If you shoot with a Micro Four Thirds CSC, the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO M.ZUIKO is ideal for wildlife, portrait and action photographers. It’s the second lens to join the Olympus PRO series alongside the 12-40mm f/2.8 wide-angle (£799). The lens has a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, which allows the photographer to not only capture images with a shallow depth-of-field, but also to use faster shutter speeds in low light.
Featuring a professional-level build quality including weather-proofing, Olympus designed this lens for use with its OM-D and PEN CSCs. But it can be paired with all Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras, which makes it compatible with Panasonic models too. Great news if you’re looking for a fast lens to combine with your 12fps GH4! What’s more, thanks to the 2x crop factor from the MFT sensor, the focal length of 40-150mm doubles to 80-300mm. This brings it into wildlife photography territory. If even more focal length is required, the lens can be paired with the Olympus 1.4x teleconverter, which increases the focal range to 112-420mm.
Handling & image quality
At 880g the 40-150mm is a heavy lens compared to the camera bodies it will be used with. Thankfully, a tripod collar is included that can be used to attach the lens to a monopod or tripod when in use for extended periods of time. At the side of the lens is a dedicated function button that can be easily operated when the camera is held up to the eye. The button brings up exposure options such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO that can be changed without having to lower the camera down for the main LCD to be viewed. This sounds like a minor feature, but when a skittish wildlife subject is lined up ready to be photographed, every split-second counts.
Benefitting from a Supersonic Wave Drive motor, the lens achieves focus quickly and quietly without any buzzing. The front element has been treated with a low-reflection coating to increase image quality, which is where this lens excels. Optical quality is impressive and images benefit from a high degree of sharpness. Our test shots showed this sharpness peaked at 100mm and in the middle of the aperture range (f/11), but even at the maximum aperture of f/2.8 it was impressive. Chromatic aberration is barely present and the bokeh produced at f/2.8 is attractive, making the lens suitable for portraiture. The lens features robust build quality on a par with professional lenses from Canon and Nikon.
For Micro Four Thirds users craving longer focal lengths, Olympus’s latest addition to its already impressive lens line-up is as good as it gets.
- Street price: £1099 (As of June 2016)
- Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
- Max aperture: f/2.8
- Min aperture: f/22
- Minimum focus distance: 70cm
- Filter size: 72mm
- Weight: 760g
- Visit: www.olympus.co.uk
This review was first published in the March 2015 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.