There is no doubt that one of the main strengths of the m4/3 rd system is its lens line up which covers a lot of focal lengths. However, if you want to shoot at the Focal lengths of 150mm or 200mm (300mm and 400mm respectively in 35mm terms) neither Olympus nor Panasonic have a 150mm or a 200mm fixed lens. To use either of these focal lengths your only choices are zoom lenses.
You can choose either large, bright (and somewhat pricey) pro zooms like the Olympus 2.8/40-150mm or the Panasonic 100-400mm
Or you have in Both Olympus and Panasonic catalogs , lighter not so bright zooms like the Olympus 4-5.6/40-150mm and the Panasonic 4-5.6/45-150mm.
Let s first get one thing out of the way : I am NOT a zoom guy. I always preferred single focal length. As a matter of fact, If I was to choose ONE zoom it would be one that NOBODY, outside myself, seem to want : the zoom would be like for M4/3rds a 100-200 or maybe a 120-200 (meaning a 240-400mm in 35mm terms) because I realize that when you are photographing something far, there are times where getting closer is not an option or, in the case of a moving object, one may not have the time to change lenses to photograph a subject coming towards you.
Every time I use a zoom like a 80-200 or 80-300mm (in 35m terms) I end up always using the longer focal lengths.
In the case of the m4/3rds 40-150mm, I use those zooms between 100 and 150mm 98% of the time. On such zooms, it is generally admitted that sharpness tend to get lower as one approached the longer end of the zoom. I have had the Olympus M 4-5.6/40-150mm for a few years now. Before that I owned his older counterpart in the 4/3rd system on my Olympus E1 & E3.
Both are supposed to be identical in terms of optical design. The lens is supposed to be very good up until mid range (100mm FOV) and get to just good quality at the max 150mm FOV.
All serious reviews I have read tend to say that the Panasonic equivalent 45-150mm is different because it is stronger at the 150mm setting. [Read more…]