Olympus 150-400mm Release Date Announced

Posted Nov. 17th, 2020 by Daniel J. Cox

Olympus 150-400mm release date announced for late January 2021. Finally the availability of the lens I’ve been dreaming about. A lens that has a similar range to that of a full-frame camera using a 300-1000mm lens. Here’s the Olympus150-400mm official announcement.

Changing wildlife photography as we know it

This lens along with the EM-1X has the ability to change wildlife photography completely. I’ve dreamt about not using a tripod since my first days as a photographer.

Olympus 150-400mm zoom

In the beginning, I felt no quality wildlife photographer could be encumbered by such a bulky contraption. After about a year of trying to get sharp images—hand-holding a 300 mm F/4 and shooting Kodachrome 64–—I finally gave in.

As Olympus says in their video Break Free, “All revolutions start with the same idea. That things can be better.”

Fast-forward to 2016. Literally, 40 years after my failed attempts at hand-holding a 300mm, Lumix releases a 100- 400mm (200-800mm equivalent) with image stabilization in lens and camera. Handheld photography with super telephotos was now possible.

The only downside was the quality of the optics were not up to the professional standards I had come to expect. The Leica/Lumix 100-400mm wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t equal to my Nikon lenses.

But the freedom the smaller Lumix zoom provided changed everything. I abandoned all my Nikon gear and switched completely to Lumix and Olympus.

Dan with the Lumix GH4 with the Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 lens.

That was nearly 5 years ago. With the Olympus 150-400mm, we’ll now have what I’m guessing will be equal or better optics than my Nikon’s. All in a package that gives me the mobility and freedom I’ve only dreamt about as a natural history photographer.

This film that has been viewed almost 5 million times was shot with the Lumix GH4 and Olympus 40-150mm zoom.

The price of pro quality isn’t cheap

There will undoubtedly be many who either can’t or won’t justify the cost of this lens. At $7500 US it is not cheap. But we all have to realize there are fewer people buying real cameras and lenses today. Fewer buyers mean fewer people to extrapolate research and development costs across. Quite simply, they’re just not as many serious photographers to make money on. That being the case, the cost of our gear is going up. But there will always be those who reach for the absolute best. And in the world of photography, I’m confident this lens will be at the top of that list.

New firmware also coming

Olympus also announced a camera firmware upgrade for the E-M1X. Release date on December 2, 2020. Here are the details of that coming release.

E-M1X Version 2.0

1). Bird detection AF has been added to Intelligent Subject Detection AF.

2). RAW video output to external equipment is now supported.

3).Compatible external device: ATOMOS NINJA V HDR monitor recorder.

4). Focus Stacking Mode is now compatible with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens.

5). Video image stabilization has been improved.

6). Focus indicator display is now available during manual focusing.

The two items I’m most excited about are the Bird Detection AF and even better video image stabilization. The E-M1X is already phenomenal for hand-holding while shooting video.

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There are 8 comments on this post…
  1. Charles PetersonOn Nov. 18th, 2020

    How do you think this lens will work on a G9?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 18th, 2020

      I think it should work very well. No reason it shouldn’t. I use the Olympus 40-150mm and the 300mm on my G9’s all the time.

  2. Portrait of Linda Henry

    Steve HenryOn Nov. 18th, 2020

    So, Dan. Yes, it looks like this most likely is a terrific lens. However, given the turbulence from Olympus selling their camera division, I wonder if many will be interested in investing that much in a system that could have a short life expectancy. I’d personally wait until I see what the new owners look likely to do. Any thoughts on the new Olympus 100-400 as compared to the Leica/Lumix?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 18th, 2020

      I hear you Steve. I’m a bit apprehensive to make a commitment to the new Olympus myself. But… quite frankly, part of my is to test these things for not just our NE Explorers but others who come to the Blog and our other social media sites. Who knows I may lose money if Olympus doesn’t make it but I’m excited to give the new Olympus owners a chance. I know the people I’m in contact with at Olympus are working their tails off to make this transition go smoothly. I’m hopeful for all of them. Regarding the 100-400mm. I’ve not had a chance to test one yet. Maybe Olympus will see this and let me borrow one at some point. Stay tuned.

  3. ReneOn Nov. 17th, 2020

    Hi Dan,

    From your pictures, you look like you are strong enough to hold this lens steady as do the chisiled models in the Olympus ads. Even if cost were not a consideration, this lens would be beyond my capabilities to hold as I’m pretty riddled with arthritis in my hands, shoulders and neck. I’m glad it’s available for those who can utilize it, but the draw of M4/3 for me is its light weight. Fortunately, there’s enough great light M4/3 cameras and lenses for me to keep going. I wish you good fortune with this lens and look forward to seeing your phots taken with it.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 18th, 2020

      Rene, thanks for the nice note. I understand the issues of getting older and losing strength. And thankfully the MFT cameras do have so many choices for those who want to stay really light and those who want a bit more reach and light gathering capability. I’m impressed with Olympus’ commitment to really professional tools. We’re actually very fortunate to have so many choices between Olympus and Lumix. Thanks for reaching out and adding your voice.

  4. LarryOn Nov. 17th, 2020

    Hi Daniel, Are you with Olympus now? There is so much of confusing information regarding MFT system. Sale of Olympus to JIP. It seems like Panasonic is losing interest in photo side of m4/3 cameras. They seem to be more interested in video. What do you think about it ?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Nov. 18th, 2020

      Hi Larry, no I’m not officially with Olympus. I’ve decided to keep my freelancer status. I do have some good contacts there and I’m happy to help them get good news out. I love what they’re doing but I feel part of my job is to be able to see all sides. That can get difficult when you align yourself with one particular brand. That said, I’m still very happy with the MFT cameras I’m shooting. Oot of the two companies, Lumix and Olympus, I do feel Olympus is more committed to still photographers and making serious professional lenses. The new 150-400mm is a perfect example of that. I’m happy to give the new owners a chance which is what I’ll be doing by purchasing the new lens.

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