The Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 IS Pro Will Crush Your Big M4/3 Dreams

The Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro is innovative, but at $7,499, it’s only for the elites.

It’s here! After two years of being in development, the Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro has arrived. This is a lens we and the Micro Four Thirds community have been incredibly excited about. However, that excitement quickly faded, and our smiles were turned upside down after hearing the price. If you haven’t heard yet, this new and admittedly impressive lens will cost a staggering $7,499.99. Find out more about the lens and its impressive specs while also seeing your hopes of owning one get dashed after the break.

The Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro was in development long before new owner, JIP, was in the picture. However, the lens certainly goes along with the new company’s mantra of catering to the pros. We just hope that this lens is a one-off and that sky-high prices will not be the norm going forward. Now, I do have to say that this is a lot of lens and a lot of tech for the money. However, $7,499.99 for a Micro Four Thirds lens is beyond belief. Here’s a quick look at some specs before we try to wrap our heads around the Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro a little more.

Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro Tech Specs

  • Handholdable to 2000mm with MC-20 2x TC
  • 4.13lbs – 6.6lbs when attached to the E-M1X
  • The lens is made from Magnesium Alloy
  • Plastic carbon fiber wrapped lens hood
  • 8 stops of IS compensation at 300mm, 6 stops of IS compensation at 1000mmm
  • Built-in 1.25x Teleconverter
  • IPX1 weather sealing
  • A new Fluorine coating makes the front element hydrophobic
  • A heat resistant white coating and a heat shield help keep the lens cool
  • 28 elements in 18 groups
  • It uses the largest aspherical ED element Olympus have ever made
  • Two lightweight focusing elements make focusing speeds rapid
  • 4.33ft min focusing distance
  • Supports focus stacking
  • 2 coatings of Olympus Nano coating to help with lens flare and ghosting
  • 4 preset focus buttons to rapidly move to preset focusing distances
  • 95mm filter thread, A new 95mm filter has been made with the new fluorine coating
  • Available in late January 2021 for $7,499.99 USD, CAD $9,999.99
  • New 95mm filter $329.99 USD, CAD $429.99

The Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro is a monster. An equivalent Full-Frame lens with a camera body would weigh over 12lbs. So, even with a gargantuan lens like this, the Micro Four Thirds size and weight benefits still come into play. The lens also features a hydrophobic coating. This is the first time Olympus has used such a coating on one of their lenses. The lens also features the largest aspherical element they have ever used. Image stabilization is another huge benefit of this lens. At 1,000mm, getting six stops of IS is incredible. There’s no doubt in my mind that this lens will be truly brilliant. But, that price is enough to make a grown man or woman cry.

Who Exactly Is Going to Buy This Lens?

Honestly, we can think of very few people who will rush to pick this up. Sure, professional sports photographers will make a beeline for it. Professional wildlife photographers who work for the likes of Nat Geo likely will too. Otherwise, this is a lens for nobody.

It almost feels like this was a ‘look what we can do’ lens rather than a lens that was meant to be widespread. In fact, this feeling was further compounded when we found out that there are just a handful of units in the wild right now. There are just two units in the USA. I can’t help but think that this lens will still be in short supply when it launches in January 2021. The Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro will be Olympus’s Nikon Z 58mm f0.95 Noct. Olympus will claim it’s so popular they cannot meet demand when, in reality, all three units they made sold. Sure, they’ll make a few more, but you get the gist.

Is Olympus Out of Touch?

This lens is out of reach of the average Micro Four Thirds user. Heck, it’s probably out of reach of 95% of photographers in general. If this lens was meant to spur the Micro Four Thirds platform’s growth, it has missed the mark. Sure, the lens is half the cost of an equivalent Full-Frame lens, but it’s still way too out there for Micro Four Thirds. You have to wonder if Olympus understands its customer base at all.

If you had your heart set on the Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro but cannot afford it, you do have options. The quite excellent Olympus 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS can be yours for just $1,499. Sure, it’s missing some bells and whistles, but it’s a wonderful lens. With the MC-20 teleconverter, you can still reach 1600mm, and you can easily handhold it. The Olympus 100-400mm also features the same IPX1 weather sealing too. Unless you want to sell a kidney, this is the telephoto lens for you.

Olympus 150-400mm f4.5

What do you think about the new Olympus 150-400mm f4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro? Has Olympus hit a home run? Do you think they have totally lost their way with their loyal fanbase? Would you ever drop $7,499.99 on a lens for a camera system whose future is up in the air? Let us know in the comment section below.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.