I just sold my Panasonic 45-200 – and before I let it go, I quickly set up a last competition between this and my two OM Zuiko lenses. So here you go – from the same position, same distance (about 3 metres), and with the same E-M5 body: First the OM Zuiko 135/2.8, then the 200/4 and Panasonic 45-200 at 200mm.
Every lens was shot at open aperture, that is: f/2.8 for the 135, f/4 for the 200, f/5.6 for the 45-200 zoom. The superior image quality of the two OM Zuikos over the zoom is clearly visible, right at maximum aperture. Note that there might be some really slight focus variations, but if you check out the complete frames in original size, you’ll notice that the sharpest image areas are just a bit crisper and nicer with the OM Zuikos.
We all know that the 45-200 is just a consumer-grade zoom and not meant to be compared with superb fixed-length telephotos, but then the two OM Zuikos in question are over 30 years old, they don’t come with aspherical elements and apochromatic colour correction, and they were never made to perform on a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor. Also don’t forget the added convenience of a modern zoom lens with autofocus – this post is not meant to bash the 45-200. It, however, shows what kind of quality an old lens can deliver, even when it is that old.
As usual, these were shot RAW and converted with Lightroom, with absolut standard sharpness settings and a little bit noise reduction (20 on the scale from 0–100). For lightning, I used a bounced flash. While I boosted the contrast a little bit, I did so the exact same amount on all three shots. Read: All these three lenses show more or less the very same contrast level. To my eyes, a nice testimony to the quality of the “MC” coating on the old Zuikos.