Fast frame rate problem with Panasonic Lumix 100-300 zoom

Panasonic's 100-300 can't keep up with OM-D E-M5 continuous shooting rate

Panasonic admits the 100-300's aperture iris is too slow for the OM-D E-M5

When shooting with Panasonic's G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 fitted to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 recently I noticed that sometimes the E-M5 wasn't shooting at the full continuous frame rate of 9 or even 10 frames per second that we have measured before. It seems that we were not alone as the issue has been documented elsewhere.

So we decided to investigate. Panasonic in Japan are, thankfully, very candid about the technical limitations of their gear and I was promptly provided with a simple technical evaluation of the problem. Basically, the aperture actuation mechanism in the 100-300 is not fast enough to keep up with the high speed continuous shooting frame rate of the E-M5. This slows the frame rate down and at f/22 the maximum frame rate can drop to around 4fps. Only at full aperture will the 100-300 allow the E-M5 to shoot at maximum continuous frame rate - basically because the iris doesn't have to move. Again, thankfully because of the 100-300's very good optics shooting at full aperture is not a problem if you need fast shooting.

The issue is not limited to the 100-300. Panasonic informed us that their lenses produced after the 100-300 and 14mm pancake have aperture iris mechanisms that are faster and able to keep up with very fast frame rates. Therefore it looks like older lenses won't. We will test older lenses as we get hold of them to establish whether or not they are subject to the high-speed shooting performance issue. Indeed, we don't actually know if any Olympus lenses could slow an E-M5 down.

Of course, we're keen to hear about your experiences too. Please do post your news to the forum thread linked to this article below.

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