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Frank Paris | profile | all galleries >> First test shots with Olympus 75-300mm II 2013 04 (Apr) 02 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

First test shots with Olympus 75-300mm II 2013 04 (Apr) 02

As soon as I heard about the update of the Olympus 75-300mm lens, I put my order in it with Olympus itself on January 30. From that date until today's date (April 2), their Website has said, "PRE-ORDER Expected to ship mid-March."

This morning I finally reached my wits' end and I called Pro Photo Supplies in downtown Portland, OR to find out if they had this in stock. Yes, so I put a reserve on it, cancelled my Olympus order, and went and retrieved my new 75-300mm II from Pro Photo Supplies.

Surprisingly, Olympus sent me email within a couple hours giving notice that my order has been cancelled. Previously, I had waited 48 hours for an inquiry about when to actually expect shipment (since their promise was by mid March and it was already in April), and they didn't reply to that email. They are apparently much more eager to receive cancellations than inquiries about when they'll ship the product.

Naturally I couldn't wait to run some test shots. Drove to a rather upscale neighborhood that I've been photographing lately and that's what I did with the 75-300mm II. So artistically, these are nothing to rave about. I just wanted to see how the lens handled and over what range images were sharp. In a word, it handles beautifully. At least new, it has absolutely no lens creep, unlike what I've heard about the much more expensive, first version of this lens. It balances beautifully with the Olympus E-M5 and my RRS BH-40 works wonders with it. Yes, all images were taken on a tripod. I can't imagine using this lens hand-held, not these old hands and arms.

My experience echoes what others have reported, I think. I say I "think" because most of my 300mm shots are of distant hills, smeared out by haze. At the wide end of the lens, images are superbly sharp. Others have reported softness at 300mm which clears up as great as 280mm. There are hints in my hazy distant shots that this is true.

I always perform post processing (PP) on all of my images and always start with raw (after initially triaging my JPEGs). These images (like most from the Olympus E-M5) required very little PP, just mild levels mainly. No color correction.

For comparison, my Panasonic 45-200mm weighs 14.1 oz and my Olympus 75-300mm weighs 15.5 oz, both without a lens hood. But the Panasonic is much more troublesome to use because it has egregious lens creep and it has an OIS on/off switch which all too easily gets accidentally turned on, which causes the image to drift when on a tripod.

Few of these images actually need comments.
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