Olympus 40-150R vs Panasonic 45-150 "kit" lenses review

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Simon97 Senior Member • Posts: 2,816
Olympus 40-150R vs Panasonic 45-150 "kit" lenses review

When I switched over to micro 4/3rds earlier this year, the Olympus 40-150 1:4-5.6 R seemed like a no brainer at $100 new. Then I found it for $60 refurbished It came well packed, looked and functioned just fine. Later, I bought the GX85 two lens kit. The GX85 with only one lens, the 12-32, was the same price, so it was like getting the Panasonic 45-150 for free. It may seem nerdy, but I test any new lens I get on a chart to be sure it is up to snuff before I go out with it. After a few months of using these lenses I have my opinion of them. Optically, I find them similar but with notable exceptions.

At the widest aperture at any zoom setting, they are already decently sharp in the center. Stopping down improves sharpness further, especially the micro contrast at 150mm. There's no reason to be afraid to use these wide open. Color fringing in either lens was not bad enough to make me complain but this is where the similarities end...

40 / 45mm: The Oly is softer in the corners with only a slight improvement upon stopping down. It has moderate barrel distortion and and vignetting is less than the Panasonic. The Pana is slightly sharper in the corners, has much less distortion but stronger vignetting.

100mm: My camera reads the Oly at f/5 and the Pana at F/5.5. Both lenses show peak center sharpness with good corners. The Pana being a bit sharper in the corners. I detect no distortion and vignetting is about the same in each lens (moderate).

150mm: Both lenses have good center sharpness only dropping slightly into the corners. The Pana is just a bit sharper than the Oly in the corners. The Oly shows a bit of pincushion distortion while the Pana distortion is not noticeable to me. Vignetting is mild in both lenses with the Pana being a bit worse.

Decentering: This is par for the course in many lenses these days. I did notice it in both of these lenses where the corners are not evenly sharp. It wasn't bad enough to be much of an issue for me (I can be picky at times!).

Shutter shock: Both of these lenses are quite light and small. At 150mm they offer little mass to dampen the shutter shock that some cameras have. I think a lot of blame of soft images from these lenses can be attributed to shutter shock because these lenses can produce very good sharpness at the long end where many lenses start to give up.

Image stabilization: The Oly lens has no stabilization and relies on the IBIS in the camera. The Pana has "OIS" plus the IBIS and can really reduce blur from camera shake. I can't tell you how many stops of "hand holdability" it offers, but it does seem very effective.

In closing, I can say these are very good lenses on a budget. Many years ago, I recall these types of budget telezooms being rather mediocre when zoomed in. While not perfect, these lenses don't let down much. I'm glad they stuck with f/5.6 rather than the even slower f/6.3 or 6.7 max tele aperture that some other brands went to. f/5.6 is slow enough!

Which lens would I pick? It is a toss up to me. The Oly is a real bargain while the Panasonic is more expensive unless you get it in a kit. The OIS of the Pana is a big plus if you have a Panasonic camera.

I hope this review was of some use

Both lenses feel about the same weight. The Oly lens is about 1 cm longer. Both lenses extend significantly when zoomed.

 Simon97's gear list:Simon97's gear list
Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS Olympus PEN E-PM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
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