Greg's telephoto lens comparison
Rokinon 800mm and Olympus 70-300 mm
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I've been looking for a good long telephoto lens for some time. In another document I described one particular failure, in which I came to the conclusion that no telephoto lens, no matter how long, is worth having unless it can produce better images at its focal length than digitally enlarged photos from my Zuiko digital ED 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 telephoto lens.

In August 2009 I bought a Rokinon 800 mm f/8 mirror telephoto. I compared it with my Zuiko 70-300 lens and decided that it wasn't worth the effort, so I sold it again.

What's wrong with the lens?

The following photos are in three columns:

  1. A photo taken with the Zuiko lens at f/8 and 300 mm.
  2. A cutout of the same photo approximating to the field of view of the Rokinon.
  3. A photo taken with the Rokinon.

Clearly the third photo should be better than the second to justify the lens.

The photos were taken with the camera on a tripod (two for the Rokinon), with remote shutter release, and with image stabilization turned on. The angle of view is different in some cases, because it's so difficult to point the things.

 
This should be Olympus-daisies.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus daisies
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 132 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 2240 kB
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This should be Olympus-daisies-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus daisies detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 452, 140 kB
Dimensions of original: 1512 x 1138, 512 kB
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This should be Rokinon-daisies.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rokinon daisies
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 114 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 1552 kB
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This should be Olympus-laundry.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus laundry
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 94 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 1456 kB
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This should be Olympus-laundry-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus laundry detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 604 x 451, 58 kB
Dimensions of original: 1516 x 1132, 240 kB
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This should be Rokinon-laundry.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rokinon laundry
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 62 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 1600 kB
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This should be Olympus-pyre.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus pyre
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 156 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 2576 kB
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This should be Olympus-pyre-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus pyre detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 602 x 451, 138 kB
Dimensions of original: 1512 x 1132, 528 kB
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This should be Rokinon-pyre.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rokinon pyre
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 130 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 1680 kB
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This should be Olympus-verandah.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus verandah
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 88 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 1536 kB
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This should be Olympus-verandah-detail.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus verandah detail
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 451, 68 kB
Dimensions of original: 1512 x 1136, 272 kB
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This should be Rokinon-verandah.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rokinon verandah
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 601 x 451, 86 kB
Dimensions of original: 4032 x 3024, 1664 kB
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On the face of it, it seems that the Rokinon fails this test. Further magnification makes that clear. Here we have the images reduced to about the equivalent of 3200 mm (i.e. ¼ the size for the Rokinon, and about 10% for the Olympus). Again, the Olympus comes first, not only in the sequence:

 
This should be Olympus-daisies-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus daisies detail 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 616 x 459, 94 kB
Dimensions of original: 376 x 280, 70 kB
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This should be Rokinon-daisies-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rokinon daisies detail 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 600 x 452, 94 kB
Dimensions of original: 1008 x 760, 160 kB
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This should be Olympus-pyre-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Olympus pyre detail 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 603 x 457, 104 kB
Dimensions of original: 380 x 288, 76 kB
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This should be Rokinon-pyre-detail-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Rokinon pyre detail 2
Complete exposure details
Dimensions: 604 x 453, 98 kB
Dimensions of original: 1008 x 756, 170 kB
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Summary: the mirror lens is an order of magnitude better than the supplementary toy that I bought in February 2009, but not good enough. I'm going to have to accept that the only real alternative is a longer real lens. Maybe Olympus will make one some time.


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