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Lens review

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

17 March 2010
Szymon Starczewski

4. Image resolution

Image resolution measurements, in the sense of MTF50 function values, were based on RAW files from an Olympus E-3. The picture below shows the results for the frame centre.

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

The graph would gain our recognition if it was obtained on an 8-megapixel APS-C sensor. We got it on a 10-megapixel 4/3 sensor which corresponds to a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor when it comes to density – it can generate MTFs even more than a dozen percent higher. Looking from that perspective we can confidently say that the Olympus results didn’t meet our expectations because it is the weakest Zuiko lens we have dealt with so far. It’s worth noticing here that at a very important 300 mm aperture the Canon 70-300 IS can reach higher MTF values on a Canon’s 20D 8-megapixel sensor than the Olympus 70-300 on the E-3 canera. The 300 mm performance of the tested lens is average at the most, then.

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Fortunately in the 70-200 mm range we see a better situation and there you can get useful images starting even from the maximum aperture. These are not very good results, though, because good class Zuiko zooms reach 50 lpmm and some “primes” even exceed that level.

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

The frame edge performance deserves a bit more positive comments. Here the Olympus 70-300 mm profits from the 4/3 system advantages a lot and momentarily the frame edge picture differs just slightly from the frame centre results. None of the 70-300 mm class zooms, tested by us so far, has managed to accomplish such a feat.

At the end, traditionally we publish the comparison of out test chart crops, from spots situated near minimum and maximum achievements.

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