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I'm quite new to photograhpy/videography and I only have a limited budget of $800.00US for a lens.

As per Kai's request allow me to pose the question centered around the discussion I initiated:

Which lenses could be considered on a micro four thirds camera to give me similar or better focal length and zoom as I had using a Canon APS-C with a 70-300mm lens?

I am using an MFT camera (BMPCC4K) for video and the lens I am considering is the Olympus 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens mostly for it's zoom capability of 16.6x. It has a 35mm equivalent of 0.46x magnification.

I will always be using this lens outside on sunny days and I will be shooting the video at 24 fps HD. I will always have it mounted on a sturdy tripod for this type of video shooting so IS is not an issue.

The distance from my tripods to the area where I take pictures and record video is approx 70 feet.

My concern is that I will not be able to get close up shots or acceptable video footage being 70 feet away- even with 16.6x zoom and the magnification (.46x 35mm equivalent) because of the smaller format camera and smaller MFT lens.

I have no experience shooting video with MFT lenses but I understand the 12-200mm is a consumer grade lens for wildlife photography and videography- according to the Olympus website and reviews I've watched and read.

My previous experience is with a Canon 80D (APS-C sensor) using a 70-300mm IS II USM consumer lens at 29.97 fps in HD.

With that lens I was able to get fairly close pictures and video when fully zoomed in (from 70 feet away) and I am hoping I will be able to get at least the same zoom result FOV with the Olympus 12-200mm on the MFT camera, when shooting video.

The idea is to shoot pics with the Canon 80D and shoot video with the BMPCC4K.

I have watched many videos and have read many reviews and I know the Olympus 12-200mm lens gets soft in the long range and unless it's super blurry, it doesn't matter to me that much.

I will be shooting video of our garden too and I understand this lens has a good minimum focus distance, which I hope will be adequate for getting flower and plant footage, but again I have no experience with this lens, so I really don't know- which is why I'm here:).

Anyway, in a nutshell, I'm just hoping that with the proposed lens (Olympus 12-200mm) I will be able to zoom in and see the critters (squirrels and birds) fairly close like I can with my Canon 70-300mm.

To clarify a bit, I am not hoping to zoom in and see complex detail in bird feathers or look up a squirrels nose lol, but I'm hoping to get video footage of the animals' bodies filling out the frame when zooming in from 70 feet away.

I'm sure this is a very basic thing to understand but I need to be sure, so I wanted to consult with professionals or at least someone who could assure me I'm getting a proper lens for my backyard video recording activities.

Thanks so much for your time and hope to hear back soon.

Stay safe:).

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    I have difficulties finding the question. Can you refine the text to make it a bit more focussed? In the current format, it reads more like an invitation for an open ended discussion, which the question/answer format of this site is not aimed at. – Kai Mattern Mar 3 at 8:02
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    My apologies Kai for not actually asking a question but given the information I provided, everyone seems to have understood what I was indirectly asking, so no need to attempt an answer as other fine people have already more than answered it. I will however refine it to fit the format of the site:). – CamateurFlowtography Mar 3 at 9:47
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    My girlfriend took a picture of a house sparrow around ten metres away with her M43 and a 40-150. You can see her reflected in the eye of the bird, well enough to even recognise her clothes. So, unless you really need all the resolution, remember digital zoom is an option. – Davidmh Mar 3 at 15:55
  • Hi David, the mft cam I have is the bmpcc4k and I need to be able to zoom in the video not just for focus reasons but for creative reasons as well. I have a Canon digital camcorder which has 60X digital zoom or something but the image quality is pretty bad unless there is optimal lighting. The lens I'm looking for will be for video only and I'll be recording in HD only for these types of videos. The bmpcc4k unfortunately does not have variable digital zooming which makes sense I guess since it's supposed to be used mostly with prime lenses. Thanks a lot for your suggestion:). – CamateurFlowtography Mar 3 at 17:22
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Assuming all other things are equal:

  • Your Canon 80D has a crop factor of 1.6. This means that your 300mm lens has an effective focal length of 300mm × 1.6 = 480mm.
  • A micro-4/3s camera has a crop factor of 2.0. This means that a 200mm lens has an effective focal length of 200mm × 2.0 = 400mm, a bit less than the 300mm lens on the Canon.

Working backwards, your Canon lens has an effective focal length of 400mm at (400mm / 1.6) = 250mm, so if you set your 70-300mm to 250mm, that will give you something pretty similar to the focal length you can expect from the micro-4/3s. If that's good enough for you, things are probably OK.

Now, all other things aren't equal - most notably, the Canon sensor has an aspect ratio of 3:2 while the micro-4/3s is 4:3, and of course the sensors are different.

One other thing to note:

I am considering is the Olympus 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens mostly for it's zoom capability of 16.6x.

For this use case, you don't care about zoom ratio. You're not bothered about the wide end of the range, just the telephoto end - a 100-300mm lens which has "only" a zoom ratio of 3× is better than a 10-200mm lens with a zoom ratio of 20×.

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    Now knowing that the 12-200mm is not quite enough zoom, would the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II POWER O.I.S. be suitable choice? Thanks again everyone:) – CamateurFlowtography Mar 2 at 16:33
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    @CamateurFlowtography You can apply the same math to the 100-300mm µ4/3 lens that the answer applies to the 12-200mm µ4/3 lens. 300mm on a µ4/3 camera is the same diagonal angle of view as a 600mm lens on a FF camera, which translates to a 375mm lens on a Canon 80D. – Michael C Mar 3 at 3:20
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Given the ratio of the Canon APS-C crop factor (1.6) to the MFT (2.0) sensors, the equivalent of a 300mm on your camera is 300*1.6/2=240mm so a bit longer than your intended lens (200mm).

The zoom capability you mention is really a zoom range, but since your lens starts at 12mm which is a wide angle, the zoom factor from "normal" is smaller, more like 8x.

Your 12-200mm is really a "super-zoom" for people who don't like/want to change lenses. If you just want to use it as a zoom, there are more specialized lens that will zoom more such as the Olympus Zuiko 75-300mm (which will get you closer than your Canon 300mm).

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The formula for determining the focal length required to fill the frame with a subject is pretty simple:

  • FL= sensor(distance/size)

So for your example, to fill the width of an m4/3 sensor (18mm), from a distance of 70ft (21M), with a squirrel which is ~1.5ft long including tail (.5M) is:

  • FL= 18(21/.5) = 756mm.

The closest to that is typically 800mm; but you probably don't want to completely fill the frame, so maybe 75 percent/600mm is the best choice.

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  • HI Steven, math was my worst subject and still is lol. I really appreciate that you did it for me. If I hadn't consulted with the people like you on this forum I would have definitely purchased the wrong lens for my intent. I guess all lenses have their purpose and can be used to capture wildlife but for closeups, a telephoto zoom seems to be the best choice and now I know what focal lengths to consider, so again, thank you kind sir:). – CamateurFlowtography Mar 3 at 9:42
  • HI again Steven, when you arrived at 756mm is that with a full frame 35mm? If it is, then a long range MFT lens of at least 400mm should be adequate. The two lenses I am now trying to choose between are the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH. POWER O.I.S.(over my planned budget, but I might cave if it's necessary lol) and the much less expensive Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Canon EF, in which I'd have to use my 0.64x speedbooster. Obviously, I'd love to save money but I'm thinking an MFT lens might be a better choice. More research to be done:) – CamateurFlowtography Mar 3 at 10:02
  • One more interesting comment I should make...I was chatting with a tech/sales rep from B&H Photo and he advised me to use the Sigma 150-600mm with a dummy speedbooster. That had me scratching my head since I'd have no control over aperture- or any electronic control of the lens. He advised against me using my speedbooster- knowing I was using a micro four thirds camera. I'm so glad I came here for consultation lol:). – CamateurFlowtography Mar 3 at 10:07
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    The focal length determined is for that sensor size... the 18 (mm) I used is the long edge of an M4/3 sensor (it would be 35 instead for a FF sensor). An adapted 600mm (no optics) is what you really need if the subjects are really that small, that distant, and you want to truly/nearly fill the frame... I think that is what the B&H rep was saying as well. If you use a speed booster (w/ optics) you would need an even longer focal length; because they work by negating the sensor's crop factor. – Steven Kersting Mar 3 at 15:20
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    I mean an actual 600mm lens and IDT there is one native for M4/3... so you would need to adapt one over from Canon/Nikon/etc. But as others have said, a 300mm would meet/exceed how tightly you can compose with the 80D/300mm. But if it is a small subject, and the distance is actually 70ft, you won't be "filling the frame" with either... maybe 25%. – Steven Kersting Mar 3 at 22:38

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