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Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm ED Interchangeable Lens Review

Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm ED Interchangeable Lens Review - A constant aperture ultra wide angle zoom from Olympus, designed to overcome the main problem of the 4/3rds system, the biggest crop factor in the dSLR world. We take a look at how it performs.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus Zuiko 7-14mm ED
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Olympus 7-14mm f/4Olynpus owners could be in for a treat with this super wide-angle lens. Even when the 2x CCD factor are taken into account we have a lens that is a ultra-wide 14mm focal length, making it potentially an ideal choice for landscapes and architectural photography.

Specification

  • Lens Name: Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/4
  • Focal range: 7-14mm (14-28mm equiv on 35mm/full frame)
  • Optical Construction: 18-12 elements/groups
  • Max Aperture: f/4
  • Min Aperture: f/22
  • Closest focus: 0.10m
  • Filter Thread: n/a
  • Dimensions: 119.5x86.5mm
  • Weight: 0.78kg
  • Price (SRP) £1180

Build and handling
The lens is a standard twin ring zoom that is a little bulky and has a fixed hood protecting a bulbous front element. Because of this, no filter thread is provided and no alternative offered. However, that is pretty much where the bad news stops.

Olympus provide a soft pouch to store the lens in and the construction is solid with nicely torqued rings that feel smooth and quick and fairly quiet auto focussing. Manual focus too, is nicely torqued and the full change in focal lengths is achieved with just less than a quarter turn.

Olympus claim dust and splash-proof construction for this Pro-spec lens, although this remained untested!

Optical quality
The control of distortions throughout the focal length of this constant aperture lens is quite good, sticking to mild pincushion throughout the range. Measured with Imatest it comes out below 1% throughout where a level of 1.5% is deemed acceptable.

Resolution is consistent across the full width of the frame, except when the optic is used wide open, where a few differences creep in towards the edge of the frame. That resolution is good enough for all the present 4/3rds cameras and still has a fair amount in reserve.

Contrast, by no means bad, lacks slightly when the camera is shooting RAW files but the camera, in this case an E-500, compensates well when shooting Jpegs.

By using two super ED elements and two ED elements in the construction, the lens copes well with chromatic aberrations or fringing, and no incidents visible to the naked eye show up. Measurements show the phenomenon to be kept below a single pixel. Multi coatings have come a long way in recent years, helping to overcome incidents of flare and ghosting and this optic benefits from these advances.

Click on each comparision photo below to view full size versions


Left: At 7mm and f/5.6 the lens is capable of some dramatic shots


Below, left: Even wide open at f/4 the lens delivers amazing depth-of-field.


Below, right: This time at 14mm and f/4 gives an idea of what the long end is like. All three Church images were shot from the same position.



7-14mm set at 7mm and f/8


7-14mm set at 14mm and f/8

7-14mm set at 7mm and f/4

7-14mm set at 14mm and f/4

Below is our lens test data. To find out how to use these graphs look at this article: How we test lenses

Verdict
If you own a 4/3rds system camera, this is the widest lens available and the only one that gets you into true ultra wide-angle photography. But it does so at a price! It does join the market as the widest corrected lens available for any crop camera and should be commended for that. The main problem is likely to be the inability to attach filters without a Heath-Robinson type bit of DIY.

In summary, the positive points of the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/4 are:
Good correction of distortion
Good resolution across the range
Good build quality

The Negative points are:
High cost
No provision for using filters
Bulky for cameras it fits on.

Check the latest price of the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/4 here

Discuss this lens and other related lens subjects here

Test by Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.com

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Comments


StrayCat e2
10 15.0k 2 Canada
9 Apr 2008 11:12PM
How about a test of the 14-54mm Zuiko and the 70-300mm.

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