9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good lens with some limitations consitent with its price,
This review is from: Olympus ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm 1:4.0-5.6 Lens (Accessory)
I've had this lens for a few months now having tried some old OM manual focus zoom lenses and this far outperforms them. It does have limitations, as would any similar lens from other manufacturers' systems, and in certain conditions (bright days) it does a fantastic job.
Olympus builds image stabilisation into the body of the camera, that means this lens is lighter than, say, similar Nikon or Canon lenses. It is certainly lighter that the old OM mount lenses I tried. Despite its lighter weight and like other Olympus Zuiko lenses it feels well made with a smooth zoom and focusing action and it has a strong metal bayonet mount, a must for bigger lenses.
The auto-focus has difficulty in focusing and hunts when the target is a low contrast area - forget trying to focus on the sky or sand. I have learned techniques to get around this shortcoming such as zooming out, focusing and zooming in again. This is common problem with many big zoom lenses. The focus is, however, accurate.
You can hear the focus and I have read that it is louder than some. However, it isn't as noisy as, say, a motor-wind or the click of a camera's shutter. It doesn't frighten off birds in my garden when I am less than 3 metres away.
The image is pin sharp at its "sweet spot" at f9, at f4 and f5.6 it can be a little soft. I have found an issue when wanting to take shots with a high shutter speed, hence my previous comment about bright days. When it is dull and overcast I don't bother trying to get photos of the birds fighting over the feeder in my garden. When it is sunny, I have taken some terrific pictures with this lens both in my garden (I have a hide close to the feeder) and of water foul at some local lakes. But this is a budget lens at a budget price (if you can call £300 a budget price), not a professional, high speed lens for which you would pay much more..
Of course, reducing the aperture to f9 means that you also have slightly more depth of field than you might always wish for. Saying that, I get some nice bokeh with this lens.
I have also found the lens good for close-ups. It's not a macro lens, but I have managed some good shots of bumble bees and hover-flies on the way to flowers. It's also a good lens for close-up portraits.
Other successful shots with this lens have been 'layered' super-sharp landscapes, i.e. taking the same shot three times but focusing on the foreground, then the middle distance and then the horizon then combining in Photoshop by using layers.
I have experienced no vignetting and colour fringing only in a couple of photos with this lens. If there has been fringing in high contrast areas of some photos and it has been easily fixable in the lens correction tool in Adobe Camera Raw as available in the full version Photoshop or Lightroom, not in the reduced ACR of Elements, although there are defringing tools within Elements.
The big advantage of this lens is the long reach. With the 2x crop factor with the Four-Thirds sensor this 300mm lens is the equivalent of a massive 600mm lens on a full frame (or old 35mm film SLR) camera.So instead of 6x magnification I get 12. It's great for wildlife.
Would I but this lens again and recommend it to other? Yes, because it outperforms old 300mm lenses and will perform similarly to other 300mm lenses on other systems.