My friend Josh Ginter has written a fantastic review of what is perhaps the most polarizing lens in the entire Micro Four Thirds catalog: the massive 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO zoom by Olympus. This lens is everything a high-quality optical instrument should be: precise, durable, sharp, tough and reliable.
It’s also expensive. At $1,300 new, this is one of the pricier lenses for the system, up there with the Leica Nocticron. There’s clearly no shortage of excellent, first-class lenses for the MFT system these days, and things can only get better in the future.
But the 40-150mm PRO was designed and built with professionals in mind, which means this is not a lens for everyone. In fact, despite loving almost everything about the lens, Josh himself is not sure of where it fits in his arsenal:
Since returning from our trip, I’ve looked on my 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens with extreme ambivalence. On one hand, it’s my favourite lens ever. On the other, I rarely want to pull it out unless I’m ready for a dedicated shooting day. This lens isn’t your everyday carry, one handed street photography lens waiting to capture random passersby. But it is the best possible lens you can buy for controlled environments, sporting events, or for studio photography. Perhaps it’s fair to say the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is the first studio-type lens for the Micro 4/3 system. Within that definition, you may be able to understand where my questioning of this lens comes from.
If you don’t shoot in a studio, then this lens isn’t for you. Instead, take a good look at its close relative, the Olympus 12-40mm PRO zoom lens, which shares many of the same features — including its first-rate build quality — in a much more versatile focal range.
Having said that, if the 40-150mm PRO matches your shooting style, there’s probably no better lens out there. To get a better sense for what this lens is capable of, check out Josh’s stunning photography in his review.
An editorial side note: usually I would have saved this piece for the next issue of Morning Coffee, but I chose not to in this case for two reasons. First, I’m starting to believe tech reviews fit better as daily links, because I want to dedicate the Morning Coffee roundups for more timeless pieces of writing, and I don’t want to overfill each issue with too many links. And second, this may well be Josh’s best review yet, and it totally deserves to be enjoyed on its own.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed this review so much that I’m going to take a page from Josh’s playbook for my upcoming review of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens. Be sure to check out Tools & Toys next Tuesday to see how it turns out.