Some thoughts on using the Olympus 50-200mk1 on the EM-1

26/05/2014 - 15:13

I got my used copy of the 50-200mk1 some weeks back now and have been mulling over my experiences using it in comparison to shooting with the 75-300 mk2, both using the EM-1 body (pre-and post v1.4)


I got the lens primarily as a tool for shooting my beach activities (wind and kite surfing, ZapCat racing etc) but have also been exploring how it works for things like nature, BIF and general walk-about shooting


First I should say that in everything that follows I am working with a sample of one, so there is no way I can consider it as having generic legitimacy (but you may care to say if you have similar experiences?)


One thing that I am now convinced of is that there is something strange about the way sequential shooting is handled compared to the m4/3rds lenses


Closing the aperture from wide open to one stop or more higher results in a significant slowing in the sequential frame rate (judging by the sound of the shutter operation).


I would estimate a drop of between a third and one half. This is not apparent with the m4/3rds lenses I compared it with (75-300, 35-100, 12-40) Also, the highest rate attainable appears lower than that of with the m4/3rds lenses


With my copy of the 50-200 I can hear the aperture changing rapidly under some variable light / contrast conditions (I think its what I have seen described as "Rattle snaking"?)


I wonder if there is a connection between these two observations (does the shutter on the 4/3rds lens take longer to accommodate to light changes during focusing?)


For shooting larger objects such as jet-skis, boats, aircraft, dogs and people the 50-200 works extremely well and since v1.4 focus is fast, accurate and consistent (similar to that with the m4/3rds lenses I use)


Shooting small / distant birds against a bland sky I am getting false focus locks and some hunting, worse than under comparable conditions shooting with say, the 75-300 and significantly worse than shooting with the panny 35-100.


With similar sized / distanced birds against a dark background the differences are smaller


So, my "conclusions" so far:


the 50-200 appears ideal for the purpose I got it for

it is not and is unlikely to become my preferred tool for shooting birds in flight and other focus speed critical wildlife work

for the money I paid for it I got a real bargain

I'm going to have to start planning how to persuade Pam that I may need to buy the 40-150 f2.8 when it comes out after all


Someone kindly pointed out that I could overcome the "Rattle snaking" by switching Flicker reduction to off (I had accidentally reset to Auto) and pointed out that the sequential shooting slow down is something also experienced in other 4/rds lenses and also the Panasonic 100-300 m4/3rds lens. Apparently it results from a slow iris operation


Update, having solved the Rattlesnaking problem I am finding that this lens does actaully work very well for birds in flight as well as working well with bees, damselflies and buterly subjects.


For my intended uses it is indeed now m "tool of choice", so much so that I am finding that changing from the inertial mass of this lens to the light weight of the 75-300 is causing me real problems as I am once again finding it hard to hold the light lens steady when shooting fully extended!


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