Getting to grips with my new Olympus 300mm f/4.0.  For the last year and a half or so I have been using the PL 100-400 for bird photography, amongst other things, and generally have been very happy with it.

It offers fantastic range in a hand-holdable package – however it is not perfect.  Firstly although giving an equivalent of 800mm on FF it is a little soft at 400mm and as such I always preferred to dial it back a little to perhaps around 350mm – secondly it is quite slow with a max aperture at the long end of f/6.3 which in poor light can be an issue.

Having conducted some online research it was pretty clear to me that those shooting with the Olympus 300m f/4.0 PRO lens were getting better results (even with a 1.4 convertor) than those shooting with the PL 100-400, perhaps this is not surprising since a prime lens will always outshine a zoom.

Initial thoughts – well it’s quite a beast, not so much in size but in weight, it really is very solid.  The built in lens hood works well and the arc-swiss compatible foot is a bonus meaning no additional tripod plate is required, not that I am planning on using it on a tripod – which brings me to another stong point of this lens, the stabilisation which when coupled with the fantastic in-body stabilisation of the Olympus OM-D EM1 mkII truely makes this a handholdable lens even at quite slow shutter speeds.

First results are promising – it is certainly capable of producing sharp images even wide open at f/4.0 where I imagine I will be using it 90% of the time and it does focus very quickly and effectively on the OM-D EM1 mkII, I have yet to test it on the Lumix G9 equally I have yet to try it with either the 1.4x or 2.0x teleconvertors that are avialable for it but have heard good things about these.

Here are a couple of bird images, both were shot at significant range and are strong crops, it should also be noted they were shot on a warm day with some atmospheric disturbance evident.

Olympus OM-D EM1 mkII – M.Zuiko ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro – f/4.0 – 1/400s –  iso 200
Olympus OM-D EM1 mkII – M.Zuiko ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro – f/4.0 – 1/640s –  iso 200
Olympus OM-D EM1 mkII – M.Zuiko ED 300mm f/4 IS Pro – f/4.0 – 1/2500s – iso 200

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