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03-03-2014, 12:43 PM   #1
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Telephoto comparison: Pentax vs m4/3?

I wonder if anyone has a realistic comparison of photos using a Pentax DA* 300 lens on a recent Pentax camera and a similar shot with a Panasonic 100-300 (or Olympus 75-300) at 225mm (~450mm FOV) on a recent m4/3 camera.

The comparison does not have to be exact, I am just wondering how different the rendering would be between the two in more general terms. Obviously, it would be great if whatever you had was at a resolution that would translate into prints up to 13x19", at least.

03-03-2014, 03:03 PM   #2
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It's a fair question; but, of course, something of an apples to oranges comparison. DA* 300mm -- nice lens! I'm trying the strategy of carrying an Olympus E-PL5 as a second complementary body to my new K-3. The macro side advantage with the great little flyweight 60mm/2.8 on m4/3 is compelling enough in itself. But the crop factor, plus high (yet extremely well managed) pixel-site density of that m4/3 sensor/processor should allow me to keep my very best glass up front for telephoto work much more of the time than I could with the new K-3 alone (at a relatively low cost in carry weight and dollars invested).

For example, it gets me 80mm FF-equivalent at a border-to-border sharp, very usable f.2.0 (CV 40mm/2.0 Ultron SL-IIn), with 1:4 top-notch close-up ability -- a no-go with my HD DA 70mm/2.4 Ltd... right on up to 420mm equivalent at around f.5 with my Nikon Series E 70-150mm/3.5 (poor man's DA 50-135mm, along with the Nikkor 50-135mm/3.5 AI-S) + Tamron SP 1.4x TC... at about 24 ounces in weight! ...Or 400mm/f.4 to 560mm/f.5.6 equivalent, substituting the compact Nikkor 200mm/4 AI-S prime.

Just some ideas to think about. Personally, I'm avoiding the ubiquitous something-to-300mm plastic zoom thing for now. I do have the 70-210mm and 135mm F-Series SMC's if I need the auto-focus. -- Fred

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 03-03-2014 at 03:13 PM.
03-03-2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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Hmmm.... I have a K-5, a DA* 300, and a Pentax-M4/3rd converter.

But no 4/3rds camera.
03-03-2014, 06:39 PM   #4
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The Olympus and Panasonic are zoom lenses - slower and variable aperture to boot! On top of this they have a broad 3x or 4x zoom range, which makes it much harder to maintain top quality. Plus the apparent/relative DOF is that of a lens at least a stop slower or something. So there won't be any comparison.

Only the Super High Grade lenses will be able to meet (or maybe exceed) the DA*300; the M.Zuiko Pro and High Grade are the only other Olympus lenses that have a chance.

03-03-2014, 07:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Hmmm.... I have a K-5, a DA* 300, and a Pentax-M4/3rd converter.

But no 4/3rds camera.
I got mine as a full kit with the 40-150mm Olympus zoom (which I just plan to sell) on evilBay from a fellow who apparently took a look at the manual, got discouraged, and never went out and actually used it! I'm keeping only a minimalist m4/3 lens kit, I think -- just the 60mm macro and the 20mm Panasonic. My idea is to use the E-PL5 for precisely what it can do best, even compared to the Pentax options, and economize on the "extras" -- and I'm talking about final quality here, not just convenience. Oh, and I'll keep the 14-42mm Oly. kit zoom, since it wouldn't sell for a lot: Check out cameralab.com where you can see how the 4 oz. kit zoom gives nothing much away to that 14mm Panasonic pancake lens stopped down; and the little zoom sharpens up again for a second sweet spot at the full 84mm equivalent in the center its field of view -- a lens for a snap close up, in other words (though not for the bokeh freaks). I just look at it as an "f.5.6 and be there lens" of dual focal length -- a cheap in-pocket, featherweight alternative. Don't let people who don't think very hard or very creatively tell you what "sucks".

With my 12-24mm (and HD DA 70/2.4 in pocket), I see no need for a "walkaround zoom", really, if I have a second small body "primed" to go. The idea is to think ahead and previsualize your needs. Just as I did back in the '80's with film. Fiddling with a slightly clumsy plastic zoom for focal length at the point of action is not being all that ready-on-the-spot, auto-focus, or not. Note that you can set up the 12-24mm on the Olympus with an f-stop adjusting adapter, too, if you feel adventuresome: a 24-48mm equivalent focal length is perfect for walking around "the big city" when you want to stretch the on-camera zoom out to a "normal" field of view. A 28mm FF-equivalent is just too long on the wide end for shots you'd want to get when you can't step back into the street and compose. Then have the DA 70 or a slim Pentax MF 50 from another pocket installed and ready on the K-body in order to go longer in an instant. See what I mean? Always ready. Stick the DA 70 on the Olympus, and you've got a fine "140"mm prime at f.2.4 for capturing that detail up near the fifth story ledge. Two Limited lenses for the price of one. Do I want that shot with a 18-135mm kit zoom? I think not.

All of this flexibility business applies in spades on the telephoto end. I just love, love, love the thought of having these effective focal lengths at fast apertures available from high grade primes weighing under 10 oz. each, mostly WAY under: 80mm/2.0... 105mm/2.4... 120mm/2.8 (w/ 1:1 macro)... 140mm/2.4... and 180mm/2.8... from 4 tiny, but potent lenses -- Voigtlander 40/2.0 Ultron, HD DA 70/2.4 Ltd., Olympus 60mm/2.8 M., and Zeiss/Contax-G 90mm/2.8. Cool. Take the not too burdensome Pentax-F 135mm as another AF option for "203mm" and "270mm" at f.2.8. And Life is Good, I'm thinking. I could swap in the DA 40mm/2.8 XS for the CV Ultron if I want to "slow down", and taking a tip from Steve Martin, really "get small". I hope this gives you some new, alternative ideas. -- Fred

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 03-03-2014 at 08:15 PM.
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