|Product Code||: B009SGB3KS|
|Availability||: In Stock. » Buy Now!|
Compact, lightweight telephoto zoom covers 300mm, 45-150 f/4.0-5.6. MFT
- Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches ; 6.9 ounces
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
- ASIN: B009SGB3KS
- Item model number: H-FS45150K
- Date first available at Amazon.com: October 29, 2012
Great Lens When Considering Build, Size, Function, IQ & Price
The build quality is excellent for a lens at this price. It has a metal mount unlike the 14-42mm kit lens and a brushed metal feel to the lens barrel unlike the cheap plasticy feel of the kit lens. I’ve played around with the Olympus 40-150mm lens which sells for a little less than the Panasonic 45-150mm. The Olympus in comparison has a plastic mount and a very cheap plasticy feel.
The Panasonic 45-150mm lens is very compact for a telephoto zoom with stabilization. The lens diameter is the same as the 14-42mm kit lens and it’s length is only a centimeter longer which is astonishing. My Nikon 70-300mm lens in comparison is twice as long and almost 4 times the weight as the Panasonic 45-150mm. Compactness is a major selling feature with the Micro 4/3′s system and this lens is the best telephoto zoom for allowing you to maintain that compactness. When comparing other Micro 4/3′s, the Panasonic 45-200mm lens in is roughly 3cm longer than the 45-150mm and the Olympus 40-150mm is a centimeter longer.
The lens is designated with an HD basically saying that it is designed to work well when shooting videos. I haven’t shot any videos yet with it but I can say that the zoom is very smooth and the focusing is near silent which is necessary when shooting videos. The smooth zooming is a huge improvement over the choppy zoom of the 14-42mm kit lens and much smoother than the Olympus 40-150mm as well. The stabilization is also designed to work continuously when shooting videos which is unlike my Nikon 70-300mm VR lens. The focus of the Panasonic 45-150mm lens is very fast. Not quite as fast as the kit lens which isn’t a surprise considering it’s a telephoto zoom. One thing that should be noted unlike most other telephoto zooms with stabilization this lens doesn’t have a on/off switch on the lens itself. You have to go through the camera to turn the stabilization on/off.
Before using the lens I read reviews on review sites that this lens was only sharp for portrait or zoo type photography because it wasn’t sharp when shooting at infinity. Also that it wasn’t sharp at 150mm. I found those both to only be partially true. From my test shots, I found the lens to be soft only when shooting at infinity at 150mm. When testing lenses I photograph a book shelf full of books straight on while the camera is on a tripod. I also use the timer so there isn’t camera shake from me pressing the shutter button. With the Panasonic 45-150mm I photographed the bookshelf at 45mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 150mm. For each of the focal lengths I photographed with the aperture wide open, f/5.6, and f/8. At 100mm and 150mm wide open was f/5.6 so I only took 2 photographs at those focal lengths. I found the image quality to be impressive at wide open with excellent center sharpness and very good corner sharpness. Oddly enough at f/5.6 with each of the focal lengths the image quality looked just a touch softer across the frame but still very good overall. At f/8 the image quality was excellent across the frame, including corners, even the center sharpness at f/8 was slightly crisper than wide open or at f/5.6. Knowing it can produce excellent images across the entire frame, including corners, at f/8, I decided to go outside and test the lens at infinity since that was a gripping point with some reviewers. For this I photographed a mountain range at f/8 at 45mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 150mm. With each of the focal lengths except 150mm, the sharpness at infinity was excellent. At 150mm the image was obviously soft. Image quality dropping off at the extreme telephoto of a telephoto zoom is fairly common so I don’t consider it a big gripping point especially considering it only occurs at infinity.
Price and Summary:
At the $220-$260 price range this is an entry level zoom. All things considered, build quality, size, function, resolution, this lens offers a lot of bang for your buck. The only downsides are image softness at infinity at 150mm and the lack of a stabilization on/off switch on the lens (I know some people that may bother but if you are used to not having it on the kit lens this lens is no different). Even considering those downsides I feel this lens is a no brainer for most potential users. It gives you the best of the Micro 4/3′s, compactness and fast, near silent AF, plus it takes excellent images and has a solid build with smooth zooming for video work.
The lens is a great companion to the 14-42 kit lens included with many Panasonic cameras. With the two you’ll be able to meet most of your outdoor photography needs. And if you really want a longer reach (for bird photography, for example), then adding the Panasonic 100-300mm will give you a complete package.
Budget Compact Telephoto
The lens, given the micro four thirds limitations, does not perform well in low light, and a sunny day is necessary to bring out its potential, but given the right conditions this lens is incredibly sharp and has a decent bokeh. The sharpness does drop off from about 120-150mm, but not horribly.
Nice Standard Telephoto Lens
It would be nice if the lens were faster than f/3.5-5.6 which seems to be the status quo for this type of lens in this price range. But still, it’s a good lens to have to complement your M4/3 collection.
This Panasonic lens is great for the $ especially when combined with the kit 14-42mm.
Must buy for any Panasonic Mirrorless camera user
Best all arounder without a doubt
A+ lens though, best all arounder in the lumix lineup. No doubt about it.
Great lens for a nice price!
The zoom and focus rings are small but turn smoothly. AF is quick, silent and silky smooth. I don’t shoot video much but I suspect video buffs will dig the smooth focus transition.
Mounted on my GX1, I have no problem shooting wide open and nailing sharp images. There is a little improvement stopped down and slight degradation when racked out to 150mm. All telezooms I’ve owned were similar in this regard and this one is as good as my Canon EF 70-300 IS USM.
The 45-150 combines a lot of reach within a small form factor, allowing for easy and stealthy transport into events where DSLRs dare not tread. If I remove the EVF and mount my 14mm F/2.5, nobody blinks at my wee GX1 “point `n shoot.” Once inside, I whip out the 45-150 and have a 90-300 full frame equivalent rig in the palm of my hand.
I was surprised at the quality of a mere $169 zoom: excellent fit and finish, attractive design, 2 or 3 stops of image stabilization, hood included and very good image quality. The on-off switch for OIS was omitted, so you’ll have to dive into the menus to disable image stabilization for tripod use. Although the barrel is primarily plastic, the metal (aluminum!) shell on the main barrel adds a nice flourish and nod to the lens designs of yesteryear.
My Lumix 14-45 cost over $300 and was made in Japan whereas the 45-150 cost $169 but originated in China. How did Panasonic keep the price so low? Obviously the offshore production saved Panasonic a bundle in labor and material costs. I can’t see obvious differences in quality or materials between the two zooms.
One bit of advice: 45-150 is a lot of magnification and even with image stabilization you need relatively fast shutter speeds and/or to brace yourself or use a tripod. That is, if you want sharp images! For example, shooting at 150mm I need 1/250 of a second or faster shutter speeds for crisp images. If you’re a DSLR shooter you may find small light cameras harder to hold steady do to lower mass and grip area. I suspect reviewers complaining about soft images were experiencing camera shake, especially if they were shooting with the LCD at arm’s length. For free standing shooting, I get more sharp keepers using the EVF since I can steady the camera against my face.
Incidentally, the black 45-150 lens looks a lot nicer than the Amazon product image. Wonderful little lens for a nice price!
Much better than G5 "stock" lens, augments it very well
For anyone who doesn’t want to spend the money on a large quantity of lenses, and only wants to start with one extra lens beyond what’s provided in the G series cameras (typically 14-42mm lenses across the series), this is definitely the one to start with.