This article features a number of M.Zuiko 75-300 severe crop images of a sparrow in flight. Photographs were cropped to between 2000 and 2660 pixels on the width. This degree of cropping results in photographs that only utilize between 14.9% and 26.5% of the total number of available pixels on the sensor of my Olympus OM-D E-M1X (i.e. 5184 x 3888) being used for the subject bird.
I understand that some folks who own the M.Zuiko 75-300 f/4.8-6.7 II have expressed concerns about image softness when this lens is shot wide open at f/6.7 when fully extended to 300 mm (efov 600 mm).
This can be typical for variable aperture, long telephoto zoom lenses. For example, a number of years ago when I owned a Nikon D800 I was using a third party 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 telephoto zoom lens for birding. When shot at f/6.3, with the lens fully extended, the image softness was very noticeable. I typically stopped it down to f/8 to get acceptable sharpness, and seldom used the lens at f/6.3.
After using the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II extensively over the past number of days, I would agree that straight out-of-camera jpegs can show a bit of softness when the lens is shot wide open when fully extended. However, running those same out-of-camera jpegs through some simple corrections in post, can bring the sharpness to an acceptable level.
When shooting in RAW, I have not experienced any significant softness when using the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II wide open at f/6.7 and fully extended to 300 mm (efov 600 mm). Any minor softness that may be present is easily handled by the standard post processing approach that I use for most of my bird photographs. As a result I have no hesitation in using the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II wide open at full extension.
Let’s look at a series of 10 consecutive Pro Capture H photographs to which I have done severe crops. To put these cropped images in context we’ll begin with a photograph displayed as a 100% capture.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
All of the M.Zuiko 75-300 severe crop images in this article are of the sparrow positioned on the left hand side of the photograph above. The degree of cropping in each photograph is noted in the EXIF data.
Before we view our last image with the most severe crop, let’s have a look the entire photograph as a 100% capture.
And now the 2000 pixel crop…
Obviously each photographer has their own expectations of sharpness and image quality based on the equipment that they are using. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the image quality of the M.Zuiko 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II, especially given its small size, light weight, and modest cost. Based on my initial experience with this lens, I have no hesitation to use it wide open at f/6.7 when it is fully extended to 300 mm (efov 600 mm).
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Most photographs were subject to severe crops with the degree of cropping noted in the EXIF data. I used my standard Olympus Pro Capture H settings for all of the images in this article. Pre-shutter Frames and Frame Count Limiter were both set to 15. I shot using a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second. The 10 images featured in this article were captured in a total of 0.167 seconds.
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