OLYMPUS 40-150MM TELEPHOTO IS FIRST PAST THE POST
BY GAVIN STOKER
Cheltenham Races provided the location for the first official UK unveiling of the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40‑150mm 1:2.8 PRO telephoto zoom. Fully compatible with the brand’s Micro Four Thirds cameras, it was previously shown at Photokina back in September.
A day at the races provided the opportunity to touch and try the latest generation M.Zuiko Digital ED 40‑150mm 1:2.8 PRO lens – described as a ‘thoroughbred’ by the Olympus team – during a packed afternoon of racing that saw dealers and journalists ‘jockeying’ for the ideal position from which to capture a winning shot.
The obvious advantage here is that, when twinned with the Four Thirds sensor at the heart of Olympus OM-D and PEN cameras, the telephoto zoom provides the 35mm equivalent focal length of double what’s printed on the barrel: so 80-300mm. It’s also much smaller, more compact and more lightweight than an equivalent 35mm optic would be – another major factor in its favour.
At Cheltenham Racecourse the lens quickly proved to be one product for which, if a photographer harboured any doubts at all about performance, they wouldn’t ‘furlong’.
A CHAMPION ON ANY TURF
On hand to lend some tips and tricks, plus share his experience of the lens used in conjunction with the OM-D camera series, was the brand’s principal ambassador Damian McGillicuddy. Better known perhaps for shooting a different kind of ‘filly’, the photographer was keen to prove his versatility by introducing a male model at this portrait session – though his process remained constant
Shooting on an OM-D E-M1 equipped with the new 40-150mm optic, “the longer the lens, the shorter the nose,” Damian explained by way of highlighting he advantages of using such a telephoto zoom for people pictures. “It’s about making people more handsome. So I wonder how I’d look if everyone viewed me through a 40-150mm? That might be something for me to try out for the future!
“My make-up artist has used an air brush this morning,” he added. “That’s because, when we’ve shot pictures with this lens in a studio previously, it is so sharp that if we were to just use make up sponges and brushes, our subject’s complexion would resemble the surface of the moon, no matter how beautiful they are. So we’ve really tried to cheat today and airbrush over blemishes, so we can see just how good this lens is.”
CONFIDENTLY BACKING A WINNER
“From my point of view I want to use minimum kit these days, I don’t want to carry a lot of stuff around, so the 40-150mm is perfect for what I want to achieve”.
Damian McGillicuddy continued. “I use what I call the ‘Lego’ system, in that I like to build lights up one by one so I can see the effect I’m getting on the back of the camera. I also like shooting off the rear screen on the OM-D because it gives me a nostalgic reminder of Hasselblad cameras. The other reason is that, if I were to use the eye-level viewfinder instead and shoot looking down on the subject and wasn’t prepared to kneel, then the longer focal length of the 40-150mm would make the model look short due to its compression and perspective. Models don’t want to look worse than what they actually are; they want to be polished and cossetted and loved by the camera a little bit, so that they look cool.”
Proving that the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40‑150mm 1:2.8 PRO is as suitable for outdoor use as indoors, the day’s action then moved out onto the racecourse, with attendees’ elbows pressed up against crash barriers as hooves leapt over hurdles and thundered past mere metres away.