Olympus ED 300mm f/4.0 IS Pro Lens M.Zuiko Digital Lens - Black

Olympus ED 300mm f/4.0 IS Pro Lens M.Zuiko Digital-Black-01
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A long-reaching super telephoto for Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO from Olympus is a 600mm equivalent lens that balances refined optics with a hand-holdable design.

Key Features

Be careful with shutter shock!
  • For critical sharpness, reducing vibrations is a key element. For DSLRs, one of the main tips is to use mirror lock-up when available to reduce or eliminate the vibration caused by the mirror slap prior to exposure. For a mirrorless camera, which is, well, mirrorless, the shutter is open most of the time. The first curtain must close first before re-opening in order to make the exposure. This can induce subtle, yet noticeable vibrations that result in blurry images.
  • When testing the Olympus 300mm ƒ/4 Pro, initially using our Panasonic GX1 test camera, we observed noticeable image blurring on some of our VFA test chart images, despite using a massive Cambo studio tripod and long 10-sec self-timer. We then swapped over to an Olympus E-M1 with v4.0 firmware. In this latest software update, in addition to the previously introduced "anti-shock" shooting mode, it also offers a full "silent" mode that uses only an electronic shutter -- thus being completely vibration-free.
  • We tested all three primary shooting modes with the E-M1 (single-shot, anti-shock and silent modes), and found the Silent mode did indeed provide the sharpest images with the Olympus 300mm. Testing this again handheld with I.S. enabled, we also found similar results, with Silent mode producing better images when using a slower shutter speeds (1/125s for our handheld tests, for example).
Chromatic Aberration
The Olympus 300mm ƒ/4 Pro exhibits very little chromatic aberration overall. There's slightly more the wider the aperture is, but it's an extremely minor increase. Maximum measured CA was under three hundredths of a percent of frame height, but on average, CA is nearly zero. Adding the 1.4x teleconverter does introduce slightly more chromatic aberration, however the difference is extremely minor. Comparing our lab test images, there is very little difference in CA with and without the extender, though there is a subtle "hue" of purple in the far corners.
Shading (''Vignetting'')
With a supertelephoto lens, we weren't expecting much in the way of vignetting, and this is indeed the case with the Olympus 300mm. With both the bare lens and with the 1.4x teleconverter attached, we measured little to no vignetting at all. There's a slight hint of vignetting with the bare lens at ƒ/4, but it's very minor.
Similar to vignetting, geometric distortion is practically nonexistent on this lens. Both with and without the 1.4x teleconverter, the level of barrel distortion sits just a hair above the zero mark.
Autofocus Operation
The autofocusing performance is an interesting mix. Using the E-M1 with S-AF mode, which utilizes contrast-detect AF only, the 300mm ƒ/4 Pro can be a little slow (approximately over one second) to rack through the full range from minimum focus distance to infinity. Given the lens's impressively close minimum focusing distance (more on that in a bit), this behavior is not all that surprising.
Though the Olympus 300mm ƒ/4 Pro is not designed for true macro photography, it has an impressively close minimum focusing distance. In fact, the Olympus 300mm's 1.4m minimum focus distance (approximately 1.15m from the front of the lens) far exceeds the image magnification and close-focusing capabilities of its 600mm DSLR competitors. With a 0.48x magnification factor, the Olympus 300mm is quite good at macro-style close-up photographer "telemacro photography," as Olympus puts it which far outweighs the 0.14x-0.15x magnification factor of other 600mm lenses, such as the Canon and Nikon 600mm telephoto lenses.
Image Stabilization
One of the more notable new features of the Olympus 300mm ƒ/4 Pro is the inclusion of lens-based image stabilization, a first for an Olympus lens. Prior to this lens, Olympus offered only body-based image stabilization, either 5-axis IS on cameras like the E-M1 and E-M5 II or 3-axis with the original E-M10, for example.
*image are for illustration purposes only
Brand Olympus
Product Type Camera Lenses
Weight (kg) 1.475
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