Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review dusky titi monkeys sample image
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Olympus 300mm f/4 IS PRO Review

The Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is a high-performance telephoto lens constructed for the Micro 4 Thirds system. This lens impressed me in each means, from sharpness to design, and its quick f/4.0 most aperture is nice even in low gentle. On this evaluate, I’ll undergo my full expertise with the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO and provide you with my suggestions should you’re contemplating this lens.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review dusky titi monkeys sample image
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 640, 1/160, f/4.0

Dealing with and Construct

The Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is a sturdy lens with 17 components in 10 teams. The lens measures 8.94 inches (227 mm) lengthy with out the hood and weighs 3.24 lbs (1475 grams). The lens packs a robust punch in a small bundle, with a full-frame equal focal size of 600mm.

An autofocus vary swap is situated on the facet of the lens. It may be switched from 1.4-4m, 1.4m-infinity, and 4m to infinity. This helps restrict any autofocus searching conduct; I discovered it particularly useful when photographing topics at shut vary. There may be additionally a picture stabilization swap on the facet of the lens, in addition to an LN-f perform button.


The hood is extendable and hooked up to the lens, which is a design I like. I can simply match the lens in my journey backpack with the hood retracted. With different telephoto lenses, I usually detach the hood and put it on reverse to pack in my camera bag, which is a slower design. This one solely takes a second to deploy and is with you always.

The one dealing with flaw I observed in my time with this lens includes the main focus ring. The ring rotates very easily, however the lens simply switches from autofocus to manual-only by sliding the main focus ring into the handbook place.

Sadly, there isn’t a lock to forestall the main focus ring from sliding into handbook focus place. I might steadily push the ring into the handbook focus place accidentally. I ended up lacking some images due to this – by the point I found out why my autofocus wasn’t working, the opportune second had handed! An AF/MF locking mechanism would drastically profit this lens.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of nice bokeh
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 640, 1/640, f/4.0

Focal Size

The Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is a major lens mounted at 300mm. There are longer choices obtainable for Micro 4 Thirds that attain as much as 400mm. Nonetheless, the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is so sharp and excessive performing it seems like it’s over 300mm, just because the elevated sharpness permits extra cropping in comparison with the Olympus 100-300mm f/4-5.6 that I beforehand used.

The 300mm focal size might not sound very lengthy at first, till you take into account the 2x crop issue and excessive pixel density of Micro 4 Thirds – it’s a 600mm full-frame equal. Nonetheless, take into account that crop elements additionally apply to aperture; so, utilizing this lens is akin to utilizing a 600mm f/8 on full-frame. I’m not complaining – that’s merely why this lens is a lot smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a full-frame 600mm f/4.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of american crocodile
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 500, 1/200, f/4.0


The Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO  is admittedly an costly lens. Does it’s efficiency make up for the excessive price ticket?


The sharpness of this lens is actually a factor of magnificence. In comparison with different telephoto choices for Micro 4 Thirds I’ve used, the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO blows them out of the water when it comes to sharpness.

There’s a minute enchancment in sharpness between f/4.0 and f/5.6 which is actually solely noticeable in lab-like circumstances. I used to be in a position to take full benefit of the f/4.0 most aperture with out worrying about paying a value in sharpness.

The lens was so sharp, I even discovered moire on birds feathers, a problem I’d by no means encountered earlier than!

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of a little blue heron
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 800, 1/500, f/4.0


I’m very happy with the bokeh this lens produces. It’s about as good as one may need for a Micro 4 Thirds lens because of the rounded 9 bladed f/4.0 most aperture. As you possibly can see within the images all through this evaluate, out-of-focus backgrounds are clean and never distracting, with spherical out-of-focus highlights.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of spiderwebs and a praying mantis during the golden hour
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 100, 1/3200, f/4.0


The autofocus of the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is the quickest I’ve shot with on a Micro 4 Thirds telephoto lens. Whilst gentle turns into scarce, the lens is fast to seize focus.

On one hand, I used to be impressed with the autofocus on my Panasonic G-9. Nonetheless, once I put the lens on my just lately acquired OM-1, collectively they had been unstoppable. The topic detection autofocus of the OM-1 with the lens’s fast autofocus made for the best fowl images of my life!

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review with OM-1 is unbeatable micro four thirds wildlife setup
OM-1 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/1600, f/7.1

For good measure, I did a easy autofocus take a look at with the OM-1 to see how lengthy it took to focus from the minimal focusing distance to a distant wall.  I did the identical with the Olympus 100-400 f/5-6.3 and the Olympus 100-300 f/4-5.6. These are my outcomes.

On common it took the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO 0.52 seconds to amass focus. Curiously, each the Olympus 100-400mm f/5-6.3 and the Olympus 100-300mm (a comparatively previous copy, although) took 0.80 seconds on common to amass focus. In different phrases, the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 is about 50% quicker than my copies of those different lenses.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image nun bird with bokeh balls
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 1000, 1/160, f/4.0

Use with Teleconverters

If 300mm is solely not sufficient attain, the Olympus MC-14 and Olympus MC-20 are each appropriate with the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO. These teleconverters multiply the focal size by an element of 1.4 and a couple of respectively.

The disadvantage is in addition they have an effect on the f-number. The utmost aperture turns into f/5.6 with the MC-14, and it’s f/8.0 with the MC-20. I discovered the sharpness of the lens to be good with the MC-14, however sharpness actually took a success with the MC-20.

Autofocus turns into barely slower with the teleconverters, particularly in difficult circumstances. Once more, in my exams, the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO by itself centered on the distant wall in 0.52 seconds on common. With the MC-14, that jumped to 0.72 seconds, and with the MC-20, it took 0.87 seconds on common to give attention to the identical wall in the identical gentle circumstances. This distinction was undoubtedly obvious when utilizing the teleconverters in real-world conditions, too. I might suggest utilizing them solely when the sunshine is plentiful.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of blue and gold macaws
DC-G9 + M.300mm f/4 + MC-14 @ 420mm, ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6

Within the Subject: Wildlife Photography

I consider the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO is a superb telephoto lens for wildlife. Apart from the Olympus 100-400 f/4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO, this lens is probably going one of the best lens for wildlife images for Micro 4 Thirds.

I discovered the 300mm f/4 to carried out fantastically in low gentle, an issue typically encountered by wildlife photographers, as a result of the f/4 most aperture is increased than you’ll normally discover at 300mm for the M4/3 system. I discovered myself in a position to shoot properly after sundown and nonetheless handhold my photographs. At occasions, I used to be capturing at sluggish speeds between 1/sixtieth and 1/one hundredth and nonetheless catching crisp images. The picture stabilization system is certainly working onerous.

The easiest way for me to exhibit the stabilization is thru this quick video. Watch because the body rapidly stabilizes the second I swap on the stabilization. You will need to notice that this video was taken with the MC-14 teleconverter, so is shot with an equal focal size of 840mm. Moreover, the video was taken with the Panasonic G-9, so no synch IS is represented within the video.

I promise I held the camera on the identical steadiness all through the video! Loopy proper?

Moreover, when this lens is paired with the newer Olympus our bodies just like the OM-1, the lens and camera work fantastically along with glorious picture stabilization and autofocus. The stabilization is only when paired with Olympus our bodies, the place synchronized picture stabilization gives you as much as 6 stops stabilization. Wildlife images merely turned a lot simpler with a contemporary lens/camera combo like this.

Shut Focusing Skill

As a macro and herp photographer, I’m additionally impressed by the 1.4m minimal focusing distance on the Olympus 300mm f/4. At such an in depth vary, this enables for a picture copy ratio of 1:4, which is way larger than you’ll normally discover on a protracted telephoto lens. Mixed with the utmost aperture, this may create a really good bokeh and a ‘telephoto look’ for portraits of smaller animals. And the 2x crop issue of Micro 4 Thirds means you possibly can fill the body with very small topics.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of an everglades yellow ratsnake
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 125, 1/200, f/4.0


The Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO stands out in efficiency amongst telephoto lenses for Micro 4 Thirds. In fact, the steep price ticket additionally stands out. Some cheaper alternate options with related focal lengths embrace the Olympus 100-400 f/5-6.3, Olympus 100-300 f/4.0-5.6, and the Panasonic 100-400f/4-6.3. Every of those choices has a narrower most aperture and slower autofocus than the Olympus 300mm f/4.0 IS PRO, however they do have the benefit of zooming.

On the flip facet, if $3000 is just too low cost for you, there may be an much more costly IS PRO lens constructed by Olympus: the 150-400mm f/4.5 IS PRO, with built-in 1.25X teleconverter at a whopping $7500. That lens has an unbelievable attain whereas nonetheless being nearly as vibrant because the 300mm f/4. However the excessive value makes it fairly the specialty alternative.

Professionals and Cons


  • Tack-sharp; about as sharp as a lens may be for Micro 4 Thirds
  • Glorious stabilization together with Twin Sync on Olympus our bodies
  • Quick f/4.0 most aperture for the focal size
  • Compact construct


  • Excessive price ticket of $3000
  • Lens can simply be by chance pushed into handbook focus


From the fast autofocus, to gimble-like picture stabilization, crisp sharpness, and large f/4.0 aperture, almost each side of this lens is superb. I might not hesitate to suggest the Olympus 300mm f/4 lens to any Micro 4 Thirds shooter in want of a telephoto lens. It’s an undeniably pricy piece of apparatus, however its worth is mirrored in its efficiency.

Olympus 300mm f4 IS PRO Review sample image of scarlet macaws good performance in low light
DC-G9 + OLYMPUS M.300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 800, 1/200, f/4.0

The place to Purchase

If you’re fascinating in shopping for this lens, you possibly can support Photography Life by buying it at B&H Photo!

Olympus 300mm f/4 IS PRO
  • Optical Efficiency
  • Options
  • Construct High quality
  • Focus Velocity and Accuracy
  • Dealing with
  • Picture Stabilization
  • Measurement and Weight
  • Worth

Photography Life General Ranking

Photograhy Life Gold Award

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