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 …
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.