Last week I purchased my latest bit of kit, a Panasonic 100-400mm f/4-f/6.3 zoom lens, which was on offer at Wex for 20% off the list price, a saving of over £250, an offer I couldn’t refuse. I had originally intended to buy the Olympus 300 f/4 to round off my kit, but it would’ve been twice the price of the Panasonic and I just couldn’t justify it, and not only on the grounds of cost but also because I didn’t see how I would use it to full effect.
So my inventory now looks like this:-
Olympus EM1 Mk2, Panasonic 25mm f/1.7, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, Panasonic 100-400mm f/4-f/6.3, Olympus 1.4x Teleconverter (only compatible with the 40-150mm PRO lens) + Lowpro 180 shoulder bag it all fits in!
This gives me focal lengths from 12mm to 400mm (24mm to 800mm FF equivalent). Imagine an equivalent full-frame setup that included an 800mm lens, you’d need a backpack the size of a suitcase and muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger to carry it around!
My hope is that this now puts paid to GAS, one of those 3 letter acronyms that you either know what it means or you don’t, and in this case it’s a phrase well known to photographers that means “Gear Acquisition Syndrome”, whereby a photographer never accepts he / she has enough gear and is constantly looking to buy more!
For me I think this has to be the end, for now and for the foreseeable future, I have all focal lengths I could possibly need covered and a lens for all situations. I could possibly do with something wider than 12mm (24mm FF) but the times I’d use it are so minimal as to be neither here nor there.
I did agonise somewhat over the longer telephoto lens however. I thought I wanted the Olympus 300mm f/4, but in studying my images I found I was using the 40-150mm with 1.4x TC quite often, and this was effectively giving me 210mm f/4, did I really want to spend £2,000 on a mere 90mm extra reach? I could’ve used the 1.4x TC with the 300mm f/4, to give me a 420mm f/5.6, but the Panasonic 100-400mm gives me 400mm at f/6.3, only 1/3rd of a stop less light, and the Panasonic, by virtue of being a zoom, unlike the Olympus 300mm f/4, which is a prime lens (fixed focal length), provides a lot more flexibility. At the Ovals, where distance to subject varies greatly as the cars circle the track, a fixed focal length would be of limited use I feel.