Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the all new, super telephoto, professional Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 300mm f4 PRO lens for the micro four thirds camera! The first impression I got from this lens was "WHAT THE?! THIS IS DAMN HEAVY!". Then I remembered that this lens is a 600mm equivalent. I've carried a 600mm equivalent lens before and this is indeed a whole lot lighter. My friends ever asked me if I used bazooka lenses with the exaggerated gesture of holding a huge lens and this is nothing like it. Though relatively heavy for a micro four third lens, this is still a compact and lightweight, handhold-able super telephoto lens.
When I first brought it up to my eye, it was really surprising how close I could see things in the distance since I've never really shot with focal length longer than 400mm prior to getting this lens and the longest focal length I have now is 300mm (35mm equivalent) in the form of its smaller brother, the M.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO.
At first glance on the back of the camera, which would be the E-M1 with firmware V4.0, the image is very sharp, no surprise there considering it's a Zuiko and a pro lens at that. The maximum aperture of f4 leaves more to be desired but the fact that having a f2.8 for a micro four thirds camera would make the lens huge and make the idea behind the micro four thirds system redundant. Not to mention how much more expensive that would make especially from looking at the price for the older Zuiko Digital 300mm f2.8 SHG lens for the four thirds system.
All images in this review are handheld except for the comparison in focal length
It feels extremely well built and heavy. It's probably the thickest and heaviest micro four third lens to date. The lens has a non removable lens hood which just slides in and out, much like the old film camera lenses with built-in lens hood, like the Olympus OM 135mm f2.8 lens. There are 2 switches on the side for the IS (on and off) as well as focus limit (1.4-4m, 1.4m to infinity and 4m to infinity) as well as a L-Fn button. It has a removable tripod collar and like its siblings in the PRO line, it has a pullback clutch for manual focus. Despite its weight, it was still manageable even with muscle aches which I had the first day I took it out to shoot.
The tripod collar has grooves for arca swiss tripods which is a really nice touch on Olympus' part. Like other pro lenses, it's also splash proof (with a compatible body). In summary, a well built lens with nothing much, if any, to complain about. This is the only other lens in the Olympus lineup that is compatible with the MC-14 1.4x teleconverter. Olympus will include in box an option to cover the metal knobs that holds the tripod collar should you wish to use the lens without the collar though personally, I like the collar.
Types of shots with this lens
Primarily, the type of shots that can be achieved with this lens would be wildlife, birds and sports though this lens can also be used in portraiture, but it isn't easy as we may not have the space to walk back, but if you have, it is an interesting lens to use for portraiture. This lens is also capable of macro shots, though not life size or greater than life size magnification, it's still quite amazing.
With a maximum magnification of 0.48, and a close focusing distance of 1.4 meters as compared to the competition of about 5 meters. I was able to shoot some insects close up without scaring them or scaring myself in the process.