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Real-life Review of Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Lens

After almost one year of absence from Blogging, I have no word to say thank you for the sustainable amount of ‘hits’ with which my artiste could thrive. A lot of things have changed in this year; some wrinkles added to my face with many experiences. But, I was able to shoot lot lesser than before and never professionally! So, now I am bit of a person who shoots for pleasure only. Therefore, though this one is a lens review, it is more a personal one. Ironically, I am having my first 'Pro’ lens when I am the least 'Pro’. Still, to satisfy my appetite for a good, fast tele lens I bought this Olumpus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro with the 1.4x Tele-converter. Let me elaborate my thought on this lens with answering some fundamental questions which you must have asked yourself when you have dreamt about this lens.

Freedom (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/3200 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Slightly cropped and edited)

Does it look like a Pro lens?

If you have already chosen MFT as your format, you are skipping this question; because, the basic concept for a half-frame four-third sensor is for lowering the bulk and heft of a full-frame gear with no compromise on output. But, aesthetically, you always love the big glass in front and a small body at the back. This very lens is sexy in that way with glossy conical shape. It looks cool, feels solid and heavy. Personally, I do not use the battery-grip with my OMD-EM5 and even without it this entire gear looks solid and serious. If you are on an assignment, this set-up will scream 'Pro’ and you will not be a discreet identity in the occasion. This could give confidence to your employer and you will gain the confidence to charge some extra! I have tested many of my pals to hold it like a photographer and this gear looks very classy a product. But, never be fooled by its small size, it is a heavy lens, and that’s the end of it!

How is the Picture Quality?

In short, SPLENDID! The sharpness is no less than that of a 45mm f/1.8 and this could be the highest compliment from me. The corner to corner sharpness starts from the very widest, f/2.8. The colour and contrast is pure Olympus. Olympus is spot on with their Pro-lens lineup!

Natural Colours (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/250 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 : Unedited)

Chandelier  (Focal Length - 40mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/100 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

The Bulldozer (Focal Length - 60mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/30 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Perfect Blend of Colours (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/320 Sec ; ISO - 320 ; Aperture - f/4.5 ; Unedited)

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How is the Bowkhhehh?

Here is the big one, most of the clickers look for while buying a fast lens, the bokeh quality. It is purely aesthetic aspect and differs from person to person on opinion. But I only can say, if you are already spoilt by the lenses like M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, 75mm f/1.8 and Pana-Leica 42.5mm f/1.2, the sheer bokeh balls will not satisfy you that much. But, for a tele lens of 300mm (35mm equivalence) this lens hazes the background into a creamy blur of colours. Though, I have noticed some nervousness in case of a textured backdrop. Let me give you some best bokeh examples and some not so good results.

Drops (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/320 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

**Rain Drop **(Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/320 Sec ; ISO - 640 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Man in Rain (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/125 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/4 ; Unedited)

Bokeh at 40mm (Focal Length - 40mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/640 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8)

How is the AF?

Here comes the biggest concern with this lens, and also my biggest confusion. I use an already old OMD-EM5 (first gen body) without updating the firmware and on static objects this set-up focuses fast; Very fast; like that of the 60mm f/2.8 Macro. But, when I chase something with this lens, it hunts, and hunts badly. With a single focus-point, I admit it is hard to track a flying bird, and the lens keeps on hunting for focus. Even when I keep the bird in that single AF box, it’s never certain that I will get this shot perfectly focused and clicked! First couple of hours, I did misfire a lot! Then I went to bigger focal area of the sensor, the 9 point focal area and the result got better. Still it was not 100% convenient, as it sometimes focuses the backdrop or the front of my desired subject, I got more success-rate for sure. If this problem is the result of an old firmware in my cam and the latest Camera-bodies from Olympus stable gives better result than this, I have nothing to say. One suggestion from me though - Olympus should have given this lens the selector switch for the different focal area distances, like that of 60mm f/2.8 Macro. The 40-150mm lens focuses very close, hence takes a lot of time to travel all the length of its focal distance. Definitely a focal distance selector knob will be a boon. Lastly, I have some love-letter left for you Olympus for the movable focus ring switch for a swift AF -MF changes. This mode, though focus-by-wire, gives me the analogue feel of a focus-ring, and I just LOVE IT!

Caught it wrong in frame due to large box AF (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/2500 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

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Can I shoot Portraits with it?

Good GOD, you can! Though, for indoor portraiture I always have prescribed the flawless 45mm f/1.8 and the sweet 75mm f/1.8, this lens too is awesome for headshots. I love this lens for outdoor portraits. Great colour, sharpness, results in gorgeous and flattering outputs everytime you click the shutter. As we all know, portraiture and covering events are the most revenue generating genre, this lens means amazing sense to it therefore being tagged as a ’Pro’!

Pretty Eyes (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/30 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Man at Ease (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/200 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Accounting For (Focal Length - 60mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/25 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Happy Swimmer (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/2500 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

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Can I shoot Wildlife with it?

Well, as you all know now, I have my confusion regarding the AF; and therefore I am not sure if you can use this lens to its full potential of optical excellence. But hey, before the AF revolution in Camera-industry, great photographers have produced amazing result. The key factor of shooting wildlife is not AF, it is the patience! You have to know the art of blending yourself into nature. You have to think like those wild things which you are about to shoot, and when you successfully do that, you won’t blame the AF anymore. Actually, the confusing AF has made this lens more soulful to me, like, it has his own whim and as I am the least professional person now, I am not at all complaining.

The Couple (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/1600 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Croaking Season (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/500 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Angelic (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/4000 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Getting Wet (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/500 Sec ; ISO - 320 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Cocky Eyes (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/250 Sec ; ISO - 250 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Can I shoot Macro with it?

As serious Macro shooters always consider Macro to be at least a magnification of 1:1 to its sensor, and naturally you cannot get that close with this lens. But, for a zoom lens, you can go close enough. For me, having this lens bought, I am using the 60mm f/2.8 Macro less and less, and that tells the story about it! The pics below will explain clearly.

Ascending  (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/250 Sec ; ISO - 640 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Sting in Operation (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/320 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Water Spider (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/4000 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Designing (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/250 Sec ; ISO - 640 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Pretty Little Yellow (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/3200 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Trying to Blend (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/4000 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

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Can I shoot Nature with it?

To me, it is a perfect lens for nature lovers. It gives you awesome sharpness, great details, amazing colours and great features for improvisation. The Pro lens is weather-sealed, smaller and lighter than the usual 300mm, therefore less problematic to carry all day long. It comes with a lens hood that is collapsible and this is so cool. This is a lens for gentlemen and connoisseurs.

Colour of Rain (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/250 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Little Umbrella (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/125 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Dance of Rain (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/80 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8)

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Is it a Good Lens for Travelers?

If you are an avid shooter and use MFT Gears, you know how much pleasure you always have traveling light. This lens is not light, but lighter than an APSC or Full-Frame 300mm f/2.8s. But, having seen the result of this lens and being habituated with the comfort of a zoom lens, I will not leave this lens home nomatter-whatsoever. This lens gives me amazing reach and perspective. You always tend to simplify things more and more with this lens and groom into a better story-teller. My perfect dream travel-gear will be, 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro, 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro and 45mm f/1.8 (I am more comfortable with the perspective of 90mm equivalence; you could easily add a 17mm f/1.8 for streets), with my EM5 and an extra battery. If there be a probability for wildlife safari, the 1.4x tele-converter will be added to those. It is always better to have an extra reach.

Tribal (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/250 Sec ; ISO - 250 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Working Hands (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/2500 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

Iron Steps (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/320 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Unedited)

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Is it really a Pro Lens?

As it is now already global that, I hardly shoot professionally anymore, I am facing some difficulties in answering this question. Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro is a very serious product. It has extended the bar of MFT format in terms of quality and perfection. I have seen people sneer at MFT set-ups, branding them as infantile products, before seeing the result. And lots of friends and fans of my photography, get  goosebumps when they hear that I do not use a dslr. Well, the fun fact of a professional’s gear is, he sees it as an investment, and I, the new hobbyist see this lens as a dream-come true! As I know the normal charges for covering an event and making one portrait-portfolio, I can say that this lens costs only 7-10 earnings collaborated. And with this lens, you will make your client happy no doubt about it! Considering this lens an investment, I must say, with all those job well done with flying colours, this lens is worthy of its value if you are a Professional Photographer shooting in fashion and events. With this conical sparkling lens, you will look, feel and shoot like a professional and the result will always satisfy your soul.

Sparkling Blue (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/4000 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Buds (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/500 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Colour of Rain (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/160 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Royal Reflection (Focal Length - 90mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/80 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

Closest Focus (Focal Length - 150mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/20 Sec ; ISO - 800 ; Aperture - f/2.8 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

The Rippler (Focal Length - 48mm ; Shutter Speed - 1/1000 Sec ; ISO - 200 ; Aperture - f/2.8; Edited in Photoshop CS5)

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P.s. My picture with the lens has been clicked by my all time best buddy Sourav Kundu with his amazing Motorola Moto G2.

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