A not so popular lens gets tested at SLRgear: The Olympus 40-150mm for m43 (+ Geometric distortion correction for Panasonic lenses)

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There are some lenses that are tested and reviewed by many websites and there are lenses nobody ever talks about. That is the case of the Olympus 40-150mm f/4-5.6 ED M.Zuiko which has been recently tested by SLRgear (Click here): “The Olympus 40-150mm ƒ/4-5.6 M.Zuiko fared well in our tests, offering excellent performance up to 100mm, and above-average performance at 150mm. For the PEN system user looking for a portable telephoto option to supplement the 14-42mm kit lens, they should look no further.

That is the very first test or article we found about that lens. Just a coincidence or nobody really cares about that lens? Who are the target buyers? The biggest plus point for that lens is the price in US. With $209 at Amazon (Click here) the lens is the cheapest Micro Four Thirds zoom. Sadly the price is almost double as high in Europe (244 Euro at Amazon.de). Would love to know what you think about the 40-150mm M.Zuiko!
P.S.: Check the price of the 40-150mm lens at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

M43photo.blogspot.com posted a very interesting article about the geometric distortion correction of current Panasonic lenses: “Many Micro Four Thirds lenses feature in-camera geometric distortion correction. Two examples are the Panasonic pancakes, Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 and Lumix G 20mm f/1.7. Both have pretty similar distortion corretion needs. When converting the sensor output to the out of camera JPEG image, around 10% of the pixels in the border area are lost. This is somewhat controversial. Some feel that a quality lens should not require further software correction. In fact, the lack of geometric distortion is a traditional sign of a high quality lens.” Read the article to see the comparison of the uncorrected and corrected images for some lenses!

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  • VilleV

    I think it’s a good lens for it’s price, but used ZD 40-150 is a lot cheaper and with the adapter it’s the same size as the mZD version. Of course you’d need the MMF adapter first, but a while ago you got MMF-1 free from Oly Europe after buying any Pen camera.

    • sderdiarian

      Agree, very similar specs.
      40-150mm: 72mm x 65.5mm,7.8 ounces
      m40-150mm: 83mm x 63.5mm, 6.7 ounces

      I’ve never seen the adapter thrown in for free with the body in the states, that’s a great deal.

      • bilgy_no1

        Moreover, this lens (both 4/3 and m4/3 version) is an excellent option for portraits. Best performance is between 70 and 100mm, which is exactly where nice, shallow DOF portraits can be produced. Even with a max aperture of f/5.

  • Reza

    I tested this lens about a week ago and it bested both 45-200 and 14-150 in image quality handily.

  • Miszczu

    If someone wonders if the focal lenght is given for corrected or ucorrected image, here is the answer (at least for 14mm 2.5):
    http://www.lenstip.com/273.6-Lens_review-Panasonic_LUMIX_G_14_mm_f_2.5_ASPH._Distortion.html
    Scientific approach of lenstip.com (english translation of polish site optyczne.pl) led to conclusion that focal lenght is given for corrected image

  • Nick clark

    It costs bugger-all, weighs almost nothing, fits in the palm of your hand, gives the same FoV as a 300mm full frame lens and offers perfectly acceptable image and build quality, what’s not to like :)

  • WT21

    Have there been any 75-300 reviews yet?

  • bunfoolio

    Got it with the E-pl2 two lens kit. I like it a lot

    • WT21

      THanks! I was thinking, though, more “real” lens review sites — lens tip, slrgear, photozone, etc.

  • Mal

    Agree, there are very few reviews of this lens and its 43 cousin. Both are excellent lenses that are much better than their price would suggest. The m40-150 that I have currently is extremely sharp especially at 40mm and wide open at f4, which makes it very useful.

    Every micro four thirds user should have one.

  • Atle

    For me this lens is a bit useless, although costing about 50% more when i bought it the 14-150 has similar specs, covers a greater range, is about the same size. If the 14-150mm is in the bag, I don’t need the 14-42, and i rarly have to change lenses.

    • wife

      I got the 40-150 for $109 at staples a month ago. How much did you pay for the 14-150?

      And you should compare the conclusion for both lenses at slrgear.com. More negatives for the 14-150.

    • Nukl

      Don’t underestemate the 14-42. It is much nearer to the 20mm Panny than to the 14-150 (picture quality wise).
      Actually I often have both 14-42 _and_ 14-150 in the bag… :)

      * I take the 14-150 if I there are good conditions and don’t want to carry a lot.
      * I take Panny 20 and 14-150 if I travel and cannot estimate whether there will be good conditions
      * I use Panny 20, 14-42 as long as possible befor switching to 14-150 when doing one of my projects where I want highest possible picture quality.
      * I use 14-42 when I whant a pocketable, versail camera.
      * I user 14-150 for video (very rarly actually)

      • Atle

        Frankly, I don’t see much of a difference at the same zoom and same aperture between the 14-150 and the 14-42. Maybe i don’t have a good eye for that stuff. I almost never carry the 14-42 if i already have the 14-150.

        Wife: when i bought my lens, the 14-150 was sligtly under 300 dollars, and the 40-150 was about 200 dollars.

  • JesperMP

    A guess:
    A tele zoom is not a typical fit for the smaller Olympus PEN cameras.
    Panasonic G and GH cameras are somewhat bigger and have a dedicated grip. which makes for a more balanced combination with a tele zoom.
    And since Olympus 40-150 does not have OIS, it would not be a good match for a Pansonic G or GH. So the Olympus 40-150 is a bit orphaned without a matching camera to sit on.

    Just a thought.

    • mahler

      +1

      I agree. It shows clearly Olympus wrong product strategy: releasing lenses with no appropriate bodies for it and omitting OIS so that at least buyers of Panasonic’s G/GH series generally don’t have interest in it.

      Worst of all, Olympus does not seem to recognize that they are on the wrong track, as they still think that PEN is enough.

      • wife

        It hardly matters what Olympus produces. They just don’t have the marketing dollars needed to compete.

        • Miroslav

          “It hardly matters what Olympus produces. They just don’t have the marketing dollars needed to compete.”

          How many marketing dollars does Cosina have? And how is Voigtlander 25mm F0.95 selling? Marketing is important, but you do have to have an interesting product.

    • cL

      Yes, it’s a bit big for smaller camera, and most people who bought such camera is because of size advantage. Not to mention the aperture is not exciting. Otherwise, when everyone was ranting about 75-300mm and how bad the aperture was, I already read the MFT chart and told you guys this lens should be a good performer. Obviously a real world test should prevail, but MFT chart is a good indicator of certain standard in term of sharpness and detail. I won’t say it’s better than its 4/3 cousin, but so far it’s one of the better lenses outthere for m4/3 (along with 9-18mm, both are closer to their 4/3 cousins than a lens with m4/3 logo on).

    • ILO

      I have E-P1 and 14-150mm. It is a pretty good match, 14-150 is lightweight and E-P1 has a plenty of grip along with high style. I do not know what you complaining about. On the other side I find handling of Panasonic pseudo SLR body (too small) with heavy 14-140mm somehow awkward. Of course Olympus 14-42mm is slightly faster than 14-150mm and more optimized for the range, but I compared JPEG image quality and did not find noticeable differences and actually preferred image generated by 14-150mm in good conditions in same range. I still prefer 14-42mm in close quarter with low light since no need for super-zoom, but low light performance of 14-42mm is nothing to write home about either. In general 14-150 is pretty universal, has faster and silent AF, better filter attachment and can be used most of the time. Distortions can be fixed afterwards. I will also add 20mm/1.7 if see one on sale since low light performance is what really sucks in all zoom m43 lenses.

  • Beomagi

    It was quite popular, but considered expensive at $200+.

    However when it was $109 at staples, it sold like hotcakes…
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1041&message=37797763

    • mahler

      I would not consider a 200$ lens as expensive. Your statement shows as to what level customer expectations have already lowered. How can we expect high quality, fast lenses from the manufacturers, if we are not willing to pay for it?

      • beomagi

        Not expensive – but not normal compared to oly’s other kit lenses.

        • cL

          It has ED glass at such price tag. Enough said.

  • This isn’t related to the article but I was just curious. What’s the difference between Olympus Lens on P&S cameras and Zuiko Lenses?

    • cL

      Lens with Zuiko brand (including one fitted on XZ-1) is made according to Tatsuno Quality standard. Basically Tatsuno is a fabrication plant that’s suppose to set standard for all other manufacturing plants Olympus owns because of its craftsmanship and skilled labor force who inspects lenses by real human. I think you can go on Olympus’s website and read about Tatsuno Quality standard. This is the type of process that Leica uses, except you get Zuiko lenses for much lower price tag.

  • Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking
    it and checking back often!

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