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  #1  
Old 26th August 2008
Malcolm Cousins Malcolm Cousins is offline
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70-300 Any good?

Does any one use the 70-300 and what do you think of it?. I am waiting to purchase the 50-200 but would be interested to know if this cheaper alternative could be used on a serious basis.
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  #2  
Old 26th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Very nice lens. While many can handhold it I find I do better with it on a tripod. I tend to use it only on bright days, but others do well under worse conditions. Finally it has a neat and not in documents feature: close focus is close and stays close no matter whether you're at 70 or 300, so at 300 it's almost a real macro lens. I like it. The sharpness is not that of the 50 macro, but I find it adequate out trying to photograph birds and alligators. The only thing I know about the 50-250 is its rep and its price. The last is all I need to know.

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Old 26th August 2008
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Cousins View Post
Does any one use the 70-300 and what do you think of it?. I am waiting to purchase the 50-200 but would be interested to know if this cheaper alternative could be used on a serious basis.
Malcolm,
I own one and I am not impressed although others have got some very good results.

Have a read through the posts in this link http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2440

There is a lot of information here that might help you make your mind up.

It is not a good field lens unless used in bright conditions. Focussing can be dire in poor light. Read through the comments then ask yourself what you intend to use it for. I think that will help you make up your mind.

My 70-300 is being used as a macro lens with a Sigma Achromatic Macro lens attached. I am pleased with its performance in this role.

For telephoto use the 50-200 lens is a far better performer but....at a price.

Good luck

Peter
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Old 26th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Hi Malcolm

I am one of those who consider the 70-300mm a superb lens, and I have the results to match the comment. Take a look at all these shots - http://www.reflectingme.com/p28339871/ - all taken with a combination of the 70-300mm plus EC14. My earlier bird potos were taken with the 70-300mm.

When I first used it I found it easy and relatively fast, but wasn't impressed when coupled with the ED14. However, perseverance and practice with alternate camera settings soon started to yield better results for me and it became my fav lens.

Compared with the 50-200mm - it can only compete in this battle on focal length - the image quality you will get from the 50-200 I am certain would be undoubtedly much better as this is semi-pro glass and expectations on IQ are much higher. The 70-300mm though is more than capable of producing superb shots. Here's a few recent ones - taken last week - with just the 70-300mm (with FL-50 flash too);





So, in my opinion, I feel yes, the 70-300mm can be used as a cheaper alternative to the 50-200mm as long as you accept that the 50-200mm will yield better results again.

Hope this helps.
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Old 26th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

These results, John, are indeed excellent. I sold my 70-300 to fund the 50-200, with no regrets. But having said that, I would not hesitate to buy another if I decided I really wanted the extra focal length, especially in bright conditions.
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Old 26th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

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Originally Posted by StephenL View Post
These results, John, are indeed excellent. I sold my 70-300 to fund the 50-200, with no regrets. But having said that, I would not hesitate to buy another if I decided I really wanted the extra focal length, especially in bright conditions.
Thanks Stephen, and so that Malcolm is aware - although I have never used one, I do consider the Oly 50-200mm lens to be superior optically and will undoubtedly produce a much improved IQ. Also, if used with the EC14 one would get a super quality 70-280mm lens.

I think Malcolm, it all depends on what your photographic requirements are. if you intend to shoot birds, then even with Oly's x2 crop factor, you really do need all the reach you can muster. Of course you need to balance this with optical results. If on the other hand you need a portrait lens, then I would say hands down that the 50-200mm is a much better bet. Not to say that the 50-200mm won't allow you to get excellent bird images, but that additional 100mm does make a difference. I only wish Oly would come out with a mid range zoon to 500mm lens... I'd jump at one.
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Old 26th August 2008
Malcolm Cousins Malcolm Cousins is offline
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Those are superb results John but I find myself in a quandary. Do I wait a little longer and get the more expensive lens or or buy now and get the 70-300. I do like to practice at low light apertures though. I will have to give it some thought. Many thanks for your replies guys.
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Old 26th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Hi Malcolm

To be honest, if you were asking me that question... honestly, I'd suggest purchasing the 70-300mm and using that for some time - you never know - you might love it like I have! If not, and you yearn for the 50-200mm then as the 70-300mm is not that expensive in the first place, I am sure you could get a decent price for one 2nd hand - as they do tend to go like hot cakes.

Doing that would enable you to get decent use out of the 70-300mm for a cost of the difference between new price and resale price... which wouldn't be huge. Am I selling the 70-300mm well here...
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Old 26th August 2008
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Cousins View Post
Those are superb results John but I find myself in a quandary. Do I wait a little longer and get the more expensive lens or or buy now and get the 70-300. I do like to practice at low light apertures though. I will have to give it some thought. Many thanks for your replies guys.
Malcolm, if low light is your thing then the 70-300 definately is not the lens for you. The hunting and misfocus you get in low light will irritate you to the extreme. I know, I have tried it. The transition from the open to under the trees shots for example is dramatic. focussing times being a real issue.

The SWD version of the 50-200 would be ideal if the focussing times are anything like the 12-60mm lens.

The problem is that you get what you pay for. I have gone for the Bigma in the long telephoto lenses but you need to appreciate the weight of the lens on the E3 body. If you don't then you soon do. It does have HSM which gives a faster focus time than the 70-300 but probably not as fast as the 50-200 SWD. Faster lenses are available but they cost serious money.

If you do buy the 70-300 then perhaps as your finances allow you to buy the 50-200SWD then the 70-300 + Sigma Anochromatic Macro lens makes a superb Macro set up.





Hope this helps but it is only my opinion

Peter
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Old 26th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Malcolm,

I recently was up against the same thing and had to think what I would be using it for. Peter is right, you do need the light and sometimes it does miss a beat with focusing. I have had the lens about a month now and I am not an expereienced tog but managed this as a first shot. This is what I bought the lens for.



Since then I have had some great portrait pics as well in good light and have used it as a walkabout lens as well. I was concerned I might not like it but have come to really like it and where possible always take it with me. I think Johns shots show what it can really do. Paid 195 delivered of an auction site .
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Old 26th August 2008
250swb
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Quote:
I am waiting to purchase the 50-200 but would be interested to know if this cheaper alternative could be used on a serious basis.
I would carry on and wait.

I've had a 70-300mm and sold it pretty quickly when it turned out to be a pretty poor performer unless used within a very narrow sweet spot. I originally purchased it thinking it would do as a light and small carry around lens and with a useful bit of extra reach. I didn't expect it to be as good as my 50-200mm, but I think it is a waste of time trying to use it beyond 200mm and at any aperture other than f5.6 to f8. So that is very limiting for a lens that on paper offers much. It isn't as bad as some third party or kit lenses from other manufacturers, but that is about all.

The 50-200mm, even with the EC-14, is such a superior lens at every aperture and focal length you would wonder why you wasted your money, time and photographic skills on buying a 70-300mm.

Steve
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Old 27th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

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Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
...but I think it is a waste of time trying to use it beyond 200mm and at any aperture other than f5.6 to f8
I appreciate this is your experience Steve, which seems like such a shame to me, but the Field Mouse shot in this thread was taken at FL 300MM and @ f9. Surely the results speak for themselves and show clearly that the 70-300mm is most certainly capable of decent IQ...? I am not suggesting it is better than the 50-200mm, on the contrary - despite not owning this lens, I have mentioned my opinion of that several times already - but I am suggesting merely that the 70-300mm is a more than capable lens, and will allow you to get excellent shots. I consider it a bargain for the price.
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Old 27th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Quote:
Surely the results speak for themselves and show clearly that the 70-300mm is most certainly capable of decent IQ...?
I don't think the results do speak for themselves John in terms of the lens, but I do think they speak of your skill as a photographer.

Besides Malcolm's original question there could be other people wondering about this lens. And I just don't think your excellent photo's are truly representative of what can be expected by somebody who doesn't have the skill to overcome the slow focusing, or doesn't have the lighting to give nice crisp looking images even where the lens contrast is low. 300mm and f9 is fine (only just outside my 'f8' as a rough guide), but outdoors on a dull day? Then all of a sudden you need to start making compromises for simple everyday photo's. Even at the max of f5.6 at 300mm are you going to be doing action photography? OK boost the ISO but then we all know what happens regarding noise and the most popular Olympus DSLR's only go to 1600iso. It is a slow lens, with slow focusing, and ideally suited to all the bright sunny days we get in the UK. It'll get photographs people never dreamed they could get before, but is it worth it over waiting and buying something that delivers across the board. I think not.

Steve
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Old 27th August 2008
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

John,
I am not sure of what you are trying to achieve? Malcolm said this:-

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Cousins View Post
Those are superb results John but I find myself in a quandary. Do I wait a little longer and get the more expensive lens or or buy now and get the 70-300. I do like to practice at low light apertures though. I will have to give it some thought. Many thanks for your replies guys.
and you responded thus:

Quote:
Originally Posted by theMusicMan View Post
Hi Malcolm

To be honest, if you were asking me that question... honestly, I'd suggest purchasing the 70-300mm and using that for some time - you never know - you might love it like I have! If not, and you yearn for the 50-200mm then as the 70-300mm is not that expensive in the first place, I am sure you could get a decent price for one 2nd hand - as they do tend to go like hot cakes.

Doing that would enable you to get decent use out of the 70-300mm for a cost of the difference between new price and resale price... which wouldn't be huge. Am I selling the 70-300mm well here...
Please be careful. I can assure you that you will cause Malcolm disappointment if he followed your advice. The lens is virtually useless in low light conditions. I believe you have used flash in your images above without declaring it in this post.

In case Malcolm decided to go for the 70-300 (and it is up to him), I have given him an alternative use for the lens which I think it is more suited to in wildlife photography.
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Last edited by PeterD; 27th August 2008 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 27th August 2008
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Re: 70-300 Any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
John,
I am not sure of what you are trying to achieve?
Simply to advise Malcolm that, in my opinion, he wouldn't be wasting his money if he chose to purchase this lens. I guess I am defending the 70-300mm lens... what else would I be trying to achieve here Peter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
John,
Please be careful. I can assure you that you will cause Malcolm disappointment if he followed your advice. The lens is virtually useless in low light conditions. I believe you have used flash in your images above without declaring it in this post.
Why 'be careful' Peter...? Not sure I understand that comment. What have I to be careful about...? I am commenting not only on what are my experiences, and my opinions, i am also stating what is fact to me i.e. that I do get good IQ and good images from the 70-300mm.

I disagree with you on your low light comments, and don't feel the lens is useless in low light conditions. Yes, the shots I refer to were taken with flash, but I have posted links to many more images that I have taken with the 70-300mm that were used without flash, and which came out totally respectably, sharp and of high IQ. I have many shots on my gallery where the lens used is the Oly 70-300mm, the aperture is > f9 and focal length is greater than 200mm.

Any budget (non prime) lens' performance will degrade as the aperture closes and focal length increases - that's the way it is, but to suggest that a lens is useless in low light conditions, in my opinion, is wrong.

You are of course entitled to your opinion and I respect that, and based on your experiences I guess you haven't had a good time with the 70-300mm, whereas I have. I am simply informing Malcolm and anyone else who reads this thread of that.

I feel for a budget lens it performs more than adequately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
In case Malcolm decided to go for the 70-300 (and it up to him), I have given him an alternative use for the lens which I think it is more suited to in wildlife photography.
I agree with you, and have also suggested that the 50-200mm will undoubtedly be a better lens, as will the Sigma we both use for our nature photography.

However, I still state, emphatically and clearly, that in my experience (and I have posted enough images to back this up), that the Oly 70-300mm is more than capable of super performance, and people won't be disappointed if they purchase it. Weighing up price v's performance and value for money, I feel it is a good punt.
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