Focus on Lenses

A comparison between some OlympusM.Zuiko Digital ED lenses, the relatively cheap, light and versatile 14-150mm F4.0-5.6 II verses the two PRO lenses that cover this range – the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO and 40-150mm F2.8 PRO.

The non-Pro but weathersealed 14-150 weighs in at just 284g and retracted sticks out from the camera 84 mm. An ideal travel and bushwalking lens that is under rated, often over looked and great bang for buck at around $400 AU second hand.

The 12-40 PRO on it’s own is heavier at 382g, larger in diameter but not much longer retracted at 89 mm. Prices range from $500 – $900 AU second hand. It is a lovely well built lens providing an extra programable button and sliding manual focus clutch over the 14-150.

The 40-150 PRO weighs in at a whopping 1058g and is 163 mm retracted – but, keep in mind, this is a 300mm equivalent lens on a full frame system so in comparison is still considered small and light for it’s reach! It can be had secondhand for around $1200-$1500 AU, they hold their value well, seldom come up for sale and are sought after.

I want to know how much better the image quality is to see if getting the 40-150 PRO is worth the extra money, weight and size. I’ve been contemplating one for some time. My mate Gary – who got me addicted to the Olympus system just happens to have one, so one rainy day this week, I popped in to give him a play with the new OM-1 and test these lenses in a head to head shootout.

Keep in mind, these images were shot through a window, clearly the weather was not great, this is a real world test and not scientifically accurate. Below, if you care to click and zoom, these images are un-edited @ 100% pixel size and cropped from near the centre of each image.

So, how do they stack up …

14-150: 14mm, 1/30sec, f/4, ISO200, 12-40 PRO: 14mm, 1/60sec, f/5, ISO200
12-40 PRO: 40mm, 1/60sec, f/3.2, ISO 200, 14-150: 39mm, 1/30sec, f/5.3, ISO 200
14-150: 39mm, 1/20sec, f/5.6, ISO200, 40-150 PRO: 40mm, 1/20sec, f/5.6, ISO200
40-150 PRO: 150mm, 1/60sec, f/2.8, ISO 200, 14-150: 150mm, 1/20sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

I think Gary just saved me over $1000 and some back pain – THANKS GARY! Pixel peeping these images, only one has a substantial difference, the second last image – and that may have been caused by me not re-focusing – in the last image the 14-150 came out marginally better!

Honestly, unless your shooting for magazines or Pro work or enjoy carrying heavy gear, the 14-150 is a great bang for buck lens! The main disadvantage would only be in low light situations.

I expect in some circumstances there might be a noticeable difference – remember, the above images are at pixel resolution – but for what I do, it really seems insignificant. Previous indoor tests with my lenses does show the 12-40 pro is sharper than the 14-150, but mainly when you’re in the sweet spot in ideal conditions shooting close. I like the 12-40 so will keep it, but I won’t bother with the BIG GUN. I have my eye on a second hand 70-300mm II f/4.8-6.7 at the moment, that might be a better buy for me as the TC 1.4 took a light hit anyway – and only stretched the 150 to 210mm.

To finish up, a cropped and edited image of the view, the only pic where the cloud lifted enough to make out a hint of snow on kunanyi/Mt Wellington – can you guess which lens?

Hint: 30. Thanks for visiting.

9 thoughts on “Focus on Lenses

  1. Er is duidelijk een verschil tussen de 2 lenzen.
    Je hebt dit mooi en duidelijk in beeld gebracht!
    Daar kan iedereen uit leren! 👍
    ( sorry for my bad English)
    Thanks for sharing, greetings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “There is clearly a difference between the 2 lenses.
      You have captured this beautifully and clearly!
      Everyone can learn from that!”

      Thanks, yes there is a difference but for me it is not enough to run out and get the big lens as I hike and prefer to travel light. 😀

      Bedankt, ja er is een verschil, maar voor mij is het niet genoeg om op te raken en de grote lens te pakken terwijl ik wandel en liever licht reis. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to catch up again Gary, was a productive afternoon 😀 I did notice a bigger difference with my 12-40 in a previous test along a ruler, shooting through the window may have been a factor, but given today’s software capabilities, I don’t thing anyone except the most discerning pixel peeper would notice once edited. For a proper test you would really need to find each lenses sweet spot f-stop first. I put an offer on the used 70-300mm today, I think for now and what I do, that is a better and much cheaper addition to my kit 🙂


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