EM-1 ii with Panasonic 100-400 zoom(200 to 800 eq).

Liked to try out the Panasonic zoom for an Chicago Air and Water Show and eclipse was also around the same time, rented panasonic zoom lens for both. Here is my experience with the lens, and some short comparison with the D800E Sigma 150mm-600mm.

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 11.33.44 PM.png

First Impression

First impression was how tiny the lens was, not really tiny but considering the focus length of 200mm to 800mm, it just fits E-M1 ii nicely. Was very easy to use handheld. Only hitch-up  was handling the zoom, with the tripod support and hood on the lens. If I remove it, it was little inconvenient  to hold the camera while walking around. After couple of hours I got the hang of it.

Just used small shoulder bag, and was able to fit easily E-M1 ii, 12-35mm f/2.8, 35mm-100mm f/2.8 and 100-400mm, and I was able to carry it for 4 hours with no rest. I didn’t feel any heaviness. If I could add one more 7mm-14mm f/2.8, and the best part is I can fit all in a easy to carry shoulder bag. I’m glad I choose m4/3 format.

Auto Focus Speed

I chose C-AF with multi point selection, I was shooting in L continues mode. I was trying to chase some of the fastest moving flights, including F-25 and Harrier jet. How do I put the auto focus speed, if I can frame it it’s in focus. I shoot around little more than 3000 images in couple of hours. almost every picture is in focus. What a huge improvement compared to E-M5.

Here are few of the sessions with around 10 fps. It doesn’t matter if the flight is coming towards me, away from me or moving side ways, If I can see it in EVF it’s in focus. Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 10.40.11 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 10.47.16 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 10.47.56 PM

When other objects are in the front

Still not a problem, just has to refocus once in the begning then it locks it.


Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 10.55.42 PM.png

Same image at 100% crop.

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 10.56.07 PM.png



I was initally disappointed when I saw the pictures, it was not as sharp as the previous 40-150mm lens, this lens nearly 10 times the price of that lens. Then I realized the sharpness just based on the distance of the flight. It’s due the fact that’ it’s above the water. Even though the sky looked clear, there are so many objects that kind of blurs the subject based on the distance.

As a quick sample, same flight when shot at 400m and the next one at 187mm Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 11.09.21 PM.png

Since I had the zoom didn’t really try to capture only the closers ones. Its nothing to do with the lens, if the subject is closers then it is very sharp, if its far it’s kind of dull. Hopefully next time, I should try to use the zoom differently.

The same flight when it’s closer. relatively it’s still very far, I ccoudn’t see the helmet of the pilot or anyone when looking directly.  it is looks sharp, even though it’s at 400mm (800mm eq.).Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 11.14.27 PM.png


Compared with Full Frame

I had a fellow photographer who shot with D800E and Sigma zoom lens, some of the his shots were much sharper than mine, it’s also the the fact the subject was much closer in his shot. But the biggest advantage with E-M1 ii is that almost 99% of images are in focus, but compared less than 30% of images in focus in D800e.

I checked an image which are almost similar, I didn’t really find that much difference when I looked at the screen.

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 11.24.31 PM.png

Left: E-M1ii with 100-400 at 300mm(eq).      Right D800E with 150mm-600mm at 500mm focal length.

I really enjoyed shooting with this combo, looking forward to next air show. Even if I had option to shoot with the FF, I would go for the m4/3 combo. as it’s much easier to carry hand held and track the flying objects, with the far reaching zoom. Since it’s broad day light nothing worry about ISO.

Next week I will try to add my experience with the Solar Eclipse.

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