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Old Wednesday 1st March 2017, 07:17   #1
dwever
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OM-D E-M1.2 w/40-150 f/2.8 w/TC 1.4 Compromise

Below is an internet picture of the 40-150 f/2.8 Pro with and without the TC1.4 on an E-M1. I own this same set up with an E-M1 Mark II (bought from B&H)

Unlike DSLR's from Nikon and Canon where their implementation of teleconverters has of late with certain glass reached a point of virtually zero compromise in resolving power, the Olympus system has not pulled this off with about a worst case loss of about 8% at 150mm depending on the aperture selected.

So, as I prepare to go out with the North Alabama Birding Society this Saturday, I am still undecided on whether to use the 1.4 TC or just stay with the phenomenal lens and hope I don't have to crop too much later on.

Admittedly the results are so close my comments are pixel peeping and my decision will rest on how far my shots are, but my wish is for a 4/3 format that calls itself a legitimate alternative for pros and prosumers that they would in fact make legitimate parallels or lead in this area of optical technology.

Having said that, I am thrilled with an extremely small, lightweight, fully weather-sealed TC that doesn't significantly negatively impact image quality or AF speed. But for the Olympus 40-150mm ƒ/2.8 Zuiko Pro or the 300mm ƒ/4 Zuiko Pro lens, the MC-14 teleconverter is a an accessory that needs to close the gap just a pinch.

I'll try and update this post with the actual resolution differences between TC 1.4 and without.
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Last edited by dwever : Wednesday 1st March 2017 at 09:26.
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Old Wednesday 1st March 2017, 07:49   #2
nikonmike
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I appreciate your sentiments,most DX/FX lens and converter combinations do loose something more so on zooms.
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Old Monday 13th March 2017, 15:14   #3
katastrofa
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Maybe I'm just not used to telephoto lenses, but these combos still look pretty huge :)
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Old Monday 13th March 2017, 17:35   #4
dwever
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katastrofa View Post
Maybe I'm just not used to telephoto lenses, but these combos still look pretty huge :)
There's a lens hood on both lenses that make them appear way way bigger than in reality.

Below left is the 31 ounce (remember that number) Oly 40-150 f2.8 (Equivalent 35mm 80-300mm) lens in better perspective. It is metal build and weather sealed. As someone who used to shoot sporting events with a Nikon SLR for the Florida Flambeau (FSU paper) and then DSLR non professionally with a 70-200 f2.8 and a couple of primes, the Oly lens and body are Lilliputian by comparison. I would also point out again that with the Oly lens you're getting the 35mm equivalent of 80-300 in an f2.8.

By comparison, look at the Nikon 300mm F2.8 to the right. It is right at 100 ounces (6.4 lbs.). See the mount to appreciate it's size. The Nikon is an engineering marvel and with a Nikon DSLR like an 810, if you need spectacular detail and massive print output, or huge croppping ability, that format is the way to go for that and other reasons. There are so many nuances to the formats I don't want to start that discussion. At the end of the day, in 2017 both formats in their PRO expressions are engineering marvels with incredible abilities, and for the vast majority of us, micro 4/3 will be all we'll ever need; and again for most, it is a very limited set of conditions where image quality will be an issue by comparison. I routinely order 20x30 in the 4/3 without disappointment, and I could go higher.

I'll be going to Santa Fe this year for a week of landscape shooting. Wasn't long ago I would have had a full-size DSLR for that task. This year I'll shoot in the new EM-1's high resolution mode. Here's a guy from Cocoa Beach already using that technology: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosa...57657294429441

If you actually need more resolution than the camera's almost-always-more-than-enough standard res of 5184x3888, then the resolution in High Resolution Mode is 8160×6120 with staggeringly large 50mb file sizes or even 10368 × 7776 With 80mb files. In high res mode your subject should be still like a landscape or skyline.
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Old Monday 13th March 2017, 19:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwever View Post
Unlike DSLR's from Nikon and Canon where their implementation of teleconverters has of late with certain glass reached a point of virtually zero compromise in resolving power, the Olympus system has not pulled this off with about a worst case loss of about 8% at 150mm depending on the aperture selected.
Just curious--what's the source of your info? In any event, what's most important for bird photography is usually performance wide open. If that's acceptable, then I'd opt for using with the TC.
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Old Monday 13th March 2017, 20:22   #6
dwever
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M. View Post
Just curious--what's the source of your info? In any event, what's most important for bird photography is usually performance wide open. If that's acceptable, then I'd opt for using with the TC.
MFT measurements (sampled a few paragraphs down) make the fact of compromise regarding sharpness with this and virtually all teleconverters objectively undeniable. How much compromise makes one put the teleconverter down is subjective.

Some would say magnification for some sharpnesss loss is well worth it; others such as Photozone in their MC-14 MFT measuring say use the MC-14 teleconverter as a last resort (http://www.photozone.de/m43/945_olym...f28pro?start=1). At any rate, all agree there's a penalty to pay when you use the 1.4X; and, that penalty is quantifiable in MTF with the right instruments which I'll get to.

In a perfect world, for birding I would own the $2,300 Olympus 300mm f4 PRO but I don't because Birding is my only need for it, so I use the 1.4x w/40-150 because I pay less in image quality with it than without it. Without it I would be cropping the heck out of a shot even more to see the bird in some detail. And with the 1.4 as the bug pursuer below shows, I still have have to crop a lot.

Having said that, the results are usable, and the objective measurement comes from testing using instruments that measure MTF**. Lenses will have usually three numbers associated with each f stop, one for the center where sharpness is usually best, one for the edges (lower), and one for the corners or extremes(worst). With zoom lens you get even more variations, and with the Olympus 40-150 f2.8 it's sharpest images come at about 100mm at f4. The MTF there is a whopping 3,124.

Here is an example of the penalty charged by using the 1.4x: the 40-150 f2.8 at 150mm gives a best resolution for that power at the center of the lens of 2,987 at f/4. Then, with the TC-14 at it's full power, it gives it's highest resolution at f5.6 in the center at 2677. Penalty: a 10% drop in sharpness at full power with the teleconverter attached. When using less than full power, say 100mm, the penalty in sharpness with the teleconverter is not as great, but it is always there. There is no focal length and f stop combination with the 1.4 that gives equal sharpness to use without. So, the subjective question is, are you still pleased with your images with it on, is the extra focal length worth the loss of sharpness? Most of us say heck yeah, while others are like I only use it man if I have to.

When shooting birds, the less magnification you bring to the game, the more you will crop. The image below is the 40-150 f2.8 with 1.4x at full power. In the original shot the picture is 5184x3888, the crop is less than 1600x1200, just a small piece of the original frame (1/3200 of a second at f5.6 ISO 800 March 10).

Birding is one application where a 34mp sensor like on a Nikon DSLR 8100 can make a lot of sense where images are 7,360 x 4,912. But, and it's a big butt, 8100 plus 300mm f2.8 is North of $8,000. For half that, get an OM-D E-M1 Mark II and a 600mm equivalent 300mm f/4 PRO. Images are grabbed at twice the power by the Oly at 5,184 x 3,888. But comparisons are highly nuanced so let met get off that path.

**The sharpness of a photographic imaging system or of a component of the system (lens, film, image sensor, scanner, enlarging lens, etc.) is characterized by a parameter called Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), also known as spatial frequency response. MTF is a way to incorporate resolution and contrast into a single specification. https://www.edmundoptics.com/resourc...sfer-function/ and http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M. View Post
In any event, what's most important for bird photography is usually performance wide open. If that's acceptable, then I'd opt for using with the TC.
For a number of reasons, for birding in good light I like to be a stop away from wide open if I have a fast lens like a 2.8 or 4.0 if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M. View Post
(assuming there really is such a penalty).
Under what conditions would lower MFT numbers (penalty) not have application unless they were to become so close with and without the teleconverter as to be of virtually of no consequence to the human eye? I think the point is that the 300mm or 40-150mm with the 1.4x and the accompanying lower MFT, that is generally a better image of a small bird than without the 1.4x and the more extreme cropping that would accompany it.
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Old Tuesday 14th March 2017, 05:37   #7
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[Edit: note the above post was subsequently edited to quote from and partly respond to this post].

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwever View Post
So, as I prepare to go out with the North Alabama Birding Society this Saturday, I am still undecided on whether to use the 1.4 TC or just stay with the phenomenal lens and hope I don't have to crop too much later on.
I believe you would almost always be better off using the teleconverter unless you are so close that you do not need to crop. Because by cropping you are generally paying a worse image quality “penalty” than you would be by using the teleconverter (assuming there really is such a penalty). That's what I find with the 300 mm F4 prime; I almost always use it with the teleconverter. Even 300mm (600 mm equivalent) is not enough reach for birds in most instances.

Last edited by Jim M. : Wednesday 15th March 2017 at 04:30.
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