Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Olympus 40-150mm Lens

As I said, the Olympus 40-150mm is one of the two lenses for m4/3 that I decided to get for my birthday.

It is to provide a telephoto lens for my OM-D and since the lens is cheap (as far as lenses go), I decided to get it.  I’ll probably get the 75-300mm II in the future when it becomes available (the version I is really expensive for what it is).

As in my previous post, I said that the lens is almost the same as the 12-50mm kit lens but it is not of the same build quality (same asthetics but the quality is obviously not the same.  They are almost of the same height but the 40-150mm is a little fatter and lighter.  Also, the 12-50mm has internal zoom compared to the 40-150mm which almost doubles in length when zoomed (see picture on the left).

I didn’t have high hopes for this lens due to price and build quality.  When I took it to the province during the holy week, I made some test shots of birds on an electric post just beside our house.

I was extremely surprised.

Just look at the two pictures below:

Olympus 40-150m @150mm, full shot (cropped to 3:2) in the left and an extreme crop (right).

I was taken aback by the extremely high levels of purple fringing!  Even in the 3 inch display of the OM-D, I could tell that there is a high amount of the fringing.  To be fair, the scene is of extremely high contrast and I needed to apply +3 or higher exposure compensation.  This was also shot at the extreme telephoto side of 150mm (300mm equivalent).  Zoomed in, it appears like a purple marker was used to trace the outlines of the bird and the post.

But, for the price and the size and weight, it provides a good telephoto lens since it resolved details well enough that most of the texture of the post wood is visible (no such luck on the fine details of the bird feathers but consider that this is at 150mm and most lenses do not perform well at the long end of their zooms.

Also, the pictures cleans up nicely in post processing but the contrast and details of the areas affected by the fringing is noticeably lower than those areas not affected.  See the electric wire below, in area located in the electric post, contrast and details is good but in area outside of it (the ones directly against the background, the contrast and details are much much lower).  Also, when shot at camera-metered exposure, the fringing is less noticeable but of course this only resulted in a silhouette.  Pushing the shadows to reveal detail shows the chromatic aberration just as much as when the shot is exposed for the shadows.

Left: Post-processed image to remove purple fringing. Shot at 150mm and cropped to about 50% of total image area. Contrast, clarity and details enhanced in Lightroom.
Right: Camera-metered exposure with less fringing but due to extreme difference in luminance between subject and background, this resulted in a silhouette.

I also tried using the lens in shooting action (wakeboarders going towards or away from me) and sadly, it could not keep up.  Probably this is my fault since I did not change the focus drive to continuous (used default single shot) but I do not have great expecations for this as probably the contrast detect AF will not manage as well as DSLR’s phase detect.  I must give it more tries though.

For the price, it is a good and usable lens and I’m excited to use it this weekend when we visit again Lake Mapanuepe again.


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