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Lens review

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6

17 March 2010
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • solid workmanship,
  • acceptable image quality at the frame edge,
  • chromatic aberration corrected properly (apart from the 300 mm and f/5.6 combination),
  • low distortion,
  • very well-corrected coma,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • low vignetting,
  • accurate autofocus.

Cons:

  • too low image quality in the frame centre,
  • high chromatic aberration at 300 mm and the maximum relative aperture,
  • slow autofocus.

If only the Sigma 70-300 APO and the Tamron 70-300 mm with the 4/3 system mount were available, talking these results over would be easier – we would simply write that the Olympus Panasonic and Leica reflex cameras owners have a quite wide choice in the cheapest market segment. In the current situation they have almost no choice at all. If you want to buy a lens with the focal length starting near 50-100 mm and ending above 200 mm there’s only a ZD 90-250 f/2.8 at your disposal and you can’t count it among amateur lenses for sure. The Sigma’s offer provides little help – you can find a 135-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 APO DG model but nothing more.

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The 4/3 system users are condemned to the Olympus 70-300 mm and the lack of any alternative is the most serious flaw here because the tested lens can be hardly called an outstanding device. It’s enough at the beginning but as your demands increase they whet your appetite and you find you can’t sate it here. We must wait till e.g. Sigma launches its 100-300 mm f/4 model with the 4/3 mount or a similar lens appears on Olympus’s offer - such an instrument would be, after all, significantly smaller and physically lighter than a Sigma as it would be designed for the small 4/3 system sensor.


Sample shots:

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 86 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.1 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 158 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.2 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 120 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.2 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 149 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.1 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 300 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.9 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 300 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.7 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 70 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.9 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 125 mm, f/4.3, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.6 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 202 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.6 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 300 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.6 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 70 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/125 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.7 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 100 mm, f/4.1, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.5 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 70 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 320
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 6.1 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 125 mm, f/4.3, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 500
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 6.4 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 300 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.3 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 70-300 mm f/4.0-5.6 - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 300 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 5.6 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 149 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 6.2 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 104 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 6.2 MB



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