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Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme finds out how this super-telephoto lens performs, with a zoom range equivalent to 150mm to 600mm it certainly has a lot to offer.

|  Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features

This super-telephoto zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras offers a 4x zoom range equivalent to a 150-600mm lens on a 35mm camera. It costs around £630 and sports a very modest maximum aperture of f/4.8-6.7 and is very compact and lightweight as a result.

Panasonic also do a lens covering much of this range for Micro Four Thirds compatible cameras. Their 100-300mm f/4-5.6 lens is more bulky, but has a brighter maximum aperture and costs only £425.

Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Handling and Features

Weighing only 430g, this lens is extremely light weight when you consider the range it offers. The lens barrel is constructed from decent quality plastics and the lens mount is made of metal. Although there is nothing wrong with the build, the wide zoom ring feels loose and suffers from zoom creep and it doesn't really feel like a lens costing over £600. The lens can be quite tricky to use on smaller Micro Four Thirds bodies, like the Panasonic Lumix GF3 used for testing, but should balance well on Micro Four Thirds bodies with a more substantial finger grip.

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 reasonably quick in good light and the manual focus ring offers a decent amount of resistance, 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 movies and stills.

The minimum focus distance of 90cm allows frame-filling close-up images to be taken with ease. Unfortunately, the modest maximum aperture requires some kind of support to be used with this lens, unless the lighting conditions are very bright, or your camera has a good built in stabilisation system.

Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Performance

At 75mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame is limited, with the lens actually performing better towards the edges at all apertures. Sharpness across the frame is good at f/4.8 and improves to very good levels when stopped down to f/5.6.

At 150mm, sharpness is excellent across the frame from maximum aperture and peak sharpness across the frame is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8.

Finally at 300mm, sharpness levels drop a little, but they still just reach good levels across the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/8 results in peak sharpness for this focal length, with very good clarity in the centre.

Olympus75-300mm MTF@75mm
Olympus 75-300mm [email protected]
Olympus75-300mm MTF@150mm
Olympus 75-300mm [email protected]
Olympus75-300mm MTF@300mm
Olympus 75-300mm [email protected]

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 a Panasonic Lumix GF3 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are relatively high throughout the zoom range, peaking at 150mm, where fringing can exceed 1.5 pixel widths. This amount of fringing will almost certainly require correction in image editing software afterwards, especially along high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame.

Olympus75-300mm CA@75mm
Olympus 75-300mm [email protected]
Olympus75-300mm CA@150mm
Olympus 75-300mm [email protected]
Olympus75-300mm CA@300mm
Olympus 75-300mm [email protected]

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 GF3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame isn't too much of an issue, although given the modest maximum aperture and the fact that the corners are around one stop darker than the image centre throughout the zoom range, it could perform better in this area. Stopping the lens down by a stop results in visually uniform illumination throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is well controlled and consistent throughout the zoom range with Imatest detecting between 0.35% and 0.46% pincushion distortion. This low level shouldn't pose many issues, but if absolutely straight lines are paramount what little distortion there is should be relatively straightforward to correct as it is uniform across the frame.

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 Sample Photos

No lens hood is supplied as standard with this lens, so it's a good job that it is quite resistant to flare. Shooting into the light may result in a noticeable loss of contrast though, so care may need to be taken when shooting in those conditions.

Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Verdict

When Micro Four Thirds first came about, many promises were made about the compact size of the system, and especially how the lenses could be designed to be more compact. This lens certainly delivers on that promise, but it isn't without compromises.

The modest maximum aperture means that the lens can be difficult to use in all but the brightest of conditions and the lightweight build doesn't really feel as robust as you might expect from a lens costing around £630.

Optically, this lens performs reasonably well, producing good sharpness across the frame, at least. Compared to other lenses compatible with the Micro Four Thirds system, it falls short of the performance of the best lenses available.

Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Pros

Compact size
Fast, silent autofocus

Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Cons

No lens hood supplied as standard
High CA levels throughout the zoom range


Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Focal Length75mm - 300mm
Angle of View4.1 - 16
Max Aperturef/4.8 - f/6.7
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size58mm
35mm equivalent150mm - 600mm
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus90cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsMicro Four Thirds lens cap (LC-58E), Micro Four Thirds lens rear cap (LR-2), Warranty Card, Operating Instructions

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17 Apr 2012 4:21PM
Why are all your samples Photoshopped?

I would like to see some straight-from-the-camera images.
theorderingone 18 2.4k
20 Apr 2012 9:25AM
joshwa Plus
11 927 1 United Kingdom
20 Apr 2012 2:28PM
I suspect that the EXIF has recorded that they've been saved from Photoshop - most likely this is because the photos will have been taken as RAW images and converted to JPEG with Photoshop.
theorderingone 18 2.4k
22 Apr 2012 1:44PM
I suspected that too? I just wanted clarification from boardhead as the only 'Photoshopping' is to convert them to JPEG quality 8 for the web.
23 May 2012 9:54PM
Quality 8?! OMGSad

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