Super telephoto photography
NB. the prices here are very approximate values - I do not sell these!!
ideally need a focal length range of 200-600mm in 35mm terms on a camera with a good buffer so that you can take several minutes of slow sequences (1 fps or slower is often adequate but buffer on the 1Ds could not cope with this)
best shots are often taken in low light levels around dawn so a super telephoto with wide aperture and good low light AF system combined with a camera that gives good image quality at higher ISO levels such as 1600 combined with effective image stabiliser to minimise the camera shake with long telephotos is needed.
African safaris tend to be very dusty affairs so you don't really want to be changing lenses and you really need a camera & lens system that is dustproof and weatherproof - and the best in this regard is the Olympus E3 system.
the current ultimate safari camera (2007) would be the 1D MarkIII with its 1.3x crop for more telephoto and its better buffer - a 10mp picture in the hand is worth a 100 16mp pictures missed because buffer was BUSY.
Canon 1DMIII /MIV with EF 300mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4x TC gives 546mm f/4 with 2-3EV IS but able to use ISO 6400
this kit weighs in at about 4kg and requires a monopod to support it and would cost over $A13,000
the lens is 252mm long, so not so compact.
alternatively the lighter EF 400mm f/4 IS DO L lens gives better image quality than the 300mm f/2.8 with 1.4x TC although you may not like the DO artefacts and the price, and you would need another lens for shorter telephotos or when you need wider apertures as light levels fall (perhaps a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS).
BUT a serious contender to the best safari set up in 2008 may be:
Olympus E3 with 150mm f/2.0 plus EC-20 to give effective 600mm f/4 with 4-5EV image stabiliser in a robust kit which is dustproof and highly weatherproof (you could pour a bottle of water on it to wash the dust off if you had to, although I would use other means)
this gives 10mp at 5fps with accurate low light AF and the EC-20 could be removed to give 300mm f/2.0 effective reach.
this is light enough to be used hand held which makes life so much easier in the back of a safari truck full of tourists and the lenses are black so they won't stand out like the Canon white ones.
combined weight is about 2.7kg and the lens is only 150mm long plus EC-20 which adds another 40mm or so.
this would cost ~$A8,000 - almost half the Canon cost and almost half the weight and size, for the difference you could buy a 2nd E3 body and add a 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD lens to give you 100-400mm range in a zoom on a second camera.
for more versatility, you could add a 1.4x TC to give you an incredible 420mm f/2.8 option.
in addition, the lens takes a 82mm filter instead of a 48mm drop-in filter as does the Canon.
not sure how many RAW images it will take at 1fps - it can do a sequence of 17 at 5fps - I own a Canon 1DMIII and not this camera, so I can't test it myself.
if light weight and telephoto reach are your prime importance and you can afford to shoot at < ISO 800 and don't need faster burst than the E3's 5fps then the Olympus E3 would make it high on your list.
if ability to use higher ISO with low noise, wider dynamic range and fast burst rates are your prime importance and you don't mind carrying large, heavy, expensive equipment with large heavy tripods, then consider the Nikon D3 or Canon 1DMIII with possible lighter, cheaper alternatives of Nikon D300 or Canon 40D.
in this page when I talk of effective focal length, it is in 35mm effective terms unless giving the actual focal length of a lens.
super telephoto here is approx. 300mm effective focal length and higher
cropped sensors give you more reach at the super-telephoto end:
a Nikon D3 12mp (36x23.9mm) dSLR using a 300mm lens gives 4256x2843pixels at full frame, this could be cropped to:
5:4 format in camera (30x23.9mm = 3552x2832pixels = 10mp)
1.3x crop (~28.7x18.7mm = 3393x2224pixels = 7.5mp) in PS giving an effective reach of 390mm lens
1.5x DX crop in camera (2784x1848 pixels = 5.1mp) giving an effective 450mm reach
a Canon 1D Mark III using a 300mm lens with its 1.3x sensor crop will give a 10mp image with effective reach of a 390mm lens
THUS if it is reach you need, then the Canon 1D Mark III will give this at higher resolution than the Nikon D3
BUT if maximal reach is needed and you can get away with lower ISO values, lesser AF functionality, slower burst rates then consider the 2x crop factor of the Olympus & Four Thirds cameras with their specially designed lenses:
Olympus E3 dSLR with 300mm lens gives a 10mp image at effective reach of 600mm.
NB. using cropped sensors with more than 135pixels/mm such as Canon APS-C, Nikon DX and Olympus E series cameras with 35mm lens technology and not high res. digital designed lenses means that although you get more reach, it is unlikely that the lens will have enough resolution to match the sensor wide open and thus in effect you are losing sensor mp resolution, this is why these companies are producing dedicated lenses designed for these cameras, particularly, Olympus.
a super telephoto lens, like other lenses is a trade off on:
be aware that using teleconverters effectively reduces your aperture and may make AF impossible with some cameras.
resolution and contrast
features such as image stabilisation
zoom vs prime
manual focus vs AF
speed of AF
USM is faster and quieter than non-USM
AF range stops on lenses
hand holdability, size and weight:
cannot reasonably hand-hold these lenses (>4kg):
Sigma APO 300-800mm f/5.6 "Sigmonster" (5.9kg)
Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS (4.5kg)
Canon EF 600mm f/4 IS L (5.36kg)
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 IS L (5.37kg)
following could be hand-held but rarely seen handheld (2.5-4kg):
Canon EF 500mm f/4 IS L (3.87kg)
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 IS L (2.55kg)
Olympus ZD 300mm f/2.8 = 600mm f/2.8 IS (3.29kg) or 840mm f/4 with EC-14
Olympus ZD 90-250mm f/2.8 = 180-500mm f/2.8 IS (3.27kg)
Nikon AF-S VR 200-400mm f/4G (3.275kg)
easily hand-held but still a bit heavy to carry around all day (ie. lenses 1-2.5kg):
Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO L (1.94kg)
Canon EF 300mm f/4 IS L ( = 480mm f/4 on 1.6x crop cameras)
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS (= 480mm f/5.6 on 1.5x crop)
Olympus ZD 150mm f/2.0 with EC-20 equates to 600mm f/4 IS
Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD with EC-14 equates to 140-560mm f/3.9-4.9 IS
light, compact lenses that can be carried around all day (<1kg) :
Olympus ZD 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED - only 620g but gives effective 600mm f/5.6 IS when on E510 or E3.
Olympus OM 200mm f/4 - only manual focus but gives a nice 400mm f/4 IS when on E510 or E3 (see here)
for astrophotography where optical aberrations become paramount, the general wisdom is to stick with a high quality prime lens (preferably without optical IS) such as the Canon 200mm f/2.8 L which on a 1.6x cropped sensor becomes a 320mm effective lens.
the smaller the aperture, the longer you need to have your exposures and thus the better guiding and mount you need - try to go for a great quality f/2.8 lens as it will simplify your life.
the greater the focal length, the more guiding errors and aberrations become magnified & thus the better guiding, mount and lens you need.
converting a camera lens to a telescope for use with eyepieces or webcams:
consumer Scope converters are OK for terrestrial use but not for astro use, instead its better to use 1.25" diagonal with a Barlow and eyepieces via a home-made lens adapter ( a lens rear lens cap with centre removed or a 12mm extension tube join to a 1.25" tube so that total extension is no more than 30mm)
indoor sports photography:
often a 85-200mm range with wide aperture (f/2.0 - f/2.8) is desirable eg. 135mm f/2.0.
many settle for a compromise 70-200mm f/2.8 IS zoom
Olympus make a ZD 35-100mm f/2.0 which equates to 70-200mm f/2.0
a 135mm focal length in 35mm terms allows 6' high subject in landscape orientation at about 11m (fov = 2x3m) and at f/2.0, DOF range = ~0.8m.
outdoor sports photography:
a 400-600mm range with f/2.8-5.6 aperture is desirable - usually mounted on a monopod.
a 500mm focal length in 35mm terms allows 6' high subject in landscape orientation at about 40m (fov = 1.9x2.9m) and at f/5.6, DOF range = ~2.1m
focal length, contrast and resolution become paramount, and effective focal lengths of 200-600mm are often preferred. When you are not sure what size creature and how far away they will be, then the advantages of a zoom may outweigh their disadvantages.
for lenses in the 300mm f/2.8 - 500mm f/4 range, most wildlife photographers prefer mounting on a Wimberley Sidekick
if you are just walking around the local zoo without a tripod, then a 400mm effective lens will give you the reach for most shots and f/4 or f/5.6 are reasonable apertures.
usually 500-800mm focal length is needed, and many prefer a zoom:
Olympus ZD 90-250mm f/2.8 = 180-500mm f/2.8 IS
for a bird with wing span of 0.6m, using a 500mm effective lens means you need to get to within about 10-15m to reasonably fill the frame (fov at 10m = 0.5x0.7m DOF range at f/5.6 = ~13cm, fov at 15m = 0.7x1.1m DOF range at f/5.6 = ~30cm).
by using 800mm effective lens you do not need to be as close, perhaps 15-20m for a close crop.
if you can get to within 3-4m of a non-flying bird, then a 200mm effective lens will be fine - perhaps a 70-200mm f/2.8 in case it happens to come closer then you can zoom out.
here one needs to often change focal length significantly as the subject may be of unexpected size or distance and making too much movement by changing lenses may mean a missed shot.
a light, compact, zoom is often a good choice eg. Olympus ZD 70-300mm f/4-5.6 ED (140-600mm eq)
use of teleconverters / tele-extenders:
teleconverters are accessory lenses that are placed between the camera and the main lens to increase the magnification by effectively increasing the focal length.
they usually come in 2 "strengths":
1.4x which will obviously increase the effective focal length by 1.4x and decrease the effective aperture by 1 stop
2x which will obviously increase the effective focal length by 2x and decrease the effective aperture by 2 stops
in general, image quality tends to be better with the 1.4x than the 2x, but in either case not as good as using a equivalent quality main lens with a longer focal length (ie. a 135mm f/2.0L with 2x converter will not be as good an image quality as a 300mm f/4L lens wide open even though it should give 270mm f/4 equivalence).
you can often get away with shooting wide open with a 1.4x teleconverter but you will see a reduction in image quality shooting wide open with a 2x teleconverter, especially when it is mated to a zoom lens.
Canon EOS teleconverters are compatible physically with only a few lenses:
see http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=41922 for compatibility tables.
tips on hand holding a super telephoto:
do not stand up - you are MUCH more stable sitting down - maybe carry a portable walk-stool to sit on.
stabilise your upper body - "lock" your camera onto forehead via rubber eyepiece onto eyebrow and camera body onto cheek and nose
support end of lens with left hand but allow arm to be freely moving to allow tracking - don't hug elbow to your side
ensure your arm holes in your clothing a large enough to allow free movement - consider sleeveless vests
breathe naturally - no need to hold your breathe
depending on your subject either:
make sure you have image stabiliser turned on, or,
for birds in flight where IS may introduce strange feather patterns with major camera movements, select a fast enough shutter speed, such as:
1/750th sec for 600mm eq. focal length in 35mm terms
1/1200th sec for 600mm + 1.4x TC
1/2000th sec for 600mm + 2x TC
plan your shooting position:
birding - sun behind you, wind from right or left, and shoot birds flying INTO the wind as it is easier
Let's do a quick cross-platform comparison of the high quality 100-400mm zooms with IS and ultrasonic/supersonic AF:
|Olympus ZD 50-200mm SWD||Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L||Canon 100-400mm L IS||Nikkor 80-400mm VR||Nikkor 200-400mm VR||Canon 70-300mm DO IS||Olympus ZD 90-250mm f/2.8 (not SWD yet)|
|focal length reach in 35mm terms||100-400mm||70-200mm FF
|weight||1kg w/o tripod mount||1.57kg||1.36kg||1.36kg||3.275kg||0.72kg||3.27kg|
|filter size||67mm||77mm||77mm||77mm||52mm rear||58mm||105mm|
|close focus||1.2m (0.42x macro)||1.4m||1.8m||2.3m||2m||1.4m||2.5m|
|aperture blades||9 circular||8||8||6 circular||9 circular|
|zoom mechanism||rotate, lens extends on zoom||rotate||push-pull||rotate||rotate||rotate||rotate|
|dSLR max. burst||6fps||10fps with 1D
6.5fps with 40D
|10fps with 1D
6.5fps with 40D
|9fps with D3
6-8fps with D300
|9fps with D3
6-8fps with D300
|10fps with 1D
6.5fps with 40D
|dSLR max. ISO with good noise profile||1200 with E3||3200 with 1D
1600 with 40D
|3200||6400 with D3
1600 with D300
|6400 with D3
1600 with D300
|3200||1200 with E3|
|image stabiliser||dSLR 4EV||optical 2-3EV||optical 2-3EV||optical 3EV||optical 2-3EV||optical 2-3EV||dSLR 4EV|
|will it fit mounted to pro camera in a 24cm deep shoulder bag?||YES||NO needs 28cm deep bag||No needs 27cm deep bag||No needs 25cm bag||NO CHANCE, needs 43cm deep bag||YES, easily, but this is only a f/5.6 lens||No chance, needs 35cm deep bag|
|AF at max. telephoto with 1.4x TC?||YES, = 560mm f/4.9||YES, f/4.0||maybe, f/8 but image quality?||maybe, f/8 but image quality?||YES, f/5.6||maybe, f/8 but image quality?||YES, f/4.0|
|AF at max. telephoto with 2.0x TC?||YES, = 800mm f/7, hand-holdable at 1/200th sec||YES 640mm f/5.6 on APS-C but image quality?||No||No||maybe f/8 but image quality?||No||YES =1000mm f/5.6|
note the 1.6x crop factor when used on Canon dSLRs such as 300D/350D/400D/10D/20D/30D/40D.
note the 1.3x crop factor when used on Canon dSLRs such as 1D
Canon L series lenses:
70-200mm f/4 L (112-320mm):
$A1400 w/o IS; closest focus 1.2m; filter 67mm;
IS version is 0.76kg & $A1999;
70-200mm f/2.8 L (112-320mm):
$A2600 w/o IS and $A3395 ($A2500 online) with IS (introduced in 2001) weighing 1.57kg
77mm filter; closest focus 1.4m;
IS not so good for astrophotography - presumably due to aberrations from optical IS and the zoom:
non-IS version surprisingly competes pretty well with the 200mm prime at f/2.8 for astrophotography:
min. focus 0.7m; 77mm filter; 1.67kg;
45-480mm on 1.6x; 36-390mm on 1.3x;
a great lens for hiking as it is small and light due to its diffractive optics and smaller aperture
$A2299; ($A1744 online); 720g; closest focus 1.4m; filter 58mm; not compatible with extenders;
as expected, not so good for astro work as significant coma aberration
100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L (160-640mm effective):
a bit soft at 400mm wide open; push-pull zoom; not so good on a 1Ds;
can be hand-held at 400mm at 1/125th sec with IS.
seems it is not recommended, but it is sharper at 400mm f/5.6-8 than a 70-200mm f/2.8L with 2x tele.
it is not sealed at the rear and thus when zooming it can suck air and potentially dust into the system and onto the camera sensor.
variable quality with some saying resolution on their versions only adequate for 8"x10" prints.
unfortunately, Canon do not have an equivalent of the faster Nikon 200-400mm f/4 lens.
$A1879; 216mm on 1.6x; 176mm on 1.3x; 750g; closest focus 0.9m => 0.19x magnification on full frame;
72mm filter; ($A1289 online)
sharpness improves as you stop down so by f/4 the 5D sensor resolution is limiting sharpness, no longer the lens.
sharper than the 100mm f/2 or the 85mm f/1.8 at f/2-4 and has better background blurring for same subject size but has less micro-contrast
a great portrait lens, especially for indoor performance photography but too long for the cropped sensors for indoor portraits
similar resolving power as the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L see here
has more CA than the 200mm f/2.8L II, and CA is worse with tele-extenders
introduced 1989 & discontinued 2004;
200mm f/2.8 II L USM:
0.77kg; $A1399; 72mm filter; min. focus 1.5m; ($A1059 online)
320mm effective on 1.6x; 260mm on 1.3x
a very popular lens for astrophotography - see:
http://www.pbase.com:80/terrylovejoy/200_comparision - star shapes are better with the prime vs 70-200mm non-IS but the zoom does very well.
Canon 200mm vs Nikon 180mm f/2.8 ED on a Canon 5D - Canon has less CA wide open.
300mm f/4 IS L (480mm effective):
1.19kg $A2429; 77mm filter ($A1799 online); 221mm long
close focus 1.5m with 0.24x max. magnification; 8 blades;
300mm f/2.8 USM L:
2.86kg; 48mm drop-in filter;
was considered to be sharper than any Nikon 300mm f/2.8 and far better than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L, although perhaps not as sharp as the Canon 200mm f/1.8 but more contrast.
discontinued and replaced by the IS model which unfortunately is not as good optically due to the optical IS.
2.55kg; $A8229 ($A5999 new online)
a great lens designed to be used at f/2.8 but v.expensive
not so good for astrophotography - presumably due to aberrations from optical IS
400mm f/5.6 L (640mm effective):
1.25kg; $A2319; 77mm filter, white; 257mm long;
a great lens you can at least carry around and better quality than the 100-400mm zoom and better than the 300mm f/4 IS with 1.4x extender.
close focus 3.5m, max. magnification 0.12x;
apparently no AF with teleconverters?
400mm f/4 IS DO L:
1.94kg; $A11179; introduced in 2001; ($A8149 online)
tends to have DO artefacts as it was Canon's 1st attempt at designing a DO lens (uses diffraction gratings), but otherwise, almost as good as the 300mm f/2.8, and better than the 300mm f/2.8 with 1.4x teleconv.
models after 1998 are supposedly better.
a favorite for wildlife photographers, many of whom handhold this lens.
some feel it lacks the contrast of the other L lenses.
probably not the best for astrophotography as it has both IS and DO elements which are not so good on pinpoint light sources like stars.
400mm f/2.8 IS L:
5.37kg; $A13709 ($A10,000 online)
not so good for astrophotography - presumably due to aberrations from optical IS
500mm f/4 IS L:
3.87kg; $A11699 ($A8900 online)
600mm f/4 IS L:
5.36kg; $A15299 ($A11000 online)
this is much more difficult to handle and use than the 500mm f/4 but once mounted it works well.
requires a full size Wimberley mount
Samir Kharusi feels that this lens competes well with modern APO refractors in 2007 for astrophotography - see here, with better edge to edge performance although not quite as good contrast or image detail in the centre. Has enough aperture and magnification to provide good webcam images of Saturn using a 1.4x converter + a 5x TV Powermate although having some bluish flare decreasing detail and contrast.
APO 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM
equiv. to 100-1000mm on an Olympus!
86mm filter; 1.83kg;
APO 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6:
77mm filter; 1.28kg;
APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
1.75kg; 9-bladed; 77mm filter; 4EV IS; removable tripod socket;
also in Nikon mount; 2008;
APO 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM:
1.9kg; 252mm or 10"long; 9-bladed; 86mm filter; 4EV IS; removable tripod socket;
also in Nikon mount;
APO 300-800mm f/5.6 "Sigmonster":
150mm diam. front element
21" long and almost 5.9kg weight
requires an expensive tripod ($US500-1000) eg Manfrotto 3421 gimbal head
APO 200-500mm f/2.8 EX DG:
dedicated 2x teleconverter;
16kg; rear 72mm filter; dedicated in-built battery to focus and zoom; 726mm long (almost 29" long); 9-bladed;
also in Nikon mount;
AF-S DX VR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 (27-300mm eq): 0.56kg; 72mm filter;
AF-S DX VR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 (83-300mm eq): 0.34kg; 52mm filter;
AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (105-300mm eq)
1.47kg; 77mm filter;
a great lens for DX cameras but on a D3, the corners are too soft and vignette, while close focus performance is average
looks like its back to the drawing board Nikon, particularly if you are going to bring out a 25mp full frame.
a superb lens especially for African game safaris when used on a 1.5x crop dSLR giving a nice 300-600mm range.
3.275kg, 52mm filter;
AF-S VR 200mm f/2.0 2.9kg; 52mm filter;
AF-S VRII 200mm f/2.0 2.95kg - introduced late 2010 - 4EV image stabiliser, nano coating
AF-S VR 300mm f/2.8 2.9kg; 52mm filter;
AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
announced late 2009; 2.9kg; 4 stop IS; new A/M focus mode; nano coating; 52mm filter; RRP $US5899
AF-S 300mm f/4 1.44kg; 77mm filter;
AF-S 400mm f/2.8 4.44kg; 52mm filter;
AF-S 500mm f/4 3.43kg; 52mm filter;
AF-S 600mm f/4 4.75kg; 52mm filter;
coming in 2008:
AF-S 400mm f/2.8 ED VR
AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VR
AF-S 600mm f/4G ED VR
note the 2x crop factor
also note that as of 2007, all new Olympus SLRs will have in-built IS so not needed in the lens.
in comparing Olympus with Canon or Nikon, remember for the same low light or action-stopping capability, the Olympus lens would need to be 1-2 stops more aperture to counter-balance its 1-2 stops worse high ISO noise performance.
Olympus Zuiko Digital:
ZD 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED (Nov 2007)
budget but high quality.
equiv. to 140-600mm with 1:2 macro; 127mm long & only 620g;
this is a great lens for the bushwalker on a budget giving 600mm f/5.6 reach with image stabilisation in the body, but unlike the other ZD lenses listed here, it is not dustproof or weatherpoof.
ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 (100-400mm effective)
1.07kg; ~$A1400; some vignetting otherwise excellent lens.
consider the newer SWD version for faster, quieter AF
but macro flashes can no longer be mounted as lens hood mount is different
matches beautifully with either the TC-14 or TC-20 teleconverters
I love this lens (I have the SWD version), beautiful bokeh for portraits, very versatile and not too heavy or big.
can be used with the ZD 1.4x or 2x teleconverters with great results.
closest Canon is the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS at $A3395 but doesn't have the reach only being 112-320mm effective.
ZD 150mm f/2.0 (300mm effective):
in effect, give the telephoto reach of a 300m f/2.0
1.6kg with tripod mount;
this could be one of the best lenses for astrophotography as well as high-end work if you can afford it
combined with a TC you get reach of 420mm f/2.8 (1.4x TC) or 600mm f/4 (EC-20)
plonk this on an Olympus E3 and you have one very light super telephoto system for sports or wildlife use.
I presume Olympus will be updating this to a SWD version soon.
the nearest Canon is the big, expensive, EF 200mm f/2 IS but as it is optical IS will be not favoured for astro. work due to aberrations on star shapes.
~$US2000 but a ridiculous $A4500 RRP in Australia - Olympus, you got to do something with pricing!
with EC-20 2x TC it is half the price and weight, and faster focus with more DOF than the ZD 300mm f/2.8 but not quite as sharp, and f/4.0 wide open.
ZD 90-250mm f/2.8 (180-500mm equiv):
a great lens for action or wildlife photography but you will need to use a monopod.
~$US6000 or $A10,000 and 3.27kg with 105mm filter
the longest zoom made by Canon is their 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS which weighs 1.36kg but 2 stops slower.
Canon make a 400mm f/2.8L IS lens but this is 5.3kg while the 500mm f/4L IS is 3.9kg and 1 stop slower.
ZD 300mm f/2.8 (600mm effective):
to get a 600mm effective f/2.8 lens on a Canon, you have to look at the 400mm f/2.8 at $A13709 and 5.37kg!
Sigma lenses as above under Canon but note the 2x crop factor, PLUS:
APO macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM
72mm filter; 0.92kg;
APO 135-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG - 77mm filter; 1.28kg; £479.99 or $US810
APO 300-800mm F5.6 DG - 46mm rear filter; 5.9kg; £4999.99 or $US7200
the poor man's approach - manual focus lenses:
see telephoto reach - my lens tests of 300mm - 400mm lenses.
Olympus Zuiko OM 200mm f/4:
nice light, compact lens, easy to carry around and hand-hold live preview focusing
eq. to a 400mm f/4.0 IS when used on an E510 or E3.
Olympus Zuiko OM 250mm f/2 - 3.9kg
Olympus Zuiko OM 300mm f/4.5 - 1.0kg
this is a great lens and works well on Olympus and Canon dSLRs, make sure you get a tripod mount.
better at f/5.6 as expected.
Olympus Zuiko OM 350mm f/2.8 - 3.9kg
Tamron SP 300mm f/5.6 tele macro
any Nikon or Leica R except those made especially for digital
Micro Four Thirds:
see lenses for MFT's
Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 OIS HD - the only lens in the world optimised for HD video
Olympus M.ZD 14-150mm f/4-5.6 - coming 2010
Panasonic 45-200mm f/4-5.6 OIS
Panasonic 100-300mm f/4-5.6 OIS - coming 2010
Olympus M.ZD 70-300mm ?? coming 2011
any other lens you would like to fit on it
The classic Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 image stabilised lens:
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS (112-320mm on 1.6x): 1.47kg; $A3395
Nikon AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8 (105-300mm eq) 1.47kg; 77mm filter;
Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 (100-400mm effective) 1.07kg; ~$A1400; CCD IS;
this is similar capability to the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS on a 1.6x Canon with comparable price but is 300g heavier although has longer reach and better bokeh.
Olympus ZD 35-100mm f/2.0 (70-200mm effective); 1.8kg; 77mm filter; $A4400; CCD IS
this is similar capability to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS on a full frame Canon but at f/2.0
The classic Pro 300mm eq. f/2.8 image stabilised lens:
The classic Pro 600mm eq. f/4 image stabilised lens:
Olympus E3 + ZD 150mm f/2.0 + ZD EC-20 = 2.8kg approx and approx. $A6000
Nikon D300 + Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/2.8 VR + 1.4xTC = 4kg approx and approx. $A8000
Canon 1DMIII + EF 500mm f/4 IS L = 5kg approx and approx. $A14,500
Nikon D3 + Nikkor AF-S 600mm f/4G VR = 6kg approx and approx. $A17,000?
The unique Pro 180-500mm f/2.8 "IS" lens:
Olympus 90-250mm f/2.8 3.27kg, $A10,000 CCD IS; 105mm filter;
the closest zooms of that telephoto reach for 1.3x crop Canon or full frame Nikon are f/5.6 at the long end:
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS
Sigma APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM = 1.75kg
Nikon AF-S VR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED with 1.4x TC = 3.4kg
The classic Pro 600mm eq. f/2.8 image stabilised lens:
800mm hand holdable, image stabilised auto focus lens: