src=" Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO vs. Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8

Date: 13/10/2014 | By: Mathieu

Should M4/3s lenses always be small? – Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO vs. Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8

m.zuiko 40-150mm vs lumix 35-100mm

Should M4/3s lenses always be small? – Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO vs. Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8

At this year’s Photokina, the one aspect that all the different brands had in common as far as the mirrorless world is concerned was an increase in size as evidenced by the most recent lenses showcased. This aspect seems to have triggered different reactions. One of the criticisms is that the increase in size has made them closer to a DSLR system, therefore nullifying the main advantage: compactness and lightness. The discussion is most pertinent to Micro Four Thirds, a system well-known for its compact cameras and compact lenses.

One of the best examples of this is the Lumix 35-100mm 2.8, a professional zoom lens with a constant aperture that represents the equivalent of 70-200mm, a focal range many DSLR photographers have in their bag.  When the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO was announced, the question that people began asking was: could these extra 50mm justify more than double the weight and size? And more importantly, does its size really matter? Because the interesting thing is that the M.Zuiko 40-150mm PRO is still a compact zoom for what it does.

In the end, all these doubts lead us to question where the boundaries of a compact system camera really lie.

As always, please note that with our comparison articles, our main goal isn’t to state which model is inherently better than the other. In fact, I’ll say it right up front: both are excellent lenses with very few flaws. Rather, we’d like to help you understand which lens is better suited to you and your style of photography. On that note, let’s start comparing!


Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro

Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8

Main Specs

Both lenses feature a f/2.8 constant aperture zoom and are compatible with both Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds bodies.

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 has an equivalent focal length of 80-300mm on 35mm format (full frame). It is splash, dust and freeze proof but doesn’t include optical stabilisation since it relies on the internal stabilisation of Olympus cameras.

The Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 has an equivalent focal length of 70-200mm on full frame format. It is splash and dust proof and includes Panasonic Power O.I.S. optical stabilisation.

Specs list

M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro

  • Focal length: 40-150mm
  • Focal length (equiv. 35mm): 80-300mm
  • Maximum aperture: 2.8
  • Minimum aperture: 22
  • Number of aperture blades: 9 Circular aperture diaphragm
  • Angle of view: 30 ‑ 8.2°
  • Closest focusing distance: 70cm
  • Lens configuration 16 elements / 10 groups
  • Special elements: 1 high-refractive, 2 aspherical glass, 1 aspherical ED elements
  • Lens surface coating: no
  • Maximum image magnification: 0.21x (Micro Four Thirds) / 0.42x (35mm format)
  • Optical Image Stabilizer: No
  • Dimensions: 79.4mm Ø, 160mm
  • Filter diamater: 72mm
  • Weight: 760g (without tripod adapter), 880g (with tripod adapter)

Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8

  • Focal length: 35-100mm
  • Focal length (equiv. 35mm): 70-200mm
  • Maximum aperture: 2.8
  • Minimum aperture: 22
  • Number of aperture blades: 7 circular aperture diaphragm
  • Angle of view: 34 ‑ 12°
  • Closest focusing distance: 85cm
  • Lens configuration 18 elements / 13 groups
  • Special elements: 2 ED elements, 1 UED element
  • Lens surface coating: yes (Nano Coating)
  • Maximum image magnification: 0.1x / 0.2x (35 mm camera equivalent)
  • Optical Image Stabilizer: yes (POWER O.I.S.)
  • Dimensions: φ67.4 Ø, 99.9 mm
  • Filter diamater: 58mm
  • Weight: 360g (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap, lens hood)

Build quality and ergonomics

Let’s start with the main topic of this comparison which is the design of the two lenses.

Both lenses have a strong high-quality build and have a complete internal zoom mechanism so that the size of the lens remains the same throughout the entire focal length range.

The M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro vs the Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8
The M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro vs the Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8

The 40-150mm is entirely made of metal and feels like a true premium professional lens. Both the zoom and focus ring are large and very smooth to turn.

Being bigger, I can also say that the 40-150mm actually gives you a better grip when shooting. Your hand naturally reaches both the zoom and focus rings. Since the Olympus lens is larger, it is easy to find a good balance when holding the camera and lens with both hands.

The 35-100mm is also made of metal with some plastic between the zoom and focus rings. The zoom ring is covered with rubber, which might be less aesthetically pleasing but feels nice to the touch. The focus ring is thinner but both rings are pleasant and precise to turn as well.

Even though it is smaller, the lens is easy to use and the thinner focus ring never really bothered me for stills (more for video when manual focusing). Since it weighs less, you can easily use the camera with one hand without feeling the need to compensate for the weight (though you may want to ensure a sharper image by making it more stable with two hands of course).

The difference in weight is something that didn’t bother me too much even after many consecutive days of shooting. For my daily work I usually carry a Lowepro Event Messenger bag with the E-M1, the 12-40mm 2.8, a flash unit and either the 75mm 1.8 or the 35-100 2.8. I had no problem replacing one of these two with the 40-150mm. It fits inside the bag just fine (with the tripod mount attached) and with the overall kit, I haven’t felt too much difference in weight. Certainly one of the main advantages of the 35-100 is that it can fit almost anywhere, even in a Cosyspeed bag or inside a large jacket pocket, which naturally makes it more portable.

They both fit a Lowepro Event Messenger bag.

To me the real difference has more to do with the 40-150mm being less discreet. Walking around events like the Electric Run, my E-M1 and 40-150mm probably didn’t look that different from a Canon 7D and a 70-200mm f/4 from the perspective of a non-photographer. Of course, speaking as the photographer, I can confirm that the Olympus combo is smaller and lighter. With the Lumix 35-100mm, you are certainly more discreet and attract less attention. In some events it can matter while for others, it won’t.

As for the features that make the lens easier to use, the M.Zuiko has a few advantages.

The focus ring can be clutched to instantly switch to manual focusing. The lens also has a Function button on the side that your thumb can easily reach and which you can assign different functions like AF lock for example.

The hood is also very nice with a clever mechanism to immediately retract it without the need to unmount it and reverse it like on the M.Zuiko 60mm macro.

The Lumix 35-100mm only has the switch button to activate or deactivate the optical stabilisation.

The hood is standard and needs to be reversed to be slotted onto the lens.

Given the size of the 40-150mm, Olympus also included a tripod ring mount to achieve a better balance. Considering this an advantage wouldn’t really be fair since you don’t need it with the 35-100mm. The tripod mount can of course be removed (you will have to unmount the lens from the camera to do it). For my daily work I’ve never brought it with me as I don’t use tripods.

Image Quality

E-M1, 1/640, f/ 2.8, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8
E-M5, 1/100, f/ 2.8, ISO 800 – Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8

From a real world point of view, both lenses produce very nice images in terms of sharpness, bokeh, contrast and whatever else you can think of.

There are some differences. Some of them are really minor and will only interest pixel-peeping enthusiasts while others are more significant. I think in the end it all comes down to the difference in versatility, which is in my opinion an advantage of the M.Zuiko lens when it comes to image quality.

Concerning sharpness, both lenses perform nearly the same at their shortest and longest focal lengths. I did a basic test with a graffiti wall to have enough texture to evaluate details. I shot the same images at f/2.8 and f/8 at 40mm, 70mm and 100mm.

At f/2.8, the Lumix lens seems slightly sharper than the M.Zuiko lens at the shortest and middle focal length but the difference is almost not worth mentioning. At 100mm they look basically the same.

At f/8, they perform the same at 40mm and 70mm. At 100mm, I could give slightly more credit to the M.Zuiko but here again it is almost unnoticeable.

I also took the same pictures at 35mm for the Lumix and 150mm for the M.Zuiko but there aren’t any significant differences here either. Both lenses are very sharp even at their fastest apertures.

With a shorter focus distance, the sharpness performance can be even easier to detect. Here again, I don’t see a dramatic difference between the two lenses in the portrait shots I took of Heather and in the photos I used to show the bokeh performance later on. In one example the M.Zuiko seems sharper but again the difference is minimal.

Bokeh and out-of-focus rendering is another point that many are interested in. With Micro Four Thirds cameras I would generally tend to use faster lenses when it comes to portraits, but if used well both lenses can deliver interesting results.

For this second series of tests, I took pictures of Heather at the same distance using various focal lengths with both lenses. Note that the composition may slightly vary from shot to shot since I didn’t have a tripod with me.

At the shortest focal length, there is a difference that is related to the 5mm difference between 35 and 40mm. To get the same composition, I would have had to stand further away from the subject with the M.Zuiko lens or closer to her with the Lumix 35-100mm.

We can see that the M.Zuiko has a nicer bokeh already (more rounded and uniform) but this first observation is not totally reliable because of the focal length difference. If we want to talk portraits on MFT, let’s use a longer focal length. Below are two examples at 60mm and 85mm.

The difference here is more noticeable. The Lumix 35-100mm’s bokeh seem less rounded and the overall look has a slightly “swirly” effect, while on the M.Zuiko it is perfectly rounded and the out of focus area is more uniform.

Finally, at 100mm you can see two examples below. There are some differences as well but given the reduced depth of field, it is less noticeable.

Now the M.Zuiko has an advantage here and that is its extra 50mm in length. This means that for example I can get a closer shot of Heather just by zooming in. Or if I want a similar composition as the shot taken at 85mm, I can also move backwards from the subject and take the shot at 150mm. You will notice that the background changes a little bit because to create enough distance between myself and the subject, I had to walk up a small grassy incline. But the rendering is really nice. I also included the same kind of example with the head shots.

E-M1, 1/250, f/ 2.8, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 at 150mm
E-M1, 1/250, f/ 2.8, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 at 150mm
E-M1, 1/250, f/ 2.8, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 at 150mm

Another aspect is the closest focus distance, which can be interesting for portraits since the closer your focus point, the more your background will be blurred. The M.Zuiko has a minimum focus distance of 70cm, the Lumix of 85cm but the difference is that for the M.Zuiko it remains constant throughout the entire focal length range, while with the Lumix I had to step back slightly at 100mm.

Let’s start with two pictures taken at the same distance at the shortest focal length. You will notice that Heather (who had a cold) has started to get tired of me taking pictures of her! :)

Of course with the M.Zuiko I can get closer to my subject.

At the longest focal lengths, with the M.Zuiko I can take a quasi macro shot of Heather’s eye while with the Lumix lens I get the same composition as the M.Zuiko at 40mm and 70cm shown above.

So on the bokeh front, my conclusions are that the M.Zuiko seems to have better rendering concerning the roundness and uniformity of the out of focus areas. But we are certainly not talking huge differences here and bokeh taste can also be subjective. Actually I think that the real benefit of the M.Zuiko lens is its extra 50mm in length as it gives you the possibility of a narrower angle of view which results in a more magnified out of focus area for the same composition. Moreover, the minimum focusing distance of 70cm has its own set of advantages and this is why I consider the 40-150mm more versatile when it comes to image quality. That said, both lenses do really well for portraits and I will never get tired of saying that the more you fixate on a blurred background, the less you are concentrating on your subject. Also, talking strictly from a portrait photography point of view, I would prefer to work with the 45mm f/1.8, the 75mm f/1.8 or the Nocticron 42,5mm f/1.2.

The last image quality test I did was in a backlight situation to see micro contrasts and flare rendering. Regarding the ability to retain details, both lenses work fine. The Lumix seem to handle flares better.

Autofocus and stabilisation

In still mode, I haven’t found any particular issues with either lens on the E-M1 or the GH4. They are fast, they are reliable–they simply work. The M.Zuiko 40-150mm has a dual linear motor that makes it extremely silent but I’ve never had to complain about the Lumix 35-100mm regarding this aspect. In continuous focusing mode, the M.Zuiko is slightly faster on the OM-D E-M1 while both lenses give similar results on a Lumix body like the GH4. This gets even more noticeable for AF-C in video mode.

In my first impressions article about the 40-150mm f/2.8, I had some trouble in AF-C with the GH4 during my first video recording where the camera had trouble changing the focus point and tracking the subject. So I updated the camera to the latest firmware update available and now it works fine. Below you can watch a simple “rain dancing” video with Heather once again as my model. You will also notice that the Lumix lens makes a huge difference when it comes to stabilising the GH4.

As for image stabilisation, there is another important difference to note.

The M.Zuiko doesn’t have O.I.S. and relies on the IBIS of the E-M1 or any other Olympus camera.

The Lumix 35-100 has optical stabilisation since most Lumix bodies don’t have built-in IBIS.

We are talking about two different technologies. I could see in different occasions that there isn’t a huge difference with telephoto lenses. If I use the 35-100mm on the E-M1, then the GH4, I can say that the 5-axis stabilisation and the Power O.I.S. give similar results. It is something I already tested for our E-M1 vs GH4 comparison and experienced out in the field.

In this case, I just wanted to see if the size and weight of the 40-150mm f/2.8 would influence the results when using a slower shutter speed. When I took the first images, I was surprised to see so many picture that were slightly blurry with not-too-slow shutter speeds. I wasn’t sure if this was related to me not being stable enough, a shutter shock problem or something else.

So I ran a quick test with me holding the camera from a comfortable position (sitting on a bench) and taking pictures at different shutter speeds with both lenses on the E-M1. The results proved that I was wrong about my first impression. The 5-axis stabilisation works great with the 40-150mm even at the longest focal length and even with the MC-14 teleconverter. I then took some pictures standing up and the results were the same.

My conclusion here is that the stabilisation also depends on how steady the person is when holding the camera and the position of his body when taking the shot. During my first day with the M.Zuiko lens, I took many shots down on my knees or in more uncomfortable positions since many of the animals were small. So I might have been less stable than usual. While it is true that you can have a better grip with a bigger lens like the 40-150mm, it is also true that it is heavier. As such it can give the 5-axis stabilisation more work to do especially at the longest focal length if you are not steady enough. If you plan to do some bird or wildlife shooting, in general I would recommend a tripod as it will allow you to work easily, especially with the MC-14. But the 5-axis IBIS can be useful as well.

For video work, if you are using a Lumix camera, then the 35-100mm is certainly something to consider for its optical stabilisation. The M.Zuiko lens can do very well as long as you use a solid video tripod.

The MC-14 teleconverter

The MC-14

There is another advantage of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm and that is the dedicated teleconverter that Olympus released with the lens. It only works on the M.Zuiko lens and the upcoming 300mm f/4. It won’t work on the 35-100mm because of the protruding lens of the teleconverter which won’t let you mount it on the Lumix lens.

This accessory can be very interesting for wildlife photographers or for people that might need that extra reach in various situations. It works well without decreasing image quality or the speed of the autofocus.

E-M1, 1/320, f/ 4, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 + MC-14


The conclusion I can draw after comparing these two lenses is that there isn’t a clear winner. Rather the specific needs of the photographer might push him towards one option or the other. They are similar in many ways yet very different, but there is no doubt that both have a place in a photographer’s bag.

The M.Zuiko 40-150mm is the more interesting option in terms of image quality and performance. The 50mm of extra reach can prove very useful in different situations such as event work or portraiture. The MC-14 teleconverter is also an extra accessory that makes this lens even more interesting. I also prefer its bokeh rendering.

I have used the 35-100mm 2.8 for more than a year for different assignments or for personal purposes and it is a great lens. Its advantage is without a doubt the small size and weight. Panasonic managed to design a professional lens with the standard telephoto zoom range in a very compact body and this certainly represents what is best about the MFT system. So to me the Lumix 35-100mm is more versatile thanks to its size.

All the rest is subjective. Personally speaking, I am not sure if I will buy the 40-150mm. I am not a wildlife photographer and for most of the events I do, 100mm is more than enough. Actually, I’ve even stopped using the Lumix lens for much of my work in favour of the 75mm 1.8, which is faster for indoor shooting. In short, I am not sure that those extra 50mm are something I would use or require all the time.

In the end, it is not a question of which is bigger or which looks more like a DSLR lens. Rather it is a question of needs.

The 40-150mm is certainly a lens aimed at professionals. I feel that Olympus did the right thing by releasing it, and even more significantly, by not copying the Lumix lens but making something different instead. This way, users can choose the lens that suits them best. Both are great lenses, and both have a rightful place in the MFT system.

Choose the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 if:

  • You’d find the extra 50mm in focal length really useful
  • You will use it in conjunction with the MC-14 often
  • You want a versatile lens that can take on events, wildlife and portraits

Choose the Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 if:

  • A standard telephoto zoom range is enough.
  • You want a compact premium telephoto lens that can fit anywhere
  • You will use it for video shooting on a Lumix camera


You can also read our reviews and related articles about the two lenses:

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Daniel

    I typically use an Olympus 40-150mm lens. I got to rent the f2.8 version once. I own the cheaper f4-5.6 version.

  • Mathieu

    With soccer even the E-M1 struggles so an E-M10 II would as well if not more. The improvement is definitely there but it won’t be like switching from night to day. Which lenses do you use for sports?

  • Daniel

    Thanks for sharing.

    I noticed this part:

    “In my experience, all OM-D cameras tend to focus very well in good light regardless of the AF mode, and the E-M10 II is no exception…

    …C-AF with tracking in particular was very effective, especially for the runners in brightly coloured clothing. The only time it would falter was when there were many runners bunched into the frame, sometimes causing the focus point to jump to the person behind my subject.”

    Probably tricky for any camera and the kind of thing that I’d encounter at a soccer match, football game, basketball game, etc. And these are typically low-light situations for me…soccer or football under the lights, indoor basketball, etc. Plus, your runners were heading in more or less a straight line…not zigging and zagging and jumping like soccer, football and basketball players do. There was no moving ball for you to track either.

    If you think the improvement over the E-PL5 is significant (an 80% hit rate sounds like heaven to me), then perhaps it will be justification for me to upgrade to an E-PL7. I suppose I could always return it.

  • Mathieu

    Here is an image gallery taken with the E-M10 II at a marathon race;

    I also talk about AF performance in my E-M5 II review:

    The E-PL7 has the same AF system as the E-M10 if I remember correctly.

  • Daniel

    Wondering how significant the improvement in AF tracking is on the E-M10 Mark II vs my E-PL5. Would that improvement also apply to the E-PL7? I already have the VF-4 viewfinder.

    I just read this review of the E-M10 Mark II:

    “We tested out the system’s tracking mode and found that it worked well but may not be reliable for capturing fast moving subjects.”

    So, “moving around” is one thing. Photographing a soccer match with people RUNNING around is quite another.

    I noticed that my E-PL5 would focus on the background instead of the players in many cases…because the background wasn’t moving too much. I wonder if the firmware update would correct that. I downloaded it, but I’d have to rent that lens again in order to test it out as the firmware update was specific to that lens.

  • Daniel

    Oh really? Was the improvement significant enough to warrant selling off my E-PL5 & VF-4 and getting an E-M10 Mark II instead?

  • Mathieu

    I had good results with the E-M1 but also the E-M5 II and the E-M10 II because the algorithm in C-AF has been improved. It is not perfect but you can definitely shoot something moving around.
    The Panasonic DFD is excellent but is not perfect either.
    I am curious to see the next generation of m4/3 cameras and see how much the AF performance will be improved.

  • Mathieu

    Nice shot! Yes the did release a firmware for the new lens so I am sure that the AF is improved on the E-PL5. Panasonic doesn’t have any teleconverters yet and I wonder if they will ever do one.

  • Daniel

    I rented the Olympus lens a few months ago and attached it to my E-PL5. It’s really not THAT heavy, and the extra focal length is a huge plus. And then if you’re willing to step down to f4, you can even add to that focal length with the teleconverter.

    Of course, the E-PL5 (even with my VF-4 viewfinder) is not a natural match for this lens…especially for what I was using it for. It was only after I returned the rented lens (naturally) that I discovered a firmware update for my E-PL5 that improved autofocus accuracy specifically with that lens. I definitely encountered some problems in this area, but unfortunately I don’t know if the firmware update would have solved them. I still ended up with some very solid shots…but I would have liked to have more keepers of the soccer match I was shooting.

    That reach is so worth a little extra bulk. If Panasonic would make a teleconverter for their lens, then it would be a lot more compelling.

  • Mathieu

    I don’t there is one, Jochen was mentioning that it would be nice to have a Panasonic teleconverter compatible with the 35-100mm.

  • George

    Olympus is providing a 2 zoom lens solution, while Panasonic is providing a 3 zoom lens solution even though the 100-300mm is not as good as the f2.8 ones. If I have to bring 2 lenses, I have a choice in Panasonic which 2 to bring.

  • Steinar Knai

    I have changed from a Nikon Pro set up for my work to the OLY EM1, 12-40 f2.8, plus th good primes and will buy the 35-100, for the size advantage, which was why I changed in the first place. I also use the 75 1.8 a lot and find it super for the longer shots.

  • donahugh

    Started m4/3 a month ago and learning to love it. Have both the M5 and M1 that have the most confusing menu system but in the end – worth it. Still learning it but wish it was easier. I shoot photos – but why does one need all the other software baggage. I came from Nikon FF/DX with a full complement of lenses, including the 400mm F/2.8 gem. The title of this review triggered me to write this. I don’t care how big m4/3 lenses are. They are what they will be. Waiting for a 200 to 400mm f/4 and a 400mm f/2.8. They will be much smaller than the FF versions from which I acquired tennis elbow and that wasn’t funny for about 6 months. Anyway, photography with these guys is fun again. Go Olympus Go!

  • Jacques Cornell

    Hadn’t thought of that, but now that you’ve mentioned it, me wants!

  • Thé Alamenthe

    I just got the Oly. Great lens but really big and heavy. Lack some bokey as some of the comments already made but very sharp. When I travelled I wanted to carry the two pro lenses with my EM5. However I believe I will stick with the three lenses I normally travel with which are the oly pro 12-40mm 2.8, the oly 14-150mm 1:4-5.6 which is my go everywhere and the oly 75-300mm II for my wildlife shoots (a little bit soft but works in good light). These three lenses fit nicely in a small bag or in pockets, not the case of the new 40-150mm

  • Mathieu

    That’s a good setup: you have the big lens when you need versatility and the two primes when you want small sizes 😉

  • Bob B.

    I decided to buy the Olympus and the TC1.4X Kit. I am looking at this from a different perspective.

    I already have the excellent Oly 45mm and 75mm f/1.8 lenses. I decided not to get a zoom that was redundant to these very fine lenses. (although I think the Lumix is a great lens and SMALL). I decided to purchase the Oly “big boy” kit because for the money I REALLY have expanded the capabilities of my kit, especially when I attach the TC1.4X. It does make my “little” system physically bigger..but for what I am getting with reach (and the IQ is just great!), the increase in size is so worth while. I keep this lens and the Oly battery grip (which just rounds the whole long-lens experience off so nicely) in a separate bag and only take it along when I think it is appropriate for my needs. It really is a great asset to this little system. Takes it to another realm. Without it I still have a great, very small kit.

    Now…YES relative to the MFT system the lens is large…but it still does keep the “micro” in MFT to me when you compare it to other systems:,579.392,312.7,ha,t

    The Sony has way less reach and is only f/4. The canon has way less reach as well. Both setups being considerably larger and heavier than the Oly combo. Yes…you are getting a nice benefit for those larger sizes (ie the FF sensors and all that that entails), but the Oly kit is superb and so “good enough” (brilliantly) for most of my photographic needs.

    I agree with Mathieu …this is such a personal choice to make based on each photographers’ needs.

  • Mathieu

    You can find photos taken with the TC on the 40-150mm full review :)

  • T N Args

    I would rather have a Lumix 35-100 for tele work that demands f/2.8, plus the Lumix 100-300 OIS for tele work that demands tele power. One beats the 45-100 for general purpose compact and light, the other beats the 40-150 for long reach.

    The 40-150 is *way* too big and heavy. It genuinely is “DSLR size and weight — and looks” but without the big sensor. I truly think it undoes much of the benefit of MFT. The two-lens combo above would make me happier at all times, have the same total weight as the 40-150 alone, and always I would have a significantly smaller and lighter camera-in-hand. The number of times I would miss not having 100-150 at f/2.8 is very little, compared to the number of times I would regret not having 300mm, or not having a compact and light camera in hand.

    I would have liked to see more photos using the 1.4 TC, and more explicit comparison of IQ with it.


  • alexander

    M I C R O 4/3, the name micro gives you that answer to your question!.. 😉

  • Jochen

    for me (just for me) a very good compromise between these two solutions – 40-150 (longer reach but bulkier) and 35-100 (small but missing 50mm at the end) would be a 1,4 converter made by Pana for their pro-tele zoom

  • Mathieu

    I have the Leica 25mm :)

  • Ron

    For me the point of M4/3 is primarily size and portability. That’s my bias. That being said, I find it interesting that so many in the Olympus camp say they prefer the Oly 25 f/1.8 over the Pany 25mm f/1.4 prime due to it’s smaller size, yet, when the topic changes to zooms, dismiss the size of the Oly 40-150 as being insignificant when compared to the much smaller/lighter Pany 35-100. Go figure.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the reply. I think your video shots look great, and I am leaning more towards the Oly 40-150 rather than the Pany 35-100.

  • Mathieu

    As long as you can keep the camera stable on a tripod, it works great for video. You can watch this short video I made with the GH4 and the lens here:

  • Dave

    Thanks for the comparison. I bought and returned the Pany 35-100 as the OIS produces horrid micro-jitters when shooting video handheld. It is an otherwise great lens, especially for photos. If I am forces to shoot video on sticks, the Oly 40-150 looks like a better value (longer reach, built-in lens hood, locking focus ring, same price). Any thoughts on this?

  • Mathieu

    The focus point was the same for all the shots.

  • Xellz

    On the graffiti test at f2.8 at 40mm and 70mm can see that focus point is different, so this can explain that oly is less sharp on graffiti. On 100mm f2.8 sample it’s the opposite, panasonic has more detail in foreground and less sharp on wall. So basically it all comes down to focus accuracy.

  • dave9t5

    Yes, that is new and works!

  • Mat – MirrorLessons

    A subscribe option within the comments area?

  • dave9t5

    I’m seeing a Subscribe option (and other Disqus interface) now that was not there before.

  • Albert

    Good post, but the question remains: “Could these extra 50mm justify more than double the weight and size?” I think not. Olympus could have built a similar f/2.8 lens within 500g.

  • Andrea

    It is fun that inside the m4/3 camp there is a debate about the “size” issue, when a Nikon user looked at the Olympus lens and said ” Wow, it is so SMALL!!!”… :)

  • Mathieu

    Hmm, ok I definitely need to look into it :)

  • Dave A.

    No, I’ve never received any notification for any comment that I’ve made (I suppose 4 comments so far).

  • Dave A.

    Klaus at also is a big fan of that lens. But they it’s not really comparable of course…

  • Mathieu

    Thanks Dave. Are you not receiving notifications when there’s new comments?

  • Dave A.

    Hi Mathieu,

    Yes, I see that the reveal at the end is that the MZ40-150 is a actually a suitably sized μ4/3 lens for what it does and the LGX35-100 just happens to be a tiny gem…hence the initial provocation.

    Considering the MZ is either 50% or 100% more lens (depending on if one counts FL or physical materials), I think either the LGX is over-priced or the MZ is a bargain.

    ps. It’d be great if there was a way to subscribe to comments! Such as Disqus, etc.

  • Mathieu

    In that case it would make more sense to use a Nikon DX rather than the D800.

  • Mathieu

    Yes you’re right I just change the sentence to make it more precise. Thanks.

  • HF

    There is a Sigma 120-300/2.8 (60-150mm equivalent from Sigma). As it is for fullframe, it is heavy (3kg), larger and more expensive. But you get better DOF control and less noise in case you need it. For landscapes, the OLY is more than enough, I think, as you probably don’t need the shallow DOF possible with the Sigma. On the other hand, combined with a D810 you have a 450mm in APSC-mode (16MP) automatically, with 1.4x teleconverter you can even reach 630mm at f4. But for me it would be too expensive.

  • Hol

    Generally I prefer the Oly due to the smaller minimum focus distance. One minor correction, you wrote: one has the
    “…possibility of less depth of field for the same composition” due to the 150mm. For the same magnification DOF stays the same if you keep the f-stop constant, only the impression changes due to the longer focal length (can be checked using

  • Mathieu

    Hi Dave, yes I could have illustrated the size differences more technically but I preferred to focus more on the experience with both lenses. My question at the beginning (as well as the question in the title) are a little bit of provocation because I read many comments (including on this site) saying that the MZ40-150mm makes the system look like a DSLR system. So more than the actual mathematical size differences between the two, I wanted to indicate that it doesn’t make a huge difference in the end especially considering that the MZ can do more.
    The MZ is actually more expensive but not by much. I think that a too higher price would have push many people back. The MZ can look more expensive but at the same time the 35-100 is a little gem considering its reduced size.

  • Dave A.

    Oops, this line is a bit inaccurate: “they are both 3X-1XX lenses”.
    I should say “they are both start-near-30-something and go-up-to-100-something lenses”.

  • soundimageplus

    The Olympus certainly pushes the boundaries. I know of no other telephoto zoom lens at a constant f/2.8 aperture that covers that range. The nearest I can think of is the 25-400mm equivalent on the FZ1000, but which is f/4 from halfway through the zoom range. And I do have to admit that I do use the extreme telephoto end of that lens a lot. Very useful for landscape on days when there are ‘pockets of light’ around. So the Olympus does interest me.

    I had the Panasonic 35-100mm and I agree with you it’s a great lens, but those extra mm are tempting.

    As to the reference above I wonder if it’s this. Fantastic lens. I’ve had a couple and I must admit when I saw that the E-M1 handled 4/3 lenses I was tempted. And to be honest I still am.

  • Dave A.


    Great report, as usual. However, I think that the title and angle of the article are a bit of stretch. You make it seem like the MZ 40-150 is arbitrarily large compared the the LGX 35-100. It would be helpful if you presented a bit of basic math to your readers illustrating the fundamental physical differences between the two lenses to show why the MZ is so much bigger. You could answer the question stated in the beginning of the article: “could these extra 50mm justify more than double the weight and size?”.

    At first glance, they seem like a natural competitors because they are both 3X-1XX lenses. However that’s seemingly because the “-1XX” at the start of the long end of the lens is misleading to most people’s minds.

    Let’s do some basic calculation:

    MZ has a longer max. focal length (duh). Even though they are both 1XXmm a the long end, the MZ is a full 50% longer. That’s a very significant difference (it’s more than the 1.4x that most teleconverters are). No surprise that the -100mm lens has a physical measurement of 99mm while the -150mm lens has a physical measurement of 160mm.
    MZ has the same brightness at a longer FL: (150mm/F2.8) / (100mm/F2.8) = 1.56x so the MZ should be 56% larger in diameter. It’s actually surprising that the MZ is only 18% larger in diameter than the LGX. Maybe the LGX is the lens in this comparison that is actually not as small as it should be (perhaps due to the OIS?)?
    Further, the area of the lens element of an 150mm f/2.8 should 2.2x more than a 100mm f/2.8 lens. Since mass is proportional to area (assuming similar materials in both lenses), then it’s no surprise then that the MZ is 2.1x heavier than the LGX.

    So, the MZ 40-150mm should be physically
    –> 50mm longer (it’s actually 60mm longer)
    –> 56% larger diameter (it’s actually only 18% larger)
    –> 2.2x heavier (it’s actually 2.1x heavier)

    So, the answer to the question “could these extra 50mm justify more than double the weight and size?” is: YES, it’s nearly exactly the size that it’s expected to be.

    The article is still very interesting as I’m sure many people (including myself) are curious how these lenses compare optically.

    The bigger question is: Why is the LGX 35-100mm f/2.8 nearly the same price as the MZ 40-150mm f/2.8 ?!?


  • Mathieu

    We interviewed a Leica lady but I don’t see the connection… :)

  • alex

    pleas compare the 14-150mm to the 40-150mm, I guess there could be some surprise (remember the interview with the Leica guy!…)

  • Bruce

    Thanks for the very detailed, thoughtful review.

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