Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 ED R MSC - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Sebastian Milczanowski, published December 2012

Introduction

The Olympus M.Zuiko DIGITAL ED 40-150mm 4-5.6 R MSC may not be the hottest lens around in terms of generated excitement. However, it is certainly one of the most sold lenses of the micro-four-thirds (MFT) system - simply due to the fact that it is usually sold as part of camera-lens kits (either with a black or silver color finish). Given its specs it is a mid-range tele zoom lens suitable for a variety applications such as basic wildlife or portrait photography. The "R" model is an improved version of the initial 40-150mm which has been specifically improved regarding AF operations using the new MSC (Movie-Still-compatible) AF drive. If you count in the Four-Thirds variants this is even the 4th incarnation.

The construction of the lens is basic as to be expected from an affordable, consumer-grade lens. The lens body is made entirely of plastic down to the lens mount which is also why the lens is extremely light-weight at just 190g. The good news is, however, that the inner lens tube barely wobbles even when extending the lens to its longest tele setting. The M.Zuiko has an inner focusing system so the lens front does not rotate during focusing. The broad focus ring operates smoothly whereas the zoom ring is a bit on the stiff side. The tested sample showed no zoom creeping as a consequence.

As promised by Olympus the AF operations are indeed extremely fast and silent which is certainly a plus when it comes to shooting HD movies. However, don't expect wonders in terms of object tracking performance but this is, as of now, more a limitation of the MFT cameras rather than the lenses anyway. Manual focusing works "by-wire" which is typical for MFT lenses. While this is probably a rarely used feature by the target audience we are quite comfortable with the implementation.
It is worth mentioning that Olympus lenses do not offer an image stabilizer because Olympus cameras rely on their in-body stabilization solution. As such the Zuiko may not be an overly attractive choice for Panasonic camera owners though.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length80-300 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/8-f/11.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction13 elements in 10 groups
Number of aperture blades7 Circular aperture diaphragm
min. focus distance0.9 m
Dimensions "on/off" (L x W)63.5 x 83 mm
Weight190 g
Filter size58 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNo
Other features-




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