src="http://www.mirrorlessons.com/wp-content/themes/mirrorlessons The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro and MC-14 Teleconverter Complete Review - MirrorLessons - The Best Mirrorless Camera Reviews
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Date: 30/10/2014 | By: Mathieu

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro and MC-14 Teleconverter Complete Review

Olympus 40-150mm Pro review

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro and MC-14 Teleconverter Complete Review

After shooting with the new Olympus professional zoom for more than two weeks, I can finally write the complete review about its performance and ease-of-use in a real world situation. You may have already read different articles here on MirrorLessons and you’ve probably seen lots of images and other reviews on the internet about this lens. Some of the thoughts written in this article are already present in my comparison between this lens and the Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8.

If this is the first article you’re reading about this lens, I can tell you in advance that the 40-150mm is a great lens, perhaps one of the best MFT lenses I’ve had the pleasure to test. I used it for dance shows, day and low-light events, animals, portraits and other situations to discover how well it can serve the Micro Four Thirds system.

E-M1, 1/640, f/ 28/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/640, f/ 2.8, ISO 200 – 97mm
E-M1, 1/640, f/ 56/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/640, f/ 5.6, ISO 200 – 56mm
E-M1, 1/200, f/ 28/10, ISO 3200
E-M1, 1/200, f/ 2.8, ISO 3200 – 45mm

 

The M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Specs
  • 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)

 


Ergonomics and Design

Our first impressions start with the packaging, which is surprisingly large and well-made. The lens comes with a hood, a tripod mount and a carrying bag. If you purchase it with the MC-14 teleconverter, it comes with a little pouch you can attach to the 40-150mm carrying bag. Users who own or have owned Zuiko SLR lenses in the past won’t find the same type of bag Olympus used to include in the boxes of its professional DSLR lenses. The LSC-1120 bag supplied with the M.Zuiko 40-150mm is made of soft tissue and resembles the traditional bag included with many lenses of this type. The LSH-1326 that was included with the Zuiko 35-100mm f/2 for example was a real lens bag with external pockets and a strap to carry it around.

Like the 12-40mm f/2.8, the second M4/3 “Pro” lens released by Olympus has been designed with professional photographers in mind. It features a strong and high-quality finish with an all-metal construction. It is splash, dust and freeze resistant, a true premium professional lens that is just as good as an equivalent DSLR Pro lens. It has a complete internal zoom mechanism so the length of the lens doesn’t change when zooming in or out.

E-M10, 1/125, f/ 45/10, ISO 1600

The great build becomes especially noticeable when you start using the lens. First of all, the zoom and focus rings are both large, very smooth to turn and very precise to use. They are optimally placed on the lens body so that you can naturally reach one or the other with your hand. The focus ring is also great to use for manual focusing. Thanks to its clutch mechanism, you can instantaneously switch from auto to manual focus (like the 12-40mm f/2,8 and 12mm f/2). This features is very useful for shooting video. With stills, you might not find yourself using manual focus a lot because it can become difficult at the longest focal length, unless you are in an extreme low-light situation or using the lens in macro mode at its shortest focus distance. With video, while the AF works well on both Lumix and Olympus cameras, there are more situations where you might prefer to focus precisely with your hand, and to this end, the focus ring is very pleasant to use.

E-M10, 1/200, f/ 28/10, ISO 400

E-M10, 1/1, f/ 8/1, ISO 200

The lens also has a Function button on the side that your thumb can easily reach. There are many options you can assign to the button just as  with every other function button on the OM-D E-M1 body.

The lens hood, which can make the lens look bigger than it actually is, has a smart mechanism–it retracts without the need to unmount and reverse it like on other lenses. All you need to do is slightly turn the dedicated ring on the hood and retract it. While it is a very sensible mechanism, when you take it out of your bag you might find the hood has extended of its own accord.

E-M10, 1/5, f/ 56/10, ISO 200

The lens weights about 760g without the tripod mount, which is heavier than the E-M1 or any other MFT camera. I decided to use it with the E-M1 without the HLD-7 battery grip, not only to keep the combo as small as possible but also to see how the extra weight and size would affect the usability of a system known to be more compact than this. After carrying it around every day for my daily work for two weeks, I can say that in the end that the weight and size don’t make a huge difference, as the lens still fits nicely inside my primary camera bag, the Lowerpro Event Messenger 150. Yes, the lens is big but still compact enough for the zoom range it covers.

Actually, I find it quite comfortable to use because this kind of size gives you a better grip when shooting and it is easy to find a good balance when holding the camera and lens with both hands. You will appreciate it especially when shooting hand-held at 150mm or with the MC-14 teleconverter.

m-zuiko-40-150mm-1

The only thing to mention is that the 40-150mm makes your kit less discreet. From a distance, it doesn’t look much different from a D7100 with a 70-200mm f/4, especially from the perspective of a non-photographer. But you get less weight and more reach, so there is a benefit if we want to compare it to a medium-sized DSLR kit. I actually wrote a specific article about this topic recently which you can read here.

Given the size of the 40-150mm, Olympus also includes a tripod ring mount to achieve a better balance when using a tripod. The mount can of course be removed (you will have to unmount the lens from the camera to remove it).

Finally, there is the MC-14 1.4x teleconverter, the first developed for MFT lenses. It is relatively flat (14.7mm) so using it won’t affect the size of your system. It features a very similar build quality to the lens with an all-metal finish. The front lens protrudes from the converter, a design that will limit its compatibility to the Olympus 40-150mm and upcoming 300mm f/4. It won’t work with other MFT telephoto lenses.

m-zuiko-40-150mm-4


Image Quality

I’ll admit that I had trouble finding something wrong with the performance of this lens. I could easily keep this chapter very short and tell you that the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro produces stunning images with great sharpness (even at its fastest aperture), bokeh, micro contrast and colour rendition. It isn’t a premium lens primarily because of its build or its price, but because of the quality it can deliver.

E-M1, 1/400, f/ 56/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/400, f/ 5.6, ISO 200 – 190mm – MC-14

Let’s start with the constant fast aperture of 2.8, which is certainly the main characteristic that will attract users in the first place. On a Micro Four Thirds camera, it becomes even more important because it is likely the aperture you will use 90% of the time to get more light and a shallow depth of field. On my Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 I rarely use apertures like f/4 or 5.6, and the same went for the 40-150mm. So good performance at 2.8 is essential for a lens like this, starting with sharpness.

In the comparison with the Lumix lens, I did some basic test shots but I think that images taken in real situations, like the ones you’ll see below, are actually more interesting to share.

E-M1, 1/200, f/ 28/10, ISO 1600
E-M1, 1/200, f/ 2.8, ISO 1600 – 150mm
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 28/10, ISO 1600
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 2.8, ISO 1600
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 28/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 2.8, ISO 200

Of course when you use slower apertures, the sharpness slightly increases but I haven’t noticed a big difference overall. The lens is sharp all the way through the different apertures and the various focal lengths which means you will often if not always keep it at 2.8 except on really sunny days. The only aspects that can affect your sharpness at 2.8 are a slightly inaccurate focus or some shutter shock (more on this later).

E-M1, 1/200, f/ 28/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/200, f/ 2.8, ISO 200

With the MC-14, you lose one stop of light and the lens becomes a 56-210mm f/4. I sometimes got the feeling that the addition of the teleconverter makes the lens slightly soft at f/4, so I decided to compare the same subject taken with and without the MC-14. As you can see, it is a little soft with the teleconverter but the difference is minimal.

At f/4 with the teleconverter, the sharpness actually decreases a little bit more at the longest focal length (150mm + MC-14 = 210mm) when the lens has to focus on a distant subject.

E-M1, 1/400, f/ 4/1, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/400, f/ 4, ISO 200 – 210mm MC-14

With closer subjects of course the sharpness looks much better even at f/4. From 5.6 you start to see the same sharpness the lens delivers without the teleconverter and the results can be really good.

E-M1, 1/160, f/ 4/1, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 4, ISO 200 – 210mm MC-14
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 56/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/160, f/ 5.6, ISO 200 – 56mm MC-14

A zoom so versatile (80-300mm of equivalent focal length in 35mm format) can easily become a tool you always carry with you, especially for work. From events to wildlife, and from landscapes (yes I love landscapes with telephoto lens) to portraits, the 40-150mm is one of the only lenses you really need.

As for portraits, the out of focus rendering or bokeh is another crucial aspect. If you are mainly a portrait photographer who shoots with MFT cameras, I would still suggest that you use prime lenses like the 45mm f/1.8, 75mm f/1.8 or the superb Nocticron 42,5mm f/1.2. But for occasional portraits, the 40-150mm proves a very valid option. The bokeh is pleasant and uniform with rounded out of focus areas. You can also take advantage of the 150mm focal length as it gives you the possibility of a narrower angle of view which results in a more magnified out of focus area.

E-M1, 1/100, f/ 28/10, ISO 400
E-M1, 1/100, f/ 2.8, ISO 400 – 150mm
E-M1, 1/100, f/ 28/10, ISO 400
E-M1, 1/100, f/ 2.8, ISO 400 – 150mm

Another very interesting characteristic of this lens is the closest focussing distance of 70cm throughout the entire zoom range. As such, you can focus at 70cm even at 150mm or when using the MC-14, since the minimum focus distance isn’t altered by the teleconverter. This expands the versatility of this lens even more because it allows you to take near-macro shots.

E-M1, 1/60, f/ 8/1, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/60, f/ 8, ISO 200

The colour renditioning and micro contrasts are also very nice and there is no vignetting. The lens is capable of handling any type of light. The only thing from which it might suffer are purple flares if you have a direct light source like the midday sun in your frame. However these are specific and non-recurring situations with a lens like this.


Autofocus and performance

A lens like this is useful only if its autofocus is 100% reliable autofocus when paired with your camera of choice, and here again there is very little to complain about.

The 40-150mm has a new dual linear motor that makes it extremely silent. When I used it during a contemporary dance show that often had moments without music, I could only hear a little noise if I leaned my ear toward the lens. So, yes, it is silent.

E-M1, 1/100, f/ 28/10, ISO 2000
E-M1, 1/100, f/ 2.8, ISO 2000

The autofocus is also very quick with the OM-D E-M1, among the quickest lenses I have used with this camera. It also delivers the same performance with the Panasonic GH4.

What surprised me was the performance of the E-M1/40-150 in low-light. Aside from dance show, I also decided to test the lens for the Electric Run 2014 where people participate in a non-competitive marathon at night wearing fluorescent and brightly-lit clothing. I was curious to see how the lens would behave in such a difficult situation where even other photographers with DSLR cameras were having a hard time. Surprisingly the camera and the lens worked really well and I only really found myself in trouble when the scene had a too little contrast or almost no light.

In AF-S, I didn’t have any particular problem with the smallest AF points on the E-M1. Overall the camera and lens reacted very quickly to every situation.

E-M1, 1/400, f/ 28/10, ISO 400
E-M1, 1/400, f/ 2.8, ISO 400
E-M1, 1/60, f/ 28/10, ISO 1600
E-M1, 1/60, f/ 2.8, ISO 1600

In AF-C, the lens worked better than expected and I manage to track the runners in areas where there was enough light to actually see something. Here the focus accuracy was less precise than in other situations but considering the overall light conditions, I have to say that the E-M1/40-150mm did a decent job. Of course not all the photos came out perfectly sharp–I had a throw-away rate of about 40% because the results were blurry.

E-M1, 1/250, f/ 28/10, ISO 6400
E-M1, 1/250, f/ 2.8, ISO 6400

The only limit I found with the lens was at its longest focal length, where the elements inside sometimes do that typical back and forth dance for scenes where you wouldn’t expect to have problems. In particular, it can happen in the presence of high contrast scenes between highlights and shadows, like an animal in bright daylight or backlit situation. This happens with and without the MC-14. In this case, the best fix is to zoom out a bit, focus, then zoom in again and maybe slightly vary the focus point if it does the same thing twice.

In low light, I also experienced the same behaviour where there simply wasn’t enough detail for the camera to focus or in a scene with specular highlights (but the latter is more related to the camera AF system). Below is another gallery of the Electric Run showing difficult situations that required a few attempts to get the focus right.

Regarding stabilisation, the 5-axis stabilisation of the E-M1 handled the bigger and heavier lens very well, and I managed to get acceptable results down to 1/3 of a second.

The only thing I noticed more than once is that the images can be more prone to shutter shock. This is actually the first time I’ve had some real shutter shock issues with an Olympus camera, though I know that many users have encountered this problem with other cameras, especially the Pen E-P5, in the past. But the good news is that there is a simple fix, which is to activate the Anti-Shock option in the menu (found in the E/EXP sub-menu). If you select the second 0 option, the camera will use an electronic first curtain instead of the default mechanical one to reduce any blur caused by the shutter impact.

I also recommend the use of a tripod in situations where you need to work with slow shutter speeds. Even though the 5-axis stabilisation works well, there might always be a couple of pictures that come out slightly blurry. Moreover, the effectiveness of the stabilisation is related to how well positioned and stable the photographer is. Most wildlife shooters use tripods for a reason, so I recommend that you do the same, especially with the MC-14, if you plan to do a lot of animal shooting.

m-zuiko-40-150mm-10


Video use

This kind of zoom lens can also be a nice addition to a filmmaker’s bag, especially for nature and animals. The versatility of the focal range combined with the close focussing capabilities and the MC-14 is really interesting for video as well. Unfortunately the lens isn’t optically stabilised so with a Panasonic camera like the GH4, a good video tripod with a nice and fluid head becomes very important to bring home nice sharp footage.

I did a short video during my first days with the lens at the Racconigi Park. I shot with the GH4 in Cinema 4k at 24fps. At the time, my initial impressions about the autofocus on the Lumix camera were less positive as it seemed to have trouble in AF-C mode. After another series of test, I actually discovered that I had chosen the wrong setting on the camera and the camera hadn’t been updated to its latest firmware. So I can now confirm that the 40-150mm works really well in AF-S and AF-C on the GH4.

 


Conclusion

There isn’t much else to say in conclusion except that which I said at the start: the 40-150mm is a wonderful lens. Along with having great optical performance and a versatile zoom range, it is also an important step forward for a system that is becoming more and more mature and complete with solutions that can suit amateurs, enthusiasts and professional photographers.

E-M1, 1/100, f/ 28/10, ISO 3200
E-M1, 1/100, f/ 2.8, ISO 3200

The lens gives excellent results in terms of sharpness, bokeh and versatility. It is certainly the biggest lens for MFT but don’t be fooled by its appearance. It is actually not that big for what it delivers.

There is of course an interesting alternative for those who don’t need that extra 50mm reach and want a smaller lens that won’t unbalance the kit too much: the Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8. And this is another positive aspect about the new zoom: Olympus has released something different from everything else out there to bring the MFT system a step closer to completion.

thumb-up What I like about the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro:

  • superb build
  • great image quality even at f/2.8
  • pleasant bokeh rendering
  • minimum focussing distance of 70cm throughout the entire zoom range

thumb-down What I don’t like about the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro:

  • autofocus can struggle at the longest focal length
  • sharpness decrease slightly with the MC-14 at the fastest aperture
  • its weight and size can cause some shutter shock (but easily fixed with the Anti Shock option in the menu)


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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!

  • zensu

    Sorry for such a late post but I found that Olympus now offers a ‘cosmetic ring’ which will cover the post that are exposed when you remove the tripod collar. It’s called the ‘DR-66’ and is relatively inexpensive $25 USD approx., I’m sure this small ring will make hand holding the 40-150mm Pro a lot more comfortable.
    Bobby

  • andy

    Have you mistyped the link :-o? The cameras you linked are not MFT but snap-shooters for totally different users (like grandmas and that like). For MFT system (read: best quality in smallest package), the EM-1 is still the best camera you can get!

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    With the E-M5 you will have a noticeable slower AF with the 4/3 lens than with the new 40-150mm 2.8

  • Hans

    Very nice review, thank you very much! … Question. I can pick up a 4/3 Oly 50-200 f2.8-3.5 swd + mmf3 adapter for $400 locally. It’s only about 100 grams heavier than this new gem and also gets awesome reviews. Is the new 40-150 worth the extra $1100? I’m shooting an EM5 and plan to move to EM1 after the holidays.

  • stan_whitt

    It might be a good camera, but when you look at consumer based reviews, Olympus is ranked rather low.

  • soundimageplus

    Perhaps if people actually read what I wrote – i.e “…that a 40-150mm zoom is hardly a challenge to engineer and the m4/3 sensor needs less high quality glass to get good results.” Your post and that of the initial reply have misinterpreted what I actually meant (no surprise there) and if you read my words literally you will understand.

    By the way, you are welcome to the last word, since I have no intention of pursuing this further. Getting far too like Dpreview for my liking. Someone will post a graph soon!!

  • soundimageplus

    I obviously meant 14-150mm f/2.8.

  • Turbofrog

    Well, to answer your question – yes, the lens on the Lumia 1020 does needs to be incredibly high quality to cope with 38MP on a 2/3″ sensor. And when you look at the corners and see the pixel quality at 100%, it’s clear that it falls down in that respect. That’s the whole point behind it’s excellent downsampling algorithms, to substantially increase the per-pixel quality.

    As far as 1″ vs. M4/3 vs. APS-C vs. FF, the resolving power required – as was mentioned earlier – is more a function of pixel density than of sensor size. Sensor technology also comes into play – the Sony 1″ sensor in the FZ1000 is backside illuminated (BSI), so the photosites have a better packing factor on the sensor with none of the sensor electronics occluding them (effectively increasing their size).

    In all those cases, we’re talking about the ability of the lens to achieve the same resolution. Doesn’t it make sense that it will be easier to resolve extremely fine detail when you have a much larger sensor? Isn’t that why there are still medium- and large-format using landscape photographers, after all?

    Take a normal “high quality” medium format lens and test it on a high-pixel density sensor like an 18MP Nikon V3, a 16MP M4/3, or a 36MP A7r and you’re bound to be disappointed. It was never designed to resolve at that level.

    An FF lens obviously requires more glass to produce a sharp image across the whole image circle, but there’s literally no justification at all to suggest that a lens with the same (or similar, anyway) focal length and aperture will be more difficult to make perform well on a larger, low-density sensor format. That’s simply wrong. And remember, we’re talking about the same focal length here, not the same field of view, so we’re talking about essentially equal lens design parameters.

  • soundimageplus

    The Olympus zoom isn’t a 70-200mm f/2.8, it’s a 40-140mm f/2.8 with a smaller sensor behind it. Plus If your argument is correct then the lens on my Nokia 1020 must be the best lens ever made since it has to cope with 38MP on a micro phone sensor, which is an incredibly high pixel density.

    Plus your argument then has to go that 1″ sensor lenses have to be much higher quality than m4/3 lenses, m4/3 lenses have to be much higher quality than APS-C lenses etc. Consequently your argument then makes out FF lenses to be the easiest to make and the poorest quality.

    Does everybody know this!!!!

  • http://capturedbyflo.com

    Why 40-150mm is not a challenge at f/2.8? It’s no less challenging than any other 70-200 f/2.8 zoom. Also the statement “m4/3 sensor needs less high quality glass to get good results” is actually incorrect. It’s the exact opposite. MFT sensors have much higher pixel density than larger format sensors, especially FF. Hence, MFT lenses must be comparatively of much higher quality than FF lenses in order to resolve many more lines per mm.

  • http://cinegain.com Cinegain

    Wow, awesome sauce. Let’s see if there’s a way to finance this in 2015. Although my Pana 100-300mm with custom lens collar serves me pretty well for the time.

    In meanwhile I will take a look at that Peak Design anchor strap thingie. That looks rather classy and nifty now. Currently I have a cam-in(.com.cn) detachable strap, with the little buckles, but it’s too fiddly.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    Thanks, that’s exactly the purpose of our reviews here. That’s also the reason why I like to include lots of image samples.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    True, a focus limiter button could have been a great feature.

  • M43FourMe

    Thanks for taking the time to review and post Matieu. Obviously no one lens will please all the masses, but with your help we can decide our own pleasures!

  • Andy

    Interesting to read your comments about focus hunting at the full length – I was disappointed to find that the lens doesn’t have a focus limiter which would usually be normal for this class of lens. Hopefully Olympus can add this feature to the cameras in a similar way to how Sony have done recently.

  • Erics

    You don’t get “more reach” with an EM1 and a 40-150 than you do with a D7000 and a 70-200. If you crop the APC-size sensor to MFT size, then you have a “270 mm-equivalent” lens and the SAME SIZE sensor area is being used. Granted, it’s f/4. But only with a teleconverter does the Olympus become a ~200 m lens at the long end. And now’s it’s f/4 as well. This looks like a great lens, but it’s still just a 40-150 mm lens.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    Yes it is.

  • http://www.FollowCharles.com Charles Le

    This looks sharp to me. Was this a waist high shot?

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    Just another 100% crop, from RAW, untouched. 150mm, 2.8.
    Then supper is waiting for me :)

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    The fact that it is 5.6 equivalent doesn’t justify that it has to be as sharp at 2.8. A 2.8 aperture is a 2.8 aperture. The equivalence you mention is only related to depth of field. Anyway, let me know what do you think once you try it 😉

  • http://www.FollowCharles.com Charles Le

    I think you understand where I’m coming from. Frankly, for the money I expect equal or better sharpness at the same aperture as my 70-200 on my Canon 5dM3 because the double depth of field advantage of M43ds. I certainly get sharper images more consistently with my 75 and my 42.5 than from my pro Canon lenses. Still, I reserve judgement until I can test out a copy myself or see more tests of subjects that are not close up. I suspect there is softness when focusing at subjects farther away than closer. That was the case with my 45 1.8 but not so with my 75. I hope it’s just a variance between copies because most people who buy this lens would want it to perform at the 150 mm end wide open. Considering it would be a 5.6 aperture equivalent that’s not too much to ask.

  • soundimageplus

    I agree with a lot of that, but in the UK this lens is just under £1500 from most dealers. That’s a lot of money considering that a 40-150mm zoom is hardly a challenge to engineer and the m4/3 sensor needs less high quality glass to get good results. It is the most expensive m4/3 lens and it’s just £79 less than the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 you mention.

    I don’t know about anybody else but for that kind of money I would want something special. I agree about the weight, but Olympus have put a ‘pro’ premium price on this lens and for that I think we should expect a ‘pro’ premium performance.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    As I explained in another post, it all comes down to your needs. The M4/3 system is perfect with its prime lenses, I agree. What is even more great sometimes for work is to use two bodies like an E-M1 and E-M10 with two small lenses: you can cover anything. I personally won’t buy this 40-150mm, not because I don’t like it but because I don’t need it. It is as simple as that.Since I own the 75mm I use rarely even the Lumix 35-100mm.

    But I do find the 40-150mm performance really good especially considering what it is. I think that a lens like this need to be tested seriously to understand its potential. Of course if we compare it to the 75mm or the 42,5mm it might not be as sharp. But isn’t this the case for almost any zoom lenses vs prime lenses? Sometimes I wonder what people expect from a lens like this. If we expect the same sharpness as a 70-200mm 2.8 on a D800 well of course we will be disappointed. For me the word here is versatility. It is sharp, let you cover a great zoom range, works well with the teleconverter and at the end of the day you back is still fine even if it is the biggest MFT lens on the market.

  • soundimageplus

    I was interested in this lens, but I have to say I agree with Charles. There aren’t many raw samples about but imaging resource have some and the 75mm or 45mm ‘bite’ just isn’t there. Low contrast?

    Now it would be surprising if it has an equivalent performance to the 75mm because this is a VERY ambitious lens. I can’t think of any other lens in any format that covers these focal lengths at f/2.8. One of the reasons I suspect that Panasonic went for 35-100mm.

    It’s my personal view but I think m4/3 succeeds when it offers a distinct alternative to larger systems. I think it’s less successful when it tries to equal or better larger format options and this move towards ‘professional’ m4/3 which at first I thought would be interesting, seems to be to be stalling somewhat.

    The need to work with the small sensor and the often repeated desire of m4/3 users to keep the system (relatively) small seems to be leading to some compromises. And of course this long fast lens area is a speciality of DSLR’s. With, of course, the increase in size, weight and price. But then it’s no accident that the lenses are like that. And maybe huge focal length range, fast aperture and small footprint isn’t a combination that’s going to work.

    The 4K video footage for example doesn’t compare well with what I’ve seen from my Panasonic FZ1000 and that camera / lens combination isn’t having to ‘work as hard’ as the Olympus 40-150mm.

    I can understand why they did it, but maybe Olympus could have been a little less ambitious and restricted the focal length somewhat. The market for a lens of this type is also VERY demanding. Nature and wildlife photographers and working professionals tend to have very specific ideas as to the quality of lenses with this kind of reach. From what I’ve seen, which is admittedly limited, I can’t see that the Olympus zoom would satisfy some of it’s possible customers.

    However, for social photography, where extreme acutance can be a hindrance rather than a help, it could work well. However, considering that a Sony A7s + 70-200mm f/4 is around the same price, with it’s significant low light advantage, is the Olympus a good deal?

    As I indicated for my own personal uses, I like m4/3 to be simpler, smaller and less concerned about trying to compete with DSLR’s. Because if you’ve got the money to buy the E-M1 and this lens then you have the money to consider a lot of other alternatives. And I suspect that if you are spending that kind of money, you would want to be satisfied that you were going to get top class results. And for me the results just don’t look as sharp as I would like.

    However, as I’ve indicated a personal opinion and others may think it’s just fine. But Olympus won’t be getting me to part with my money for this.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    As I said in the article I think it is more than fine wide open. Obviously the closeups of the animals have more details because the subjects are close so the lens can resolve more details. I haven’t found any problem with this lens in the many situations I worked with. Here is a 100% crop of a portrait shot hand held at 2.8. Straight from RAW from Lightroom. Focus is on the right eye. That looks fine to me :)

  • http://www.FollowCharles.com Charles Le

    I wouldn’t be just for portraits, it would be for when I need longer reach at weddings, but certainly it should be able to serve double duty. Do you think it’s soft wide open, for full body shots or does it just seem soft from the examples?

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    I would say that the D4 has certainly better ISO performance for indoor volleyball than the GH4. So I don’t think it would be equal also because the GH4 doesn’t have built-in stabilisation and this lens isn’t optical stabilised.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    The 40-150mm is a completely different lens than the 75mm or the 42,5mm. If you intend to use the 40-150mm for portraits only then you already own everything you need really.

  • http://www.FollowCharles.com Charles Le

    I have this lens on preorder but it seems to me these images don’t have the bite that the 75 and 42.5 has. The images seem a bit soft and that concerns me. All the portraits you took seem soft to me. The only pictures that were really sharp were the closeups of the animals. These portraits would have been bitingly sharp with my 75mm and my 42.5mm.

  • MaxXx W

    Hey Mathieu, I am using D4 and 70-200 to take lots of i photos of indoor volleyball games. Would this lens with GH4 be par with IQ of mine? Thanks.

  • http://www.mirrorlessons.com/ Mathieu

    Thank you Dallas!

  • Dallas

    Nice write-up, Matthieu! I will have to wait until next year before this lens makes it way to my shores.

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