Infrared Photography with the Olympus 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II lens

Excellent IR performance with a 28-300mm equivalent range

I just got my hands on the Olympus 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II lens, which I purchased second-hand in top condition. My initial testing with infrared showed no hotspots across the zoom range, and so I mounted it on my Full-Spectrum Converted Olympus OM-D E-M5ii body with a 720nm front filter.

The Olympus 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II is a fully weather-sealed 28-300mm equivalent zoom that is extremely compact and lightweight. When collapsed, it measures a mere 2.5×3.3″ (63.5 x 83.8 mm), and weighs 10 oz (284g). It uses 58mm front filters.

The Olympus 14-150mm II does not produce significant hotspots at 720nm, even when stopped down to f/11. You may see slight center brightness above f8, but rarely do I stop down this far (remember that M4/3 lenses have 2x the effective DOF as 35mm format). Corner sharpness falls off at the extreme edges of the frame at the wide end, as is common with mirrorless lenses used in infrared. This phenomenon is also true with the other wide-angle Olympus lenses I’ve tested, including the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ, and the 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6. The 14-150mm lens wasn’t significantly different from those other two lenses in this regard. Once you’re above 17mm or so, edge sharpness improves significantly, and it’s sharp edge to edge by 25mm. Using DXO Pure Raw 4 to demosaic and sharpen the raw files works very well, and further cleanup is possible with Topaz Photo AI.

I’ll be taking this lens with me to South Dakota for my infrared photo safari, and from what I can see so far, it will be the lens that stays mounted on my IR camera most of the time. The slight edge softness at 14mm is more than made up for by the outstanding range (28-300mm equivalent) and lack of hotspots. If you’re looking for a walkabout lens for Olympus/OM System infrared, I highly recommend this lens. Pair it with the 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6, and you have a featherweight 18-300mm kit that works well in both the visible and IR spectrums.

Photos

Sample images at 720nm with the Olympus 14-150mm lens. Focal length is shown as 35mm equivalent.

One thought on “Infrared Photography with the Olympus 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II lens”

  1. Just a quick question? Have you tried the 12-45mm f4 for infrared? I don’t have the 14-150

    I am thinking I might have to try this combination.

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