Top positive review
177 people found this helpful
Great Lens When Considering Build, Size, Function, IQ & Price
on March 7, 2013
If I could give this lens 4 1/2 stars I would since it isn't without a couple of small flaws. When considering build quality, size, function, image resolution, and price it is deserving of 5 stars.
The build quality is excellent for a lens at this price. It has a metal mount unlike the 14-42mm kit lens and a brushed metal feel to the lens barrel unlike the cheap plasticy feel of the kit lens. I've played around with the Olympus 40-150mm lens which sells for a little less than the Panasonic 45-150mm. The Olympus in comparison has a plastic mount and a very cheap plasticy feel.
The Panasonic 45-150mm lens is very compact for a telephoto zoom with stabilization. The lens diameter is the same as the 14-42mm kit lens and it's length is only a centimeter longer which is astonishing. My Nikon 70-300mm lens in comparison is twice as long and almost 4 times the weight as the Panasonic 45-150mm. Compactness is a major selling feature with the Micro 4/3's system and this lens is the best telephoto zoom for allowing you to maintain that compactness. When comparing other Micro 4/3's, the Panasonic 45-200mm lens in is roughly 3cm longer than the 45-150mm and the Olympus 40-150mm is a centimeter longer.
The lens is designated with an HD basically saying that it is designed to work well when shooting videos. I haven't shot any videos yet with it but I can say that the zoom is very smooth and the focusing is near silent which is necessary when shooting videos. The smooth zooming is a huge improvement over the choppy zoom of the 14-42mm kit lens and much smoother than the Olympus 40-150mm as well. The stabilization is also designed to work continuously when shooting videos which is unlike my Nikon 70-300mm VR lens. The focus of the Panasonic 45-150mm lens is very fast. Not quite as fast as the kit lens which isn't a surprise considering it's a telephoto zoom. One thing that should be noted unlike most other telephoto zooms with stabilization this lens doesn't have a on/off switch on the lens itself. You have to go through the camera to turn the stabilization on/off.
Before using the lens I read reviews on review sites that this lens was only sharp for portrait or zoo type photography because it wasn't sharp when shooting at infinity. Also that it wasn't sharp at 150mm. I found those both to only be partially true. From my test shots, I found the lens to be soft only when shooting at infinity at 150mm. When testing lenses I photograph a book shelf full of books straight on while the camera is on a tripod. I also use the timer so there isn't camera shake from me pressing the shutter button. With the Panasonic 45-150mm I photographed the bookshelf at 45mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 150mm. For each of the focal lengths I photographed with the aperture wide open, f/5.6, and f/8. At 100mm and 150mm wide open was f/5.6 so I only took 2 photographs at those focal lengths. I found the image quality to be impressive at wide open with excellent center sharpness and very good corner sharpness. Oddly enough at f/5.6 with each of the focal lengths the image quality looked just a touch softer across the frame but still very good overall. At f/8 the image quality was excellent across the frame, including corners, even the center sharpness at f/8 was slightly crisper than wide open or at f/5.6. Knowing it can produce excellent images across the entire frame, including corners, at f/8, I decided to go outside and test the lens at infinity since that was a gripping point with some reviewers. For this I photographed a mountain range at f/8 at 45mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm, and 150mm. With each of the focal lengths except 150mm, the sharpness at infinity was excellent. At 150mm the image was obviously soft. Image quality dropping off at the extreme telephoto of a telephoto zoom is fairly common so I don't consider it a big gripping point especially considering it only occurs at infinity.
Price and Summary:
At the $220-$260 price range this is an entry level zoom. All things considered, build quality, size, function, resolution, this lens offers a lot of bang for your buck. The only downsides are image softness at infinity at 150mm and the lack of a stabilization on/off switch on the lens (I know some people that may bother but if you are used to not having it on the kit lens this lens is no different). Even considering those downsides I feel this lens is a no brainer for most potential users. It gives you the best of the Micro 4/3's, compactness and fast, near silent AF, plus it takes excellent images and has a solid build with smooth zooming for video work.