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Home » Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro Compared – Sensibly Compromised

Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro Compared – Sensibly Compromised

OMS 40-150mm F/4 Pro vs Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 Pro

OM Systems, formerly Olympus, has released a new lens, the Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro. Also known as the OM System 40-150 mm F4.0 Pro, this lens combines premium optics and portability.

And it appears to do just that. For instance, the Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro has many of the same pro-grade features found on the Olympus ED 40-150mm F2.8 Pro. Yet, the OM System 40-150mm F4 weighs just 382 grams and costs half as much. So is this the lens for you? Let’s find out. Jump to Conclusion


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Table of Contents

What is the Olympus 40-150 mm F4 PRO

The Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro, by OM Systems, is a lightweight telephoto lens for Micro Four Thirds Camera such as the OM-1.

Focal Length

This new lens features a focal length range of 40-150mm providing an angle of view between 30.27 and 8.25 degrees. In other words, it’s similar to an 80-300mm lens on a 35mm film or full-frame camera. Read Equivalent Focal Length Explained.

Aperture

The Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro’s large F4 aperture can be used at all focal lengths for improved light transmission and background blur. As a result, the OM System 40-150mm F4 Pro will perform reasonably well when shooting in low-light environments. Read What is Aperture in Photography.

Maximum Magnification

The Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm F4 has a maximum magnification of x.042. Thus subjects can be projected onto your camera’s sensor at 42% of their original size. This impressive result makes the OM System 40-150 F4 Pro an effective lens for semi-macro work.

Build Quality

The 382-gram Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro is a retracting lens or ‘pumper-zoom.’ When stowed, the Olympus 40-150mm is insanely compact for a lens of this class. But to use the lens, you must twist the Olympus 40-150mm zoom ring to unlock it. Doing so extends the lens to its maximum length – pictured below. At this point, the Olympus 40-150mm extends no further thus remaining a very small lens.

Like other OM Systems and Olympus Pro lenses, the Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm F4 is well-built, and unlike many other weather-sealed lenses, the 40-150mm F4 Pro backs itself with an official IP53 rating.


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Image Quality

As a Pro lens, the Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro wants for little. For instance, the 40-150mm F4 has the same advanced fluoro and Zero coatings found on more expensive lenses such as the Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro. This means the OMS 40-150 mm optics are less likely to be compromised by dirt and light flare.

As for lens construction, the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro features 15 elements in 9 groups, including 2 ED lenses, 1 Super ED lens, and 1 HR lens. Based on this construction, the OM 40-150mm F4 Pro’s image quality should be up there with its more expensive stablemate, the Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 Pro. Read Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Review.

Source: Olympus

Of course, time will tell. But based on the Olympus 40-150mm’s F4’s MTF, it appears to be an excellent performer with excellent sharpness across the entire frame.

Sadly, the OMS 40-150mm F4 lacks image stabilization and, therefore, the potential for Sync-IS. But given how effective Olympus and OMS’s in-body image stabilization is, the absence of optical image stabilization is hardly an issue.

Is the Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro worth it?

Traditionally, F4 telephoto, such as the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro, present a lightweight alternative to the top-end F2.8 lenses favored by sports photographers. In other words, you get the same premium optics and build quality in a lens that weighs half as much.

Whether this is a sensible trade-off depends on your photography. If you shoot moving subjects in poor light, the twice-as-bright F2.8 will give you more light at faster shutter speeds, ideal for avoiding motion blur and noisy high ISOs. And because it passes more light, autofocus tends to work better.

But if you’re photographing portraits or landscapes, speed hardly matters. Therefore, you might as well save some money and carry a lighter more compact lens.

In my case, I typically prefer F4 zooms because they deliver pro-grade image quality in a package I’m willing to carry all day. But if my bird photography spun out of control, and it might, I’d go for the F2.8.


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OM System 40-150 F4 Pro compared.

The OM System 40-150 F4 Pro does not stand alone. First, it must contend with the top-of-the-line Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro. And then, there’s the cheap and cheerful Olympus ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R. Therefore, the Zuiko 40-150 F4 Pro sits in the middle of the pack. So, how do they compare?

OM System 40-150 F4 Pro Specifications Compared

OM-S 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro OM-S 40-150mm f/4 Pro OM-S 40-150mm F/4-5.6 R
Price (US$)$1,499$899$199
Focal length40-150mm40-150mm40-150mm
Angle of view30.2-8.2 degrees30.2-8.2 degrees30.2-8.2 degrees
Maximum aperturef/2.8f/4f/4-5.6
Minimum aperturef/22f/22f/22
Diaphragm blades9 Rounded Blades7 Rounded Blades7 Rounded Blades
Lens construction16 Elements in 10 Groups15 Elements in 9 Groups13 Elements in 10 Groups
Optical Image StabilizationNoNoNo
Weather-SealedYes – IP53 Yes – IP53 No
Minimum focus distance70cm70cm90cm
Maximum reproduction ratio0.42x0.41x0.16x
Filter-attachment size72mm62mm58mm
Dimensions (approx)79.4x160mm68.9×99.4mm63.5 x 83mm
Weight (approx)760g382g190g
Source: Olympus

OM System 40-150 F4 Pro vs Olympus 40-150mm F4-5.6 R

We should begin by recognizing what a bargain the Olympus 40-150mm F/4-5.6 is. In basic terms, it does the same thing as the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro but at a fraction of the price. Therefore, if you can settle for good rather than excellent image quality – the Olympus 40-150mm F4-5.6 is well worth a look.

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Nevertheless, the Olympus 40-150mm F/4 Pro is the better lens. The samples and MTF charts show that the F4 lens delivers vastly superior image quality. Furthermore, the Olympus 40 150 F4 Pro benefits from flare and dust-resistant lens coatings while the cheaper lens does not.

Source: Olympus

Then there’s that constant aperture. At telephoto, the Olympus 40-150 Pro’s larger F4 aperture is twice as bright as the F5.6 aperture on the cheaper Olympus F/4-5.6. And since you must use faster shutter speeds at telephoto to avoid camera shake – it does make a difference.

Overall, the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro is better by every measure except price and weight. And if you’re outdoors, you might feel more confident using the IP53-rated F4 Pro. That said, you could write off the cheaper lens 4-times over for the price of one Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro.

OM-S 40-150mm F4 Pro vs Olympus 40-150mm F2.8

The more expensive Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 is the better performer and one of my all-time favorite lenses. When comparing the MTF charts, the 40-150mm F/2.8 is slightly sharper at F/2.8 than the OM-S 40-150mm F/4 Pro is at F/4. Read Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Review.

However, the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro is consistently sharp across the frame, while the F2.8’s sharpness is less uniform and fades toward the corners. Of course, I expect the Olympus 40-150 F2.8 to be better still once throttled back to F4.

Source: Olympus

But overall, there’s very little difference between them regarding image quality. Therefore, your decision should come down to weight, size, cost, and aperture, and the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro is cheaper and far smaller than its super-sized stablemate as the image below illustrates.

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Of course, size is not everything (not always). If you’re looking to shoot moving subjects in light conditions – the larger and brighter Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro will get the better shot more often.

But if you tend to shoot moving subjects in good light or static subjects in any light – the larger F2.8 aperture counts for little. As a result, you might as well save some weight and money and go for the cheaper and smaller Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro.

Yet – it’s still not quite that simple. First of all, the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro does not work with teleconverters, whereas the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 does. And second, the Olympus 40-150mm Pro lacks a customizable L-Fn button and a manual focus clutch, whereas the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro features both.


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Conclusion

The Olympus 40-150 F4 Pro is a wonderful lens that sensibly fills the void between the top-end Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro and the budget-friendly Olympus 40-150mm F4-5.6 R.

In other words, at the expense of a smaller aperture and thus, half the light, you get premium-grade image quality in a lighter, cheaper package. Whether that’s a sensible trade depends on your photography, budget, and the bulk you’re willing to carry.

If you shoot a lot of fast action in varying amounts of light, the twice-as-bright 40-150mm F2.8 Pro is more likely to get the shot while keeping those image-degrading ISO’s low.

Furthermore, the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro lacks ergonomic luxuries such as a manual focus switch/clutch and a customizable L-Fn button. Nor does the Olympus 40-150mm F4 Pro support teleconverters.

If any of this sounds important to you, the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro is one of my all-time favorite lenses and an easy recommendation. Read Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Review for more information.

But if 150mm is long enough and you typically shoot in good light or static subjects in any light, the tiny Olympus 40-150mm F/4 Pro might be all the lens you need.

Do you want or own an OM Systems 40-150mm? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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