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Thread: ED vs SWD Question

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    Default ED vs SWD Question

    I am shooting older Olympus equipment (E500 and E520). I'm interested in picking up a 50-200mm lens but am not sure if I can use a SWD lens with my gear.

    I'm really not clear on the technical differences of the two (ED vs SWD). I would appreciate some input & advice.

    Thanks so much,
    Von

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    To my knowledge, the body makes no difference. SWD refers to the motor in the lens (Supersonic Wave Drive - no, I have no idea either), and on some of the later bodies with different sensors, they can focus faster, but they will still work on the older bodies. ED stands for Extra Dispersion, and is a property of the glass. So it isn't really one vs. the other at all.
    Thomas
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Quote Originally Posted by srtgray View Post
    To my knowledge, the body makes no difference. SWD refers to the motor in the lens (Supersonic Wave Drive - no, I have no idea either), and on some of the later bodies with different sensors, they can focus faster, but they will still work on the older bodies. ED stands for Extra Dispersion, and is a property of the glass. So it isn't really one vs. the other at all.
    Correct. Either focus tech version will work. SWD will be faster, all other things being equal--only the 50-200 was made in both types. SWD also has mechanical MF, which can be handy. The earlier 50-200 is an excellent bargain, fetching less than the SWD on the used market.

    Cheers,

    Rick
    Last edited by Rick_D; 08-18-2014 at 10:29 AM.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Thanks for the input. I thought that may be the case, but just wasn't sure. It's not like I have $1,200 to drop on a lens right now, so maybe the ED version for around $400-$500 used is the way to go.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    I have the earlier 50-200mm lens and have used it on all my cameras, including my E-M1. It works great.
    Lawrence

    All of the images I post are open for critique. Feel free to modify one of my images if it helps the critique.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Agree, the ED is a great lens.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    You can also buy the SWD version used. The last 3 on ebay ended at $651, $712 and $650.

    I agree its a great lens, but its also 1kg in weight. I personally found I was not ready to carry that regularly.
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    I sincerely appreciate everyone's input. I'm thinking about doing a trial run with a rental from Borrow Lenses. Around $120 for a week including s/h and damage protection seems like a decent price. Has anyone used them before?

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    The non-SWD is only $450 used, so paying $120 to use one for a week doesn't really seem reasonable to me.

    At worst, if you really really don't like it you could re-sell a week later (like on this forum, even) and would probably still lose less than $120.
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds View Post
    The non-SWD is only $450 used, so paying $120 to use one for a week doesn't really seem reasonable to me.

    At worst, if you really really don't like it you could re-sell a week later (like on this forum, even) and would probably still lose less than $120.
    I haven't seen too many examples at that price that I would consider to be in acceptable condition. When I re-acquired a first-generation 50-200mm last Fall, I looked at four examples priced at $400, $500, $550 and $675. The two lower-priced ones showed lots of wear from use and felt pretty loose, they seemed over-priced for their condition. The $675 one was pristine, as if never used, and the $550 one was so close to that I went for it as the best compromise.

    When I first bought this lens in 2007, the SWD model had just come out and I got the first version at a close-out price for $800 new; the SWD model would have cost me $1200+.
    I tested both on the E-M1 when I was thinking of reacquiring one, and found I liked the AF performance of the earlier version more (virtually identical in speed to the SWD model, and it seemed more sure and positive). I understand Olympus also did a minor bit of tuning with the optics on the SWD, but the differences seem quite subtle there: it was difficult to see any optical differences when I was testing.

    On E-500 or E-520 bodies, the SWD model's focus should be a bit faster.

    G

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    I have never heard compelling evidence that the SWD is much faster. The lens hood is larger, the ED one is large enough at times. Mine was bashed by a running dog once, and the end of the lens ended up pointing 10 degrees to the left, but relatively cheaply fixed by Oly.
    I would not waste $120 on a test. If money is important, get the ED version and you will not miss the other.
    Cheers,
    Don

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    I was not aware that the SWD has mechanical MF. That is a good point, but only if you need MF. I am not at all wild about the focus by wire business. I use MF a lot, even with AF (SAF-MF) and the mechanical MF of my Canon 400/5.6 is perhaps a little slower turning than my 50-200, but it is very positive and precise. SWD may also be a little quieter, but I don't see that as much of an issue.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Again I appreciate everyone's input and experience. I'm not 100% certain I really need the 50-200 and actually considering gutting it out with just the slower 70-300. I'm thinking the 50-200 + the 1.4x extender. Someone on another forum suggested that, but now I'm wondering about losing the stop with the extender. The only way I'm going to know personally, is to try . . . and I don't want to buy for $450-$600 only to change my mind and then hassle with selling it.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeshareVon View Post
    Again I appreciate everyone's input and experience. I'm not 100% certain I really need the 50-200 and actually considering gutting it out with just the slower 70-300. I'm thinking the 50-200 + the 1.4x extender. Someone on another forum suggested that, but now I'm wondering about losing the stop with the extender. The only way I'm going to know personally, is to try . . . and I don't want to buy for $450-$600 only to change my mind and then hassle with selling it.
    I have both the 70-300 and the older 50-200. While money is always a factor in any decision, I was extremely pleased with the results when I obtained a used 50-200 a couple of years ago. It is much improved over the 70-300. Since I started shooting with the 50-200, the 70-300 has remained mostly unused. I like its handling and the photo output much better than the 70-300. The only advantage the 70-300 has is that it is lighter to carry. In every other aspect, the original 50-200 is much superior than the 70-300. IMHO, photos with the 50-200 can be cropped to the same subject size as a 70-300 image and are still better than the 70-300 image.
    Steven R
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven R View Post
    I have both the 70-300 and the older 50-200. While money is always a factor in any decision, I was extremely pleased with the results when I obtained a used 50-200 a couple of years ago. It is much improved over the 70-300. Since I started shooting with the 50-200, the 70-300 has remained mostly unused. I like its handling and the photo output much better than the 70-300. The only advantage the 70-300 has is that it is lighter to carry. In every other aspect, the original 50-200 is much superior than the 70-300. IMHO, photos with the 50-200 can be cropped to the same subject size as a 70-300 image and are still better than the 70-300 image.
    Will just add that the EC14 is certainly worth adding to the 50-200. You achieve a 283mm reach that is still quite sharp--definitely better than simply cropping the bare lens shot at 200. Focusing remains essentially the same, at least in good light.

    Cheers,

    Rick

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Agree, the EC-14 is very good with the 50-200. The EC-20 not so.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    The ZD 50-200 + EC-14 is an extremely high quality, versatile lens. As soon as I had ordered the E-M1, I knew I would want another one of both and hunted down excellent used examples of them.
    I only had the 70-300 for a short time on loan ... No comparison IMO.

    G

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Lots of great first hand experience shared, thank you.

    I have cancelled the rental for next month and will work on trying to find a used 50-200mm ED version . . . plus the EC-14. For now I'll sit tight until next spring I think as I really don't have much in the way of wildlife this year other than my quick trip to Glacier NP in a couple of weeks.

    Again, thank you all!
    Von

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    What better place for wildlife than Glacier NP?

    I remember a few years back hiking through it a grizzly roared at me... I admit I was too busy crapping my pants to take a picture
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Spend the bulk of your time on the east side of the park. Fall colors should be in full swing and the bears should be frolicking in the weeds
    down low getting fat for the winter.
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    Both versions of the 50-200 are ED lenses, the newer one has the SWD motor. Either would serve you well with the equipment you have but for economy, the non-SWD version is the ticket. Just be careful that you get one that's not beat to hell.
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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    I'm only there for two days and with a friend who may not be very patient or tolerant of my trying to work with a new camera set-up. If the weather is bad or no wildlife, it would be a waste of $100+. I'm sure when I plan my next (longer) trip to a national park, I'll revisit the rent vs. buy decision.

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    Default Re: ED vs SWD Question

    I had both versions, I agree the swd one doesnt really seem to focus noticeably faster..I just wish they had put a focus limiter switch on it at least for long range and full range, dont really need it for short range side.. been sticking with my 150 and ec20 for that focal distance now, but sometimes I think I got better IQ with the 50-200 and ec14
    OMD EM-1, m12-50MM, OLY 12-60MM, OLY 50MM macro, EC-14, Nikon D7200 and D7100, Nikon 300MM F4 PF Nikon 1.4X II Nikon 80-400MM AF-S- G, Sigma 150-600MM C, Sigma 17-50MM
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