Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 Review

November 23, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | |


The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 14-150mm f/4-5.6 ED is the first Micro Four Thirds lens tested by us, and it has left us with a favourable overall impression.

While this lens is obviously not in the same class as the primes and high-grade zooms we have reviewed so far, it is actually pretty amazing for a superzoom. For starters, it's surprisingly tiny and lightweight for what it is, and this is no mean feat even if it does extend considerably when zoomed in. The lens has also earned our admiration for fast focusing even on an E-P2, a camera not particularly noted for its AF performance. Sadly, this seems to be true for stationary subjects only, as the lens did have problems tracking a few slowly marching soldiers in broad daylight.

Optically, the lens isn't a top performer, but it's perfectly acceptable and actually better than we expected from a 10.7x zoom. At most focal lengths, you can safely use it wide open or stopped down by one f-stop (two if you want good edge sharpness at 14mm). Chromatic aberrations can be a bit of an issue at longer focal lengths, but they can usually be dealt with in post processing. Distortions are automatically corrected on both Olympus and Panasonic bodies. Close-up performance is better than you would think based on the published minimum focus distance figure of 50cm – in fact this lens almost doubles as a telemacro; something the Micro Four Thirds system currently lacks.

If you are a real stickler for image quality or want to keep your compact system camera compact enough to fit in a normal coat pocket, then this lens is probably not for you. If you want ultimate focusing speed, the Panasonic GH2 and Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm lens suits you better (although you do need to dig deeper in your pocket). And generally, if you have a Panasonic rather than an Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, the M.ZUIKO Digital 14-150mm f/4-5.6 ED is perhaps not the best choice, given the lack of image stabilisation. However, if you have an Olympus PEN digital camera and you need a one-lens solution, this lens fits the bill.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 3.5
Value for money 4