Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II Review
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II is a modest but worthy upgrade to the 5-year-old M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 lens. The biggest improvement is the addition of dust and moisture seals, which means the lens can be used safely in wet and dusty environments alike, as long it is attached to a similarly weather-sealed camera body. The also-new ZERO coating really does provide enhanced flare resistance (in line with Olympus' claims), although you can still trigger the appearance of funky-coloured ghosts and streaks if you deliberately go after these effects.
In general though, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II continues to be pretty amazing for a superzoom. Despite the addition of weather sealing, it is still tiny and lightweight for a lens with a 10.7x zoom factor, which is no mean feat even if it does extend considerably when zoomed in. The lens has also earned our admiration for its zippy focus acquisition, even when shooting (moderately fast) moving subjects on an Olympus E-M5 II. After all, this is still the exception rather than the rule when it comes to mirrorless cameras and consumer zooms.
Optically, the lens isn't a top performer but, like its predecessor, it's perfectly acceptable and actually better than the majority of superzooms out there. At most focal lengths, you can safely use it wide open or stopped down by one f-stop (two if you want decent corner/edge sharpness at the 14mm and 150mm settings). Chromatic aberrations aren't much of an issue (and if they do bother you, they can easily be dealt with in post processing). Distortion is very high at the wide end of the zoom range, but given that both Olympus and Panasonic bodies, as well as most raw converters, automatically correct it, chances are you won't notice any of it in your images. The lens' bokeh, while not outstanding, is actually pretty nice considering we're talking about a zoom lens with a 7-bladed iris diaphragm.
Mechanically, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II is as good as you could expect based on the asking price. The zooming action is smooth without the zoom ring being too loose, manual focus is easy, and the auto-focus motor is quiet, fast and accurate. Build quality is commendably on a par with most other consumer-grade Olympus lenses that we’ve reviewed – and definitely a notch above the (non-weather-sealed) first version.
As an affordable all-in-one lens for Micro Four Thirds shooters that covers everything from wide-angle to extreme close-ups, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II is certainly an appealing proposition, especially if your camera features in-body image stabilisation and environmental seals.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|