The Zuiko 40-150mm lens is designed for the Olympus E-series cameras, notably the brand new E-500 (reviewed on p34). The Four Thirds sensor in the E-series gives a 2x focal factor, so this lens is an 80-300mm zoom in 35mm speak.
Although you can buy it on its own for around £100, this lens is also available in a kit, along with the E-500 body and the 'standard' 14-45mm zoom. These kits are terrific value - we've seen them advertised as low as £630.
It's a brilliant lens. Many telephoto zooms are disappointingly soft, prone to chromatic aberration and awkward to operate. This is none of these things. Shots have a contrast and clarity that's extremely unusual at this price.
Every shot we took was as crisp as a 'standard' zoom. The E-500's AF system was fast and accurate, even with these long focal lengths - aided no doubt by the lens' wider- than-usual aperture range (f3.5-4.5). The image in the viewfinder is bright and clear, even at the longest focal lengths.
Build quality is excellent, even though there's a good deal of plastic. The lens mount is metal and the filter size (58mm) is the same as the E-500's standard zoom.
The E-500 may not necessarily be the first choice as an entry-level D-SLR, but as a twinlens kit it has to be seen in a new light. Rod Lawton