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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Lens Review

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews this superzoom lens designed for Micro Four Thirds system cameras.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6
Price : £399
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6

This superzoom lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras offers a 10.7x zoom range equivalent to a 28-300mm lens on a 35mm camera. It costs around £400 and sports Olympus' MSC silent focusing motor and a slim, compact and lightweight design.

Olympus MZuiko 14 150mm Lens (3)

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Handling and features

For a lens offering a zoom range over 10x, this optic is incredibly compact and lightweight, weighing only 260g. The lens barrel is typical of Olympus' consumer and kit lenses although the lens mount is metal. As a result of its compact size and light weight this lens is a perfect companion for the Panasonic Lumix G3 body used for testing.

As focusing is performed internally the 58mm filter thread does not rotate during use, making this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters.  Focus speeds are quick and the manual focus ring is well damped, which makes applying fine adjustments fairly straightforward. The lens has a silent focusing motor and is labelled as one of Olympus' MSC lenses, suitable for taking movies and stills. The minimum focus distance of 50cm allows frame-filling close-up images to be taken at maximum telephoto quite easily.

Olympus MZuiko 14 150mm Lens (7)

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Performance

At 14mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already outstanding at maximum aperture. Peak sharpness across the frame is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8 for this focal length where clarity is excellent towards the edges of the frame, while it remains outstanding in the centre.

With the zoom set to 45mm, sharpness levels are still outstanding in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture and the lens performs excellently towards the edges of the frame. Peak sharpness across the frame is achieved at f/8 for this focal length and sharpness is outstanding from edge to edge.

Finally, at 150mm, there is a slight drop in performance, but sharpness is still excellent in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture and very good towards the edges of the frame.

Resolution @ 14mm
Resolution @ 14mm
Resolution @ 45mm
Resolution @ 45mm
Resolution @ 150mm
Resolution @ 150mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on aPanasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are well controlled at all but the widest end of the zoom when stopped down. At 14mm, fringing starts to exceed one pixel width at f/11 and gets more severe as the aperture is stopped down.

Chromatic aberration @ 14mm
Chromatic aberration @ 14mm
Chromatic aberration @ 45mm
Chromatic aberration @ 45mm
Chromatic aberration @ 150mm
Chromatic aberration @ 150mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc. to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is constant throughout the zoom range. Corners are one stop darker than the image centre throughout the zoom range at maximum aperture. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down by one stop from maximum throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is very well controlled for a superzoom lens. Imatest detected 1.7% barrel distortion at 14mm and a negligible amount of pincushion at 150mm. This low level shouldn't pose many issues, but if absolutely straight lines are needed, you'll be glad to know that it should be relatively straightforward to correct as the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame.

No lens hood is supplied as standard with this lens, which is a shame. However, it is quite resistant to flare so a hood may not be required in many cases.

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Sample Photos



Value for money

Being priced at around £400, this lens represents good value for money, given that it is capable of delivering very sharp images throughout the zoom range. The closest equivalent available for Micro Four Thirds system cameras is Panasonic's 14-140mm lens, which retails for around £70 more. The Panasonic lens does include optical image stabilisation, which will be especially useful if the lens is to be used with Panasonic cameras.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Verdict

Superzoom lenses are not usually known for delivering excellent quality images, and are instead, normally considered a bit of a compromise. This 14-150mm lens from Olympus bucks that trend, delivering excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame throughout the zoom range. This is achieved in a lightweight, compact design that doesn't compromise on convenience either.

   
  The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-150mm f/4-5.6 lens is a compact, lightweight lens with excellent sharpness in the centre.  

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-150mm Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre throughout the zoom range
Compact size
Lightweight
Silent autofocus
Falloff and distortion are well controlled
Good value

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-150mm Cons

No lens hood supplied as standard
High CA levels when stopped down to f/11 or beyond at 14mm

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length14mm - 150mm
Angle of View8.2 - 75
Max Aperturef/4 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size58mm
35mm equivalent28mm - 300mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus50cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements15
Groups11
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight280g
Height83mm

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