The new Olympus 14-150mm gets tested by dpreview


DPreview tested the lens and it performed very well (if you consider the very wide zoom range). Like other Olympus MicroFourThirds lenses it suffers from average Chromatic Aberration which in any case is easy to correct in post-production. I bet Olympus is working to add CA correction via firmware update.

Read the review:
Reminder: Also SLRgear reviewed the lens 10 days ago!

You can preorder the lens at Amazon / Adorama / BH

  • Reza

    Admin, do you know whether Olympus is working in CA coorection in a firmware update? That would be great!

    I’d also like to see the 7 minute video recording limit fixed by Olympus in an update.

  • Michael Meissner

    There are two limits in terms of video length.

    The first limit is due to the fact that Olympus and most other camera makers use the FAT32 file system, which in turn has a max limit per file of 2 gigabytes. The AVI recording format that Olympus uses tops out at around 7 minutes for HD video and 14 minutes for SD. Given that Microsoft has bits of NTFS (and FAT32 using names other than 8+3) many camera vendors are loath to switch filesystems. If a camera vendor wanted to switch to a free source file system like Linux/BSD uses, then the majority of users would not be able to see the files when they plug in their memory card.

    There are other CODECS that could be used that are more space efficient. I suspect Olympus doesn’t use these either because the chip powering the camera is rather underpowered (I believe it is a MN10300) and the camera couldn’t compress the image fast enough (similar to the way if you turn on the grainy film art filter, it slows down the video record speed). Another reason is most of the popular CODECS are licensed, and Olympus may prefer not to pay any additional fees.

    Once you get past the file size issue, the next limit is that in Europe, if a camera can record more than 30 minutes of video at 600×800 at 30fps or more, it is classified as a video camera, and subject to a 4.9% import tax. Many of the other camera makers have two models, the US version which is unlimited, and the European version which either limits speed to 24fps or the max time.

    I tend to be of the opinion, that at its heart, Olympus understands still photographers but really doesn’t grok that people have different needs in terms of video. On the other hand, since Panny has more experience with video cameras, it understands the market better, but it really doesn’t understand how still photographers shoot (for example, not really supporting manual flashes).

    Though with some of the design (mis)features of the Pens, I’m not sure Olympus really understands prosummer photographers either.

  • Ark-kun

    >Given that Microsoft has bits of NTFS (and FAT32 using names other than 8+3) many camera vendors are loath to switch filesystems.
    exFAT roalties are rather small..

  • Reza

    Thanks Michael. Then a dumb question, how does the GH1 etc. pull it off then regarding the file system?

  • aaa

    exFAT is stupid. Works only on Windows. As long as it doesn’t change this filesystem has no future.

  • Michael Meissner

    The problem of changing the filesystem, no matter which filesystem is used, is some amount of gear won’t read it, such as the Photo kiosks at Walmart. Since everybody reads FAT32, it is pretty universal.

    Quoting from the GH1 page at Panasonic:
    You can record for a longer time without running out of memory because AVCHD stores less data than Motion JPEG while maintaining stunning image clarity and detail. A separate button on the back lets you instantly start recording movies while shooting photos, without having to make any extra settings.

    So the way the GH1 does it is buy using a format AVCHD that is better able to compress the video images, than the standard AVI MJPEG recording format used by Olympus.

  • SoundRich

    Sorry Michael, but your wrong.

    FAT32 allows file sizes up to 2^32 -1 bytes or effectively 4GB, but the old Video for Windows limits avi files to 2GB on older versions of windows. You could, in theory, make avi files of up to 4GB per file, but these would only work on windows 2000 pro or later (i.e. XP, vista and 7, compatibility outside of windows unknown). I suspect that Panasonic and Oly don’t offer avi files of more than 2GB for precisely this reason.

  • Reza

    But quoting from Dpreview:

    “2.0 GB for Motion JPEG, card capacity for AVCHD”

    How do they pull it off to go card capacity in AVCHD mode?

  • Michael Meissner

    I would imagine the camera splits the files at 2GB, and then their software probably glues it back together (Olympus studio and many other software suites will allow you to splice together multiple files). However, since I don’t own any Panasonic camera, it is just a guess.

  • Russ

    A solution to the file format limitation could be to offer the user two choices. FAT32 for compatibility, and some other format for extended lengths.

  • soundrich

    The 2GB limit has nothing to do with the file system used on the card. The file size limit for a FAt32 file system is actually 4GB. Technically, an avi file can be up to 4GB in size too. However, I think that the file size is limited for compatability reasons (Windows 95/98 can’t play avi files larger tha 2GB). AVCHD files don’t use the avi container for the video data and so isn’t affected by these compatability issues.

  • Miroslav

    Unusually weak review from DPR. There was no mention of video performance nor video samples. SLR gear noticed that the lens is best at around F8 but DP review hasn’t compared it at various apertures. Some links are not working, so it seems they rushed with this review.

    Anyway, this 14-150 seems to be the worst 4/3 – m4/3 superzoom, but also the lightest and the cheapest, so if you can live with its limitations, you’ll have more money and space in the bag for some other lenses. I’ll try …

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