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A Photographers Review: Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED Lens

Updated on November 13, 2015

A great example of what this lens can deliver for a photographer

This was taken at a zoo behind glass with the Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm lens on an Olympus E-510 camera body.
This was taken at a zoo behind glass with the Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm lens on an Olympus E-510 camera body. | Source

Zuiko 70-300 Lens

Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Standard Four Thirds Digital SLR Cameras
Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Standard Four Thirds Digital SLR Cameras

Purchasing the Zuiko 70-300mm Lens

I have been taking photographs since I got my paws on my father's Pentax K-1000 when I was about 7 years old. I still have that camera, on loan of course, and it is still to this day one of my favorite cameras. I took my first “real” photography class my sophomore year in high school and absolutely fell in love with developing my own negatives and prints. I had several lenses, filters and other very cool accessories and took my camera with me wherever I went. Things really have not changed much for me, except I finally took the jump to a digital SLR camera about 3 years ago; an Olympus E-510. I once again fell in love, and once again started carrying my camera with me wherever I went, started shooting photos for the local paper and even selling some of my favorite photos online. With the extra money that I earned through selling my photographs, I purchased a lens that I had my eye on for months: the Zuiko 70-300mm lens.

This lens can still function in low light at higher shutter speeds if used correctly.
This lens can still function in low light at higher shutter speeds if used correctly. | Source

The Zuiko Lenses have a very quick autofocus

The Olympus Zuiko 70-300 lens is very versatile; it can take magnificent macro photographs as well as really get close to objects that are far away. The autofocus ifs very quick, and you can control within most camera bodies where the focus point will be in your photograph. There are a few things that are important to know about this lens, that are not necessarily bad things, but are definitely helpful. This lens when used with a fully extended zoom will deliver photos that are not the highest quality possible. You will find that it is much harder to get clear photos, the lighting may be flat and a bit washed out, and you may also find that you see more noise in your photos. Your lowest F-stop will only go as low as 4.0 which will not fully open your aperture resulting in less available light. When adding that to a long lens, your lighting will appear darker and it will be more difficult to take photos that require higher shutter speeds. It is still very possibly to take photos in low light that are fast movement with this lens, so don't get discouraged. It will take time and patience to understand how far you can push your lens.

This lens works great for wildlife and nature photography

The Zuiko 70-300mm lens can capture excellent detail
The Zuiko 70-300mm lens can capture excellent detail | Source

Do not fully extend the lens in low light or high light

The opposite goes for good lighting and even high noon light, the lens reacts incredibly well and takes very clear photos. I would still not recommend fully extending the zoom on the lens, but in stead pulling it in a bit, and then cropping in a photo processing program. In high noon sunlight this lens doesn't soak up as much light as the smaller lenses so it will reduce the over exposure, and when a lens hood is used it will soak up any light flares that may soak into the image. Of course you still need to mind your exposure and your shadows, but all in all, this lens can manage to take very healthy photos in over lit situations.

Use a tripod whenever you can in any light situation

A trick for this lens is to utilize a tripod when using it, and if that is not available to use a monopod. I ended up being in a situation where neither of these were available to me, so more than often I needed to find a stationary position and balance my camera on my knees or a nearby pole. This of course is not the fault of the lens at all, and although it is a large lens, it is really not that heavy. It naturally extends further than the body with throws the balance of the camera a little off. If there is any sort of breeze, you will sway a little creating a blurry image. This is especially important if you are extending the zoom capabilities of the lens. I include this in the review only because this is again not the fault of the lens, if there was movement with any lens the photographs would turn out blurry, therefore in comparison with other lenses, this lens is still highly recommended.

This photo was take through a black screen door while it was sprinkling outside.
This photo was take through a black screen door while it was sprinkling outside. | Source

Since this lens is so powerful, the photographer is easily able to work around fences or screens that in front of the subject. By changing your focus and the distance between you and the barrier, you are able to minimize the fence or screen and focus on the subject. Keep in mind that it may not deliver a perfectly crisp photo, but when you don't have a choice such as at a zoo or an event, this is an incredible tool to have with you.

Vivid color and crisp details is what this lens can deliver

This lens allows photographers to get in close with their subjects, even subjects that you normally wouldn't be able to see this close.
This lens allows photographers to get in close with their subjects, even subjects that you normally wouldn't be able to see this close. | Source

Macro Photography Abilities

Now, when working with macro shots, or very tight shots on small subjects this lens shines again. The detail that this lens is capable of picking up is astonishing at this price point and you can really get close into to subjects that you primarily wouldn't be able to just walk up to and snap a shot. Again, the same rules apply; f you are in low light it will react slower for you and you will need a still subject and a tripod, try not to extend the zoom completely and remember that using a lens hood will reduce in light flares in the photograph.

Beautiful Detail and Vibrant Color is what you can expect with this lens

Remember to be creative, even when photographing wildlife.
Remember to be creative, even when photographing wildlife. | Source

Budget Friendly Lens That Offers Amazing Quality

For the price that this lens is sold at, it is a steal for the quality that you can get out of the product. Remember, learning to use the tools that you use is the first step to being able to produce any amazing photographs. This lens is perfect for any wildlife and nature photography due to its versatility and it's quick autofocus. It delivers exquisite color, sharp images and excellent new opportunity for photographers.

Extra: This lens works incredibly well with filters as well. 58mm filters fit on this lens without any step rings, and does not affect the quality of the images.


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    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      7 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Excellent article! I like to see the pros and cons. I have a Canon EOS 70-300mm lens that I really have been happy with. Hubby bought it for me for my birthday one year. I love your pictures, they are very good. Voted this up and useful! Have a great day! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I suppose the old saying is correct "You only get what you pay for".

      I once tried a budget zoom lens but was so fed up with its many down sides that i sold it and put the money towards a pro mid range zoom instead. Incidently it was a wise choice.

      I can see that you have tried well to get the best out of the lens but sadly the lens is obviously not good enough to match your competent photography skills.

      Areas of soft focus and the inability to obtain fast shutter speeds in anything but the brightest light may eventually wear you down. Using a tripod is a good idea with such a lens,you may also want to check out monopods, their very easy to use and take up less room, especially in crowded areas.

      I liked some of your pictures and am glad that you wrote an honest review. Good luck with your photography.Voted up and useful.


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