Some thoughts on two zooms

Not a big fan of zooms. When I do have one I usually fear the worst, to the point of more often than not thinking myself out of them in reasonably short order.

The 75-300 is a different story. It has never owed me much (even after my second one), but has delivered well out of proportion to it’s cost.

 300 f6.7. Too long and too slow? It never fails to deliver.

300 f6.7. Too long and too slow? It never fails to deliver.

 A surprise jpeg from a burst I took testing one of the EM1’s wonder features (maybe Pro capture?). Something I have noticed about the new cameras is that I import the files with a much gentler pre-set and often cannot pick their processed RAW files from their jpegs automatically as I could with the EM5’s.

A surprise jpeg from a burst I took testing one of the EM1’s wonder features (maybe Pro capture?). Something I have noticed about the new cameras is that I import the files with a much gentler pre-set and often cannot pick their processed RAW files from their jpegs automatically as I could with the EM5’s.

 Good enough? I think so. It is this regular over achieving that makes me grateful to have this lens around. Keep in mind also, this was shot in poor, early morning diffused light.

Good enough? I think so. It is this regular over achieving that makes me grateful to have this lens around. Keep in mind also, this was shot in poor, early morning diffused light.

 Time after time wide open at the long end. It is sharper at f8 and even sharper at 200mm or shorter (I even found it to be effectively indistinguishable from the 40-150 Pro and the 75 prime at the short end). Notice the nice Bokeh, often difficult to achieve with a slow lens.

Time after time wide open at the long end. It is sharper at f8 and even sharper at 200mm or shorter (I even found it to be effectively indistinguishable from the 40-150 Pro and the 75 prime at the short end). Notice the nice Bokeh, often difficult to achieve with a slow lens.

 The tight lens cropping and reasonable quality allows for even tighter cropping after. This bird was about the size of a seagull at about 10 meters away. A little gentle brush work and some mild contrast correction and noise reduction.

The tight lens cropping and reasonable quality allows for even tighter cropping after. This bird was about the size of a seagull at about 10 meters away. A little gentle brush work and some mild contrast correction and noise reduction.

The 12-100 has a lot more work to do to convince me. It cost a bomb compared to my current kit (I have had dearer, but not by much and not anymore), it is out of my comfort zone weight and size wise and it is my enemy of enemies, a superzoom.

 Nice rendering, but nervous Bokeh.

Nice rendering, but nervous Bokeh.

 Similar cropping and post processing to the one above, showing the benefit of the long lens. At 100mm f4 this was quite soft before processing, but that is not a scientifically provable observation due to “field” factors.

Similar cropping and post processing to the one above, showing the benefit of the long lens. At 100mm f4 this was quite soft before processing, but that is not a scientifically provable observation due to “field” factors.

untitled-130187-2.jpg

The 100 f4 seems to be about on par with the 75-300. Is that a compliment to the cheap lens or a disappointing result from the pro lens? I tested the 12-100 against a bunch of good to great lenses at 12-45mm focal lengths and it did well against the pack, beating most, but I did not test it at the long end.

 Very sharp image taken with the Pen F. Maybe these two like each other more? I will investigate.

Very sharp image taken with the Pen F. Maybe these two like each other more? I will investigate.

I will do some more scientific testing soon, mainly out of curiosity, not necessarily fear of a dud. I know it will do the job it was bought for (landscape), I just need to get back to using my primes more for general stuff and stop using this lens out of laziness. It was specifically bought for another purpose.

 The lens seems to take processing well, a little like the 17mm but without the soft corners. The Bokeh is a little distracting. EM5 100 f4.

The lens seems to take processing well, a little like the 17mm but without the soft corners. The Bokeh is a little distracting. EM5 100 f4.

 This image shows a nice level of snappy focus plane and pleasant Bokeh, but nothing on the level of either the 75-300 or 75mm prime.

This image shows a nice level of snappy focus plane and pleasant Bokeh, but nothing on the level of either the 75-300 or 75mm prime.

 Focussing is generally spot on and a little faster than the 75’s. Colour is good (rich, neutral and contrasty without being over the top) Bokeh is fair without being spectacular.

Focussing is generally spot on and a little faster than the 75’s. Colour is good (rich, neutral and contrasty without being over the top) Bokeh is fair without being spectacular.

I purchased this lens as a work horse do-it-all landscape and semi macro lens, with added AF benefits if needed for paid work. That is what it is good at and that is what I have to remember when choosing my gear. It takes months, often years before I can fully settle down with a lens and my expectations seem to be ever higher*. Early jitters have to be worked through. The reward is a reliable friend with a known personality.

*It seems I have already moved on from the relatively fine 16mp files of the EM5’s. How quickly we forget.

See the technical section for a more recent field test of the 12-100 f4 on the Pen F.