The first thing that impresses about the Olympus 40-150mm when first come across it is the size of the box. Is this really a Micro Four Thirds lens or is it full frame. That’s one big box for a zoom lens that only extends to 150mm.
Unboxing, the lens is far smaller as it only occupies the bottom part of its huge container. There is some empty cardboard which is presumably for the optional tele-converter, the lens hood and a rather thick and substantial bag for the lens. The lens itself wrapped in plastic with the sliding hood reversed and over the outside of the lens.
On the camera, the lens doesn’t look nearly so large unless you extend the generous hood.
The lens hood is very clever and so simple, a little twist of the ring and pull it back when not in use makes the 40-150 relatively compact (but stubby) when not in use. You never have to take it off.
The tripod collar is just the right size and is very sturdy. It can be removed if you need for total hand-held shooting and while the foot of the collar is small, it seems very sturdy when mounted. I use Arca-Swiss style quick release plates and while the 60mm plate I use most frequently seems a little large, I can flip up the front anti-rotation tabs when using on the collar – very nice.
Handling is really good when coupled to the Olympus OM-D E-M5. This lens is never too big and works fine hand-held or on a tripod.
The photos produced by this lens are very sharp, even at f/2.8 and always very good contrast. The focus is reliable and focus speed adequate in good light and gets there without hunting in poor light. Streets ahead compared to my previous telephoto zoom, the Panasonic 45-200mm which is neither very sharp and a dog to focus on Olympus cameras.
Well, is the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 perfect? No. I do have a couple minor disappointments. Focus speed is not stellar in good light. I was expecting something closer to the speed of the 12-40mm zoom; however, it is quite adequate for purpose. A focus limit switch would have been nice and would speed things up with normal use. Another issue also concerns focus but in this instance the manual focus and the excessive amount of travel beyond the infinity mark before it reaches the hard stop. I really think Olympus could be a bit more precise here.
Overall, a fabulous lens and worth every cent.