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M.Zuiko 14-150mm F/4-5.6 ED - Olympus Micro Four-Thirds Lens Roundup

M.Zuiko 14-150mm F/4-5.6 ED

M.Zuiko 14-150 F/4-5.6
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The M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4-5.6 ED ultra-zoom lens provides a 10.7X optical zoom covering the equivalent of a 28-300mm lens on full-frame camera. This is an extremely versatile range usable for landscapes, interiors, portraits, street photography, close-up and larger wild animals. The F/4-5.6 maximum apertures are a little dim yet give some control over depth-of-field.

This lens is almost exactly the size of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm described later, despite having roughly 3X the zoom range. This one is noticeably heavier and a tad better built with a metal lens-mount. The zoom ring is tight and moves smoothly and the focus ring completely smooth. This lens uses a 58mm thread.

Wide-open, sharpness is good in the center and soft at corners near its wide-angle end. Corners do improve slightly stopping down but remain soft throughout the aperture range. Zooming in to 40mm, sharpness in the center is very good and a slight amount of softness is visible at F/5.6 in the corners. Stopping down to F/6.7, corners get quite sharp. At the 150mm end, things are soft all over the frame wide-open but improves dramatically stopping down ½ a stop to F/6.7. At F/8, things are a noticeably sharper and F/9.5 gives the maximum sharpness. This time, corner softness is minimal when compared to the center, regardless of the aperture.

Distortion is extremely well controlled. Unfortunately vignetting is terrible at both ends of the zoom and remains disturbing until stopped down to F/11. In the middle of the zoom range, between 30 and 60mm, it is much less noticeable.

Naturally, there is the question of using the 14-42mm and 40-150mm versus the 14-150mm. Referring to our analysis of the 14-42mm, it is clear that the shorter lens does much better near 14mm while the ultra-zoom performs exceptionally well at 40mm. Towards the telephoto end, it seems the 40-150mm has a slight edge in terms of sharpness. The level of vignetting shown by the 14-150mm at some focal-lengths is clearly too much. This hands over the winning performance to the pair of lenses rather than the ultra-zoom. This is unsurprising since ultra-zoom lenses always offer a compromise of reduced performance versus increased versatility.

What is shown below are 5 crops taken from a photograph, repeatedly captured for each combination of focal-length and aperture. The smaller pieces are cropped from the extreme corners of the image, while the middle wide crop comes from the center of the image. Select an aperture in a row for a desired focal-length to see the crops from the corresponding image. When judging quality, keep in mind that these crops come from a 12 MP image which is normally used to print an image up to 16x12". On a computer display, these may appear much larger which magnifies image defects.

M.Zuiko 14-150mm F/4-5.6 ED Sharpness

Aperture @ 14mm  F/4 F/4.5 F/5.6 F/6.7 F/8 F/9.5 F/11 F/13 F/16 F/19 F/22
Aperture @ 40mm  F/5.6 F/6.7 F/8 F/9.5 F/11 F/13 F/16 F/19 F/22
Aperture @ 150mm  F/5.6 F/6.7 F/8 F/9.5 F/11 F/13 F/16 F/19 F/22

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