It is a kind of bizarre to be a faithful user of the Micro Four Third image sensor format (MFT) with the strong will to have the most compact camera body-lens combination and finally choose a super telephoto zoom that the final physical length extension remind the days of the 35mm film-analog era and their big bazooka telephoto optics.
The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II zoom lens is a beast compare to the usual standard zoom lenses associated with the MFT format system (let’s put the Pro optic line-up aside in that case) which are presented into a small-sized dimensions. But, in fact, the Olympus ED 75-300mm II is real compact tele-zoom lens considering its high magnification, from 3X to 12X compare to the standard focal length in MFT format (25mm). To get there, the "made in Japan" optic is doted of a small maximum variable aperture of F4.8 to F6.7 which is the slowest maximum aperture for a telephoto lens that I have ever own! The front filter accessory diameter is 58mm and the lens weight is only 423g.
A large focal length control ring with a good resistance when turning it allows the zoom framing adjustment. The focusing ring for its part is small and offers no real resistance with a "free" rolling characteristic and its reactivity is, in my sense, too much slow for changing the focusing point. Coupled with a compact Micro Four Third camera body, your left hand will support mainly the weight of the lens-body combination as it was the case during the past age of the 35mm analog-film era. There may be a bit an adaptation to do here if you are accustomed to use smaller lenses.
With a modest variable maximum aperture such as the Olympus ED 75-300mm II have, we can say that you have a good safety in term of deep of field for focusing your subject which a good thing when you are targeting fast moving subjects such as animals or birds for example. Foreground and background have a pleasant defocusing degradation (Bokeh). The Olympus ED 75-300mm II can be also an interesting optic to do portrait assuming that your distance between you and your subject will be further than the usual way to do this kind of photographic project.
A long minimal focusing distance of almost 3 feet (0,9 m) is characterizing the Olympus ED 75-300mm II but this is not preventing you to do picture of smaller objects. In any case, this kind of distance allow you to not disturb the subject, its spatial arrangement and its light distribution.
Stabilization is a must!
At first, telephoto lenses can be hard to get satisfactory picture results. Partly because of the necessity to be stable when holding the camera boy-lens combination especially considering the greater magnification proposed by any tele-lens. Internal camera sensor stabilization (IBIS) is a direct answer to this problem although some other lens model offers an optical stabilization (which proclaim to be more efficient for super telephoto lenses).
There is also the haze (air) effect that is more evident with the compression perspective generated by telephoto lenses. By configuring certain picture taking factors such as the exposure and the contrast, or by a post-editing fine tuning, you can counteract this inevitable fact of life.
Check your shutter speed and follow the subject travel (Panning). Because of its seducing high magnification, the Olympus D 75-300mm II is an easy pick to isolate your subject from its surrounding but there is a catch with such long telephoto lenses. Even with a good camera sensor stabilization system, you may have to select a faster shutter speedway be at least equal to the focal length as we do during the film analog era. In doing so, you will probably open your telephoto optic to its maximum aperture and observe a very shallow deep of field. Trying to photograph moving subjects can be another kind of challenge because of the limited maximum aperture of the Olympus ED 75-300mm II. Panning your main subject, the same direction of its movement travel can be an answer but it requires a good knowledge of the subject movement behavior, practice of the technique, persistence and ... some luck of your side!
Tripod and monopod limitations.
The Olympus ED 75-300mm II is not really a tripod (or monopod) intended lens. Although it is possible to secure your camera body with such accessories, the follow-up of your main subject can be awkward and the none-equilibrated camera-lens combination might stress your camera tripod base too much in certain case. So, you may adapt the way you are holding the camera-lens combo by using the palm your left hand as a plateau and your elbow can lean on a more stable base. In the past, the bean bags were very popular among photographers at a time that the "pro" telephoto lenses have not any provision to be screw alone on a tripod (such as the Olympus ED 40-150mm F2.8 Pro has).
The Olympus ED 75-300mm II is surely a real birder optic considering its superlative magnification. That goes also for the animal photographers. If you are using a good picture taking technique, the results can be outstanding (in regard of the price level of this lens model). If you like to use super zoom compact camera models with fix lens, the quality gain difference will be very significant.
And yes, you can do portrait with the Olympus ED 75-300mm II providing you got the space you do it properly and that your subject doesn't need constant coaching.
If you are a Micro Four Third format photographer and you are using an Olympus camera model*, the Olympus ED 75-300mm II can be a valuable long telephoto optic solution. If you like to be on the move without transporting large and heavy photo gear which is, in a way, the basic essence of the MFT format, the Olympus ED 75-300mm II merits a good consideration. Its design limitations (small maximum aperture, no tripod collar provision, loose focusing ring) are compensated by its optical performances and to get marginally better you will have to spend a lot of additional money on your budget.
The more you will experiment the Olympus ED 75-300mm II, the better you will appreciate it for its long telephoto perspective. By using a good picture taking technique, this tele-genik photo lens will seduce you further than you can think of.
* The same logic can be applied for the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II lens for the MFT Panasonic Lumix camera models. See this previous post.
Finally spring is close and I've found some time to get out with a camera.
This probably should be here in the bird forum, but it was flying!
All taken with Fuji X-E3 and 55-200 lens.
Some gulls from a recent trip to Port Albert in Gippsland.
Gulls in Line
Pacific Gull - Adult & Juvenile
Pacific Gull - Juvenile
Pelicans from the same trip can be seen here
Pelicans are a common occurrence along the Gippsland Coast
#1 - Lone Pelican
#3 - Incoming
#4 - Landing
#5 - Formation
Some Gulls from the same trip can be seen here