopod, Manfrotto 322RC2 Head Lowpro Nature Trekker AWII, Lowpro Vertex 100 AW and Lowpro Toploader Pro 75 AW.

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                  • #10
                    Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                    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

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                    • #11
                      Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                      Originally posted by Cathrine Spikkerud View Post
                      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

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                      • #12
                        Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                        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

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                        My photoblog: http://csspikkerud.zenfolio.com/blog
                        My gallery: http://csspikkerud.zenfolio.com/

                        My book on Viovio

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                        • #13
                          Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                          Originally posted by Woofmix View Post
                          Here's some pics taken with the E3 and 90-250.

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

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

                          Any 300mm-examples out there?
                          -----------
                          Cathrine

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                          My photoblog: http://csspikkerud.zenfolio.com/blog
                          My gallery: http://csspikkerud.zenfolio.com/

                          My book on Viovio

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                          • #14
                            Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                            Originally posted by Cathrine Spikkerud View Post
                            Now the next question: Any advice for a keyboard filled with drool???

                            I'd never thought the EC20 could perform like that! WOW.
                            Yep, buy an Olympus keyboard, they are drool sealed

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

                            Paul :-)

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                            • #15
                              Re: 90-250 mm 2.8 or 300 mm 2.8?

                              Originally posted by Cathrine Spikkerud View Post
                              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.

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