• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Olympus 800mm equivalent - no more detail than Nikon 630mm? (1 Viewer)

Winterdune

Well-known member
Hi all,

I take my pictures with a Nikon D500 and 300mm lens plus 1.4 converter, giving a full frame equivalent of 630mm.

I recently tested the Olympus 100-400mm lens on an EM1iii body, which is 800mm ff equivalent.

To my surprise comparing 100% crops of test shots taken with the same settings and identical lighting I could not see any more detail in the Olympus shots and so I did not keep the lens because although the zoom range gives more flexibility, the size and weight of the Olympus lens and camera was pretty much the same as my Nikon setup. In fact, because of the zoom the micro four thirds kit was actually longer and bulkier than the Nikon kit.

I am wondering whether this lack of improvement in resolving fine detail despite the increase in telephoto range is just because the quality of the Nikon 300mm pf lens is so much better than the consumer grade Olympus lens? And if that is the case, would the pro grade Olympus 300mm f4 lens with a 1.4 converter (840mm equivalent) show a more discernable difference?

I'd be grateful for any thoughts on this from those with more experience of these things.

Many thanks
Sean
 
Last edited:

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I read some time ago about zoom lenses giving less than the stated focal length at max zoom with all except some very specific conditions (I want to say at one extreme of the focal range but I am not sure about that). This was not meant as being specific to any specific brand. This might explain some of the disappointment perhaps?

Niels
 

Winterdune

Well-known member
Thanks Niels. I know you have long been a fan of m43 cameras for birding and I was thinking of following you down that route, but on the evidence so far I think I'm sticking with APSC.
All the best
Sean
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
You are right. Not because I felt the results were better (but similar) and with usually less weight. Good for you that you have found a way for APC to give you good results without carrying a ton.

Niels
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
According to an Internet source, the crop factor of the Nikon D500 is 1.53. So that would make it 642 mm equivalent, rather than 630, by my calculations. Not a major difference, and I wouldn't expect to see a major difference between 642 mm and 800 mm in terms of "detail" in any event. You don't provide the specifics on your tests or how carefully they were controlled, so it's not really possible to evaluate your results. (Also, atmospheric distortion can make optical differences irrelevant in rendering detail, depending on conditions, when shots are at some distance.) But I would of course expect better results for micro 4/3 when comparing prime micro 4/3 lenses with prime Nikon lenses, provided the tests were fine-grained enough.

That said, the Nikon PF series is of course the great lightweight competitor to micro 4/3rds for bird photography. So I would expect it to yield competitive results. And I have generally been disappointed in the weight of Olympus' super telephoto lenses. Olympus makes light camera bodies, and Panasonic the light lenses. That's why I tend to combine the two.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top