ARTICLE MENU
 


 

         
M4/3 System                                                                
(5th March 2021)
Panasonic PL100-400 lens & 1x4 TC + 16mm Tube

I do like experimenting !

It is not possible to fit an Olympus 1.4x Tele-Converter to a Panasonic PL100-400 directly. The reason is because the front element of the 1.4x protrudes a long way forward, thus preventing the bayonet mounts from engaging by about 11mm or so.

However it is possible to fit the 1.4x TC via a modified 16mm extension tube. But of course this does also affect the lens operating parameters and as I like experimenting I wanted to see how well this would in fact work.

Note: Most M4/3 16mm extension tubes need their inside diameter increased very slightly to allow the 1.4x tele-converter front element to be inserted. It is a simple job and requires either scraping, filing or sanding a little of the plastic away inside the hollow extension tube. 

A 1.4x TC would normally magnify our target by 1.4x and also push the minimum focus distance further away by a similar amount. However having a 16mm extension tube fitted decreases minimum focus distance, but unfortunately also limits the maximum distance at which a lens will focus. Hence the need for this quick and dirty test to see how well it would all work together in practice.

MAGNIFICATION TEST
(Images were shot through a dirty double glazed window)

Heron: PL100-400 @ 400mm .

Click for Full Size Crop 
        

Heron: PL100-400 + 16mm Tube + 1.4x TC.

Click for Full Size Crop 

The combination of the 1.4x TC & 16mm Tube produced a magnification of 1.7x.
   

  

RANGE TEST
(Image was shot through a dirty double glazed window)

The combination of the 1.4x TC & 16mm Tube reduced the maximum
focus distance from infinity considerably.

Maximum Focus distance at 400mm + 1.4x TC + 16mm Tube = approx 47ft (15m).

Due to the way in which TC's affect lenses, reducing the zoom to 300mm shortens the maximum focus distance even more and at 100mm the maximum focus is very close.

But its not all bad, because if you want to shoot macro, the increase in magnification and closer focusing will be a real benefit...

Below is a close up of the top of my shoe, taken while I was sitting. The lens was set at 400mm. I really didn't think it would focus this close!
       

Close Focus distance at 400mm + 1.4x TC + 16mm Tube = approx 3ft (1m).

Click for Full Size Crop 

Camera: Olympus EM1-Mk2, ISO400, 1/1000, -0.3ev.
Lens: Panasonic PL100-400 @ 400mm, f6.3
Hand Held.
   
       

 
DEPTH OF FOCUS

Click for Full Size Crop 
    
Shooting with so much extra magnification does produce a very narrow Depth of Focus. If you click above to see a full size crop you will notice that there is very little in focus behind or in front of the birds eye - and this was taken at f7.1.

A narrow DoF may be ideal for people portraits but many nature photographers prefer most of their subject to be in focus!

Camera: Olympus EM1-Mk2, ISO800, 1/250, -0.3ev.
Lens: Panasonic PL100-400 @ 400mm, f7.1.
Hand Held.
      

 

DETAIL
(This image was shot through a dirty double glazed window)

Click for Full Size Crop 
    
Shooting a JPG image and in overcast light through a dirty double glazed window is obviously not the way to do a sharpness/detail test!  However the results have shown me enough to see that combining the PL100-400 with a 1.4x TC & 16mm Tube is not going to create a noticeable performance hit in this area and overall due to the increased magnification will no doubt provide a big gain.

Camera: Olympus EM1-Mk2, ISO800, 1/250, -0.3ev.
Lens: Panasonic PL100-400 @ 400mm, f7.1.
Hand Held.
    

     
In conclusion: If you have a PL100-400 lens and need more magnification for small birds, as long as they are within the shortened focal range than this is a great way to achieve that result. However in practice remember that zooming the lens back to try and capture the whole of a larger bird may result in the maximum focal range being to short t achieve that. However for macro style photography shooting butterflies and dragonflies I think it will prove to be a real winner.
     

 Article Adrian Harris