Well I bought a 40-150, just not the one I thought.
A 3 lens kit, available for the moment with an EM10 mk2 on clearance cycle, offered me a set of options that, to be honest, made a lot more sense than the big pro lens.
I always think, that if a decision is too hard to make, then walk away, and that is what happened with the big lens. I failed to crack a telling shot after two tries and then I started to question the relevance of the lens for me at all (as I have previously). It looks like the sport I was to shoot is more social than action, may not even come about and possible other lens options would have made more sense. I guess what it came down to was the lens (the one I tested) just did not produce that “wow” image, especially when compared to the humble 75-300.
The two images below are heavy crops. The 75-300 image (a little bigger, but proportionately cropped), is maybe sharper or “nicer” to my eye, which is often the case with that lens. The 12-100 is similar in rendering to the 40-150, which I find appealing for high detail landscape images, but less so for general shooting. When I was testing my previous one of these, an early test of each at 75mm showed almost no difference between the 75 prime, 40-150 and 75-300 (at the same apertures), which was thought provoking to say the least.
Looking with fresh eyes, the little triple kit made more sense.
The first lens of note is the quite well regarded 40-150 kit lens. Not in the league of my usual kit, it none the less produces a very serviceable file, generous and forgiving, colour is good and even it’s Bokeh is not offensive. The 75-300 now feels like a luxury lens in comparison, both in hand and optically, but this little, almost weightless lens (about the same weight as a small prime), produces a good enough image that I do not feel like I am being short sighted using it, as long as that is carefully and realistically. A bonus is it’s truly lightning fast, almost instinctive, AF. This will be going to Japan as the mate to the admittedly better 12-40 pro rather than the heavier and longer 75-300.
Lens two is another 45 f1.8. My favourite one has a small scratch on the front element (my fault) that bothers me a little and to be honest I do not want to be without it, ever, for what ever reason, so another one in reserve just feels right. I have a third (!), silver one, but that may be gifted to a family member.
Finally, the neat little 14-42 EZ kit lens, which may be the future mate for a new camera for my wife, who is looking out for a new EPL# at some point. I am going to return this one as my unscientific test, tooling around the house, showed it is clearly a little de-centred (soft left side at wider settings as opposed to a quite sharp on the right side). According to Image Resource, these are a little soft on that side (love those 3d blur charts), so it may be as it is to be. ed. After trying another, they look to be consistently like this, so no harm, no foul.
I picked the set up for less than the price of the 45 alone.
Unlike many, I do not find buying new gear fun. Stressing over relative or theoretical quality is never a road to happiness, but it is something I seem to need to go through before I am truly happy and the more I spend, the more I stress. Working in the industry, I know that genuine faults are few and many actual faults go completely un-noticed, but rather than take the hint, I still tend to look for trouble.
Rather than tests and comparisons, I personally do not settle until I get that image that just makes me smile. I believe a lens is as good as it’s best image, simple as that. ironically, the actual image often has little to do with true, definable, technical quality, but rather an emotional quality that only a really terrible lens could actually detract from. My testing procedure for these lenses came down taking a few images, focussing on the edges often and checking for obvious anomalies.
What exercises like this remind me of, is that the gear matters less than using it. Having a big, pro lens, with little application is a waste. It makes me feel like I should push myself into using it over common sense. The smaller kit on the other hand, means that I have a significantly higher chance of actually having a camera with me when something is worth capturing.
Something to think on with tele lenses, is their realistic operating environment. Wide open, many top long tele lenses are not as sharp as even petite little portrait lenses. The compression they have often disguises this, making the image “snap” naturally. Even my humble 75-300, which does not do brilliantly on a test bench, can produce pro grade images in the field. When the atmosphere is filled with haze or glare, it is as hobbled as any, but so would a multi thousand dollar lens be.
Landscapes and very occasional wild life are covered by the 12-100/75-300 (24-600 equivalent),
Portrait and Street by the four primes (35/45/90/150e all f1.8),
and Travel by the 12-40/40-150 (24-300e), which is quite light meaning I can add in parts of other kits as needed.
Sport? Not doing any now, but any of the above as needed.