40-150mm f/2.8 PRO
The Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO for Micro-Four-Thirds exhibits truly remarkable sharpness wide open at f/2.8 which only improved at f/4 and f/5.6. By that I mean that there was a slight increase in contrast and overall sharpness. Its effective equivalent (35mm) field-of-view is that of a 80-300mm. When I tested the lens I had the opportunity to photograph wildlife and the results were outstanding, although at a 3 pound weight when mounted on the E-M1 it is hardly a light weight solution. Olympus does make the much lighter 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II, but it is clearly not in the same category of quality or weight as the 40-150mm f/2.8.
The M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO balances very nicely on the E-M1 body in part because of the camera’s body grip. In use, it feels balanced and natural. I photo-graphed the birds without a tripod. The 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) along with the ability to use the lens wide open at f/2.8 or f/4 made it fairly easy on a slightly overcast day.
All focusing and lens zooming on the M.Zuiko Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is internal so it does not change in length to throw off balance while shooting. And the constant f/2.8 is great for a predictable aperture when shooting in fast moving situations.
The weight of the E-M1 camera and lens (with removable tripod collar) although a handful was not burdensome even after carrying for several hours. Its ease of carrying is a tribute to its design.
One of the great features of the lens is the ability to switch from autofocus to manual focus merely by pulling back the focus ring at the front of the lens. The shift back of just 1/8 of an inch is enough to switch modes. Beautifully done, and simple. It is called the Manual Focus Clutch and effortlessly allows you to switch from AF to Manual focus. I shot macro in manual with it. Hard stops at both ends of the distance scale make for fast setting. Minimum focus distance is approximately 19 inches. Again, the in-body image stabilization made handheld close-ups steady and much easier.
The lens is 6.3 inches in length and the front element is large, 72mm filter size. It is very well made—metal, dust and splash-proof—it is on par with other lenses from Nikon or Canon. At $1,400 USD it is probably one of the more expensive Micro-four-thirds (M4/3) lenses but it does not disappoint.
The Olympus MC-14, is a 1.4x Extender that is specifically designed for the 40-150mm f/2.8 is a compact beauty. It too is splash-proof. It adds about 3/4 of an inch to the length of the lens but changes the focal length from an equivalent (in 35mm) 300mm to a 420mm, and the f/2.8 aperture to f/4. Sharpness remains undiminished.
Lastly, you can see Olympus’ elegant and thoughtful design in the (included) LH-76 lens hood which can remain on the lens all day long. A slight touch on the hood’s base grip ring allows it to unlock and slide backwards over the front portion of the lens for easy carry or stowing in your bag. When extended it locks solidly in place.
This lens was a real pleasure to use and the results made it clear why it would the choice of any professional using a M4/3 telephoto zoom.
November 12, 2015
Barn Owl photographed with the M.Zuiko 40-150mm PRO at f/2.8, 1/1000 sec., ISO 200. Olympus RAW files were processed at default settings in Adobe Camera Raw. No sharpening or noise reduction was applied.
Two Harris Hawks (shown below) with maximum size detail crops of image. The Hawks were photographed at f/3.5, 1/1600 sec., ISO 200. Olympus RAW files were processed at default settings in Adobe Camera Raw. No sharpening or noise reduction was applied.
Barn Owl shown full-frame (immediately below) with 100% crops detailed below. Tree branch (A) is a detail from the far right of the frame, and shows how the sharpness of f/2.8 extends to the edge of the frame. Exposure was f/2.8 at 1/4000 sec., and ISO 200. Olympus RAW files were processed at default settings in Adobe Camera Raw. No sharpening or noise reduction was applied.
To switch the lens from AF to manual focus just pull back the Manual Focus Clutch to reveal the numerical focus scale that is normally hidden. The 40-150mm PRO focuses down to 19 inches.
The M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO with its supplied hood fully extended and retracted.
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