Good starter telephoto lens at a bargain-basement price

Started Dec 12, 2017 | User reviews
danieladougan Regular Member • Posts: 173
Good starter telephoto lens at a bargain-basement price

This lens is surprisingly sharp when you consider how inexpensive it is. And it is cheap as chips. It's not a fast-aperture lens, which can cause problems if you're trying to shoot sports or wildlife in low light with fast shutter speeds. But if you have good light, it's a perfectly nice starter telephoto lens. Full-frame equivalent focal length: 80-300mm.

If you have a few more dollars to spend, here are some good alternative telephoto lenses to consider for Micro Four Thirds:

Olympus 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II: I also own this one. For the focal lengths it has in common with the 40-150mm (75-150mm), the apertures are identical. There's not much reason to own both of these lenses because, really, who buys a telephoto lens like this just to use it from 40 to 75 (80 to 150 equivalent)? Considering the 150-600mm equivalent focal length, this lens is a great bargain.

Olympus 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II: A 10.7X "all-in-one" zoom lens. The new Mark II version is weather-sealed, which is a nice bonus. Keep in mind that there is a penalty for all-in-one zooms like this: barrel distortion. But this can usually be corrected easily in post or even in camera, depending on which model of camera body you have.

Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO: An 8.3X "all-in-one" zoom lens with a 24-200mm equivalent focal length and a constant f4.0 aperture. This lens has built-in optical stabilization that complements Olympus's in-body image stabilization. It's weather-sealed.

Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 PRO: The same focal length, but f2.8, weather-sealed, and spectacular. It's not cheap, but if I had to give up every lens in my kit but one, this is the one I would keep. It's GLORIOUS. Bonus: Add the MC-14 1.4x teleconverter, and it becomes a 56-210mm f4 zoom lens.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO: If you're OK with using your feet to zoom in and out and you have $2,500 to spend, you can get some AMAZING results with this lens. Sure, it's big and expensive, but it's a fraction of the size, weight, and cost of a 600mm f4 telephoto for full-frame. It also has built-in image stabilization that works with the in-body stabilization in Olympus bodies. Bonus: It also works with the MC-14 teleconverter to create the option of a 420mm f5.6.

Panasonic 45-150mm f4.0-5.6: Basically the same lens but in Panasonic form, including stabilization and DFD capabilities. Essentially what you should buy if you have a Panasonic body...more expensive than the Olympus.

Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 (or the older f4.0-5.8): A 10X "all-in-one" zoom lens. Similar compromises to the Olympus 14-150mm and not weather-sealed. But it does have optical stabilization, which helps on Panasonic bodies.

Panasonic 45-200mm f4.0-5.6 II: I had the original version of this for a while, and the extra reach was nice. The newer Mark II version has weather sealing and a 240 fps autofocus motor for improved performance, so get that one if you can.

Panasonic PZ 45-175mm f4.0-5.6: A good alternative for video due to the built-in power zoom motor.

Panasonic 35-100mm f4.0-5.6: If you don't need as much reach and want to keep your telephoto(ish) lens as small as possible.

Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 II: A 70-200mm f2.8 full-frame equivalent lens with built-in optical stabilization and DFD. This is the one to get if you have a Panasonic body.

Panasonic 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 II: A lens if you need more reach. Stabilized, weather-sealed, and DFD-capable, it's the one to get if you have a Panasonic body. A good complement to either of the 35-100mm Panasonic lenses.

Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f4.0-6.3: An even better lens if you can afford it. That's a 200-800mm equivalent. Also a great complement to the Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 lens with Leica glass.

Panasonic Leica 200mm f2.8: An epic lens to be sure, and epically expensive. Bonus: Comes with a 1.4X teleconverter, which gives you the option of 280mm f4.0.

Panasonic is also rumored to be coming out with a Leica 50-200mm f2.8-4.0 lens and a 2.0X teleconverter in 2018.

Tamron 14-150mm f3.5-5.8: A cheaper 10.7X "all-in-one" lens that's not quite as bright on the telephoto end, not stabilized, and not weather-sealed.

 danieladougan's gear list:danieladougan's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro +3 more
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R
Telephoto zoom lens • Micro Four Thirds • V315030SU000
Announced: Jun 30, 2011
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