You may also want to view and compare with my post on the Panasonic FZ-1000 at the Denver Zoo. Spoiler alert: The FZ-1000 is very good for an all in one camera. But the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the 40-150 F2.8 Pro lens is better. But depending on your needs, either camera can deliver some very impressive results.
Located in Denver City Park, near 17th and Colorado Blvd., the Denver Zoo is one of Denver’s most famous landmarks. “It all began with a special gift to the mayor of Denver, a black bear cub that came to live at City Park. Early visitors to the growing zoo enjoyed watching animals like monkeys, elk, bison and birds. With the opening of Bear Mountain in 1918 Denver Zoo became the first American institution to benefit from Carl Hagenbeck’s revolutionary zoo concept, that people should see animals at eye level in natural habitats without bars or fences. This ground-breaking exhibit features artificial rock formations produced using plaster casts from natural cliffs near Morrison, Colorado and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.”
In the subsequent years the Zoo has grown in tremendous ways and is one of the visited and popular sites in the city. “Denver Zoo created a new master plan to guide the continued development of the facility through the beginning of the new millennium. This carried the momentum of improvements of the 1959 Master Plan. The Millennium Master Plan oversaw the development of Primate Panorama with two phases, one in 1996 and one in 2002, a new main entrance welcoming guests immediately to the award-winning Predator Ridge in 2004, and Toyota Elephant Passage in 2012. These improvements to Denver Zoo have affirmed its place as a leader in exhibit design and visitor experience. The rotational exhibit concept introduced in Predator Ridge has been mimicked in exhibits all over the world, and was improved upon for Toyota Elephant Passage. This concept allows different species to be seen in the exhibits at different times by rotating animals through multiple habitats. This stimulates their minds, expands their experiences and provides important exercise opportunities.”
The Denver Zoo is not only a popular place to visit but is frequented by photographers and local vendors such as “Mike’s Camera” often provide special photographic events and opportunities in conjunction with the zoo just for photographers.
I have taken photos frequently at the zoo so decided it would be the perfect place to work out my Olympus OM-D E-M5 MarkII with the Olympus Zuiko 40-150 F2.8 PRO lens. The animals weren’t especially active but I did manage to get some good sample photos seen below.
The Olympus 40-150 F 2.8 Zuiko Pro lens is an incredible work of precision and extremely high quality optics. Like the camera it is also built to be very weather resistant. It has an angle of view equivalent to an 80-300 F2.8 on a full frame but at a fraction of the size and weight. The lens is a constant aperture, so it is F2.8 throughout its range and is both internal zooming and internal focus. SLR Gear has posted a very good review of the lens. Now I just need to get the optically matched 1.4x Olympus tele-converter for that little extra length.
I greatly enjoyed shooting with the lens at the zoo and am very pleased with my investment. It is a truly amazing optic and a perfect compliment to the OM-D system cameras. Be forewarned it is also very expensive. For those on a budget Olympus also makes a much smaller and slower 40-150 F4-5.6 lens which is also a very good optic though not in the same league, is much more affordable.
Please enjoy the images below and feel free to comment or ask questions. Do note that I am leaving for 3 weeks in the Philippines in a couple of days so may be a little slow in responding to any comments.