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Friday, 23 April 2021


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I have an Olympus E-M1 ii and a Panasonic G9. I prefer the latter. I've seen the G9 for $650 used. That's a WHOLE lot of camera for the money. Everyone seems to want the GX8 these days. Guess the shutter shock scare is over.

I agree that the Micro 4/3 rig would be considerably easier to carry around.
I’ve actually carried that lens around on a Olympus E-M5 II. The difference in quality to the Canon rig might not be worth $10K, but it would be very substantial. Not necessarily because of the smaller sensor, but because that PL 100-400 was kind of mediocre, IMO.

Re: the Canon RF 600mm F4...yup, it looks like a beast! But actually it's a fairly manageable beast in size and weight compared to predecessors. If I made my living shooting sports or wildlife or anything that required great distance to subjects I'd consider it ...well, not a bargain, but a reasonable deal. As a true pro in such a case, I'd also probably consider leasing it if it was really a work expense. (Or better yet, have my employer lease it for my use!)

Re: the new Leica 35mm APO Summicron-M, it got my attention, too. I've been on a real APO kick during the pandemic. I sprang for the 50mm APO Summicron-M earlier this year. It is unquestionably the most perfect 50 I've ever seen, an opinion only demonstrable in print or on high-res/high-fi screen, not by www jpegs. That 35 APO Summicron-M has the very unique feature of being clutch-focusable into a closer-than-normal range. It looks marvelous...but extremely pricey. But I've sobered and backed away from it in favor of its bigger (and rather less costly) cousin APO for Leica's SL2 which I'll get more frequent use from.

I completely share your opinion!

But the problem with m43 is the rather mediocre high ISO capability. I shoot with an E-M1ii and the 12-100mm f1:4 pro zoom. For dog photography you need short exposure times of 1/1,000 or less. This results in ISO 1,000 or higher ( at f/4). So there is not much headroom for lower light conditions as ISO>1,600 is simple not usable for my purposes.

With FF you‘ d have to more ISO steps at hand. iSO6,400 with my Nikon D750 still looks slightly better than ISO1,600 on the Olympus.
On the other hand the Oly-AF is miles in front of Nikon‘ s D750.

Greetings from Germany, love your blog!


Perhaps those new RF "pro sports" telephotos (600/4, etc.) have some new features that will be relevant/disclosed with the upcoming R3. Perhaps much faster autofocus, which will be needed for the R3's massive frame rates.

But, yeah, it sure looks like they bolted on an adapter.

I see lenses like that sometimes when I'm out birdwatching. I refer to them as "lenses that cost as much as a compact car and weigh only slightly more."

I wouldn't own one even if I could afford it, but in fairness the full-frame+600/4 outfit has a 3-stop advantage in light-gathering compared to the micro-4/3 rig. That will make a difference when photographing at dusk and dawn, which bird guys will be doing all the time.

I once spent almost $3,000 on a 600mm Nikkor. I find it makes an excellent portrait lens.

Now that you've reacted, I'll clarify that it's an f9 view camera telephoto which works out to about an 86mm full frame equivalent on an 8X10 view camera.

I probably have an equally close to zero interest in such a lens, but I'll bite.

Mike, you wrote "... but I'll bet the Micro 4/3 rig would be considerably more hand-holdable."

I don't picture anybody "hand-holding" such a rig, in either format very often. I picture it firmly attached to a gimbal tripod head or some other wild-life rig.

Not for me, but for the "birds in flight" shooters, these bazookas are popular.

Re: "Is the 'quality difference' of FF really going to be worth all that?".

Certainly not to me, but if a low-light wild-life shooter is able to get a usable frame (that is not destroyed by noise) at one or two stops higher ISO equiv than micro 4/3 (and that seems to be the progression of sensor noise growth, about a stop from 4/3 to APS-C and another stop to full frame), then the difference could be sharp ear fur on the wolf, vs blurry from movement.

Agree that it is very specialized, but it has its uses. Do all such bazooka's get put to their limit? Doubtful. I'm glad I have no shooting goals that require such a rig, both from a cost and carry perspective.

Having used 12+ pound 600 f/4 lenses with motor driven bodies for NFL, MLB and F1 racing(among others) a 7 pound lens of the same focal length and newer tech bodies IS a big deal.
Still like and use bodies with Optical finders. Little TV Screen viewing is not for me.
"Full Frame" is nice but if Fuji came up with Autofocus as fast and reliable as these in the 100MP camera with lenses to match this Big, Fast glass (and I could afford it) I would jump on it.

I use long lenses mounted on my Wimberley II gimbal head. I purchased it in 2006, and it's still like new.

I've used an APS-C camera with a Canon 400mm F/2.8 and a 2x extender, and was sorry I didn't have a 600mm lens.

The secret of using expensive gear is renting. If you don't use something three time a week, there is no reason to own.

A properly balanced Wimberly will stay where it's pointed when released—how cool is that.

"I'm carefully watching the prices of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II* . . ."

Gotta watch close. Got mine new for $899 on an Oly three day sale. at the time, that was less than some used ones. Down to $999 everywhere now.

". . . since I still have a complete complement of Micro 4/3 lenses."

Complete? [Chuckle] I have owned 30 different µ4/3 lenses. Down to 18 at the moment.

"For less than $3,200, you could buy an Olympus E-M1 Mark III and Panasonic-Leica 100–400mm ƒ/4–6.3."

Slight mismatch of body and lens.

1. The PLeica 100-400 benefits from sync with IBIS on Panny bodies, but not on Oly.

2. The Oly 100-400 on the Oly body allows Pro-CaptureL. The PLeica only does ProCaptureH, which isn't good for anything that moves.

3. The Oly 100-400 works with their 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. No TCs for the PLeica, and none likely, given the location of the rear elements.

I know, you aren't a tele guy. But take it from one, these are significant differences.

Preliminarily, it appears my copy of the Oly may be slightly optically better than my PLeica, but:

1. As Ctein said about testing the PLeica I lent him, "Hard to say how good the lens is by any objective measure. It's insanely hard to critically test an optic like that. Stuff that's far enough away that depth of field isn't a problem, there are atmospheric ripples and distortions to deal with at the 400 mm lens. Stuff that's close enough that that's not a problem, I have to compare multiple frames made with the same aperture where I shift to the camera to move the point of focus to different parts of the field of view. It's a pain and not terribly precise." My experience is the same.

2. At long focal lengths, factors other than pure optics become important, and often are more important for quality of details.

I could write an essay, with illustrations. Let the OM mount Oly 600/6.5 suffice. As far as I know, only a small handful of people ever got really sharp photos with this lens on OM bodies, using heroic damping measures. On a mirrorless camera, medium tripod, with manual aperture setting, electronic first curtain, let settle for a couple of seconds, remote release - guess what - it's quite sharp!

Oh yes this will blow up onto equivalent talk pretty soon with people who measure the light out of a glass or bucket and not correctly with a light meter.

Yes if Olympus marketing was worth anything, the Em1x would have been more successful with the 300mm f4. But nope.

Your happy dude needs to discover LensCoat

The long lens crowd are often nature photographers. When we lived on the farm I had the Pana 100-300 on one dedicated Oly body that was my "critter cam."

Racing photographers like long lenses too because you are not going to get close to the cars. When I was shooting races 50 years ago I used a Leica M2 and 90mm Elmarit to get some cool shots but we were right next to the track.

I just purchased the Olympus 75-300mm 4.8-6.7 II. 'Equivalent' field of view to that Canon 600mm. It was on-sale for $399. I know it's not quite comparable--6.7 is sloooowwww and it won't take a teleconverter. But it's tiny for a telephoto zoom. And the IQ is pleasantly surprising. More than enough for my needs. Paired with my equally tiny E-M5III it's nothing to carry around on walks. I nearly forget it's there. What fun! I'm not into photographing wildlife--too much work to get good photos. But it's great for long distance landscapes or isolation shots. In addition, it takes the place of my binoculars for bird identification. The lens is more fun than I thought it would be. And, did I say it's nothing to carry around?

The Canon 300/400/500/600/800mm lenses have been a staple for professional motorsport photographers for decades - going back to the FD years. Lugging the early versions of the 400f2.8 around for 3 days of a bike GP was no fun. Specially if your second body had a 600 on it! The 600f4 MkIII version IS so much lighter (comparatively) to the earlier versions that it is a joy to use (not that I spend my time at GPs these days). I imagine the same goes for all outdoor sports photographers. Then there are the bird and wildlife photographers. If you are not shooting Canon, Nikon or (recently) Sony full frame at a motorsports event you're not in the game.

Far too many years ago when I first got into photography and was still living at home I got a lot of static from my father, who knew nothing about photography, about all the money I was spending on cameras and why did I needed all those extra "tubes" (aka lenses). Never having had a hobby, he never understood the joy his son got out of his camera. Many, many, years later I knew a so-so photographer who always had the latest top of the line Nikon DSLR and even owned a Nikon F5 along with them. The F5 was a headscratcher, until I remembered my Dad. Mr.X's cameras and photography (so-so not withstanding) were his "Joy" and he had the money to indulge that joy.

There has to be something in life we do for the sheer pleasure of doing it. Whether it be loud motorcycles, racing planes, jumping off cliffs with parachutes ... however your mileage may vary; even if it's $13000 for a blunderbuss of a lens that requires a Sherpa. If it's your "JOY" ... ENJOY!!😎

Not really a gearhead, although I have maybe 40 lenses most were ratty second hand not over $50 and some in ‘junk bins’ for $2-$5, how could I not.
Had one of those cheap, 4 element 500mm f8 once. In 30 years never found a use for it. Finally given away to a thrilled kid, the look on his face was the highest price I’ve ever gotten for a used lens. For a year or so I’ve had an EM10 and my best quality tele for it is a 135mm f3.5 OM Zuiko that was $15 at a local camera store about 10 years ago.

Let us know if something is happening in the E-M1 Mark II world, I’d like to get one too.

I made a 20”x30” print from my 20mp Olympus em5.3 as a gift for my friend who has recently moved into his newly built house. When I later visited him, I suddenly had an epiphany: His 75” 4K TV completely dwarfed my photo. These days with the proliferation of cheap and big TVs, large photos lose their visual impact unless they can step up and match in size... 40”x60”... Photoshop’s SuperRes may be an interim solution. But I suddenly see a legit reason to go 60mp+ FF.

Hi Mike
Reference your remark above about the price of used GX8's going up...t'aint just the GX8, t'is all secondhand gear over here in England.

Since there were good PAs (so, before I was born) no guitarist has needed a pair of black 4x12" cabs with a 100W also black head sitting on them, all with a single word written on the front in white script. Let alone has anyone ever needed 2, 3, or 4 of such things. Not only not needed but quite bad for ears. And heavy (funny story: first person who wanted these – quite famous guitarist – asked for single 8x12" ... was too heavy for his poor roadies).

But they are iconic for some music, and many have been sold, and many people use them.

This lens and lenses like also is iconic.

(Me, I try not to use any amp more than 5W, or if I have to with a powersoak, and small and light enough for me not to need to ask stronger men to lift it for me.)

I’d like to add that telescopic magnification isn’t the only reason for employing such optical firepower. The extreme spacial compression - flattening - effect these lenses produce is often what I’ve used for a recent project. In my case, a 100-400mm lens with 2x tc gave me exactly the smushing effect I needed for images like this (https://www.kentanaka.com/tobuild#1), and this (https://www.kentanaka.com/tobuild#46).

As for 75" 4K TVs, the answer, IMHO, is to buy Apple TV 4K and show your photos on your TV at home. I've been doing that for about 6 months now on my 55" 4K TV. I am getting a lot of enjoyment. I have about 5 different sets of photos. Most mornings when I get up to do work (at about 5 am), I make my coffee and turn on a 4K slide show and play it for a few hours for whoever's at home. . . I do have a couple of recent full frame camera (Sony A7RIV with 60 megapixels and Canon R5 45 megapixels), but on a 4K monitor, the m43 images look as good . . .

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