Cradle Mountain in the snow with the Olympus ZD 50-200mm lens on Micro Four Thirds

Written by Gary on August 16th, 2014

I have always loved the Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD lens for Four Thirds as it is quite a unique lens:

  • it is the most compact, and light premium quality lens of 100-400mm field of view (in 35mm terms) and the only one of its main competitors to be able to fit into a 24cm deep camera bag whilst fitted to a camera
  • it weighs just 1.07kg with tripod plate and is only 157mm long with a 67mm filter thread and close focus is an amazingly short 1.2m
    • the longer, far more expensive Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L weighs 1.36kg, attracts internal dust, uses 77mm filters,  and lets in only just over half the light, while close focus is 1.8m
    • the heavier, longer, much more expensive Nikon Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR weighs 1,36kg, is 171mm long, uses 77mm filters, lets in only just over half the light, while close focus is a poor 2.3m
    • the much heavier, far more expensive Nikon Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 VR weighs 3.3kg and is more than twice as long at 358mm, and you need to resort to 52mm rear filters while close focus is 2m
  • it is weatherproof, and the long lens hood further reduces risk of rain landing on the front element
  • it has lovely bokeh for a zoom lens
  • it is relatively affordable
  • when used on an Olympus camera, you get 3-5 EV of image stabilisation
  • it can be used with either 1.4x or 2.0x tele-converters (allowing hand holdable 800mm super telephoto capability with AF as well as 1:2 macro!)

This is one of the lenses I like when I am a passenger in a car on a road trip and only get to shoot out the window.

HOWEVER, it has a couple of problems:

  • you need to use it on a Four Thirds dSLR or the Olympus OM-D E-M1 if you want fast AF
  • it is a touch big and heavy on most Micro Four Thirds cameras, and on most, AF will be slow if there is only CDAF available.

Personally, I cannot wait until Olympus bring out their even more compact Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens later this year, although I would like to see a 100-200mm f/2.8 or at least a 200mm f/2.8 weatherproof prime lens as well.

In the meantime, I took this lens with me on my cabin luggage to Cradle Mountain, and despite having this in my backpack, plus a fisheye lens, a 12mm lens, a 20mm lens, a 45mm lens, a 60mm macro lens and my 75mm f/1.8 lens with my Olympus OM-D E-M5, and a few extras, the weight still was under 5kg! This would be impossible to achieve with any other system, and sure made life bushwalking that much more pleasurable.

So here are a few shots taken with this lens mounted on my E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera:

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

The threatened Tasmanian Devil:

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle mountain region with fresh snow after the overnight snow storm which converted the beautiful green national park into a white wonderland:

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

 

 

 

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