The Olympus 14-150 mm F4-5.6, also known as the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II, is a genuinely excellent lens. Despite weighing just 284 grams, the Olympus 14 150mm squeezes almost every focal length you’ll ever need into one tiny lens.
Furthermore, its sharp, weather-resistant, and features dirt and glare-resistant coatings. Therefore, if you think you need this lens, you probably do. Jump to Conclusion
What is the Olympus 14-150 MM F4-5.6 II
The Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 is best described as a travel zoom. In other words, this 14-150mm is perfect when you need a small, lightweight lens that can do almost anything.
In practical terms, the Olympus 14-150mm provides any angle of view between 75 and 8 degrees, which is about the same as a full-frame camera’s 28-300mm lens. As a result, the Olympus 14-150mm is as happy shooting landscapes as it is distant subjects and portraits. Read What is Focal Length in Photography
The Olympus 14-150mm lens has a variable-sized aperture that begins at F4 and shrinks to F5.6 as you zoom toward 150mm. For this reason, the Olympus 14-150 is smaller and cheaper than similar fixed aperture lenses such as the Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro. Read What is Aperture in Photography.
However, there are disadvantages to variable aperture lenses. For instance, the Olympus 14-150mm II’s F5.6 aperture passes half as much light at 150mm as when set to F4 at 14mm.
And this is unfortunate as more light is needed at telephoto to compensate for the fast light-starved shutter speeds you must use to prevent camera shake. Read How to take Sharp Photos.
Furthermore, the Olympus 14-150mm II does not stay at F4 very long. By 15mm, the Olympus 14-150 has already jumped to F4.1 and arrives at F5 at just 31mm.
So, if you need lots of light at longer focal lengths, you might be better off with heavier, more expensive, fast-aperture lenses such as the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 or Olympus 12-100mm F4. Read Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Review.
With a minimum focus distance of 50cm, the Olympus 14-150mm II has a maximum magnification equivalent of x.44. This means your scene will be projected onto your micro four-thirds sensor at 44% of its original size. As a result, the Olympus 14-150mm II is an effective lens for close-up semi-macro photography.
The Olympus 14-150mm II delivers good image quality – particularly towards the center of the frame. Its Zero Coated lens elements exist to prevent flare and appear to work well as the Olympus 14-150mm II controls wayward light with ease.
Corners can be pretty soft at some focal lengths but using smaller apertures helps sharpen the image across the frame.
But context is important and being an obscenely compact and versatile travel zoom, the Olympus 14-150mm’s image quality falls short of heavier, more expensive lenses. Nevertheless, the Olympus 14-150mm II is much better than it has any right to be and ample for my needs.
The Olympus 14-150mm II autofocus is nearly instantaneous and reliable in good light. In low light, the autofocus can hunt, mainly if you’re shooting at telephoto – thanks to that smaller, darker F5.6 aperture. That being said, overall, the Olympus 14-150mm II focuses well.
Build Quality and controls
The Olympus 14-150mm is constructed well and feels solid. While the splash-proof body is made of plastic, its metal mount and (metal?) control rings provide a quality feel.
Unfortunately, you don’t get much in the way of frills. For instance, there’s no customizable L-Fn button or manual focus clutch. However, it does come with a decent lens hood.
Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 Compared
The most natural alternative to the Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 is the 12-100mm F4 Pro. As a Pro lens, the Olympus 12-100mm is better built and has a wider angle-of-view, in-built image stabilization, and superior optics.
However, the Olympus 12-100mm F4 is much larger, heavier, and more expensive. Therefore, choosing between these two lenses is tricky.
For convenience, the smaller and lighter Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 fits the travel lens brief better. But if you seek to merge outright performance with a versatile focal range – the Olympus 12-100mm F4 is the lens for you.
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I’ve enjoyed taking photos with my Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 II. As a full-frame camera owner, I’m used to excellent image quality, and I’m more than happy with this 14-150mm lens output.
And thanks to its decent magnification, versatile focal range, and snappy autofocus, the Olympus 14-150mm feels at home in most shooting scenarios. Best of all, you get these benefits in a small, lightweight, and splash-proof body. As a result, shooting with the Olympus 14-150mm is a liberating experience.
Of course, the Olympus 14-150mm cannot always be for everyone. The 14-150 mm small light-starved F5.6 aperture will impact autofocus and drive up your camera’s ISO at faster shutter speeds if you shoot moving subjects in low light.
Therefore, if you need lots of light quickly to photograph distant wildlife or birds in flight, you might need to pay up and get the 4-times brighter downright wonderful Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 instead. Read Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Len Review.
Overall, the Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 is an excellent lens that can handle most shooting scenarios gracefully. As a result, the Olympus 14 150 makes for an easy travel companion and an easy recommendation.