With the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Olympus released a unique lens, which is not available from other manufacturers. It’s focal length area covers the equivalent field of view of a 35mm lens with 300-800mm and weights only a bit more than 1800g. Therefore the lens is very mobil and you can shoot handheld without a tripod. With 35mm lenses is this for sure not possible, as those are much bigger and heavier. As you don’t need a tripod you save also the weight of this in case you are on location.
In addition the lens has the best image stabilisation on the market, which works in conjunction with the image stabilisation of the camera. This ensures that you can shoot also with long focal length with our blurring the image.
I’m lucky and had already the opportunity to test the lens and would like to share my experience with you. My very first impression at the moment I touched the lens the first time was, wow that lens is light. Sure it is heavier as lenses with shorter focal length. It is the biggest lens in the Micro Four Thirds family. In case you take it into hands the first time you will be surprised how light the lens despite its size is. To achieve this Olympus decided to use Aluminum Alloy only on the parts, which are responsible for stability. All other areas are made out of carbon reinforces polycarbonate. Anyhow the lens feels very solid. In addition the lens hoof is also made out of carbon, this ensures a very good balance between lens and camera body (in my case the E-M1X) also when the lens hood is used.
As already written above is the balance between lens and camera body excellent. Regarding the handling there is a lot more. The lens offers a bunch of switches to adjust focusing area, image stabilisation, focus method and the behaviour of the L-Fn buttons. Those switches are very good to reach and you find them also when you are looking through the viewfinder. The switch to activate the built-in 1.25x teleconverter is placed on the perfect location an can be easily reached in portrait as well landscape shooting. Focusing and zooming is easy and very precise and without big efforts usable. Very useful are the L-Fn buttons which can be used to focus to a predefined distance or you can activate a predefined function. The predefined focusing distance can be set with a small button close to the switch for the built-in teleconverter. This is a very helpful function, in case you would like to come back to a certain focusing distance, when disturbing objects are between you and the subject you would like to focus on. An example would be in case you would like to shot animals behind tries and the branches are in the way.
In opposite to 35mm lenses Micro Four Third lenses do have a very short closest focusing distance. In case of the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO it is 1.3m, also when you are using the built-in or external teleconverter. This makes the lens also to a mark lens, which is very usable to shoot butterflies or dragonflies. The long focal length enable you not only to keep the needed distance to shy animals but also gives you a nice unsharp background.
As you expect from such kind of lens the lens is in each area top. Sharpness full-fills all professional needs. Even when the built-in teleconverter is used there are no complaints, which also is the case when using MC-14 or MC-20. In case you are using the MC-20 the lens reaches an unbelievable focal length of 1000mm, which is equivalent with 2000mm in 35mm cameras. As the image stabilisation is so good also in this configuration shooting handheld is not issue at all. The tripod you can leave at home. This makes not only your travel luggage lighter but you could also shoot more agile as you can react on changes much faster.
Autofocus is working in all configuration fast and precise, which is also very helpful when you are shooting fast moving objects. Issues like distortion, vignetting or chromatic aberration are not present.
Comparison with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS
I know this comparison is unfair as the 100-400mm is far less expensive as the 150-400mm lens. The 150-400mm lens is bigger, but delivered als much more speed and is in all optical areas at least one class better. In addition usage is more flexible as it as a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, which can be switch on / off with out releasing the lens. Therefore you can react much faster in case you need a bit more focal length, which is a real benefit especially, when you are shooting wildlife or sports. In addition AF speed is much faster and more precise. Don’t misunderstand me, the 100-400mm lens is, having the price in mind, a brillant lens, but the 150-400mm in comparison is much better.
Enough written. It is better to show you images taken with this lens. In case you have questions write an comment I’m more than happy to answer.