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"Dust Off the DSLR, 52X Zoom, Free Photo Workshop" - Photo Podcast 437

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How Does the Olympus 75-300mm Stack Up?


The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II zoom has been on quite a journey. It began with an ugly design and a $900 price tag. Then in 2013, Olympus redesigned the zoom and lowered the cost. Now, Micro Four Thirds shooters can snag this telephoto for $499. So how does it stack up against a couple of its peers?

I decided to do a "Saturday Afternoon 100mm Test" comparing it to the Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 ($149) and the classic Four Thirds tele, the Olympus 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Zuiko ED zoom lens. The 40-150mm is very affordable, but lacks a metal lens mount, and the 70-300mm requires the Four-Thirds to Micro-Four-Thirds adapter.

the-test-scene.jpg I attached the lenses to an OM-D E-M5 that was tripod mounted and focused on the left corner of the Rode iXY box. ISO 800, Aperture Priority at f/5.6, Auto White Balance, 2-second self timer, RAW format.

Below are the comparisons. I used the Loupe in Aperture at 200 percent. No adjustments of any type on the images. They are the straight RAW files decoded by Aperture's E-M5 profile.

text-comparison.jpg Text comparison at the point of focus. From left to right: 40-150mm, 75-300mm (sharpest), and the 70-300mm. Click on image for enlarged view.

face-comparison-test.jpg Face comparison slightly behind the point of focus. From left to right: 40-150mm, 75-300mm (sharpest), and the 70-300mm. Click on image for enlarged view.

Bottom Line

At the 100mm focal length, my most common setting for telephotos, the $499 75-300mm Micro Four Thirds zoom did get the job done. I now have the confidence I need, knowing that I can use it for portrait shoots.

All three zooms displayed light chromatic aberration along the text lines, but none should present drawbacks for everyday shooting. I was surprised that the inexpensive and much-maligned 40-150mm tele performed as well as it did. And the size-impractical 70-300mm Four Thirds zoom will continue to stay at home.

Do you perform your own informal lens tests when you buy new glass? If so, share an experience on our TDS Facebook page. My next "Saturday Afternoon Lens Test" will focus on the 200mm and 300mm focal lengths.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Dusting Off the DSLR, Free Photo Workshop, Macro Photography, Lens Deal - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - The Weekly Update: Ricoh announces Pentax XG-1 superzoom. This bridge camera sports a whopping 52X zoom (24-1248 mm) and will go on sale in August for $396. (source: DP Review).

In other news, Hasselblad Releases CFV-50c CMOS Back for V-System Cameras. "Designed with simple operation in mind, the back requires zero cables for connection, a first of its kind. As for the technical details, the CFV-50c is capable of up to ISO 6400, 1.5fps, 16-bit color, features a 3" 24-bit color display and uses a CF card for storage, when not tethered to a computer." Estimated price: $15,000. (Source: PetaPixel).

And finally, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens on Sale for $499 (with free Expedited Shipping). (Source: B&H Photo)


Story #2 - Dusting Off the DSLR - I have a big corporate project coming up that involves more than a half dozen shoots over a 3 month period. Because these images will be used a variety of ways, including billboards, and because the client wants very soft background for the portraits, I'll be using my DSLR kit. I haven't shot with it a while because of all my travel. Here's a bit about coming up to speed again.

Story #3 - 1:1:1 - Here's a basic technical reminder that 1 f-stop equals 1 full shutter speed equals 1 full ISO setting. I review how this works and why it's important in the third segment of today's show.

Story #4 - From the Screening Room - Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups with Joseph Linaschke. I know Joseph well and he's a terrific instructor. In this brand new title, he shows you a variety of techniques for close-up photography.

You can watch Joseph in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch other design, photography, and computing titles, plus every other topic in the library (including my brand new "Photographing High School Senior Portraits."

Story #5 - A Free Photo Workshop. I'm working on the 2015 TDS Photography Workshop Schedule. As many of you know, I like to introduce at least one new topic a season. And I'd like to hear from you, "What Theme Would You Love for Me to Teach in 2015?" Send your idea to with the subject line: My Favorite Workshop Topic. My goal is to incorporate one of these suggestions into the 2015 season. If I do, that person gets free tuition to that workshop.

Virtual Camera Club News

From SizzlPix: Now, for The Digital Story listeners and readers, this month only, SizzlPix will knock off 20% of the price for your SizzlPix, any quantity, any size up to 6 feet! Just put the initials TDS or "The Digital Story" in the comments space of their new, simplified online order form.

Save on Ground Shipping for Red River Paper: Use coupon code ground50c to receive a 50 percent discount on UPS ground shipping for Red River Paper. No minimum purchase required.

Photo Assignment for July 2014 is "Smokin' Hot".

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Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

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SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until February!

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