After doing the three part review of the 40-150 lenses, I figured I would add in this bonus section that covers the 1.4 teleconverter. That is one of the bonuses of going with the 2.8 lens as well. Olympus’ MC-14 1.4x converter is designed for the 40-150 Pro. This will be more a commentary on my experience than a hardcore review.
The MC-14 is a teleconverter with a 1.4x factor. Basically you put in on your camera and then mount the lens onto the converter. Like an adapter. It’s fairly small, and only adds 170g to the total weight. Olympus made it weather sealed and matching in finish style so it is a clean integration with the pro lenses. Right now it is only compatible with the 40-150 pro and the 300 pro. It multiplies the focal length by 1.4x and closes the aperture down by one stop wide open. So you get a 56-210 f/4 lens, or in the case of the 300 you get a 420 f/5.6. If you are used to traditional focal lengths, that converts your “80-300” into a “112-420” and the “600” into an “840” lens. We’ll just focus on the 40-150 pro in this review however. So getting an F/4 “100-400” lens in the same form factor and performance as your existing lens is not too bad. In fact rather great. But how does it perform?
I have used the MC14 extensively. I bought it along with my 40-150. I will be very straight forward however…I am not fond of adapters or teleconverters in general. I don’t like anything that can add a measure of play at the lens mount. Adding this does introduce slight play to the entire system. More so if you are on a tripod without the lens foot. If you are hand holding, you should be fine, but always support the weight via the lens and not the camera body if you can…especially when taking shots. If you are on a tripod I would HIGHLY recommend using your lens foot. This will definitely help with sharpness, as well as stability at these long focal lengths.
The aperture is now one stop dimmer at F/4, but still constant. So not a great loss. Autofocus seems to remain unaffected generally. Just slightly less in dim situations. Mainly it won’t feel any different. Image stabilization adjusts for the MC14 automatically and it works great. I literally can’t believe I can hand hold a “420mm equivalent” lens all day long with no fatigue. And make sharp images. Many of the following shots I present here were hand held.
Often when a telconverter is used the quality is affected. No difference here…there is a slight decrease in fine resolution. It is slight. Honestly, mostly a non-issue. In many cases I think it will be more a factor of the longer focal length and hand induced shake than the MC14 reducing quality. Olympus has done a great job keeping the image quality up even with the mc14 attached. If you are concerned about speed and the utmost quality at a pixel peeping level, I recommend not bothering with the mc14. 150 to 210mm is not a huge gain. If that extra is more beneficial, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the adapter. I find I use it more when I am shooting wildlife. Most other scenarios 150mm is plenty for me. As you know, any extra mm we can get for wildlife helps.
Here are a bunch of images using the mc14. The majority of these images are shot at 210mm (full zoom) at F/4 or F/7.1. I personally like the mc14. No TC is my first choice, I prefer a lens attached directly to camera…but at the end of the day, the MC14 is a great addition to your lens if you value the extra focal length. And the gorgeous look of the 40-150 Pro is retained. Nice. Also note, the majority of these shots are just slightly cropped for composition but otherwise full view.