Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Got the Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6

As much as I like ultimate image quality, there is no such tangible thing.  Sure, you can buy a Medium Format system and tweak every setting but unless it conveys the emotions you feel, is all the work worth it?

Since I photograph sports, the Panasonic GM5 seemed an odd choice.  It’s tiny and because of that, it’s big on compromise.  e.g., the mechanical shutter only goes to 1/500 of a second.

At the time, I got the GM5 with the 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and the 42.5mm f/1.7 Power OIS lens.  I already had the Panasonic/Leica 15mm f/1.7 and the 25mm f/1.7 lenses.

For a while, I’ve struggled with telephoto shots.  Since I have a heart defect that is killing me, I can’t just run (or walk) where I want to be.  Sometimes, I have trouble standing.

Now, I have the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens, plus my Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 and SHG 35-100mm f/2.0 lenses.  Even the small Panasonic lens is rather too big for the GM5.

As the Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 is often available with a US$100 rebate, I decided to try it.  It seems to be the tiniest telephoto zoom lens I’ve ever seen.  Panasonic’s 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 may be smaller but I had so little luck with the 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 that I didn’t want to spend the extra money.  Besides, the extra 50mm of reach was useful.

The salesperson referred to it as “the cheap lens” and kind of choked on his words.  I didn’t see the manager, but I nodded and grinned.  US$100 is a low price for a lens, with rebate, of course.  At US$200, it’s probably overpriced, but they run the rebate so often, does anyone pay full price?  The Panasonic 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 designed for the GM5 was US$250.  This 40-150mm is the third US$100 lens, after the Panasonic 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 and the 25mm f/1.7.

The one thing I noticed right after removing it from the bubble wrap was that it had a plastic mount.  I remembered all the original Canon Digital Rebel/300D bodies with part of the kit lens still mounted while the rest of the lens was not attached.  I’m a bit rough on my equipment but I treat the GM5 with more care, so maybe it will be fine.

The lens is light, consistent with its small maximum aperture.  It looks fairly big on the GM5 but not any worse than my 35-100mm f/2.0 on the Olympus E-1.

40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 35-100mm f/2.8

50-200mm 40-150mm 35-100mm f/2.8 and f/2.0

Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 beside GM5 and 12-32mm

Panasonic 12-32mm beside Olympus 40-150mm on GM5

Panasonic 12-32mm beside Olympus 40-150mm on GM5
Olympus 35-100mm f/2.0 on GM5
At US$199.99, I want to compare it to a Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 I had for Nikon that cost exactly that.  With over 11x zoom, the Tamron was quite useful and I knew that there would be deficiencies.  The Olympus lens is just under 4x zoom range and should be quite clear, for the same price.  It isn't bad, but at the 150mm end, the results so far haven't been consistent.  I've tried it on the GM5 and E-M1 so far but not on the GH4 or GX8.  I may have to re-work my grip on the GM5 for maximum stability, especially while shooting at skate parks.

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