Sep 16

Hands On: Olympus Booth (40-150mm f/2.8 and more)

It’s day one of Photokina 2014, and the Koelnmesse is buzzing with thousands of photographers and press. I stopped by the Olympus booth to check out their new , long-awaited 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens.

The Olympus 1.4x Teleconverter

The Olympus 1.4x Teleconverter

The lens is, given the focal range and aperture, rather large for a Micro 4/3 lens, but it’s fairly compact for a fast zoom covering a longer than normal range. The lens has a field of view equivalent to an 80-300mm lens on a full frame camera, with even more reach possible by adding the 1.4x teleconverter, which will be available with the 40-150mm in a kit. The lens features the same build quality as Olympus’ already established 12-40mm f/2.8 lens, though this lens is completely internally zooming, so there’s no externally moving parts. Along the side of the lens is Olympus L-Fn button, which can be programmed when used with any of the more recent Olympus camera bodies. The broad zoom ring sits quite a bit forward on the lens, and operates fairly smoothly, though it’s not quite as nice a zoom feel as something like the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8. The tripod collar is a fairly standard design, and turns easily, though it’s a bit grittier than some of the best collars, though I doubt it will make much difference in real world shooting. The lens hood for the 40-150mm is of the same design as the one for their 60mm Macro lens. It attaches bayonet style, but slides up and into place, negating the need to reverse it. On the down side, the hood is huge, and makes the lens look far larger than it is with the hood off.

The 1.4x teleconverter that can be mated to the 40-150mm f/2.8 is very small, adding less than an inch to the length of the 40-150, and creating a very high quality 56-210mm f/4 zoom. Autofocus with this lens is extremely fast. When I tested it on the E-M1, the focus snapped right on nearly instantly. This is true even with the 1.4x on, and I was in less than stellar lighting conditions. Very impressive in this department. Because this is a pre-production lens, I was unable to get full size samples with the 40-150, but when shooting and looking at the LCD and through the EVF, it looks to be very sharp wide open, even with the 1.4x TC. Of course, I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on one for review before I can speak definitively about the final image quality this lens can produce. However, the overall package appears very impressive at first blush.

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 with hood extended

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 with hood extended

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 with hood retracted

The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 with hood retracted

The lens with hood removed

The lens with hood removed

Olympus 300mm f/4 and 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro

These two lenses were unfortunately only on display behind glass, rather than available for perusal. The Olympus employee noted that they were only mockups, rather than working lenses. The finish on these two lenses appears identical to the other two Olympus Pro lenses, and the 300mm f/4 looks to be roughly the same size as the 40-150mm, which isn’t too bad at all. The 7-14mm is rather large in comparison to the slower Panasonic 7-14mm, but otherwise looks to be well-built and functional. The images below will get you an idea of their aesthetics, though Olympus put them behind perhaps the most reflective glass imaginable.

Olympus 300mm f/4

Olympus 300mm f/4

Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8

Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8

I also took a quick look at the new Silver E-M1, and I have to say, I’m not a fan. The dials are polished metal, and are very bright, while the rest of the paint is a bit duller. The silver just doesn’t mesh well with the slightly more modern looks of the E-M1, in my opinion, but you be the judge. I’ll likely have more from the Olympus booth, including an in-depth report on the E-PL7, later in the week.

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad


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  1. Tom

    Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for the images, particularly of the 300/2.8 and 7-14/2.8. Nice to hear that the 300/2.8 will be about the same size as the 40-150/2.8.
    Hard to get an idea of the 7-14/2.8 though, would you say there would be much size difference between that and the 12-40/2.8? Trying to work out if all four would fit in my Hadley Pro. Priorities!

    Cheers, Tom

    1. David

      Hi Tom and Dave,

      been to the Olympus Booth as well and even though I could not take any exact measurements on the 7-14/2.8, I would say the lens itself is a couple of centimeters shorter but the Hood is a bit taller. Width also seem to be about the same. In total it looked very close to the size of the 12-40/2.8, just a bit smaller.

      To me the silver E-M1 was sexy enough to immediately order one from my local dealer 😉

      Can’t wait to play with it and the 40-150 plus 1.4x Converter at home…

  2. Dave

    Tom, the 300 is going to be an f4 not 2.8 like the rest of the PRO series. It would be pretty tough, and probably require a GIGANTIC lens, if they were going to make this an f2.8.

    I too am curious however how the 7-14 compares in size to the 12-40.


  3. Mark C

    There is a 300mm f2.8 that the EM-1 can work with:


    And yes, it is GIGANTIC. Though it still bests the size of FF lenses.

    Oh I SO WANT the 7-14mm and 300mm…I have the 50-200mm and whilst the 40-150 is enticing I think I can hold my GAS on this. The 9-18mm is a very poor substitute for the upcoming 7-14mm.

  4. Josh

    Thanks for the info. Any photos of the 12-40 compaired to the 40-150? Hopefully you’ll get a chance to review it soon. I’m considering getting one next year.

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