I didn’t think I would spend quite so much money so soon after getting the E-M1.2 body but I did recently purchase the Zuiko 300mm f/4 PRO lens. Consider it a self retirement present because I’ve decided to retire early at the ripe old age of fifty.
And it seems like a very good prime lens but I suspect I would have been just as happy with the image quality of my smart adapted Canon prime glass. The main reason to buy Olympus is likely much faster focus speed (I haven’t verified this with any testing), an extra stop of image stabilization and compatibility with Pro Capture.
So how does the 300mm f/4 compare to other Zuiko lenses. I did some MTF testing with some well known lenses wide open. In clockwise direction, the 14-42mm ED EZ, 45mm f/1.8, 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO at 150mm and the 75mm f/1.8 lens.
I was initially dismayed that my 75mm fared so poorly (worse than the mediocre 14-42mm EZ!!!!) and thought about selling it before I remembered that both the 45 and 75 benefit from being stopped down to f/4 before displaying their stellar sharpness.
But how about the 300mm?
SO even wide open, the 300mm is sharp and flat right across the entire image. With Olympus glass you certainly do get what you pay for. Am I still feeling any remnant of buyer’s remorse? Not really, only in that I grew up in a very middle class family with parents who had endured considerable hardships in their lives so I still feel that angst at spending so much money on a lens. And because the lens is still quite new and popular you simply cannot buy any used copies at a discount either. I picked this one at a slight discount from a dealer in Hong Kong on eBay ($2200 USD) but really saved big time when the government agencies failed to impose any sales tax as it entered the country!
I realize it is impossible to get a green MTF30 (or any MTF) curve greater than 1. I don’t know why the software produces results like this, but since I use the exact testing criteria for all my lens MTF analyses, you can draw some relative conclusions. Earlier blog entries describe how the lenses are tested in detail. I test my lenses just for the satisfaction of knowing that I have at least an acceptable, decent sample because unlike people, lenses are not all equal.