I spent some time yesterday afternoon playing with the new Olympus 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens. This beast has a 35mm equivalent range of 200-800mm and weighs just under 2.5 lbs which, for comparison, is about half a pound lighter than my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8. If the huge reach of the basic lens isn’t enough, it’s also compatible with both of Olympus’ teleconverters so I had to give it a shot with the 2x to see what a 400-1600mm zoom felt like.
My original intention for the lens was to use in photographing sports and birds but I was pleasantly surprised to find that its minimum focus distance is only 4 feet and that this doesn’t seem to change significantly with the addition of the teleconverter. This image of a robber fly in our front yard was taken from about 10 to 12 feet away, handheld at 1600mm. The image you see here has some minor cropping to remove distracting elements in the edge of the frame but this version represents somewhere around 80% of the original frame area. I’m pleasantly surprised at how sharp the image is partly because I’m used to a Nikon 2x teleconverter that noticeably reduces image sharpness but also because it was handheld at a shutter speed well below 1/1600th which says great things about the Olympus image stabilization system.
For the technically inclined...
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