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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Lens Review

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews this bright f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO
Price : BUY NOW£1,125
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus M Zuiko 40 150mm F2 8 PRO (10)
This telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to an 80-300mm lens used on a 35mm format camera and sports a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. The lens is also moisture and dust resistant, and is available from around £1300. In this review we'll take a look at how it performs.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Handling and Features

Olympus M Zuiko 40 150mm F2 8 PRO (4)

The lens barrel is constructed from a combination of metal and high quality plastics, with a glossy finish and the bayonet is metal with a rubber gasket to prevent the ingress of dust and moisture into the camera body. Despite the robust build and the telephoto range covered this lens only weighs 760g. As far as size and handling are concerned, this lens is a perfect match Micro Four Thirds cameras with a deep grip, such as the Panasonic Lumix G6, but it can feel a little unwieldy on smaller bodies, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 used for testing, when used without the optional grip.

Olympus M Zuiko 40 150mm F2 8 PRO (9)

As focusing is performed internally the 72mm filter thread does not rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. Sliding back the focus ring reveals a distance scale and automatically changes the camera to manual focus mode, which is ideal for applying quick adjustments. However, it is incredibly easy to nudge this by accident when removing the lens from a bag, or case, so care needs to be taken to ensure the lens is in the desired mode for shooting. A deep circular hood is supplied with the lens, which has a novel feature of being collapsible. By simply pulling the hood back, it locks into place in a collapsed position, making it easy to stow away in a bag. The minimum focus distance is 70cm throughout the zoom range, which is incredibly close for a lens offering a telephoto field of view like this. A removable tripod collar is also supplied with the lens.

Olympus M Zuiko 40 150mm F2 8 PRO (3)

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Performance

At 40mm sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, although performance towards the edges falls behind somewhat, only reaching fairly good levels. Stopping down improves performance across the frame, with peak sharpness across the frame being achieved at f/5.6. Here clarity is outstanding in the centre, and very good towards the edges.

Zooming to 70mm results in a reduction in sharpness in the centre at maximum aperture to excellent levels, although performance towards the edges is improved to very good levels of clarity. Peak performance across the frame is achieved at f/5.6 where sharpness is excellent in the centre and falls just short of this towards the edges.

Finally, at 150mm sharpness drops to very good levels in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture and clarity towards the edges of the frame drops just below good levels. When stopped down, performance across the frame improves, with excellent levels of clarity being achieved between f/5.6 and f/8 across the frame.

MTF@40mm
MTF@40mm
 
MTF@70mm
MTF@70mm
 
MTF@150mm
MTF@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 an Olympus OM-D E-M5 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are well controlled throughout the zoom range with fringing barely exceeding half a pixel width unless stopped down below f/11. This low level of fringing should barely be visible and should pose few issues, even in large reproductions or harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

CA@40mm
CA@40mm
 
CA@70mm
CA@70mm
 
CA@150mm
CA@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 an Olympus OM-D E-M5 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is well controlled for a fast aperture telephoto zoom lens, and shouldn't pose too many issues. At 40mm and f/2.8 the comers are 0.7 stops darker than the centre of the image and at 150mm, the corners are 1.2 stops darker than the image centre. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination across the frame throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is well corrected in camera, but without corrections applied, Imatest still only detected 0.342% pincushion distortion at 40mm being replaced with only 0.327% pincushion distortion at 150mm. This extremely mild amount of distortion should pose few issues for day-to-day shooting.

A collapsible circular hood is supplied with this lens, which does an excellent job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with loss of contrast or flare. Even without the hood in place, this lens is very resistant to flare and contrast levels are retained well when shooting into the light. 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Sample Photos

Value For Money

Currently, this lens is available for around £1300, which seems pretty good value for a lens of this quality, especially when the price of equivalents for 35mm cameras are taken into account.

For example, Sigma's 120-300mm f/2.8 S OS HSM is the closest equivalent for any camera system, which costs around £2690 and weighs over twice as much.

Panasonic's 35-100mm f/2.8 OIS lens is the closest equivalent for Micro Four Thirds system cameras, which is quite a bit cheaper, costing around £870, but it lacks the same telephoto reach. 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Verdict

The combination of great build quality and performance alone are enough to recommend this lens. The fact that it offers a unique zoom range, whilst maintaining a fast f/2.8 throughout is even better. It's capable of delivering excellent image quality too, and is even fairly reasonably priced. For the most part, it handles well too, thanks to its robust build and relative light weight and compact size, although it's worth noting that it still may be a little large for use with the smallest Micro Four Thirds bodies. On the whole, this lens is an excellent addition to the Micro four Thirds line up, that will win over many fans.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Pros

Excellent sharpness, especially when stopped down a little
Relatively compact and lightweight
Robust build
Dust and splash proof
Quick access for manual focus
Good value
Fast focusing

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Cons

Manual focus control easily nudged
May be a little large for many MFT bodies
Sharpness could be better towards the edges of the frame at 40mm

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is an excellent addition to the Micro four Thirds line up and delivers excellent performance.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length40mm - 150mm
Angle of View8.2 - 30
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size72mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent80mm - 300mm
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus70cm
Construction
Blades9
Elements16
Groups10
Box Contents
Box ContentsLC‑72D Lens Cap, LH‑76 Lens hood, LSC‑1120 Lens Case, LR‑2 Lens cap MFT (rear), Instruction Manual
Dimensions
Weight760g
Height160mm

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Comments


ChrisV Plus
10 1.7k 26 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2015 5:28PM
I know the hood exaggerates the size, but this does look a bit of a monster on the EM5 [and my EM1 isn't a lot bigger]. Ironic that it may actually balance better on a GH3/4 or even G6. It's the main reason why I finally decided to buy the Panny 35-100 instead - that and the fact I've got the 50-200 2.8-3.5 if I want really long reach on a pretty fast lens and am prepared to lug.

Would nevertheless be interested on seeing what the performance is like with the co-released 1.4x converter. Any plans to test that?

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joshwa Plus
6 817 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2015 6:04PM
Hi, we will be testing the 1.4x teleconverter when possible. Thanks

There are more pictures here:
https://www.ephotozine.com/equipment/item/olympus-m-zuiko-digital-ed-40-150mm-f-2-8-pro-5661/images

As well as additional sample photos, and photos taken with the 1.4x teleconverter here:
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-m-zuiko-pro-40-150mm-f-2-8-sample-photos-26506

Josh
StrayCat Plus
13 18.4k 3 Canada
3 Feb 2015 7:56PM
I hope the converter improves the bokeh, I don't like what I see in the sample images, looks more like what one would see from a cheap kit lens, or maybe not even that good; there's nothing smooth and creamy about it. Maybe you could put a little effort into demonstrating better backgrounds with this lens. The backgrounds in the samples would be a deal breaker for me.

Also, it goes straight in the face of the whole idea of Micro 4/3, it's big, bulky, and heavy; add to that the converter, and we're right back at square one, either an FX or APS-C system, I see no advantage in this whatsoever; sure, the numbers are great, and it looks good, but the M4/3 advantage has totally disappeared. I'd prefer an 80-200mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, or 300mm f4 on APS-C, heavier and bulkier, but much better balanced. Even the new Canon 100-400mm or Nikon 80-400mm would suit any nature/wildlife photographer's needs better.
Having bought this lens and taken it and the 12-40 to Norfolk at the weekend I can confirm it is a fantastic piece of kit. I have the 1.4 teleconvertor too and that is tiny - keep forgetting its on.
I think the two pro lenses compliment the Omd EM1 really well - I have the Tamron 14-1500 for buzzing around the town with when i need a bit more discreteness.
My friends have full frame and aps cameras - the 80-300 lenses for them are huge in this quality.
Paul Morgan 16 18.7k 6 England
5 Feb 2015 2:08AM

Quote:I know the hood exaggerates the size, but this does look a bit of a monster on the EM5 [and my EM1 isn't a lot bigger]. Ironic that it may actually balance better on a GH3/4 or even G6. It's the main reason why I finally decided to buy the Panny 35-100 instead - that and the fact I've got the 50-200 2.8-3.5 if I want really long reach on a pretty fast lens and am prepared to lug.

Would nevertheless be interested on seeing what the performance is like with the co-released 1.4x converter. Any plans to test that?



Its a baby compared to my old 35-100 Smile
lemmy 10 2.7k United Kingdom
6 Feb 2015 12:24PM
Interesting review. I've heard reports that this lens is as sharp as the best primes etc. In fact it is a good example of an MFT lens and decent value for money but doesn't break any new performance ground, rather makes the necessary compromises intelligently.


Quote: I have the Tamron 14-1500 for buzzing around the town with when i need a bit more discreteness.
That's a heck of a lens Grimbleweed - a 107x zoom (28- 3000mm equivalent) yet discretely small compared to the 40-150? If it's a fixed f2 aperture and is decently sharp, I'll give you 50 for it Wink

19 Dec 2016 9:44AM
I have used this lens on my Oly E M5 for over 22 months.

It is perhaps a little large for the body but I just support the lens with one hand and the camera in the other. I do not find it a problem.

I use 2 bodies. One with 12-40 2.8 and the 40-150 2.8 on other. Except for exceptional circumstances such as macro etc. the lens is rarely off the camera.

Whatever the shortcomings may be they do nor bother me.

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