Comparing Oly 40-150, 75-300 II and 50-200SWD

Started Aug 6, 2014 | Discussions thread
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CrisPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,513
Comparing Oly 40-150, 75-300 II and 50-200SWD

Hi all,

Maybe some people might like to see a comparison of these lenses:

  • Olympus 40-150mm/f4-5.6
  • Olympus 75-300mm/f4.8-6.7 II
  • and the old Zuiko 50-200mm/f2.8-3.5 SWD

I know, there are many other lenses out there, some people (including me) might wish another test set, but as things are, I only have these 3 tele zooms available.

I will not write too much, instead I will give you some pictures.

Ok, here we go.

First some size comparisons:

Olympus 40-150mm/f4-5.6, 75-300mm/f4.8-6.7 Mk II, 50-200mm/f2.8-3.5 SWD

Max Zoom + lens hood + tele converter + 4/3rds adapter ...

Front lens comparison, filter size is 58mm, 58mm and 67mm

You see, while the lens alone is not this much bigger, things get bulky with lens hood, adapter and converter. On the other hand you get quite a lot of glass for your money ...

Some time ago I saw a comparison of the new PRO mFT zooms at

I thought it will be interesting to see how the "old" FT tele compares. Here is what I got (please note that I or Manuel might have used wrong numbers and the actual sizes might be different when the lenses show up at Photokina in September).

Here is my comparison with kudos to Manuel:

Oly 75-300, 50-200SWD, 300, 40-150

Between the new brothers, the 50-200 doesn't look this big any more

But keep in mind that I have to add 20mm for the MMF3 adapter and that the new 40-150 will not extend when zooming.

Back to the current offerings, what about IQ?????????

In short: I love the 50-200 lens because it is

  • either decently sharp with fast aperture
  • or razor sharp when stopped down to f5 to f8

Here are some examples:

I shot these samples hand hold with antishock=0s on my EM1 at 1/320s. I took the best from 3 shots. The results were quite consistent, I could have done 1 shot only as well.

First with tele converter and stopped down to f5 which is f7.1 with tcon.

100% crop: 50-200 + EC14 tele converter @ 283mm/f7.1 and 75-300 @300mm/f7.1

Next a comparison without tele converter:

100% crop: 50-200 @200mm/f6.3 and 75-300 @ 221mm/f6.1

And aperture full open, f6.1 against f3.5:

100% crop: 50-200 @200mm/f3.5 against 75-300 @221mm/f6.1

The third lens in this round is the cheap but good 40-150/f4-5.6. I decided to add this lens later, excuse the different test setup.

100% crop: 75-300 and 40-150 @150mm/f5.6

The cheap lens holds up quite well, but I think the 75-300 has some additional contrast.

My summary:

  • The 40-150 is a very nice lens for its price. If you don't need more than 150mm, the 40-150 is a very good and compact companion.
  • The 75-300 is quite sharp up to 220mm. At 300mm, it gets a little bit soft. In non-perfect light, the slow aperture f6.7 causes the ISO value to go through the roof. If you lower the shutter speed instead, you get blurry pictures because the lens is not very shake and shutter shock resistant.
  • The 50-200 is a bulky lens. Especially with lens hood and tcon. But it is very sharp and has a fast aperture. The bokeh can be very nice or a little bit busy, depending on background distance. But it is always at least as good as the mFT lens bokeh.
    You can have useful pictures from 50mm up to 300mm (up-rezed or with tcon), so it feels like a 6x zoom compared to the 75-300 which is a 4x zoom.
    In bad light, the f3.5 aperture and the weight help and you can work with 10x less light compared to the 75-300 zoom.
    AF with EM1: In good light (ISO200 and shorter than 1/200s) AF is quite good, even C-AF works very fast and reliable. I like it and I prefer it to the not-so-fast Pany 100-300 lens mechanics. But I had to do the AF-fine-tune thing. And I had to redo the calibration process with EC14 which gave noticeable more back-focus.

Hope you liked this mini-review, you might have noticed that the 50-200 lens is my current favorite lens. I do 50% of my photos with it ...


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OM-D + Sam7.5, PL25, O60, O75
P12-35, O75-300

 CrisPhoto's gear list:CrisPhoto's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Rokinon 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye CS +9 more
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