Hands On: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO Lens

Olympus claims that the 300mm f/4 is its sharpest lens. Ever.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO

LAS VEGAS—Hands-on product testing at CES is often restricted to choosing up a device in a gathering room, which does not inform us a lot about cameras and lenses. Positive, I used to be capable of hear the machine gun shutter of the new Nikon D5 rattle off photographs at 12fps in a press room, however that does not inform me a lot about how it may carry out in actual-world circumstances.

CES 2016 Bug ArtOlympus put collectively a brief capturing expedition with its new M.Zuiko ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO telephoto lens. The logistics of CES made for a troublesome shoot. An offsite location was picked—Nelson, Nevada, a ghost city that performed a role within the Kurt Russell/Kevin Costner opus 3000 Miles to Graceland, about 40 minutes outdoors of the town. The one possible time for myself (and different journalists on the expedition) to get out of city is after the present flooring closes, and because it’s January, meaning pitch black circumstances.

Usually, that would not be too massive of an issue. Olympus provided some steady lighting to light up scenes, and shifting outdoors of Vegas would permit for some nice astrophotography alternatives together with the 300mm. I used to be planning on capturing some cool star path photographs together with the Stay Composite perform discovered within the firm’s Micro 4 Thirds camera line.

However mom nature performed a merciless trick. Someway, on a January night time in the midst of the arid desert, I used to be greeted with heavy, pouring rain. I am completely satisfied to say that the climate-sealed lens, paired with the E-M1, labored completely completely. They obtained soaked (I did too) however the lens hood stored water droplets off of the front component. However capturing by way of rain diminishes the standard of an image. A crashed aircraft was dramatically lit, with a tripod setup prepared for an extended publicity, however capturing by means of the torrent blurred the image.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO Lens

That is high quality. There have been different photographs. An unique animal vendor (who advised us he was an in depth private good friend of Nicolas Cage—a declare which is on the similar time completely absurd and utterly plausible) introduced a scorpion, snake, and tarantula. The scorpion proved to be a really cooperative photo topic, shifting in a sluggish, lumbering method and stopping lengthy sufficient for movement blur to not play an element in pictures. The 300mm has a 1:2.1 macro magnification, which helps you to rise up shut and private with the stinging beast, with out having to get shut sufficient to get scared. Focus was fast and correct, even in lighting the place I used to be pushing the camera to ISO 1600 to get a 1/80-second publicity at f/4. However each the snake and the tarantula proved to be a bit too speedy to seize a pointy shot. Youngsters and animal acts, you simply cannot work with them.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO Lens: Scorpion

The front porch of the overall retailer of the forgotten city was lit up as properly, and offered one other alternative to check out the lens’s macro capabilities. I discovered good frames in a classic, rusty 7-Up merchandising machine, and—should you do not thoughts the creep issue—in a mummified cat that was sitting in a basket on the porch. And the coated space offered welcome shelter for photographing a modern-day cowboy who was there to spin his gun, present off his expertise with a lasso, and go full Indiana Jones with a bullwhip.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO Lens: 7Up

The working distance for capturing portraits that captured this action was fairly excessive, and with different photographers working within the space, I used to be additionally coping with people strolling in front of my lens. However I obtained a number of strong photographs of the cowboy. He was nicely lit, however so as to hold the shutter velocity fast sufficient to freeze movement, I used to be nonetheless pushing the E-M1 to ISO 1600.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO Lens: Cowboy

I additionally tried some handheld photographs. The climate and restricted time did not give me the chance to mild a number of the scenes I needed to (an previous Texaco signal was simply screaming to be photographed, in addition to a battered inexperienced decide-up). I did shoot the truck, hand-held at 1/6-second, simply to see how far I might push the IS. I used to be shivering at that time from the chilly rain, which did not do a lot for my capacity to maintain the camera regular. Nonetheless, the shot did a advantageous job displaying the weathered texture of the inexperienced paint. There’s some blur seen, however I used to be pushing the IS to about 6 stops, past its said capabilities, and also you do should do some pixel peeping to actually see the motion.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO Lens: Cat

It is somewhat early to render a verdict on the lens. I want multiple chilly, darkish night time to tell readers if I feel it is value a hefty $ 2,500 buy. When it is available in for review (which must be quickly, in response to Olympus), I’ll give it a extra in depth actual-world check, and see what sort of decision it places out within the lab. Olympus claims that it is the sharpest optic it is developed to date, and whenever you couple in a climate-sealed design, the power to pair it with a 1.4x teleconverter, wonderful shut focus functionality, and a stabilization system that is rated for 5 stops of compensation, you’ve got a lens that a number of Micro 4 Thirds photographers are going to lust after, particularly those that love to seize wildlife and sports activities action.

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Source : PCMag.com