Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 Telephoto Zoom Lens Review Roundup2012-05-18 04:48
5/17/2012: Add review by PR.
4/16/2012: Add review by ePhotoZine.
On August 31 2010, Olympus announced two new lenses to its Micro Four Thirds lens family: the M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL ED 75-300 MM F4.8-6.7 and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150MM F4.0-5.6.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 with a 35 mm equivalent of 150-600mm is the world's smallest and lightest 600mm super telephoto lens. This Micro Four Thirds system lens is a 18 element, 13 group design utilizes two Extraordinary Dispersion (ED) and 3 High Refractive (HR) glass elements to reduce chromatic aberration. It is measured at 2.76 by 4.57 inches and weighing only 15.17 ounces. Previous lenses offering 600mm or more have been too large and heavy for most users to enjoy super telephoto shooting. This lens is smaller and lighter than the comparable ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm f4.8-6.7. Here's the technical details:
- Accessories: Lens Cap(LC-58E), Lens Rear Cap(LR-2) , Instruction Manual, Olympus Worldwide Warranty Card
- Mount Standard: Micro Four Thirds System Standard
- Focal Length: 75-300mm (35mm equivalent focal length 150-600mm)
- Lens construction: 18 Elements in 13 Groups, Super ED lens, 2 ED lenses and 3 HR lenses
- Angle of View: 16 - 4.1 Degree
- Minimum Focal Range: 3 feet
- Maximum Aperture Range: F/4.8-6.7
- Camera Magnify Power: 0.18
- Lens System Special Functions: Zoom, Tele
- Focus Type: auto-focus, manual-focus
- Weight: 15.2 Ounces
- Item Display Diameter: 2.8 inches
- Length: 5 inches
The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 Telephoto lens is available in black and silver at a price of $899, via Amazon.com. Here's the review roundup of the lens:
PhotoReview Australia, gave a rating of 8.5/10: "Subjective assessments showed this lens to be a good performer, particularly at apertures between f/5.6 and about f/9. Centre resolution was high across the focal length range. Diffraction kicked in at f/11, dramatically reducing image sharpness. These observations were confirmed by our Imatest tests, despite their limitations. We were unable to test the full focal length range of this lens because we don't have space in our testing set-up to go beyond about 120mm in 35mm format. That restricted our tests to the 75mm, 100mm and 132mm focal lengths. Imatest showed the lens came close to expectations for the E-M5's sensor at all three focal lengths, with best performance between f/5.6 and f/8 at the 75mm focal length. Edge softening was low for a lens of this type. Lateral chromatic aberration was negligible at 75mm and low at 100mm and 132mm, as shown in the graph of our Imatest results, below. No coloured fringing was observed in any test shots. Vignetting was well controlled and only just visible at the widest aperture settings. Stopping down only one f-stop made it disappear. Distortion was also very low for the lens's focal length range, with only slight barrel distortion visible at 75mm and barely detectable pincushioning at 300mm. Without a lens hood, the review lens was flare prone in backlit situations, particularly at wider angles of view. Longer focal length settings handled backlit subjects much better.
The minimum focus of 90 cm at the 75mm focal length (and more than one metre with longer settings) restricts the use of this lens for close-up work, although it's usable for larger subjects. Bokeh was acceptable for the rather small maximum apertures available. Autofocusing was reasonably fast for stills, in part because of the fast AF system in the E-M5 body. However, tracking moving subjects in sub-optimal lighting presented challenges for the system and caused us to miss a few shots. Nevertheless, the majority of our images were nice and sharp. In the movie mode, autofocusing was a little slower in all types of lighting and there were noticeable delays as the focus shifted between near and distant points while shooting moving subjects. Video clips recorded with this lens on the E-M5 body were relatively free of operational noises from the camera."... [Source]
ePhotoZine, gave a rating of 3/5: "At 75mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame is limited, with the lens actually performing better towards the edges at all apertures. Sharpness across the frame is good at f/4.8 and improves to very good levels when stopped down to f/5.6. At 150mm, sharpness is excellent across the frame from maximum aperture and peak sharpness across the frame is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8. Finally at 300mm, sharpness levels drop a little, but they still just reach good levels across the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/8 results in peak sharpness for this focal length, with very good clarity in the centre. Chromatic aberrations towards the edges of the frame are relatively high throughout the zoom range, peaking at 150mm, where fringing can exceed 1.5 pixel widths. This amount of fringing will almost certainly require correction in image editing software afterwards, especially along high contrast edges towards the edges of the frame. Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame isn't too much of an issue, although given the modest maximum aperture and the fact that the corners are around one stop darker than the image centre throughout the zoom range, it could perform better in this area. Stopping the lens down by a stop results in visually uniform illumination throughout the zoom range. Distortion is well controlled and consistent throughout the zoom range with Imatest detecting between 0.35% and 0.46% pincushion distortion. This low level shouldn't pose many issues, but if absolutely straight lines are paramount what little distortion there is should be relatively straightforward to correct as it is uniform across the frame.
No lens hood is supplied as standard with this lens, so it's a good job that it is quite resistant to flare. Shooting into the light may result in a noticeable loss of contrast though, so care may need to be taken when shooting in those conditions. When Micro Four Thirds first came about, many promises were made about the compact size of the system, and especially how the lenses could be designed to be more compact. This lens certainly delivers on that promise, but it isn't without compromises. The modest maximum aperture means that the lens can be difficult to use in all but the brightest of conditions and the lightweight build doesn't really feel as robust as you might expect from a lens costing around £630. Optically, this lens performs reasonably well, producing good sharpness across the frame, at least. Compared to other lenses compatible with the Micro Four Thirds system, it falls short of the performance of the best lenses available."... [Source]
PhotographyBLOG, gave a rating of 4/5: "The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 is a serious if overpriced proposition for Micro Four Thirds users looking for a long telephoto lens. At the long end of its focal range, the reach is quite mind-blowing - as evidenced in one of our sample shots, the lens allows you to capture craters on the surface of the moon! Sharpness is not bad at all for a zoom lens - actually if you disregard the decentering issue we encountered on our review sample, sharpness can be described as very good at most f-stops and focal lengths. At the 75mm setting in particular, the lens rivals the best primes - at least in terms of sharpness, though certainly not in terms of aperture speed. In fact the slow maximum aperture will be your biggest enemy with this lens - f/4.8 is slow enough for a telephoto lens, while the f/6.7 maximum aperture at the 600mm equivalent setting means that a tripod is pretty much mandatory, except on the brightest of days. It helps somewhat if you have a Micro Four Thirds camera with in-body image stabilisation, but don't expect miracles.
The long focal lengths on offer mean that throwing the background out of focus is quite easy, slow maximum apertures notwithstanding. The bokeh is really nice for a zoom lens, thanks to the rounded diaphragm blades employed. Chromatic aberrations are a non-issue, while the amount of pincushion distortion is acceptable. Focusing speeds are not first-class on the Olympus E-PL2, but neither are they slow. This means there are no frustrating delays when focusing on a motionless or slow-moving subject, but tracking a fast-moving one can be a challenge. By far the biggest issue with this lens is its price. At £799.99 / $899.95, it seems massively overpriced relative to its competitor the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S., which is somewhat heavier and bulkier but offers in-lens image stabilisation and excellent focus speeds. Overall, we enjoyed shooting with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 a lot and have been pleased with the results. Most of our photos came out sharp, with acceptable levels of distortion and almost no chromatic aberrations. However, a long telezoom like this will always be a speciality lens and with the M.Zuiko costing as much as it does, it seems one needs a very good reason to commit to a purchase."... [Source]
User Review by Marlene, gave a rating of 5/5: "I bought this lens for my my E-PL1 because my dslr gets too heavy on long walks. First- the not so good. This lens is very slow, but this isn't so surprising considering the amount of technology that needs to go into such a small piece of equipment. Now, the very good- the pictures were impressively sharp. Actually, far better than what I expected. Video taken at full zoom was also excellent. The lens is also light enough that it balances well with the E-PL1. This was one of my biggest concerns and why I didn't just buy an adaptor and use my regular lenses. I find it very difficult to hold a lightweight camera steady with a heavy lens when using an lcd screen instead of an eyepiece. This is why I bought the E-PL1 in the first place vs. other micro cameras or superzooms. If you're looking for a telephoto micro lens, and are willing to give up some speed, this lens is worth buying."... [Source]
Sample Photos from Flickr:
The Strong, Silent Types: Two New Powerful Olympus Micro Four Thirds™ Zoom Lenses
World's Smallest 600mm Telephoto Zoom Lens and 80-300mm Equivalent Lenses Deliver Both Extreme Portability and Optimal HD Movie Recording
CENTER VALLEY, Pa., August 31, 2010 - Olympus today announces two new lenses to its Micro Four Thirds lens family: the M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL ED 75-300 MM F4.8-6.7 and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150MM F4.0-5.6. Both lenses feature a high-speed, silent autofocus during still shooting and high definition (HD) movie capture. They are the ultimate lenses for zooming in on sporting events, beautiful wildlife and faces from a distance, and because they make barely a whisper when focusing, they won't call attention to photographer or add unwanted noise to movie recordings. Look what you can do.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 with a 35 mm equivalent of 150-600mm is the world's smallest and lightest 600mm super telephoto lens. Weighing merely 15.17 ounces and measuring 2.76 by 4.57 inches, this lightweight lens delivers excellent portability and outstanding image quality when paired with the award-winning Olympus PEN® cameras. Previous lenses offering 600mm or more have been too large and heavy for most users to enjoy super telephoto shooting. This lens is smaller and lighter than the comparable ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm f4.8-6.7.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 is extremely light, weighing only 6.7 ounces. With a wide zoom range with a 35mm equivalent to 80-300mm, this lens offers versatility and portability. It's an affordable complement to the powerfully simple 3x wide-angle zoom lens (M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42 f3.5-5.6) that comes standard with the PEN kit.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7's rear focusing mechanism is comprised of a single-element unit, to enable remarkably fast and nearly silent HD movie recordings with sound. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 has two lens elements in the rear focusing mechanism. The manual focusing mechanism is designed to deliver quiet and precise auto focus operation, for an affordable, high quality means to capture your life in still images or HD videos.
The new lenses are made with ED (extra-low dispersion) glass to maximize the performance of the Micro Four Thirds System. The Micro Four Thirds System standard meets the telecentric requirements of dedicated digital design. Light rays strike the imaging element nearly head-on for optimum edge-to-edge image reproduction. It also enables much more compact design than the Four Thirds System standard (or other interchangeable lens systems) because it reduces the outer diameter of the lens mount by 6mm, and the distance from the lens mount to the sensor (the flange back distance) by approximately half. As a result, M.ZUIKO DIGITAL Micro Four Thirds System lenses offer uncompromising professional quality for capturing both still images and HD videos, and the lenses are exceptionally compact to make capturing life more fun.
The Micro Four Thirds System's design, compact size, low weight and amazing image quality with the new lenses extend the photographic potential of the system by adding more options. The new lenses are compatible with all Micro Four Thirds System Olympus PEN cameras, and all other current and future cameras that comply with the Micro Four Thirds System standard. When mounted on an Olympus PEN camera, the lenses are stabilized thanks to the camera's in-body Image Stabilization system and offer effective shake compensation at all focal lengths.
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 will be available in December 2010, while the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 will be available in November 2010. Both lenses will be available in black and silver.
U.S. Pricing / Product Configurations
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 Estimated Street Price: $899.99
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 Estimated Street Price: $299.99
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