Lawrence Photographic



Back to Articles Page

   Panasonic 100-300mm OIS Zoom lens!




I have been considering purchasing another 300mm lens which would be more suitable for casual use, more compact, lighter and certainly less of an obstruction in social settings.

I have a Panasonic GF1 micro 4/3rds (MFT) digital camera that is very small, well built and with it's external viewfinder fitted, it remains compact in my shoulder bag. This Lumix 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 OIS Lens could be a good match for the GF1?

It would be compact and lightweight, perhaps not that small but never the less the GF1 with it's 12 Mpixels
 digital sensor at 2x crop would provide the lens with a 200-600mm 'field of view' and even allow a 'small extra bit of cropping' in post processing when required.

I admit that I have spent a long time 'chewing the fat'  over this next step in my photography. The
Lumix 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 OIS Lens makes a lot of sense!  

One or two forum users have mentioned that a tripod will ensure 'optimum' image quality when shooting at 300mm (600mm field of view). This is especially true when the weather is dull as at f8 (the optimum aperture at 300mm) the ISO rating may have to be raised quite a bit to obtain enough speed in the shutter to avoid 'shake' even with the lens image stabilisation. Obviously the higher the ISO rating the less 'optimum' image quality.

Matching MFT lenses
I already have two excellent lenses that will fit very nicely into a medium sized shoulder bag with the 100-300mm lens and my GF1 -

* Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 'Prime' Lens
* Panasonic Lumix 14-45mm f3.5-5.6 OIS Zoom Lens

For more information on my lenses, please click on my GF1 Diary!

March 2011 - I finally purchased a Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 OIS Zoom Lens


April 2011 -  GF1 at the Edinburgh Zoo
Last week-end I visited Edinburgh Zoo with my son, daughter-in law and my grandson 'Joshua' who is 10 months old.  It was the first time that I have used the GF1 and the Lumix 100-300mm OIS Lens in a social setting and the combo was brilliant. Great to carry around and it did not get in the way, a total contrast to my DSLR and Canon 300mm f2.8 IS L Lens with monopod. I shot a few pictures and the lens was most excellent.

Lumix 100-300mm lens image stabilisation held good - this image was taken 'hand held' at 258mm (516mm field of view), ISO:800, shutter 1/125sec, aperture f5.4 and for a shot taken indoors in low light, it turned out fairly well. I developed the 'RAW' file in Adobe Lightroom. Please click on the image for a 1,000 pixel size, click again to come back to here.

This lens is a real 'blast' to use, compact, lightweight, even with the lens hood on. The image quality with my small GF1 camera is great and the balance is alright. Sure when you extend the lens out to 300mm on the zoom it is not so discreet but still a lot less noticeable that a large heavy white prime and a great deal more lightweight.

The Zoo is  situated three miles to the west of Edinburgh city centre and consists of 82 acres of sloping parkland. You can experience educational events and activities - ranging from keeper talks through to hands-on animal encounters - and a wide-range of eating experiences, several play areas, a fantastic gift shop as well as a free hilltop safari. There are over 1,000 rare and endangered animals and many different ways to enjoy your day out. 


May 2011
Panasonic GF1 + Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 / Mega OIS Lens - It is that time of year again and my garden is alive with baby rabbits, all chomping away on my borders. My huts are all sagging with their underground tunnels and I will have to get that 4 ton car jack out to straighten them up. Our 'Heinz 57 varieties' has been trying to dig the rabbits out and running around the huts expecting them to appear.

With the GF1 and the Lumix 100-300mm lens I now have a combo that I can easily carry around
without straining my back. This is a very accurate autofocus lens and I always use it 'hand held'. I caught 'Tasha' with this shot and she was running very fast. I even managed to get a brick wall in the image.

The other mutt, had to get in on the act but
he is usually very difficult to capture due to his black coat. This one was taken of 'Brad' at 600mm field of view with the Lumix 100-300mm, 'hand held'.

I reduced the centre spot focus to a pinpoint
and captured this image of these 'Ringnecks' high on the fir tree, there are some trees in the background with the blue sky peeking through them. I have been trying to get a shot like this for some time but never had a lens 'easy to hand' to achieve it.

The Lumix 100-300mm delivers some great quality images and it probably will be even better when fixed to a GH2 or even this new G3 that has been released. Now I don't have to buy that portable hide and set up my other lens like a machine gun to get some shots around here!

I have been trying for years to get some pictures of the buzzard who hunts the rabbits in my back garden. She sits up on a large tree and makes a hell of a din shouting on her mate. Buzzards 'crèche' their offspring and most years she places one youngster in the large sycamores but I never go near. Her favourite trick is to put a slaughtered rabbit up on the roof of my house, while she hunts for more. The reason for that behaviour........if it is left lying on the grass, the fox will get it. The vixen often creeps around the garden, hunting during the day, despite the fact that she is fed by me most nights, especially when she has young. The young foxes at Hermiston do not last long, they are usually killed on the roadways.

Hermiston has its walking wounded and I once had a young woodpecker which was attacked by magpies living with me for a couple of weeks, hand fed, I will never forget those screeches at dawn for his maggots. This little girl has a deformed left paw, probably from falling out of a tree when she was little. She gets a hand out every night and I know she is hungry because squirrels usually bury their nuts but she sits and eats a whole load at one sitting! God bless her, she is all worn down on one side. This image was captured at
480mm 'field of view', ISO:1600 - shutter 1/60sec - aperture f5.3, not perfect but not bad considering it was through glass and 'hand held' at 1/60second. It was a hurried shot and it has not been cropped.

A couple of years ago, I used my other combo, a Canon 450D, a 1.4x teleconverter and the Canon 300mm f2.8 IS L Lens, t
o take pictures of the fox. It was rewarding but awkward to carry it around and use it 'hand held'. I have never managed to get any other decent images with it as the size seems to frighten of the animals and birds. I can walk right up to the buzzard but when she sees that big white lens, she is away!

I am very pleased with the Lumix 100-300mm, the handling with the GF1 and the image quality is very impressive, considering it is a great deal less expensive than the Canon.

These images were all 'Raw' files and post processed in Adobe Lightroom. I have some zoo shots that contain images from both lenses, the Lumix shots are near the end of the gallery..........
Edinburgh Zoo

July 2011
These shots were taken whilst walking around Edinburgh and at my home...........nothing special.

images of the Charlie Chaplin (tramp) look alike were taken in the High Street, the 'Royal Mile' of Edinburgh. The GF1 and the Lumix 100-300mm zoom lens combo is excellent for distance shots in the 'street' although the lens is not that discreet when fully extended.

This 1st shot was taken 'hand held' and the 'RAW' image was post processed in Adobe Lightroom. The lens is awesomely sharp and showed up all the blemishes on the face.
The sharpness gave the image character but it was too much and spoilt the look. I softened the face quite a bit and brought back the sharpness in the eyes. In the background there is a dark pillar, so I added some vignetting to soften it away and place more emphasise on the face. This image was captured at 410mm 'field of view', ISO:200 - shutter 1/640sec - aperture f5.

The 2nd shot of 'Charlie' was also taken 'hand held' at
600mm 'field of view', ISO:200 - shutter 1/800sec - aperture f5.6 and post processed the same way but this time there was no vignetting added.

really like the way the 100-300mm pulls in the scene and I captured this image on the Calton Hill in Edinburgh. You can see the Firth of Forth in the background and on the other side of the estuary you can see Fife.

The background is shimmering in the heat of the day but the main subjects have come up extremely well for a 'hand held' shot, you can even read the large writing on the sign.

This image was taken 'hand held' at
386mm 'field of view', ISO:200 - shutter 1/2000sec - aperture f4.9 and post processed in Adobe Lightroom. I applied the GF1 camera profile and there was no other processing involved.

This next image was taken in my back
garden and was a very quick 'hand held' shot. The birds were in the wrong place and there was a garden barrow on the right which ate into a 1/3rd of the frame so I cropped the image. I was surprised that it held up but Adobe Lightroom processed it fairly well despite the heavy cropping. This image was taken at 600mm 'field of view', ISO:400 - shutter 1/250sec - aperture f5.6. Mum seems unimpressed and you can see the blurring in the wings of the baby as it screeches for food.

field grass had grown a bit long but this shot of Brad came out rather nice as a result. This image was taken 'hand held' at 456mm 'field of view', ISO:400 - shutter 1/500sec - aperture f5.2. It was a hurried shot as Brad does not like being photographed. He knows what the camera is for.............he is expected to sit still and he usually looks away just to annoy me.

The framing was slightly tight on the bottom of his legs and this is my 'major beef' with the external viewfinder of my GF1.

The viewing frame is so small that it is sometimes very difficult for me to gauge the accuracy of the scene within it. On this occasion, I just got away with it but I have discarded other images where I have failed to square up properly.

I recently peered through the viewfinder of the new Panasonic G3 micro 4/3rds camera which is 100% and built into the body, it is far superior and very pleasant to use. I know that I should use my reading glasses for my photography but I don't and I prefer to use the dioptre adjustment in the GF1 external 'clip on' viewfinder...............not the best way to progress.

Hermiston Buzzard - I finally managed to get a half decent shot of the young buzzard in it's
'crèche' in the trees. It's mother leaves it there while she goes out hunting in the fields for rabbits.

When it gets hungry, it makes a loud 'kee' cry over and over again until the mother returns. I grabbed this picture as it was in mid cry. This image was captured at
600mm 'field of view', ISO:800 - shutter 1/125sec - aperture f5.6, not perfect but not bad considering it was taken 'hand held' while I was working in my yard and it was a hurried shot. Its strange but as long as I was working the buzzard ignored me but as soon as I stopped and raised the camera, it soon flew away. I think it sensed the different body language and instinct kicked in.

The GF1 and the Lumix 100-300mm OSI Zoom lens makes for pleasurable photography even although the light was not that great under the trees at 6.40am in the morning
. Sure the image could be improved, if I set up a hide nearer to the tree and waited with a flask of coffee, fixed up the tripod and used my Canon 5D MKI DSLR with my Canon 300mm f2.8 IS L 'prime' lens to take the picture but what a reasonable image I can get with the GF1+100-300 zoom lens combo with no hassle.

The jpeg image was converted from a 'RAW' file post processed in Adobe Lightroom. The image was cropped in by about 30%, producing a field of view of about 800mm, noise reduction was applied and then sharpening. At ISO:800 the crop, noise reduction versus image quality is not bad and the full size picture is good for a 12" x 9" print.

The GF1 has it's limitations and this image would have been much better if I had been using the new Panasonic G3 with it's 16 mega pixel sensor which had more pixels for cropping and I know the G3 is as good at ISO:1600 as the GF1 is at ISO:800, so the G3 would have given me a faster shutter speed at ISO:1600 and the opportunity for a cleaner image due to the faster speed.

For more information on my current GF1 - please visit my GF1 Diary Article

I have some zoo shots that contain further images, the Lumix shots are near the end of the gallery..........Edinburgh Zoo


I have rendered some images into Mpeg-4 video - GF1+20mm Lens Stills Video


If you have enjoyed this article - please donate to my Charity of Choice   -   The Sick Kids


Richard Lawrence
United Kingdom


Back to Articles Page