Olympus M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS ED
– Review by AL Lee – Text by Melody Tan
Image: Editor AL with the NEW Olympus 100-400mm mounted to OM-D EM1.2
19th August 2020, Singapore/Malaysia – After all that waiting, finally Olympus announced the long-awaited 100-400mm IS on 05th August 2020. And our editorial team was lucky enough to receive the review unit on the 06th August 2020. However due to the recent monsoon and crazy weather, the review had been postponed several times. And finally about 2 weeks ago there was a window of good weather and our Editor took the opportunity and brought the new 100-400mm out to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves to review and try out the lens.
To start, the new 100-400mm is a huge lens, but when compared to its equivalent in the DSLR realm, the 100-400mm is still considered as “tiny” measuring at 205.7 x 86.4mm and weights at 1,120g (excluding tripod bracket, caps, lens hood). Not forgetting at this size, it give the user a whopping 200-800mm on a full frame format! Slap on a 2x Teleconvertor, and you get a mega 1600mm lens in a small package!
The construction came with weather-sealing which is usually a standard for Pro Series lenses but found its way into the 100-400mm which was a surprise to us. The handling was good with the weight balance a little nearer to the lens mount rather than the front. This is good as that help to reduce fatigue for long-hours use.
I like the zoom ring which feels really expensive to the touch but importantly, the button layout and egonomics are very well-sorted out and designed.
On the inside, Olympus had designed the lens quite extensively on the optics. The elements are grouped into 21 elements in 15 groups including 4 x ED elements + 2 x Super HR elements + 2 HR elements and if you look at the lens grouping, this design seems to suggest that Olympus is aiming for maximum sharpness.
The lens comes with a 3-stops image stabilizer (works with Olympus in-body IS) and focus down to smallest aperture of F22 with its 09 diaphragm aperture blades. The front of the lens take 72mm screw-on filters and the minimum focusing distance is a very manageable 1.3m.
In case you wanna know, the Olympus 100-400mm comes with a tripod mount, a lens hood and some paperwork in the retail box.
So Editor AL took the 100-400mm out to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserves and try out the lens. It had been a hot & humid day. Although there isn’t much activities going on, he captured whatever they crossed his path while there.
Ed: I did a few shots using the 100mm focal range and 400mm focal range to exhibit the sharpness & range of this lens. Lots of details were captured, I am already impressed.
ED: Throughout the 4 hours when I was there, I was holding the lens and never once I felt tired from holding & using it. This is a bonus for those who likes hand-held birding without a tripod. Many gave up due to fatigue and not the lack of wildlife.
ED: The focusing speed is not bad, not blazing fast but fat enough to capture whatever I need to shoot. The amount of details captured served its purpose. The magnification ratio of 0.57x on the tele end is just right although I hope it can be more so it can help more when I need to do more cropping than expected.
ED: On overall, the NEW Olympus 100-400mm is a very capable lens. Having used 40-150mm F2.8 PRO for the longest time, this 100-400mm seems a little different when I tried to shoot when I was shooting with 40-150mm – then I realised I was really using a different lens altogether.
This 100-400mm seems to grow itself on me as I ended my 4 hours walk, I realised I had fallen in love with 100-400mm. Time to save up some cash for this.
– AL Lee
OK people, Buy your Olympus 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS from our Accredited Merchants for a peace of mind.
Renting this Lens
For those of you who wish to try out the camera/ lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens is available for rental at our appointed rental merchant:
Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building, (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Reviewer: AL Lee
Chief Editor / Visionary & Brand Ambassador for Olympus Imaging Singapore
Contributing Editor – Melody Tan
Loves quiet walks along beaches, has a mind of her own and decides everything in life in either black or white with nothing in between. Her priority these days revolves around her 2 lovely kids & teaching them music or photography. A lover of yoga and an avid traveler, Melody aims to visit at least 30 countries before she reach 40 years old – from what we know, she had completed 27 as of 2018.
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