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Date: 11/01/2016 | By: Mathieu

Olympus 300mm f/4 IS Pro + MC-14 teleconverter – Sample image gallery

E-M1, 1/500, f/ 8/1, ISO 640

Olympus 300mm f/4 IS Pro + MC-14 teleconverter – Sample image gallery

Before returning the new Olympus 300mm f/4 Pro, I had the chance to use it for the last few days with the MC-14 teleconverter. Since feedback about using the teleconverter with the 300mm is missing from my full review of the lens, I decided to share some images and thoughts in this separate post.

The 300mm f/4 IS Pro is the second M.Zuiko lens to be compatible with the MC-14 1.4x teleconverter in addition to the 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro. The teleconverter is very well built with a metal finish and is also weather sealed (splash and dust proof). It increases the focal length of the 300mm to 420mm, which gives the same angle of view of 840mm on 35mm format. You lose one stop of light, making the fastest aperture f/5.6. Sharpness remains very good even at that aperture. The shortest focus distance remains the same (1.4m) which is excellent.

Something I did notice is that AF performance is slower. In S-AF it tends to hunt back and forth more but things improve if you set the distance range to 4m-infinity. In the case of subjects that are very close, you can switch to the 1.4-4m range but the full 1.4-infinity range should be avoided. In Continuous AF, the camera is slower at locking onto the subject and does not track as effectively.

olympus 300mm pro mc-14
The MC-14 is 15mm thick only.

Below you can see various images taken in different locations with additional comments. They were all taken handheld and no crop was applied in post-production. Happy viewing!



We start with small birds which are not difficult to find here in Wales. I took the following images in various places including the famous RSPB reserve Ynys-Hir. Since they are frequently at the feeders near the entrance, these little birds are not scared by the human presence and it is quite easy to get close to them. The first image was taken at 1.97m.

Note: except for the birds in flight at the end of the article, I always used the Anti-Shock (0sec) mode to avoid shutter shock.

olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 3200
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 800
olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/50, f/5.6, ISO 800
Click on the image to open the full res size.

Ynys-Hir is also home to many Canada geese, which migrate from Greenland during the winter. I spotted other birds at the Little Orme in North Wales, as well as one rabbit.

olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 800
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/640, f/8, ISO 400
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 640
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/200, f/5.6, ISO 500
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm pro mc-14
E-M1, 1/200, f/5.6, ISO 800
Click on the image to open the full res size.

From the top of the cliff at Angel Bay (the Little Orme), you can watch many grey seals that come to rest on the beach. We first saw them in the morning. Since nobody was around, I carefully walked down to the beach, trying to remain as discreet as possible. The seals remained in the water but I could get close enough to take some interesting pictures.

olympus 300mm teleconverter
E-M1, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 200
olympus 300mm teleconverter
E-M1, 1/500, f/8, ISO 800
olympus 300mm teleconverter
E-M1, 1/500, f/8, ISO 800
olympus 300mm teleconverter
E-M1, 1/500, f/8, ISO 800

In the late afternoon, we went back to observe them. Since there were almost 20 of them on the beach, including a few pups, I decided to stay on top and take pictures from there.

olympus 300mm mc-14 wildlife
E-M1, 1/200, f/5.6, ISO 400
Click on the image to open the full res size.

Then I recorded a short video to see how good the new Sync IS system (sensor + optical stabilisation working together) would be with the teleconverter. I chose the M-IS 1 setting on the E-M1 that also includes software stabilisation in-camera. It is the optimal setting for static shots or for slow movement. I have more than 10 years of experience in the filmmaking industry but I’ve never seen something quite like it. That kind of stabilisation, considering the extreme focal length, is stunning.

 

Finally, I tried the gear with birds in flight, first on the beach near where I live with seagulls flying close to the ground.

olympus 300mm mc-14 wildlife
E-M1, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 400
olympus 300mm mc-14 wildlife
E-M1, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 250
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm mc-14 wildlife
E-M1, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 200
Click on the image to open the full res size.

Then I went back to the Red Kite feeding ground at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. Unfortunately we were met with dark clouds and rain so I didn’t bring home many good shots. I had to keep my ISO between 2000 and 4000 and the AF struggled quite a lot.

olympus 300mm mc-14 wildlife
E-M1, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 2500
Click on the image to open the full res size.
olympus 300mm mc-14 wildlife
E-M1, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 800
This example is not great in terms of sharpness but it shows how close I could get with the MC-14.



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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Robert Moore

    Another fantastic review….only one I could find with the Oly 300/4 + 1.4 TC.
    Also glad you tried the combo on the GX8.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    I took a few pictures with the GX8 as well but I used it less with the MC-14 and that’s why I didn’t share anything. However the performance is good with the Panasonic camera too concerning the AF.

  • Erik Severiens

    Some great pictures indeed, and I hope you continue the briliant work on m4/3. I was wondering at the top there is a photo of panasonic gx-8 with teleconverter but all pictures presented are form olympus. Did you make some pictures with gx-8/300mm.1.4tc combo ?

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    Thanks Gregory. There could be a slight loss of sharpness with the teleconverter. Also some shots like the red kites were taken at high ISO so the image itself has less details. As for the comparison with the 100-400mm, that’s a good question and I am curious to see the difference myself.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    You’re welcome 😉

  • Dustin

    Thanks for adding the piece on the teleconverter, Matthieu!

  • Gregory Ashmore

    I enjoyed this article, and the article on the 300mm lens without the teleconverter. While the sharpness of the lens by itself is uniformly impressive, it seems to me that the images are somewhat soft with the teleconverter. The detail of the small birds was excellent, but as these birds occupy a large portion of the frame, the details are also relatively large. With the larger subjects (kite, seals, seagulls), the detail seems less than crisp. I admit to pixel-peeping, but one must look at the pixel level to get a sense of how much enlargement is feasible. Some of the images seem a bit soft even without enlargement. I’m wondering how the (very expensive) Olympus 300 with teleconverter will compare with the new Leica 100-400 at the long (and somewhat slower) end.

  • Paul Stuart

    well it looks like you just managed to fill the frame with robin ,for smaller birds the t/c and 300mm will be a real bonus ,actually looks like the t/c works very well on the 300mm I am pretty sure the t/c did not suffer to much with c-af on the 40-150mm ,so a firmware update will probably fix it

  • zensu

    The video of the Grey Seals is amazing handheld!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    Yes, let’s hope that the E-M1 II brings a great upgrade with the AF :)

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    That could be a possibility.

  • Robbie

    The BIF pictures, esp the kite over the water look very good to me.

  • Matt

    The slower performance is a bit disappointing, I wonder if there will be a firmware update for the MC-14?

  • Sean T

    I’m looking forward to seeing wildlife professionals with this combo of 300 + 1.4x. It seems like Oly’s lens needs an improved EM1 PDAF system to really shine for moving subjects, but hey, that’s what the EM1 II will be for!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com Mathieu

    Thanks Bob!

  • Bob B.

    Thanks for posting this. I have not found any other image posts for the lens with x1.4 converter attached. Your effort gives us all a real sense of what this kit can do with the extender. The capture looks as good as one could expect for this combo. Not bad!

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