Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO Lens Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3.
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.


Finally, the review sample for the long awaited Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO lens has arrived, and I have found some time to go out and shoot loads of images with it. This marks the release of the second M,Zuiko Pro lens line-up, the first being the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8. 



Here is a super brief summary of the key highlights of M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO lens:

1) Very Small and Lightweight telephoto zoom lens - half the size and weight of Canon and Nikon's 70-200mm F2.8 lenses

2) Full Weather Sealing - splashproof, dustproof and freezeproof

3) Superb, sophisticated optics design - featuring 5 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) elements, one super ED lens, one EDA (extra low dispersion aspherical) lens and one HR (high refractive index and dispersion) lens. 

4) World's first Dual Voice Coil Motor (VCM) Focusing Mechanism, for super fast AutoFocus

5) Great Close-Up Shooting Capability, almost pseudo macro - minimum focusing distance at 50cm from the front element of the lens, with magnification of 0.41x. 

If you have not read my full introduction to the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens, kindly do so here (click) before proceeding with this blog entry. 

You may find the full specification of the lens at Olympus' official site here (click). 

I have written previously about the key highlights of the pro lens and my initial thoughts. I will not be repeating myself again here and in this particular blog entry I will jump straight into discussing the results and findings I have gathered based on my 2 full day shooting experience with the M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro lens. For my review images, I have used the OM-D E-M1 body, with the HLD-7 battery grip holder attached to it at all times. Unfortunately I do not have the new telecoverter MC-14 with me at this moment, and I shall be testing the teleconverter separately in near future. 

So what did I do with the lens for the past 2 days?

I went to Zoo Negara, since it was the easiest access I have for animals, or anything resembling wildlife, which I believe this lens will be used for. Considering I grew up in a city/urban environment there is no way I am venturing into the jungle and get eaten by snakes. Or crocodiles. So I figured zoo would be the best place to try out the general capabilities of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro, and they even had a newly opened butterfly garden inside the zoo, which was convenient for me to test the close up shooting ability of the lens. The second day was spent shooting portraiture, which I must say I am not very good at. I seldom shoot an arranged portrait of a model, but I do have experience shooting strangers on the street. I don't think zooming in across the street would do my lens test any good, and this lens is just not the right lens for the usual street shooting tasks. Therefore I arranged a model, Nicole whom I have worked with before in an Olympus event, and spent half a day blasting the shutter away on her. I have also walked around the city area with this lens, shooting whatever that caught my attention. 

150mm, 1/640sec, F2.8, ISO500

150mm, 1/1000sec, F2.8, ISO1600



150mm, 1/1250sec, F2.8, ISO3200

150mm, 1/250sec, F4, ISO200

135mm, 1/400sec, F4, ISO200

150mm, 1/640sec, F2.8, ISO500

130mm, 1/100sec, F4, ISO640

LENS SHARPNESS

Let's start with something that everyone wants to know about the lens: how sharp is the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens?

Looking at the MTF chart, the sharpness of this lens surpasses even the legendary Super High Grade ZD 150mm F2, and my expectation was indeed very high. I have shot enough images to conclude that the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro is extremely sharp, even at wide open aperture F2.8. The amout of fine detail this lens is able to resolve is amazing, with plenty of micro-contrast. Every single image I have shot with this lens came out richly detailed and there were a few moments I thought I was actually seeing results similar to what I would expect coming from the M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 lens! 

Shooting at wide 40mm, all the way to 150mm, the lens showed no sign of softness, and I had a difficult time figuring which focal length was the optimum (I gave up). And like all Olympus M.Zuiko lenses the lens is already very sharp at wide open aperture F2.8, and it is even better at F3.5 and F4, which I often stopped down to when shooting subjects in near distance to achieve sufficient depth of field. The sharpness is also uniform from edge to edge of the frame, showing no corner softness. 

I know for sure that this lens is sharper than the 45mm f1.8, even without doing any side by side comparison. However, I would be very intrigued to find out if it performs better than the highly regarded 75mm F1.8 lens, perhaps in another blog extension of this review which I do intend to do (the review extension is now updated, go here)

You will see from the many 100% crops shown in this blog that Olympus is second to none when producing high performance zoom lenses. 


QUALITY OF BOKEH

One of the big advantages of using a long lens is the ability to render shallower depth of field, blurring the background off, allowing for subject isolation from cluttered environment, if necessary. The quality of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro lens' bokeh does not disappoint, creating creamy, buttery smooth blurred out of focus area. The subjects in focus was easily "popped" out of the bokeh background, and looking three-dimensional. 

150mm, 1/250sec, F4.5, ISO200

100% crop from previous image

150mm, 1/320sec, F2.8, ISO500

100% from previous image

150mm, 1/320sec, F2.8, ISO500

150mm, 1/250sec, F2.8, ISO800

100% Crop from previous image

150mm, 1/400sec, F5, ISO500

100% crop from previous image

150mm, 1/500sec, F3.5, ISO200

150mm, 1/640sec, F3.5, ISO200

150mm, 1/500sec, F4.5, ISO200

AUTOFOCUS PERFORMANCE

In this session, I have only managed to test out the Single-Focusing (S-AF) of the lens. I shall make a note to try out the continuous focusing (with tracking) capability in near future. 

The focusing, was blazing fast. The M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO did not show any hesitation, grabbing focus almost instantaneously in all shots. The focusing was definitely faster than what I have experienced from shooting with the older Zuiko Digital 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 in E-5 previously. It was fast to focus from far to near (and vice versa) and there was not much difference noticed shooting at various focal lengths. The focusing just works, and never failed me even once. (if it did, it was my own error, placing the focusing point at wrong area). The fast focusing was achieved by the Dual VCM (Voice Coil Motor) mechanism built into the lens, having two separate motors to drive the many glasses inside the lens for fast focusing. Whatever that was, it worked very well. 

Some examples from the zoo shooting session, the tiger, both swimming in water, and walking on land, were moving rather fast. I just kept refocusing (half-press shutter button, until I heard the "teet-teet" AF confirmation sound) and I managed to get all shots in focus, even when the tigers were moving rapidly. Similarly was done for the butterflies, as they did not stay still on the flowers at all, they were floating and moving around and I had to constantly refocus to ensure images were not out of focus. An important note: you must quickly (instantly, with no delay) fully press the shutter button once you have heard the "teet-teet" sound. If you waited even for half a second, the insect or animal may have moved a few inches away from the locked AF area and your images will be soft. 

Not only was the lens superbly fast, the focusing accuracy was admirable. I do not see much focusing errors, and even if there was, it happened so rarely that it was negligible. The main contributing factor to sharp images is focusing accuracy, and many DSLRs actually do suffer from back and front focusing issues, since they utilize phase-detect AF system. In theory (and proven in practice now that I have so many images here to show) the contrast detect yields much higher accuracy in focusing, which Micro Four Thirds system is using. You can just touch the screen (touch AF to shoot immediately) to focus, or take images instantly, and you will realize how fast the focusing is.

Another item worth mentioning, the focusing was completely silent!


CLOSE UP SHOOTING CAPABILITIES

The M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens is able to shoot at minimum focusing distance of 50cm from the front of the lens to the subject, which is very respectable for a tele-zoom lens of this category. Rival competitor's lenses can only do 1.2-1.5m closest focusing distance. Having such close shooting distance allows interesting tele-macro shots, and it was indeed interesting to see this lens able to shoot up to 0.41x magnification factor. 

Although this is not a macro lens, which it is not intended to be, the close up shooting is a huge welcome, and a long tele close up shot can be quite interesting, creating very compressed shot with very little background, amplifying the subject isolation. I could go very near to the subjects, for example the butterfly shots, as well as the few images as shown after this paragraph. One disadvantage of using long lens for close up shooting is the need to narrow down the aperture to achieve more depth of field, which is often an issue (not having enough zone in focus). The longer you zoom and the nearer you are to the subject the shallower the depth of field. 



45mm, 1/50sec, F2.8, ISO400

150mm, 1/40sec, F4, ISO1250

40mm, 1/40sec, F8, ISO500

150mm, 1/160sec F3.5, ISO800

100% crop from previous image

64mm, 1/25sec, F2.8, ISO1600

150mm, 1/800sec, F5.6, ISO200

85mm, 1/800sec, F5.6, ISO200

48mm, 1/200sec, F5.6, ISO200

100% Corner Crop from previous image

100% corner crop from previous image

LENS HANDLING

The M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens is perhaps the largest and heaviest of all M.Zuiko lenses up to date. Nevertheless, you acquire a long reach equivalent to 300mm in 35mm format, and a constant F2.8 aperture opening throughout the zoom range. The lens also has internal focusing and zooming mechanism, meaning the lens does not extend, or rotate when zooming and focusing. An equivalent offering from whichever DSLR equivalent lens would be far larger than this, and surely weigh much heavier (at least twice as heavy). 

The lens is very well built, feeling solid and confident in hand. The build quality is top notch, and the design is in-line with the "Pro" line-up, very similar as the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens. 

I knew that handling this lens, I will need the HLD-7 Battery Grip Holder on the OM-D E-M1, and I was not wrong. With the HLD-7, the lens felt comfortable to hold, and I was using the lens and camera combo for full day shooting. The lens did not feel out of balance with this setup, and I could stabilize my shots even shooting at shutter speeds slower than my comfort zone. If you are using this lens on E-M1 and E-M5, please make sure you have the HLD-7 or HLD-6 battery grip pack on the camera for better handling. Trust me, you need that extra grip. 

OTHER TECHNICALITIES


It is quite difficult to find fault in the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens. There is no noticeable distortion which could have been software corrected. Also, there was no trace of Chromatic Aberration found, which was indeed amazing, even at high contrast shooting conditions (the water splashes frozen in mid air, for example), which normally would produce ugly purple and green fringing. Again, this could be due to the superior Truepic 7 image processing engine, optimizing the technical corrections in camera. Whatever the method was, I was happy to view images optimized straight out of the camera, with minimal or no need to do my own post-processing to compensate or correct the lens flaws. 

SHOOTING PORTRAIT 

I must admit right from the beginning I am not a good portrait photographer and I seldom do portrait shooting, not the ones that are arranged. Yes I do shoot strangers on the street but those were completely different scenarios and most of the time the street portraits were mostly spontaneous I did not have to do much but just shoot whatever I found on the street. Arranged model shooting is still new to me, but I told myself to take up the challenge and do it for the review of this lens. So yes, my portrait images may not be as good as expected, but view them in the interest of finding out how this lens performs, instead of me exercising my poor portraiture shooting skills. 

I have always favored long lenses for portrait shooting (any type), mainly due to the background compression effect, giving me less background to work with, and producing cleaner, less cluttered image with more ease. Also, the longer the lens is, the better the ability to render background blur (shallow depth of field) which is flattering for most portrait shoots especially done outdoor. I was fortunate to have Nicole with me! She was such an awesome model to work with. 

150mm, 1/60sec, F2.8, ISO320

150mm, 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO500

100mm, 1/500sec, F2.8, ISO500

150mm, 1/400sec, F4, ISO500

100% Crop from previous image

150mm, 1/1600sec, F2.8, ISO500

150mm, 1/200sec, F2.8, ISO500

150mm, 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO200

100% Crop from previous image

150mm, 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO500

115mm, 1/160sec, F2.8, ISO500

150mm, 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO500

100% Crop from previous image

75mm, 1/640sec, F2.8, ISO200

97mm, 1/500sec, F2.8, ISO200


As usual I am providing you with FULL RESOLUTION images (JPEG, converted straight from RAW in Olympus Viewer 3), for your pixel peeping pleasure. 




I acknowledge that there are several important aspects which I have not tested for this lens:
1) Using the 1.4x  Teleconvertor MC-14
2) Continuous AF with tracking ability - I did not have the right environment to test this (no, I am not going to ask Nicole to run toward me, that is too.... weird). 
3) Comparison with at least one or two M.Zuiko prime lenses (45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 come in mind)

All of the above, I do intend to do in my coming review extension. 

So is this M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens near perfect? It certainly is. I am scratching my head hard to find the flaws, which, honestly I dare say, is almost non-existent. The lens is incredibly sharp, capable of capturing amazing amount of fine detail, with almost no technical imperfections (well controlled Chromatic Aberration, distortion, etc). The bokeh quality is excellent, and handling with E-M1 (using HLD-7) is great. Focusing was extremely fast and accurate, with respectable close up shooting performance. You have all that in a pro lens, which is weather sealed against the elements, in much lesser size and weight than competition. Furthermore  it is about 20-25% cheaper too. 

What do I wish this lens could be better? 

My only wish, which is a bit of a stretch, is for a longer reach of maybe 200mm instead of 150mm. I do not mind having to start at 50mm or 70mm, but having a default 200mm longest reach would make a world of difference for many photographers who appreciate it. Also, perhaps, an F2 constant aperture zoom lens? I know that by the laws of physics, demanding a longer reach and wider aperture can only mean much larger and heavier lenses. But hey, I want to believe that Olympus can do it, and they have been doing the right things in their lenses recently. 

At this moment in my personal scoring system (well, this is very subjective, so I am declaring this personal), M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 is the BEST Micro Four Thirds lens ever!!


150mm, 1/8000sec, F2.8, ISO640


125mm, 1/160sec, F2.8, ISO800


I will work on the extension of this review soonest possible. Stay tuned for updates! 


Special thanks to Nicole (the beautiful model)

Do support me by liking my Facebook Page here (click)

109 comments :

  1. Hi Robin,

    One minor typo in the Close Up Shooting Capabilities section:

    "Rival competitor's lenses can only do 1.2-1.5cm closest focusing distance."

    should probably read

    "Rival competitor's lenses can only do 1.2-1.5m closest focusing distance."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Robin,
    Great shots us usual from you. You can push the most of out Oly-Cams.
    Nicole´s shots are an eye catcher.
    Keep on going.

    BR
    Wolfgang

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Wolfgang! I am still new to many things in photography, female model portrait is one of them! Still learning and exploring. Thanks for the encouragement.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the review.

    I really could have used a 50-200mm replacement, but this will be useful as a substitute, for outdoor sports at a distance. I also used the 50-200mm during those sports events as a quick portrait lens, and maybe obviously this one should be even better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sakamoto,
      I am sure you will find this M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro to be very useful!

      Delete
  4. Great shots Robin! Very nice framing which I would imagine is easier to do with the zoom vs the 75mm. Would this lens be okay with the E-M10 with ECG-1 grip? If you could own only one, would it be the 40-150 or 75mm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words. I have yet to tried with the E-M10 but surely that will be in the list of things to do in my extension review. Hopefully I can shoot and publish the blog this weekend.

      Delete
  5. love the tiger swimming shot
    excellent lens, it will be the second m43 lens i buy after 45mm/1.8 i bought with my e-m5 (i use mostly legacy manual lenses, results here https://www.flickr.com/photos/domagoj-b/sets/ )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, that tiger swimming is my favourite shot too!

      Delete
  6. Another nail in the full-framers' coffins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear I will not go as far as saying that! But now we do have a great long telephoto zoom constant bright aperture lens (what a mouthful)

      Delete
  7. would be interesting to see how this performs doing action, only thing would be the inability of M43 cameras handling tracking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We shall find out soon. I will test that in my coming extension.

      Delete
    2. A strong statement... funny how the National Norwegian Rally Championship was covered with quality and ease by an humble OM-D E-M5...

      Delete
    3. Andrea, I do agree that the camera is good enough for most situations, especially with photographers who know what they are doing. Unfortunately, comparing to top camera such as Canon 1Dx and Nikon D4, the OMD still lags behind in terms of continuous tracking. We do have to be critical about this to nudge Olympus to improve it. Would you not be proud if we can say our camera is superior in AF one day?

      Delete
  8. Well done...and stop saying that you aren't good at shooting portraits. You have consistently demonstrated that it's one of your photo skills. Thanks for the writeup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am still learning! Thanks for the kind words. Lots more to improve on.

      Delete
  9. I thought your portrait shots were excellent in fact all of them are great. This lens is a little out of my league price-wise but very tempting. I wonder how it would perform on Panasonic m4/3s cameras. The GH4 would come to mind.

    Ron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron, I don't have the link right now, but I did see a post today doing just that. The lens was being used on a GH4 and the results were decent for video, not stellar IMHO. I have no idea however if it was equipment or user induced limitations I thought I was seeing.

      Delete
    2. Hi Ronnie,
      Thanks for the kind compliments. I refuse to test the lens on Panasonic bodies to avoid bloodshed in this blog. It will not end well, I hope you understand.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the info, Mike. Do share the link here when you have found it. I do want to see it and I am sure others will benefit from it as well.

      Delete
    4. I'm always reluctant to link another blog on a blog comment, but here is what I had seen courtesy of a link on FredMiranda. http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com/2014/10/06/olympus-ed-40-150mm-f2-8-pro-and-mc-14-teleconverter-first-impressions-images-and-video-samples/

      Delete
    5. Mike, not a problem to link outside pages, as long as it is related to this blog topic, and it provides extension of useful info. Thanks.

      Delete
  10. Thank you for posting this excellent summary review. I appreciate the time you have put into this and am confident that the information will be of great benefit to everyone.

    One quick question; Is the Cheetah shot (the one right after the reclining Baboon) shot through a fence? My assumption at this point is yes, and it's probably a chain-link type. I am seeing some odd patterns in that image and after looking for a bit it hit me that this must be the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi mike,
      It has always been my pleasure to shoot and share my thoughts here. Yes, your observation was correct, indeed the cheetah was behind grills (I would be fresh meat to him if It was not) and indeed, the chain link type. The lens had no issue to focus through the gaps, and surely there is noticeable blurring at parts blocked by the grills. Nonetheless I did make sure the eye was not blocked.

      Delete
  11. Thank you Robin for posting this great mini review…The included images make it TOPS!…I have been teetering for several months on going full on M4/3 and finally dumping most of my larger gear… with this tele zoom, I think I can finally reduce my equipment inventory…Not to mention packing a much smaller travel bag..LOL Now I just have to wait for the lens to show up in stores here in Bangkok…
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words! I am very sure the lens is coming very soon.

      Delete
  12. Those wanting 200 mm will just buy the 1.4 converter. Zoo photo eyes..WOW!
    BOB for wife CATHY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true indeed, I have yet to test the teleconverter, I hope it is good!

      Delete
  13. Whoa! Super sharp photos mate. Would also like to see how fast the lens can respond to fast action shots or bird in flight photo's if u have time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind comments. I will make time.

      Delete
  14. Finally Robin, a 40-150mm f2.8 lens review besides Petka Potka's. Great Job as usual for satisfying my gear lust. The BIG question is when is the LENS coming to MALAYSIA ??? Also great model shots, so stop belittling yourself regarding your portraiture skills - we can arrange to shoot together with the lens in your hands though ? Maybe the 45mm, 75mm, 40-150mm f2.8 shootout? Facebook me Bro. I have just bought myself a second EM1 body just for this great lens. Keep on rocking !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will let you know soon. Thanks for the kind words. The lens is surely coming very soon.

      Delete
  15. Hi Robin,
    Awesome images and thanks for sharing those images with us. This lens surely in my lens list for my next lens purchase. As my wife said, if you want to get really wet, lets dive.
    May you have a great day.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words John. The lens is fantastic! Considering you shoot plenty of events, I am sure it is useful.

      Delete
  16. Looking forward to your comparison among the 45mm, 75mm and the 40-150.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I might just compare it against 75mm, since we can all agree that 75mm is sharper than 45mm.

      Delete
  17. It really a Nice lens. Nice color, Nice bokeh and Nice sharpness even open wide on f2.8.
    And ur portrait shot is Nice too, u strong in finding the "light".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sapphire! Still learning and improving on portrait shooting. Lighting is important in all kinds of photography! Learned a lot from shooting on the street.

      Delete
  18. Let me know when and I will bring my 75mm f1.8 along Robin.

    ReplyDelete
  19. That Bokeh and rendering, superb sexy.

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  20. Those wanting 200 mm will buy the 1.4X converter. Wow is all I can say. Anxious to see if your next review shows this pro zoom can replace 3 primes: 45mm 60mm and 75mm.
    Very impressive photos. At the zoo the eyed have it.
    Bob for wife cathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am also curious to find out how good the tele converter is. Can't wait to shoot with the lens again.

      Delete
  21. Nice photo's they made me want this lens even more. I was at a concert tonight and I was watching a professional photographer taking shots with a Canon system. For a few moments he was standing right next to me and I watched him work, It was very crowded and I kept thinking how much nicer a OM-D rig with this lens would have been in this shooting situation as it wouldn't be near as bulky as the Canon. I also noticed he kept taking his off the viewfinder and check his LCD right after the shot, here I think the EVF is superior as I get that glimpse of my shot right in the viewfinder and I can just keep shooting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ken,
      you were right about the two most important advantages of using the Micro Four Thirds system, the smaller/lighter solution, and the Electronic Viewfinder!

      Delete
  22. Another great set of images, Robin! If there is one thing I love about your reviews, it is that you clearly used the lens to make some great images!

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  23. Wow, nice pictures Robin, I'm hoping I get mine, here in the Canary Islands will take to get a little more, but I'm impressed with the quality of the optics, thank you very much for your review !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vicente,
      Thanks for the kind comments. I am sure you will love the lens!

      Delete
  24. Olympus is so accurate that we discover the bad makeup on the model...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. eh don't say so loud... she might be reading haha

      Delete
  25. Thanks Robin. You gave your position away in the eye of the Pelican.....my kids liked seeing that!

    The review just helped gain approval for the purchase of this lens from my Minister of Finance (helps that it's my birthday today ;) )! No chance you could arrange one to be sent to Muar by Friday!??? No chance to visit KL this trip, and we are leaving via Singapore on Sunday.....I'll do the C-AF testing for you in Abu Dhabi next weekend at a rugby tournament, just to help out lah.

    Seriously, this lens looks awesome. I was in two minds about it, but some recent personal wildlife photography with the 75-300 and then seeing Peta Polka's and your images have convinced me to upgrade to this, and later the 300/4 as well.

    Well done Olympus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Tom! Why are you not stopping at KL??
      The lens is not on sale yet I am afraid, so no lens for you in Muar. I am sure you will love this upgrade. The lenses are getting better and better!

      Delete
  26. Hi, thanks for the samples, very convincing! One question. You can see a reddish spot on the models chest in the last modelling shot. I can't see it in the other pics. Post process touch up or a mid photo shoot mosquito attack :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erik,
      The images did not go through much processing, hence that red mark was there. Maybe a mosquito...

      Delete
  27. Firs time commenter, long time reader and viewer.

    Robin,

    Since the introduction of the EM-1, I've been more active at reading all the post on DPR Reviews M4/3 forum. This is where I came across your site/blog. I have to admit, you're one of the better all around photographer I've seen in a while and I follow your reviews when they are available. The review on the 40-150/2.8 is the best I've seen since I've been following this lens. I know that taking photos is only half of the battle and the other half is PP (or as we use to call it back in the film days, developing). I'm very interested on this lens + 1.4 TC and from what you provided, it is a remarkable lens in a capable hands. Thank you for taking your time to review this lens. EXCELLENT review and OUTSTANDING photos.

    I have a question, have you tried using the 2X built-in focal multiplier (DTC) with the 40-150/2.8 lens? Also in conjunction with the 1.4TC + 2X DTC to double the reach (600mm without the TC and 840 with the 1.4 TC)? This will still give a F2.8 at 600 mm and F4.0 at 840 mm, given my calculation is correct. I would like to know what you take of the result. I will not be printing larger than 16 x 20. The reason I ask is that I/m also interested on the upcoming 300/4.0. But if the result of the 40-150/2.8 + 1.4 TC + 2X DTC is good enough, then I can disregard the 300/4.0. I know that what's good enough for someone may not be good enough for others but I know whats' good enough for me.

    Again, Thank You for your time and keep the wonderful reviews and photos coming.

    Best Regards,

    Richard S
    DPR Review ID: one_oldman_4u

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Richard,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write here, and I appreciate your kind words. I am glad I found my blog reviews to be helpful to many who read.

      I shall not use the built in tele converter, which is nothing more than digital crop and upscalling by software processing. You would be getting similar results/image quality by cropping.

      Thanks again for dropping by and keep on shooting!

      Delete
    2. Thanks. Why do Oly put the DTC as an option then if cropping gives the same quality? What would be the benefit of the DTC then?

      Again, Thanks for the reply.

      Delete
    3. Richard, the option is just for convenience sake, and you will notice that it is buried deep in the menu.

      Delete
    4. Thanks again Robin. Happy shooting.

      Delete
  28. Hello Robin,
    thank you for your excellent review and wonderful photos. A friend of mine and one of the Olympus visionaries -Frank Rückert- also had the opportunity to make photos with the new lens. His photos are shown on his website http://www.pen3.de/40-150/40-150.html. From now on i will follow your interesting blog. Greetings from Germany.
    Hardy-Bernd Wagner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Hw Hw,
      Yeap, I have seen Frank's images. Wonderful stuff indeed!

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  29. Replies
    1. Thanks Tom! You should try it on your GH-4!

      Delete
  30. I really think, apart from how great this lens may be, Olympus and Panasonic need to team up and produce lenses that aren't just 'comparable' to full-frame counterparts but actually better! If micro four thirds wants to steal the hearts of full-rame shooters we need f2 [or brighter] constant zooms. We need lenses that full-frame could never have. I know I'm not the only m43 shooter who doesn't care so much about size... While that is a factor it stands to reason that no matter how big a lens is on m43 it'll always be a quarter of the size if it's full-frame counterpart. The thorn in m43 side is bokeh! We need ultra-bright lenses that are tack sharp and produce amazing bokeh. We're on the right track (Leica 42.5mm f1.2) but can improve greatly, I think.

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    Replies
    1. Give Micro Four Thirds some time to evolve. It is still a new system, but it is jumping leaps and bounds in terms of technology, For DSLR the technology is already stagnant, and we do not see much improvement in the past few years. And yes, I agree with you about the brighter zoom lenses, which I have mentioned in my "what I wish to have in the 40150mm pro lens)

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    2. Get an Em-1 and use it with the excellent 4/3 SHG lenses, which include a set of f/2 zooms. That said, some more Olympus native m43 primes faster than f/1.8 would be nice, but the ability to tote around a bunch of prime lenses with hardly any weight is a huge advantage.

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  31. the more I think about this lens, the more anxious I am to give it a try in my concert and event shooting. If it can keep up with that task I will likely sell off a big chunk of my Canon gear. Rapidly changing lighting, very dim lighting and often quickly moving subjects make for challenging conditions. I really want this lens to be successful in that venue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Mike,
      I have no doubt that the M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro lens can perform well in concert shooting conditions. I am currently searching for a chance to test the lens in such environment.

      Delete
  32. Hi Robin,

    For your comparison photos between the 45mm and 75mm, can you do a full body shot comparison? And maybe a full body shot using the 40-150 at the 150mm range?

    Something like this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RGW7t1v-O4s/VDLAlJ1024I/AAAAAAACHgI/YbnzfJ6MyrU/s1600/PA060180.jpg

    I really love your reviews, and as an enthusiast in taking running photos, I'd like a lens that can focus on a single subject, and blur out the rest of the people behind, something the FF cameras using a 70-200 f2.8 can do naturally.

    PS: While you're at it, maybe a 60mm f2.8 comparison between the pro and the prime lens.

    Cheers and keep the awesome reviews coming!

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    Replies
    1. I will most likely only compare with 75mm F1.8, since we all know that 75mm is sharper than 45mm. It is not easy going out to shoot with so many lenses and having to set ALL parameters the same (focal length, focusing distance, exposure settings, etc).

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    2. Understood and I appreciate the effort you're putting in, thanks again! Yes a 75mm comparison would be great, I've been eyeing the 75mm for quite some time but the price range is holding me back, it would be nice to see what one f-stop difference would make between both photos.

      Cheers!

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  33. Darn you! I now have to add another lens to my collection.

    Many of the shots have too shallow of DOF for me. I guess I can stop it down. Your pictures are once again amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And people say Micro Four Thirds struggle to render shallow depth of field!

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    2. Robin do you use all natural/existing lighting in these pictures or do you add any? The model you shot looked great, but I know it's because of your skills.

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    3. All available light. I think it is crucial to observe how the light falls on the subject, even in natural lighting conditions.

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  34. Exceptional shots, I think it's more the photographer than the lens.

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    Replies
    1. I am pretty sure a huge part was the lens.

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  35. Does the longer focal length of this lens affect the capabilities of the 5 axis stabilisation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far I had no issues with the longer focal length.

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  36. I'm looking forward to your 75mm comparison so I know if I would use the 75mm if I would buy the 40-150. But I'm really curious what you think about focus speed on the E-M5. The E-M1 is faster with (non micro) 4/3 lenses, but also with for example this 40-150 ?
    The lens is expensive and but when I need to also buy the E-M1 too for really appreciating the 40-150 it's a bit much as second camera system.

    I'm not going to do fast sport with this lens, mainly non-moving or really slow moving (walking pace) subjects.

    The balance remark I get it, advantage for the E-M1 but even with my canon gear some setups are really not ballanced and I get used to it. So for me not really an issue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn you :) I've just ordered the 40-150 with extender and traded my E-M5 for a E-M1
      So only question left (that will be answered in the next review I guess) is ...keep the 75mm or not

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    2. At this moment I don't see a reason to keep the 75mm when I see the difference between the zoom and the prime. Only the size / weight difference could be a reason not to sell it. I'm gonna wait putting it on sale until I have the zoomlens and feel for myself how "heavy" it is

      Delete
  37. Thanks for the review. It does seem a bit too sharp for flattering portraits, so may be more about nature and sports photography. Anyway, I wonder if the focal length changes considerably (gets visibly wider) when focusing towards its closest focal distance, especially towards the tele end?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely the function of any lens is to be as sharp as possible. Any flattering portrait softening can be added post-process.
      The introduction of this lens has made me decide to stay with M4/3 after flirting with Fuji!
      Great review (can't wait for the next part). Thank you.

      Delete
    2. Hey Timur,
      I agree with David, it is better to be able to capture more details, and discard them if we do not need too much, than having not enough.
      I have not noticed the change of focal length at different focal distances.

      Delete
  38. I love reading your BLOG Robin and studying your wonderful photos. No matter the equipment you use, you would be able to make it look great. This lens is indeed very exciting...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Antoine for the kind words. I do not believe what you said is true, because I know Olympus made great gear thus producing good results!

      Delete
  39. Hello Robin,
    Thank you for a great and informative review ! I'm a macro shooter and have a lot of fun with the Oly 60mm f2.8 which I chose mainly because of your review of it, thanks for that !
    One thing I miss a bit is a longer reach proxy/macro lens and I wonder whether this zoom could help in this regard... so I have a few questions:
    - if I do my math correctly, at its max magnification factor the field of view width would be about 85 millimeters, is that right ?
    - if you compare the same scene at that magnification factor between this zoom and the 60mm macro, how much different are the results, especially in terms of details ?
    - by the way would you know whether Olympus is developing a longer reach macro lens ? That would be awesome, and certainly bring a lot more of such amateurs to M43 !
    - and the "reverse" way: have you heard of any "super-macro" lens for the future, somewhat like the Canon MPE-65 ? I'm currently using a legacy Olympus OM 38mm f2.8 bellows lens with great results, but it's still cumbersome.
    Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for the inspiring photos !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Pierre,
      In terms of sharpness and fine details, if both 60mm macro and the 40-150mm pro were set at similar focal lengths and shooting distance (achieveing similar magnification) yes, they will have almost similar amount of details and sharpness. However, the 60mm macro allows much closer focusing distance, allowing marginally higher magnification (1x vs 0.42) thus, macro capability the 60mm will win, with no contest.
      Also bear in mind that to obtain the maximum magnification on 40-150mm pro lens you need to shoot at 150mm longest end, which is not easy to stabilize (60mm would be easier).

      Delete
  40. Great, thanks a lot for this very important info about sharpness and details between the 60mm macro and the 40-150mm pro !
    I'm almost sold at getting the zoom to complement my 60mm, but allow me to insist on the question of magnification factor: that's because I'm always confused when I read about such factors concerning non-full frame systems, as the factor's reference may be either the 35mm or the native sensor. In my understanding the "1x" 60mm macro is such versus the M43 sensor, whereas it can be said as "2x" versus full frame by taking account of the "crop factor". So when I take a picture with my E-M1 at max magnification with the 60mm macro I get a field of view width of ~17mm, corresponding to my sensor's width, and that makes the half of a full frame hence a "2x" magnification equivalence - if I'm not mistaken.
    Then my question can be rephrased like this: is the 40-150mm pro "0.42x" magnification factor versus full frame format, or versus the M43 format ?
    Again sorry for bothering you with that but I think it's important for macro-proxy amateurs like me.
    Thank you so much for everything !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the 0.42x on the 40-150mm pro lens is in reference to 35mm format, similar to the 2x magnification factor on 60mm F2.8 macro lens.

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    2. Thanks a lot Robin, now it's clear for me; btw thanks too for your great complementary review with the teleconverter, the 75mm and the parrot-proof E-M1...

      Delete
  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  42. Hi Robin,

    Very nice and useful Hands On review with great shots. I'm impressed with the sharpness of this lens at various focal lengths. I got the OMD EM1 with12-40 pro kit. I'm adding this lens to that family.

    -Siva

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  43. This may be a dumb question, but is it necessary to use a monopod or tripod with this lens and the OM-D EM-1? If so, do you have a recommendation? Thanks!

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  44. A very useful review indeed.
    Just a word of clarification on the matter of bokeh. You say: ‘’One of the big advantages of a long lens is the ability to render shallower depth of field...’’. It is, of course, image size, not focal length, that determines DOF. For a given aperture and image size, DOF is constant, regardless of focal length.

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  45. what is the 35mm equivalent aperture of this lens? f/5.6?

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  46. hi robin,

    great review, but there's one glaring error: you wrote "I am not a good portrait photographer."

    :)

    i like your comment about wishing they had made the lens go up to 200mm. this lens seems a bit redundant with the 45mm and 75mm primes. since i already own them, i might have preferred a 100-200mm lens (starting at 100mm rather than 40mm to keep the weight down and the optical quality up). that might have made it easier to shoot the moon, for example. although for shooting the moon, the forthcoming 300mm lens should be great. the moon, and birds. not sure how else i'd use a 600mm equivalent prime lens. i also wonder why they didn't make a 2X teleconverter, rather than a 1.4x.

    it would be interesting to compare the bokeh at f1.8 with the bokeh at f2.8. i'll have to try both with my 45mm and 75mm lenses sometime.

    thanks again for a great review.

    peter

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  47. Beautiful images. You are using an M1 and I have an M5. Would there be much drop off in quality with the same lens? (trying not to buy a new camera but upgrade my lens),

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  48. Nice review and beautiful images.
    I like your website and your reviews about olympus u4:3 gears.
    Do you plan to review the new lens M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II (http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/lenses/pen-omd/medium-telephoto/m-zuiko-ed-14-150mm-f4-0-5-6-ii.html) ?
    Nice job.
    Best regards
    Alex

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  49. LOL I did a photoshoot at the exact same place you did the portrait shoot! What a coincidence!
    Here are my photos
    http://adressgirl.blogspot.it/2015/02/a-lunch-date-outfit.html

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi, if I want to use this lens for stage performance shooting,i need to use single or continuous AF??

    ReplyDelete