Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R
The King of budget-friendly telephoto zoom lenses.
Most cameras are sold with a kit lens that covers a full-frame equivalent range between 24mm and 80mm, with some lenses getting up to 100~mm. This range is very useful and allows people to take pictures with a fairly wide angle of view, as well as subjects that are a bit more far away.
Telephoto lenses are what you’re looking for when you need the extra range.
The Olympus 40-150mm R lens covers a full frame equivalent 80-300mm range, starting where most kit lenses end and giving the user some much needed reach.
This extra range is ideal for sports and wildlife, but the tighter field of view and extra reach also allow for better subject isolation and some interesting composition options.
80mm on the wider end is not too tight, so this lens can work great as a walk-around lens, unless you need to take pictures of subjects that are really close to you.
This lens has a variable aperture, starting at f4 and ending at f5.6, which is fairly standard for a telephoto zoom.
While not great for low light photography, it will definitely get the job done most of the time. Keep in mind that low light sport/wildlife photography is a branch of photography that is extremely gear-demanding, so don’t expect too much from a 99/199$ lens (more on this later).
Build and handling:
This lens is basically the twin of my previously reviewed Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ (link here http://wp.me/p3QdQb-C9). The main difference is that this lens is a lot more straightforward in its operations, lacking any kind of switch. It’s an Olympus lens, therefore it has no image stabilization as it’s included in most of their camera bodies.
One negative remark about the ahndling of this lens: the zoom ring is not particularly smooth. Zooming in and out works fine but it defintely has a cheap feeling.
At 190g it’s a lens that you’ll hardly notice in your bag. Using good quality plastic definitely helps in keeping the weight under control.
I had to use quotation marks to introduce this paragraph. This is far from being a macro lens, but a nice feature of this kind of zoom lenses is that when used at the long end and close to minimum focus distance, it’s possible to take some nice close-up images of small subjects.
Disclaimer: I think that the image quality of each lens should be judged based on what kind of lens it is. Prime lenses give up the versatility of zooms in favor of better optics, contrast, more pleasant bokeh (out of focus areas) and a larger aperture. Also, I focus on “real world” performance, so in this and future review you won’t find charts, scores and stuff like that.
This lens hits way above its price range when it comes to image quality. For a short time I’ve owned a Canon 70-300mm IS which I quickly sold because images shot in the 250/300mm range looked rather unremarkable.
This Olympus 40-150 R produces images that retain a lot of detail even at its longer end, with good contrast and beautiful colors.
If image quality is your main concern, this lens is unlikely to disappoint you.
Autofocus performance is extremely important in this kind of lens. If you’re planning to take picture of wildlife or sports, having a lens that can quickly catch focus is extremely important. This lens performs good enough from that point of view.
The Olympus 40-150mm R exists in two separate timelines:
a) A timeline during which it’s sold at the regular price of 199$
b) A timeline that coincides with Olympus offers/rebates, dropping the price to 99$ at any of the major resellers
Obviously, unless you’re in a rush and need this lens RIGHT NOW, it’s better to wait until you find yourself in timeline b). Fear not, it happens quite often.
Another important thing to remark: if you find this lens second hand at 120/130$, the seller is probably someone who got the lens at 99$, used it for a while (or even left it in the box) and is now trying to make some profit off it. Purchase at your own discretion.
Needless to say, at 99$ this lens is absolute bonkers and it’s a must have if you own a M43 camera. Considering the really low price and resale ease, if you’re not sure whether or not you may need a telephoto zoom lens, just give it a try.
When the only way to nitpick at a lens is:”The zoom ring is not very smooth”, you know you have a good lens in your hands.
Extremely useful focal range, really good image quality, fair autofocus performance, all in a compact and cheap package. If you’re in the market for a telephoto zoom lens, you’re on a tight budget and yow own a M43 with IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization), this is the lens for you.
All images in this post were taken with an Olympus E-M10mkII.
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