The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens for butterfly photography — a user experience review

Some months back I purchased an Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens (officially, the M. Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens) and MC-14 1.4x teleconverter for my E-M1 body.  I’d given them some exercise on a road trip previously, but when an opportunity came up for a “Tripod Session” at a local butterfly pavilion, I thought I could give them a real workout on the facility’s residents.

Paper Kite

This “Tripod Session” was (as the name would imply) a time set aside for photographers, who are normally not allowed to use tripods in the facility.  I quickly found, though, that the 40-150mm / teleconverter combo was more than fast enough to handle the butterflies with just the morning light, and soon left my tripod by the door.

Hanging out for a quick drink

The 40-150mm / teleconverter pairing handled well on a stock EM-1 body (i.e., no battery grip), with just a little support from my left hand under the lens.  Even with several cups of coffee under my belt (this was an early-morning session, after all), I saw no issues at all from handling motion in my shots.

White Morpho

Given the optical speed of the 40-150mm / teleconverter combination, getting a thin depth of field was no challenge.  If anything, my gear made it easy for me to get DOF that was too thin, requiring me to close my aperture down a few stops in order to get even face-on butterfly shots entirely in focus.

Party up high

An extra benefit of the optical speed of the 40-150 and teleconverter is, of course, that it allows you to get action shots of creatures in motion.  If I’d had a faster personal reaction time, I could have switched out of aperture priority and captured even the flying butterfly (left, in the above image) without motion blur.  As-is, I like the residual blur from this 1/250 sec shot.

Paper on pink

With a combined focal length of 484mm 420mm (in full frame terms), the 40-150mm / teleconverter combo allowed me to capture this shot from about halfway across the facility (between beats of the butterfly’s wings).  Impressive, from my perspective.

So all-in-all, I’m quite satisfied with the Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens and MC-14 1.4x teleconverter, and how they handled for me in this case. What do you think?

8 thoughts on “The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens for butterfly photography — a user experience review

  1. Not to nitpick but I think you mean 420mm full frame equivalent… 150 x 2 x 1.4 = 300 x 1.4 = 420

  2. Just a minor correction:
    The FF equivalent focal length w/ the TC14 is 420 mm, not 484 mm as said at the end of the article.

    Nice pics!
    Looks like a truly nice combo for such a purpose 😊.

  3. Excellent shots from a very fine lens & converter. Just FYI, the reach of the lens + converter is, in 35mm terms, 420mm (300*1.4), as the camera metadata shows. Cheers.

    • Thanks to you and Erik and Jeff for pointing out my slip-of-the-keyboard. Must not have had enough coffee in my system when I was finishing up that post! I’ve made the appropriate in-line edit.

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