As much as I love small kits, sometimes you need a little more reach.
The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 is a variable length lens offered in Olympus’ premium lens lineup. Like all the other pro grade lenses it’s fully weather sealed, delivers super-sharp edge-to-edge image quality. This lens highlights one of the unique features of the m4/3 system that no other systems is capable of doing. No other system is able to give this large of a focal range, in this small of a package. At only 160mm long & roughly 27oz, it offers a range of 80-300mm in full frame equivalent. To put that into perspective the Sony FE 70-200mm comes in at 200mm long, over 52oz, with a shorter focal range.
The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 is a compact, full-featured zoom that sports premium metal construction and professional-quality lens elements. It’s light in weight (1.67 lb) and fully sealed for weather protection, delivers super-sharp edge-to-edge image quality, and boasts the world’s first Dual VCM autofocus mechanism. An excellent complement to your fast primes and the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO. And lastly, it’s an internal zoom lens, so the size doesn’t change as you go through the focal ranges.
*REMINDER: This is from a m4/3 perspective so that 40-150mm FOV works out to a 80-300mm in full-frame.
LENS-MOUNT | Micro Four Thirds
FOCAL LENGTH | 40-150mm (80-300mm)
WEIGHT | 880g (1.94lbs)
LENGTH | 160mm (6.3″)
DIAPHRAGM | 9 blades, f/2.8-f/22
MIN. FOCUS | 0.70m (27.56″)
FILTER THREAD | 72mm
As with all the pro grade lenses from Olympus the 40-150mm sports an all-metal body and is equipped with their phenomenal weather-sealing. If you purchase the bundle it comes with a lens collar (meh) and a lens hood with a unique retractable design. The practical design of the lens hood saves space in your rig which is a godsend if you’re running a more compact setup. The grip is also metal, so it doesn’t lose the tactile feel over time like most rubber ones.
The lens hood…a beautifully designed accessory that other manufactures should implement. Simply twist to extend & retract as needed. No need to place it on the lens backwards when you’re not using it, then remove & flip over when you need it. The problem, however, is that because of how it’s made, this thing WILL without a doubt explode at some point. At first, I thought I may have had a faulty unit, but apparently it’s a pretty well-known issue that it’s bound to happen. And when it does here’s a link to a alternative that won’t break the bank. While it doesn’t offer the convenience of the Oly hood, it gets the job done.
The little details
Olympus loves giving its users the option to customize every aspect of their kit to fit their shooting style. The barrel of the lens features a function button that can be programmed to whatever you need, focus lock.
The focus tab provides a nice grip and smooth focusing with a great throw offering precise focus. The aperture ring is set to half stops with small tabs on the ends. It offers smooth transitions with a subtle click at each stop. Once you’re familiar with the lens muscle memory kicks in and you get a feel for settings based on clicks and where the tabs are.
Like with most of the other pro category lenses you have access to the manual focus clutch. Simply pull down the focusing tab and the lens will switch to a focus by wire system. It’s not the greatest but there are some benefits to it based on what & how you’re shooting.
Image quality is on par with all the other lenses in the pro lineup, sharp throughout the aperture range with very little chromatic aberration in extreme settings. As a portrait lens the huge range helps to overcome the inherent shortcomings on the m4/3 system. With a 2x crop m4/3 will always lag behind larger sensors ability to achieve a super shallow DoF, it just is what it is. But with a (relatively) compact lens that gives you 300mm worth of compression on an image, you now have a way around that limitation. Yes, it’s at 5.6 & not 2.8 but deal with it. There is plenty of separation between your subject and the creamy mess that is the background.
On more fast-paced events like sports/automotive the autofocus is surprisingly reliable. I’ve shot multiple sporting events with a low aperture at night & got a fairly high hit rate.
- Compact design for its zoom range
- FULLY weatherproof
- Retractable lens hood
- Priced fairly for what you’re getting
- Silent auto-focus
- Manual Focus Clutch system
- Programmable button on the lens
- Cost – Still on the more expensive end of the m4/3 spectrum
- Size comparatively to other m4/3 lenses
- No in-built stabilization
- Has trouble in lowlight
- Lens hood will implode due to how it’s made
Look, even if you’re not a fan of zoom lenses this fits into a unique spot with no other zoom lens matching it’s reach and size. This is a fantastic and versatile lens for sports & portraits that has very few downsides to it. If you are someone who likes the typical zoom trio (16-24, 24-70, 70-200) then there isn’t a better option than the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8.