Olympus 40-150 pro or 4/3 150 F2

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by MRM, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. MRM

    MRM Mu-43 Regular

    112
    Jun 9, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Matt
    Hi. I was wondering if anyone had experience with both lenses? I am looking for a wildlife lens and was debating between the two lenses. A Used 150 f2 with adapters goes for about the same as the 40-150 pro at this time. The 150 f2 is a stop wider and has the ability to add on the ec-20 to become a 300 f4 which would be great if the 300 f4 m4/3 lens doesn't come out before in go on safari the first week of February 2016. The 40-150 pro would have more flexibility as a zoom lens and focus faster. Aside from that how do they compare IQ wise. I would guess the 150 F2 would have better bokeh. Both are suppose to be very sharp but i read a lot of 150 f2 owners feel like it has that extra something in the IQ department like the 75 1.8 does. I only have a em5 II currently but will be getting a EM1 used for either lens. Thanks for any input!
     
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi,

    Changing lenses and/or TC's while on safari is going to get a lot of dust in the camera/sensor, so I'd say
    40-150 with MC-14,
    or
    ZD 50-200 SWD (optionally + EC-14)

    Don't forget the weather-sealed MMF-3 adapter for the ZD lenses.

    Another option would be both bodies with 2 different lenses; you could rent the lenses if you want.

    Barry
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I have kinda already been down this road. I recently switched to Olympus (2 years ago) and one of the main reasons for my switch was the 300 Pro lens combined with the EM1 (yes the wait is getting a little tiresome). The other reasons (with the advent of the EM1) were IBIS, weather sealing, and SHG glass. I started with a manual focus Canon FD 400 ƒ4.5 as my main wildlife lens but eventually I really wanted autofocus. The 40-150 Pro was about to come out and compared to the 50-200 SWD I did not think it had enough reach as my main wildlife lens. So I got the 50-200 SWD and I can honestly say that I have been completely happy with this combination. If you are not doing high speed sports, I would highly recommend the 50-200 SWD over the 40-150 Pro. It is more then adequate for wildlife and birds in flight and I have used it for sports and it has performed beyond my expectations.

    But I digress...............I picked up the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 a little while back and for the last two months have basically only shot with this lens (used my 7.5mm and 17mm for landscape stuff is all). It has become my wildlife lens of choice, just been having to work my ass off to get closer to stuff (mostly use it with no TC or the EC-14, although I do have the EC-20 and use it on occasion). There really is just something special about this lens and how it renders. I am loving this lens more and more every time I use it and switching from it to the 300 Pro when it arrives is going to be a hard thing. I honestly believe unless I need the reach or the faster focusing I will try to use the 150/2 as much as possible.

    Now, I have shot wildlife and sports with two of the 4/3 lenses and I do not own any of the Pro lenses. I believe when it comes to sports the Pro lenses are superior in focus speed. But, the 4/3 lenses are more then adequate and up to the task and I would not hesitate to use them for any type of photography knowing that I it will get the shots I need.

    Here are few recent shots with the 150/2 and if you search on threads I have started you can find many examples of experiences with 4/3 lenses. Also look at the showcase threads for both lenses. If it was for a safari and I really wanted a zoom, I would take the 50-200 SWD and the EC-14 over the 40-150 Pro. The 50-200 is only a little slower then the 40-150 and if you put the TC on the 40-150 it basically becomes the same lens as the 50-200 with no TC and actually a bit slower. Personally, I would get the 150 and put the EC-14 on it for the safari. Oh, if you get either 4/3 lens get the focus tune software and do the micro adjust....it is well worth the expense and time.

    EM1 w/ 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-20


    EM1 w/ 150mm ƒ2.0


    EM1 w/ 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-14


    EM1 w/ 150mm ƒ2.0 + EC-14
     
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  4. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    MRM, you may find this blog to be of interest. The photographer, who is also a photo-safari tour leader, tells of his experience with the 40-150 Pro on safari. It's notable that he concludes that going with his 50-200 SWD might be a better choice. Also concur that it's probably preferable to take two bodies with two lenses, and not change lenses if you're out and about.

    http://www.fotozones.com/live/index.../olympus-40-150mm-f28-pro-goes-on-safari-r172

    I don't have a 40-150 Pro, but I tried my friend's one briefly. While the Pro lens is faster to focus, my 50-200 SWD is no slouch and I've used it to shoot kids soccer games with great success. Keeping focus on a bunch of kids running around is no easy task, but the 50-200 did just fine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
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  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Not sure what your experience in shooting long lenses is or indeed what your expectations are, but all I can offer is that i have been using the 50-200 with a 1.4 teleconvertor recently for some bird stuff and for some surfing pictures

    I was able to pick up the teleconvertor for 100 dollars 6 months ago (they seem to have gone from ebay now - there were a bunch of them on sale as the stock from an inhouse photo service of a big US department store hit the market)

    Bottom line is that 150mm is not much of a reach if subjects are 30-50 yards away, which i would guess unless you are on a very good safari is probably what you will get

    200mm is better but still disappointing, even at close to 300mm (200mm plus 1.4 convertor) you are probably going to be cropping.

    here are a couple of examples

    if something is 50 meters or 170 feet away at 280mm this is what you get

    Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 00.56.16.

    a small bird at 16 feet

    Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 00.57.17.

    I am not trying to be discouraging here, just trying to be realistic with expectations

    K
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
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  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That's a really good review, read it awhile go and had forgotten about it. I was surprised he never used the 50-200 with the EC-14, witch I think I would on a safari. I really wish they had made the Pro a 50-200, much better range and a decent jump to the 300/4.
     
  7. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Here's the last paragraph in Dallas's article. I think he's looking forward to the 300 f4 Pro too. I echo Phocal's wish that Olympus had made a 50-200 f2.8 Pro. I would have saved up for that. I hesitated to get the 40-150 Pro + TC14 because it would cost so much to get up to 200mm range, which is what I need for the soccer game photos I was shooting. 150mm alone is not enough. I had been using the Oly 40-150 R and the Pana 45-200 previously. I got the used 50-200 SWD + MMF-3 + EC14 for less than half what the Pro combo would have cost me. In the end, I think we're saying that 150mm isn't long enough, and even with the TC14, may still be a little short.

    "I got loads of great shots on these 2 safaris, but I do think that I got better images on last year’s trips when I was using the 50-200mm lens. Why? I have thought about this and come to the conclusion that the 40-150mm PRO, while it is an awesome lens, is only really suited for near field subjects, which makes it less than desirable as a wildlife lens. Anything more than 25m away seemes to have less “pop”. Don’t get me wrong, I am still salivating after this lens for general use, but on future safaris I would definitely choose the 50-200mm over it. I do think that the 300mm f/4 PRO will be the business for safaris though and I reckon that if Olympus were to make a 200mm f/2.8 PRO (or maybe even an f/2.0 version?) they would have my order in no time."
     
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  8. MRM

    MRM Mu-43 Regular

    112
    Jun 9, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Matt
    WoW you guys have been great help already. I have some time to think about this but i would like to use a lens for a while before i go so I'm looking to purchase something soon. I know both are on the short side for a safari but there aren't many long lenses for this system. I was thinking that the 300 with the Ec-20 would be the longest good quality option.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  9. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    Last year the wife and I used our Panny 100-300 lenses for most distance wildlife shooting. For us it is a better choice than the Oly 75-300 or an adapted lens. We head to Kenya soon and will have the Panny 100-300, 40-15- Pro, and 12-40 Pro. Of course what we all want is for both the Oly 300 Pro and the Panny/Leica 100-400 to be released and compared. When we can have one of those two lens in our kit, we should be much better prepared for wildlife shooting. When we select one of those, our pair of Panny 100-300 lenses will be given new homes. BTW, you can find new 100-300 lenses on eBay for much less than $400.
     
  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    You are welcome. Honestly, If I was going on Safari and given the current lens line up and having an EM1 and EM5 (you have the mk2) my lens selection would be:

    50-200 SWD (get the SWD over the non-SWD for the instance manual focus when it misses, it really is worth the extra cash)
    EC-14 (I would start with the EC-14 and decided from there if I could drop it or not)
    7-14 Pro
    8mm Pro (if funds where tight I could just use my 7.5mm which I honestly love for the IQ and small size).

    If you go with a 4/3 lens I highly recommend getting the Focus Tune Software and targets, it really is worth it. Here is a link: http://michaeltapesdesign.com/index.html

    But I will say, the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0 is my favorite lens ever and it's just so amazing...........when it is enough reach and for a safari I just don't think it would be. Now if I could afford 2 EM1's I would mount the 150 on one and the 50-200 w/ EC-14 on the other.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
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  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I would still rather go with the 50-200 SWD and EC-14. It is faster while only giving up 20mm (the 100-300 loses sharpness at the end), is weather sealed if used with the MMF-3, focuses faster then the 100-300 (which has old autofocus and aperture mechanisms), and is probably not much more then the 100-300.
     
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  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    mcasan

    your post would be more useful if you provided examples of what that combo achieved
     
  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Opinions without evidence are sort of pointless

    maybe thats just me :-0
     
  14. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    After I read the Fotozone article and told my friend about it, we were all hot for booking a photo safari trip. I thought about what I'd take on a safari, and similar to Phocal, this is what I'd take (given what I already have).

    1) EM1 with 50-200 SWD + EC14
    2) EM5 with 12-40 Pro

    As others have said, the 300 f4 Pro may be the lens to have, but the 50-200 combo gets pretty close, and it provides some flexibility if something is close by, like hippos in the river.

    BTW, check out their Flickr gallery. https://www.flickr.com/photos/photographerstravel/albums/with/72157657935166370
    You'll see some great shots and what they used to get them. He used the 50-200, but also used the 75-300 to good effect.

    I'm guessing here, but I suspect that the big cats and other animals may be most active in the early morning or late afternoon, when it's cooler and prey are moving around. I figure that a lot of animals are resting or seeking shade in the mid-day heat. I think you can see that a lot of those shots are taken during those morning or afternoon hours. Some even after sunset. Therefore, having a fast lens would be an advantage.
     
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  15. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    My thinking on this is here:

    Why I almost didn't buy the 150f2 SHG

    I'm with Phocal on this even though I often use the EC20 with mine. The rendering is excellent and there are real advantages with an f2 lens.
     
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  16. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I had this same question recently. Glad you asked, but there seem to be very few here who have had both lenses. I've always kinda wanted the 150 f2 myself. Yes it does seem to have that special something I've seen before. Though samples are few and far between. I had a 50-200 and EC14 way back when, but I never used it much and sold it ages ago. No complaints though. I used it for some sports and it worked fine (w/E3, E1, E30). It was big and heavy for an everyday lens and I wasn't shooting much tele then. Safari is another story and wouldn't be a burden...(not that I've been on one myself).

    So I had been watching for used 150 F2 to come on market at a good price, but before that every happened, I Started finding 40-150 pros in the $1000 range and ended up getting one on a bit of a whim. It's outstanding. Haven't got a TC yet though, but I'm very impressed with it. The build and hood design are superb. That said, practically speaking, you can get the 50-200 so cheap nowdays, as well as the EC14 it would be tough to pass them up at those prices. You can't go wrong with either choice IMO. The 150mm w/2.0 TC would be really cool to have for some adventure like you have planned. Good news is all 3 are great lenses. I can't speak for owning the 150 though. For me, the 40-150 was probably a bit more practical and all-round use vs the 150 f2, which is a bit more of a specialty lens. The PRO is also more "liquid" now if you changed your mind.

    A fun/small light alternative might be an OM 100mm F2.8 which I also owned. It's pretty sharp, manual focus and there is a 2.0 teleconverter available...both can be had for under $200 combined. It's not going to outperform the other 3 and is better stopped down a little. Maybe not a great alternative for a lifetime adventure...puts it in about the same league as the 40-150R....but that lens is nice for the $ in good light. I wish the 75 F1.8 had a 2x teleconverter. The 40-150 is every bit as good IMO. Just much bigger/heavier.
     
  17. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    I've asked myself the same question often. I think that 150mm is the minimum practical focal length for wildlife (single animal shot). For a car safari where movement is extremely limited this is easily too short. Then birds and elephants are not the same thing, in size, in shyness, mobility, etc.

    You can put the EC14 on the 150 and get a 210/2.8, definitely not bad but maybe yet short and too close to the 40-150/2.8 that is far more versatile in other contexts. And what's the point in getting a super fast lens to use it always "stopped down" with a TC? Then with the EC20 you are at 300/4 and here the new Oly 300/4 could have an advantage (size, IQ, we'll see). My feeling is also that anything above 300 is too demanding in terms of required light/stability to be practical (for casual shooting).

    So it really depends on how/when/what you shoot. Most animals are more active in early/late hours but not many people are willing to wake up at 4 A.M. when you can really benefit from a f2 lens. Or waiting and slowly getting closer to get the shot.

    In practice I think that a 50-200 (with optional EC14) is the most practical option overall. The 150 is an extreme tradeoff of performance vs anything else (price, size, usability, etc.), I see it as a lens for someone really into this kind of shooting. Yet I placed an offer, too low, on ebay for a 150/2 (and today I'm happy I didn't got it, tomorrow we'll see...).
     
  18. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    On our past safaris in South Africa my favorite lens on my Canon 5DIII or 7D was the 100-400L. I had access to a 500 F4 but rarely used it due to size and weight. Now that we moved to M43 it will be interesting to see if the Panny 100-300 holds up well on safari in Kenya. It did OK shooting wildlife in Colorado and Minnesota.
     

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  19. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    First off, the OP is going in February, so the 300/4 is not an option. If I was the OP I would probably opt for the 50-200 the EC-14 for the extra range (knowing I could remove it if I find that I do not need the extra reach). Another option not mentioned (not sure of OP's budget) is the ZD 90-250mm ƒ2.8 which honestly is probably the best solution for a safari if weight is not an issue (don't own this lens but imagine it is not something you could handhold for long).

    This does bring up an interesting point that I have been working with the last few months. I have always felt that a zoom is much better for a lot of things when you can't just zoom with your feet as they say. But over the last few months I have put aside the 50-200 and only been using the 150/2 as my main wildlife and sports lens. Something I have come to realize is that it forces you to concentrate on the shot and not zooming the lens to get that perfect framing. I have actually found that I am starting to prefer the limitation of a prime, especially for action stuff (lets me concentrate on following the action and shooting when everything is right vs trying to create that framing via zooming). Do I miss some shots or wish I had a zoom when laying in the muck unable to zoom with a crawl? Yes I do. But I am finding that it is forcing me to work on other aspects of my photography and I am really starting to enjoy it. So, it is just something to think about and until and I think hard to explain.....need to spend some time in the field with just a prime to fully grasp what I am trying to explain.

    Now, to Klorenzo's comment about why use the 150 if you are always going to stop it down a fast lens via a TC. Well, over the last few months I have only been shooting with the 150/2 and I have used all 3 combinations available (still need some extension tubes to add even more combos, yes @faithblinded@faithblinded I am going to get some). That is what makes having a fast telephoto so appealing. I have an effective 300/2 which is great for early morning or late evening, or when deep in the swamp where little light makes it to the floor. I can add the EC-14 and have an effective 420/2.8 which is still fast (really the standard fast aperture for telephotos) in a very small and easy to carry/use package. Not sure I would want to crawl around with a real 400/2.8. Then, if I need more reach, I can add the EC-20 for an effective 300/4. While this is probably bigger then a normal 300/4, you have to remember that there are no 300/4's for µ4/3 (yes you have the metabones adapter now but it does not maintain weather sealing which is a huge hit for a lot of wildlife photographers (well at least for me)). So, I can take my 150/2 and two small TC's and have 3 very effective focal ranges with very fast, fast, good apertures......in a package that is super easy to carry around all day while trudging thru the wilderness. Also, while I don't have extension tubes the TC's act as way to get more magnification for macro/closeup shots (like my frog above) because they maintain the lenses original minimum focus distance but increase magnification. That frog shot has maybe a 5% crop to help out composition a bit more, would not have been that close of shot without the EC-20.

    A side note...........when the 300/4 finally arrives I believe I will have the closet to perfect wildlife prime setup that you can have and it will only involve two lenses.

    - 150/2 = 300/2
    - 150/2 + EC-14 = 420/2.8
    - 300/4 = 600/4
    - 300/4 + MC-14 = 840/5.6

    That is going to make a very versatile 2 lens combination that will also be pretty light and easy to carry around all day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
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  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Which is why I think the 50-200 SWD with/out the EC-14 is the perfect combination if you own an EM1. Without the TC it gives you 100-400 ƒ2.8-3.5 which is over a stop faster if using the Canon on a full frame camera. With the TC it gives you 140-560 ƒ4.0-5.0 which is a little less reach but 1/3 stop faster if the Canon is used on a crop body. Every time I look at this it makes me sad that Olympus did not make the 40-150 Pro a 50-200 Pro and is the reason I bought the 50-200 over the 40-150. But, now that I am getting back into sports photography I may have to get the 40-150 Pro just for the faster focusing. For wildlife and most of my other photography I would still use the 50-200 over the 40-150.
     
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