Travel telephoto

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by wjiang, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Searched through all the forums and online, still can't decide on a telephoto for travel use, so seeking some opinions.

    I am primarily a < 100 mm equivalent focal length person, and will typically use some combination of fast primes (PL25, O45 on the way, either P14/PL15/O17 in future) and the versatile and weatherproof O12-50.

    I will be using it primarily for daytime travel to capture interesting details in the distance, and those unique compression shots. Secondary use as a 'zoo' lens, mostly for interesting animals I come across rather than actual zoos or serious wildlife stuff.

    As part of a kit, the telezoom will be taken and used for specific shots/scenarios only. Because it's for travel, I'd like it to be light and not too large for taking along in addition. As I will be using it purely as a telephoto, sharpness across the frame at the far ends seems to be more important than the close ends. And because I will be using it as an occasional day time lens, the P35-100 and O40-150 f/2.8s are overkill and outside the money/weight criteria.

    I am not considering any of the superzooms either because they don't go wide enough, are heavy and large, are not weatherproof, are way more expensive, and do not appear to perform well at the telephoto end.

    OIS is not of much concern as I have an E-M5. Focusing speed might matter though, I've not heard much about focusing speed of Panasonic telezooms vs the O40-150 on an Olympus body.

    So it seems my choices come down to the usual suspects: O40-150, P45-150, P45-175, P45-200, as well as the rogue element of the unreleased mini 35-100 that goes with the GM1.

    My current thinking is as follows:
    Price: P45-200/O40-150, both easy to find used in NZ.
    Telephoto IQ: P45-150/O40-150?
    Weight/size: O40-150/P45-150/P45-175
    Feature: P45-175 for its power and non-extending zoom? But occasional shutter shock issues?

    Having never used a telephoto zoom on an ILC before, how bad is the 'gas pump' effect? Does it just go into the lens or into the sensor cavity as well?
  2. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I have the Olympus 40-150, it is a great lens and probably the best bang for your buck in the tele zoom range. Small and very compact for travel, I don't think you could really go wrong with it if you can find a cheap one for sale somewhere.
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  3. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    We have both the O40-150 and P45-175 in our household and I would comment is that even though on paper the Pana is longer than the Oly due to it's smaller diameter it looks and feels smaller even at the 40/45 end.

    At the longer end the Pana does not get any bigger and the Oly almost doubles so the Pana is very much smaller.

    The Oly is much better than's it's price would suggest but I think that the Pana edges it slightly in overall IQ.

    The Pana takes the same size filters as the 14, 25 lenses (46mm) so for travel only taking one set of (better?) filters needed.

    It's hard to justify the 45-175 based just on value for money over the Oly (unless you need IOS as my wife did) but the handling at the long end is better on the 175 and this plus the filters would mean if I bought another (we have 4 of us on m4/3) it would be either the 45-175 or the new PRO 40-150/f2.8 (unless the price is ridiculous).

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
    • Like Like x 1
  4. droidakty

    droidakty Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    For travel, why not look at a superzoom 14-140 and carry one lens rather than two?

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
  5. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I have the Panasonic 45-150, and find it to be very nice. It is small and lightweight, and has good optical performance. I've only used it on a Panasonic body though, so I can't say what focus speed is like on an E-M5.

    I've also used a 45-200. But it is a heavier and larger lens, and the IQ degrades after 150mm or so. The extra 50mm of reach isn't worth it.

    From what I've read, the 40-150 and 45-150 are pretty much the same in terms of size and quality. So you might be best off just going for which ever one you can get cheaper.
  6. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    I am reasonably happy with the olympus 40-150, it's great value for the price. I feel it can provide reasonably sharp shots provided there is plenty of light and you stop down a little. I feel some how it lacks something in micro contrast, so a bit of tweaking in post processing helps. Surprisingly much lighter than expected, though it does feel plasticy (not a huge concern for me).

    I don't have any of the other zooms to compare it with though.

    Here a few shots where I used it in my travels:

    P5171291.jpg by hazwing, on Flickr

    P5023692 by hazwing, on Flickr

    P6090429.jpg by hazwing, on Flickr

    P6303708.jpg by hazwing, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 4
  7. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks for the replies so far. It looks like it's probably either the O40-150 or nothing at this point given price and availability, need to look at some more image samples I think...

    I already explained why a 14-1x0 superzoom wouldn't work for me...
  8. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    I got the O40-150 after asking myself the exact same questions you did. I shoot the same type of stuff too (mostly travel, and the occasional zoo), also with an E-M5. I've had this lens for a few months now and I am quite pleased considering its price. I needed a cheap but good-enough telezoom and that is exactly what I got. Results are okay but no where near my other lenses (Samyang 7,5mm fisheye, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and 12-35mm f/2.8 - which is understandable, those are primes and high-quality expensive zooms).

    My previous telephoto was a 70-200mm f/4L IS USM from Canon on a FF DSLR, which explains why I had higher standards (sold the whole kit because of weight issues). This being said I bought the O40-150 because I wasn't using my telephoto a lot and thus it seemed silly for an amateur to own a 1K€ piece of glass only to use it a few times a year.

    I would have gotten the 45-175mm from Panasonic for the better construction/durability, but it was quite a lot more expensive. At the end of the day I'm very pleased I got this O40-150: the pictures are good across the range and, with a little post, you can get some stunning results.

    A couple of examples:
    Lemur &amp; friends par Qiou87, sur Flickr

    White tiger par Qiou87, sur Flickr
  9. Mikros

    Mikros Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 16, 2013
    I personally think O40-150mm is fantastic travel lens. I had Panny 45-200 for a while and took some nice long reach photos it was just too heavy and bulky.

    I took 40-150 on the trip to New Zealand, along with 20 and 45 primes. The primes hardly left the bag.

    I could've take this shot with 20:

    Wizzard of Enzed 3 by ladislavmiklos, on Flickr

    but, wouldn't be able to take this detail even with 45:

    Wizzard of Ezed 1 by ladislavmiklos, on Flickr

    both 20 or 45 would not focus as close to capture this:

    OLY90166 by ladislavmiklos, on Flickr

    45 would be the right choice for this, but there was plenty of light, would need to step it down to and loose the blur in the backround, so just took it with 45-150 (I admit I was actually too lazy to change the lens). Came up sharp enough.

    OLY90178 by ladislavmiklos, on Flickr

    When I pack my travel kit, 40-150 goes in first, 12-50 second (I take way more tele shots than wide, but use this one for land/cityscape) and lastly a fast prime for low light, mostly indoors.

    From my experience so far, I dare to say that this cheap lens, in good light, punches way above its weight.

  10. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I have the Olympus 40-150mm, and my father has the Panasonic 45-150mm. For that range, those are pretty much the go-to options with regards to image quality and size. Just look for both, and whichever one you come across, go ahead and hop on in. If you find the 45-175mm in your search, as mentioned it's pretty solid, but I don't think it's worth the premium you pay.

    I don't agree with going for a superzoom. Why pay 4-7 times more, for inferior image quality? You touched on quite a few reasons in your original post, and I'd recommend you stick by your guns.
  11. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I have the O40 - 150 and it is hard to beat for the price. Still, I will replace it with the PRO version that will be coming out next year.
  12. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    No dust problems on the super extending 40-150 then?
  13. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I have not had that problem, no have I read about it.
  14. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    That's reassuring. It gets touted now and again as an advantage of non-extending zooms... I've also heard of people refering to the P14-140 as a 'gas pump' or 'vacuum'. No comments on whether it actually affects images though.
  15. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    mine has some dust inside. I believe there already was some present when i bought it second hand, but i think more has gotten inside during my travels
  16. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Well, thanks guys, I'm convinced. A used silver O40-150 is on its way :smile:
  17. larsjuhljensen

    larsjuhljensen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I don't think you will regret your choice. I have used the O40-150 as my travel zooms for the last few years, and I have been very satisfied with it.

    If you're concerned about filter size, you can in fact get away with using 46mm filters on it - this obviously requires a 58-46mm step-down ring, but causes no vignetting at all. I decided to not have to mess around with step-down rings in the field, I always have 58-46mm step-down ring mounted on my O40-150 and simply replaced the 58mm lens cap with a 46mm lens cap.

    Finally, for a compact travel kit, the O40-150 works very well with the Raynox DCR-150, giving you an excellent macro setup as well.
  18. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    If you can get the Panasonic 45-150mm lens for close to the same price as the Olympus 40-150, I'd recommend you go that route. First of all, it seems to have slightly higher build quality, and Secondly, the fact that it has OIS built-in gives you more flexibility when buying other bodies in the future, such as the Panny GM1.