Olympus releases 300mm F/4 Pro super telephoto!

Here is the link from Olympus: 300mm Pro

DPreview also has a bunch of info here: 300mm Press Release

You can preorder on amazon here: Olympus 300mm Pro Preorder

I am not going to repost specs and canned shots of this lens.  You can check them out everywhere else on the net.  This is a huge release for Olympus.  A lot of people might think they don’t use a super telephoto that often.  That’s because real super-telephotos were never that accessible.  This thing is 840mm with the teleconverter with fixed aperture 5.6.  And it’s hand-hold-able. (check out the amazing IS)   Forget doing that with a dslr.  And at the price, it’s practically affordable for what it is.  Olympus just made a super specialty item a bit more attainable.  This will definitely open up some create opportunities.  So what are some big items here?

-Arca-swiss compatible foot.  Finally someone gets it!  Let’s be real as well…this is still shooting a 600mm view… don’t wimp out on the ball head.  Get a Really Right Stuff BH-55.  I love that the included ring locks right up to RRS, Kirk, and Arca gear.  So convenient.

-77mm filter thread.  Ever tried to put filters on a supertelephoto?  NO WAY.  Forget the little drop-ins…those are “band-aids” for the fact that the objective lens is HUGE on most super teles.  Now you can do some real nature photography.  The lens is even short enough to handhold graduated ND filters.  You keep using existing filters with this lens.  Awesome.

-The lens is basically similar diameter and size as the 40-150.  Just a little longer.  Makes packing easy.  You don’t need a flight case or a special backpack JUST for your supertele.

-4.6′ minimum focus distance.  YES!  Freakin’ awesome.  Remember, distance is all about perspective.  This lens will give a completely different look and feel than a macro lens while still getting you in tight.  I cannot wait to shoot like this!

-Olympus posted an official image of Andromeda Galaxy shot with this lens.  It looks excellent.  I see no astigmatism or coma.  I look forward to testing this with my astrophotography rig.  If this lens is at least as good as the 40-150 for pinpoint light sources, this might be a winner for astro work while traveling light.

-Performance work.  I still shoot concerts, theater, and dance performances carrying over from my music business days.  The other day I shot a musical performance that was un-amplified, acoustic, and in an extremely silent venue.  The kind of event where you make NO NOISE whatsoever.  I took a test shot with the Olympus which is usually quiet enough and I thought I was going to fall over.  The shutter was really audible.  Silent shutter mode saved my shoot.  However, I usually shoot dress rehearsals so I can get close up perspectives.  Very often though, I have clients that sometimes don’t have that option and shooting can only be done live.  This lens will now let me get behind most of the crowd and still shoot tight, and silently.  And make for awesome concert video footage.

-Shooting from boats.  Ever shot on a boat?  Having a supertele on a boat with this kind of Image stabilization is like a dream come true.  I can’t wait to try this.

The Olympus system is really becoming a nature photographers dream.  60 macro, 7-14, 12-40, 40-150, and 300 all fit into a medium sized backpack and still weighs virtually nothing.  You have extremely capable set of pro lenses, weather proofing, and light weight for trekking far into the field.  And they ALL focus extremely close.  And nothing needs larger than a 77mm filter.  I’ve shot with a pro nature photographer before in the field and he had a similar rig that I just mention all top pro DSLR gear.  I literally could not carry his bag.  It was unliftable.  And he tries to hike?  It spent more time on the floor than on his shoulders.  Meanwhile my entire kit and backup gear was on my back unnoticed all day long.  This is where m43 really shines!

So these are just my initial opinions.  So far it looks like Olympus has a real winner on their hands.  If you have never used a super-tele, this might really change your world.  Its a light weight, excellent quality lens that opens up a perspective and tool that most people don’t have access to.  (meaning also a quality level and fixed aperture in this view range)  I don’t have any kind of special access or anything…so I will have to wait for the release to get my hands on one.  Unless Olympus wants to send one my way.  Hint Hint.  I am a pro photographer…not a pro spec reviewer unfortunately.  I am seriously considering buying my own copy though.  I normally only rent lenses like these.  I had a Canon 300mm and sold it after a year.  I only used it twice beyond the job that needed it.  It just was too cumbersome.  The Olympus looks like a lens I would always take with me into the field.  Spring is coming and I have been looking for an excuse to get back into the Smoky Mountains.  March release means spring is just waking up too.  I think a proper review will be in order!  Keep an eye out.

Also, If you are going to preorder….Amazon has a great return policy!  You can preorder on amazon here: Olympus 300mm Pro Preorder

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