40-150 Pro (impressive) with TC (not so much)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by chargedmr2, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. chargedmr2

    chargedmr2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 26, 2014
    I recently purchased the 40-150 Pro from a user on the forum here and the lens is great. I absolutely love it. The 1.4x TC has gotten pretty good reviews as well so I picked that up a few days back. I plan to take this combination on a two month trip through southern Africa. I've read prior threads suggesting that this combination should be sufficiently sharp that it will likely offer more detail at its maximum focal length (210mm) than the 75-300mm and 100-300mm when shot at similar or even greater focal lengths. I own the 75-300mm lens and have done a bit of shooting with both lenses to draw some comparisons. I started out using a tripod, and then using both lenses handheld. My conclusions about the lenses are the same for either method. Last point, I compared jpegs, SOOC, using an E-M10.

    1. The 40-150 + TC shot wide open (F4, 210mm) is NOT as sharp as the 75-300mm (F6.3, 208mm)
    2. The 40-150 + TC stopped down (F5, 210mm) is about equal (perhaps VERY slightly better when using the tripod) to the 75-300mm (F6.3, 208mm)
    3. Stopping the 40-150 down further does not change the above conclusion.
    4. When the TC is taken out of the equation, the 40-150 noticeably outperforms the 75-300 at similar focal lengths.

    There are obviously many advantages to have the 40-150 Pro that I am not addressing here. The most obvious is that it is much faster. However, if I want to have similar sharpness to the 75-300mm lens, I must stop the 40-150 + TC down to F5. This means there is only a 2/3 stop advantage. This is not meaningless, but it does take away from the potentially greater speed advantage.

    Most of the commentary I have read about the 40-150 + TC seems to be based on general perceptions about this combination versus other telephoto options, but I haven't read much where specific comparisons are being made with a tripod in the equation.

    I'm curious if anyone has made similar comparisons and what the conclusions are? I may be sending this TC back in hopes that I got a bad copy. I'd really like to gain the extra speed of F4 without getting images that are worse than my comparatively cheap 75-300mm.

    I'll try to get some pictures posted soon.
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  2. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    I kinda get what you're saying but wonder if your expectations might be a tad too high?

    The lens on its own in a standout performer. Without doubt. Add the TC and - well, you're adding more glass and a loss of light. It's inevitable it's going to be 'less quality.' BUT it's still darned good.

    I'm keeping my TC for the odd occasion and for the anticipated 300/4.
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  3. paul macro

    paul macro Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 10, 2011
    My 40-150mm + t/c seems adequate untitled-8.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
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  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    I would say this. If the 75-300/4.8-6.7 lens is out performing your 40-150/2.8 PRO lens(with and without the TC), either there is an operator error problem or a serious issue with the 40-150 lens and I'd have it looked at.

    I do not find what you are saying at all between the 40-150 and the 75-300 at all.
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  5. chargedmr2

    chargedmr2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 26, 2014
    lomomentum - I hear you, but do you think my findings should have been expected? A few reviews I had read lead me to believe otherwise.

    Paul - Very nice photo. I do not mean to suggest that the lens is inadequate with the TC. My comment that the combo was not impressive (post title) was only meant in comparison to the 75-300mm.

    gryphon - My 40-150 is definitely sharper than the 75-300 as long as the TC is NOT being used (so I don't think there is something wrong with the lens). When the TC is in use, the 75-300 is on par at the focal lengths I described (or better when compared to the 40-150 + TC at f4). I'm going to try to post some pictures of what I am seeing. Maybe you could share what you found since you also have the 75-300mm lens.
  6. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Real Name:
    This is good information and I'm interested in hearing what others have to say. I currently have a Canon 7D with 70-200/2.8 and 1.4x (both Canon) that I use for my sports and other telephoto needs but I'm considering investing more heavily in MFT equipment. My experience with the Canon TC has been almost exactly the same as @chargedmr2@chargedmr2. I've tried to use the Canon TC, tested it on a tripod and the loss of sharpness is so great that I just stopped using it. I'm better off using just the 70-200 and cropping. I realize that Canon TC's really have nothing to do with Olympus TC's. On the other hand, I'm wondering if a noticeable loss of sharpness is just inherent in TC's to the point that they aren't much better than a consumer grade lens of comparable length. :confused-53:
  7. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 20, 2012
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Real Name:
    I can understand your thinking because I've been doing similar comparisons with my recently acquired 50-200SWD lens to my 75-300 & have also come up with similar results (including using the EC14). To me it means if I need to go light then the 75-300 lens comes with me (so long as the light is good enough) because the quality is still quite good. I wonder if some of us have better samples of the 75-300 lens. ;)
  8. DL Photo

    DL Photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 15, 2012
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Real Name:
    Interesting thread as I am also considering the Pro TC.

    Robin Wong has a post in his blog with samples of the TC on the 40-150 pro. His samples appear to be really sharp at all apertures. All static subjects though.

    My understanding is that the 75-300 is a sharp lens up to the 200 or so FL. Supposed be be a great lens in good lighting conditions.

    Keep in mind that there is more to a lens that just sharpness. Color, contrast, focusing etc. The 40-150 with the TC will allow you to shoot higher shutter speeds and lower ISO than the same focal length with the 75-300. I think that will make a big difference for many.

    I wonder how the AF is on the 40-150 with the TC when compared to the 75-300.
  9. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 4, 2014
    Real Name:
    I found the 75-300 to be impressively sharper than its weight class. In a thread about a year ago I compared my mk I to a (rented) 300mm f/2.8 (a $7k lens) in a completely unfair test. I shot a heron from a considerable range with the 300 with the EM-1 on a tripod while my wife right next to me shot the same image with the 75-300 with an EM-5 hand-held. While the depth of field advantage made a much nicer picture for the 4/3 giant, and it was also sharper, the 75-300 fared so well given the disadvantages it faced that it stole the show.

    The 75-300's only weakness is speed - aperture and focusing. But when the light is good and the lens isn't required to track too aggressively, it's a joy to use.

    That said, I have not found the 40-150 pro + teleconverter to be soft.
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  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    There is definitely sample variation on the new TC, from numerous threads with real posted results.
    If you can get a replacement TC please do so and post again.
  11. newphoto1

    newphoto1 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 24, 2014
    Real Name:
    I agree. IMHO there is virtually no loss of resolution, sharpness, or focus speed with the TC 1.4. In addition, I owned the 75-300, but sold it after the release of the 40-150 Pro. It was noticeably less sharp than the 40-150 with TC 1.4 at similar focal lengths. From 220 to 300, the 75-300 wasn't much good for moving subjects.
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  12. Harvey Melvin Richards

    Harvey Melvin Richards Photo Posting Junkie

    Feb 15, 2014
    Southwest Utah
    I no longer use my 75-300 because I can get a better photo with a cropped image taken with my 40-150 + MC-14.
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  13. chargedmr2

    chargedmr2 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 26, 2014
    Harvey, that is exactly what I was hoping for. I'm going to use this TC some more to be sure of my conclusions, and if nothing changes I will exchange it.
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  14. DL Photo

    DL Photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 15, 2012
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Real Name:
    Thanks for reassuring me. I will be purchasing the TC soon.
  15. DennisC

    DennisC Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    I had thought about replacing my Lumix 100-300 with this combo for action shots but I'll wait to see what the 300mm prime is like.
    Although the 40-150 Pro is clearly well regarded , I've still not seen any image samples that blow me away given the price point.
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  16. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Real Name:
    This is really a shame to hear. There must be sample variation with the teleconverter. Mine is tack sharp. It took me a minute to adjust to the difference between 210mm@f4 vs 150mm@f2.8, but if your 100-300/75-300 is outperforming it in the same situation, I'd say you got a misaligned or out of whack TC. Send that puppy back.
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  17. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    Believe me the IQ is there - you'll just not see a whole lot of it given the relatively low resolution samples out on the internet. For me it was never about pure IQ, but a combination of IQ and performance. This thing is a PRO performer and functions very well.
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  18. johnvanatta

    johnvanatta Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2014
    San Luis Obispo
    I think expectations are just all over the place for TCs. Some people are looking at 100% pixels, some at web jpegs. I'm pretty sure there are mtf charts out there for it showing a substantial decrease in contrast. That matches my results at the pixel-peeping level: Meh at f4, good at f5. I don't think I have a bad sample though I guess it's possible.

    I remember a lot of people saying that the nikon 1.4 tc and 300/4 combo showed no apparent iq degradation and I could clearly see the hit there too.

    Can't expect magic. I think of it as a 150-210/5 that weighs a hundred grams and costs 300. Not a bad deal!
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  19. phlk

    phlk Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2014
    London UK
    Hi I don't have another olympus telephoto to benchmark though am using the 40-150 2.8 with and without the tele converter and have been very impressed. My benchmark is would I use this combination in preference to my full frame set up? (nikon 610 with nikon 70-200 f4 and nikon 300mm f4) so far the olympus is getting the air time and I am very impressed especially with the MC 14. I just wonder if you have a rogue copy?

    Below is a link to some of my shots on Flickr with and without the converter if you would like to compare

    With MC14

    Without MC14

    I hope you get it sorted and enjoy the combination as much as I am


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The old rule of thumb is you have to stop down 1 stop for a 1.4x and 2 stops for a 2x TC to regain your sharpness. You are enlarging the image so you are going to lose detail vs the bare lens just as a matter of physics.