Dennis Hissink : August 8th 2010 - 19:37 CET
Olympus lens review
Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-150mm lens review : The new Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-150mm F4-5.6 has a total range of 10.7x zoom (28-300 mm equiv. 35mm camera) and falls under the category all-round zoom lenses. It is a handy lens to combine with one of the Olympus PEN system cameras. There are currently four lenses available in the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Standard System, but there are undoubtedly more being planned. We thoroughly tested the Olympus PEN E-PL1, equipped with a Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-150mm lens. Our test conclusions are based on practice combined with technical tests that are performed in the DIWA lab that is managed by Kai Thon, test manager of DIWA Awards.|
Olympus lens review
The Olympus M 14-150mm F4-5.6 zoom lens is made up of several parts: 15 lenses spread out over 11 groups, including 3 aspherical (including 1 ED lens) glass elements that are necessary to make up such a lens. Still, it is hardly noticeable in the Olympus 14-150mm lens’ weight. The size of this all-round zoom lens has also decreased, compared with an Olympus 10x Four Thirds lens (ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 18-180mm).
Micro Four Thirds system lens review
Olympus is not the only manufacturer of the Micro Four Thirds system, Panasonic is also actively participating in this relatively new camera system. In theory, this means that the Olympus lenses are interchangeable with the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras. However, that does not occur seamlessly. The Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-150mm F4-5.6 does not have a built-in image stabilizer because Olympus’ system cameras are already equipped with such a stabilization system. In practice, this means that this 10x zoom lens has to perform without any kind of stabilization when it is combined with a Panasonic. Panasonic offers its own Lumix 14-140mm lens, optimized for video recordings and equipped with an image stabilizer, but for a much higher suggested retail price.
Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-150mm lens
This lens’ AF is based on an internal focusing system. The AF works pretty quickly and noiselessly, which will be a relief for those that want to use a PEN camera as an alternative to the camcorder. Moreover, there are impressive developments being made in this area at Panasonic and Sony. Both manufacturers put sensors of their system cameras to produce a camcorder that has interchangeable lenses.
Olympus 14-150mm lens review
Zooming in by hand works pleasantly and fairly accurately. There is a bit of slack while zooming, but considering the construction and the synthetic material of the 14-150mm lens, that is not an exception. It is not bothersome in practice, in any case. The small focus ring is present, but it is not expected to be used all that often. The Olympus PL1 is fairly well-balanced together with the M Zuiko Digital 14-150mm, but because the camera is used a bit away from the body due to the display functioning as a viewfinder, it is important to watch for movement blur.
Olympus M 14-150mm F4-5.6
Normally you would press your elbow into your body in order to create stability for such a large zoom range. In any case, it gives me a useful reason for the optional optical viewfinder, which is a part that I hardly miss when I do not work with such a large zoom range. The Olympus PEN PL1’s stabilization is also well able to compensate for camera shake.
Olympus lens reviews
Next to the practical tests, technical tests were are performed in the DIWA Lab. Issues such as sharpness, vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberration are measured effectively there. Although a 10.7x zoom lens works handy in practice, it is after all an all-round zoom range, it does often have consequences for the image quality. In this case, most issues are corrected by the camera’s software, so as an end user, it is not noticeable.
Olympus Zuiko Digital lens quality
The lens’ sharpness is of excellent quality, especially in the center. Towards the corners we see some blurring come up, especially at the beginning of the zoom range (14mm). Zooming in more offers immediate improvement, but at the end of the zoom range (150mm), general sharpness goes down. The most optimal performance lies between f/5.6 aperture and f8. In wide angle it also suffers a bit of distortion, although this is effectively corrected by the software so that an acceptable distortion remains. Also here it appears that leaving the wide angle range ensures an immediate improvement.
Olympus Zuiko lens - Chromatic aberration
Chromatic aberration appears fairly regularly in the wide angle - as well as the tele shots. It is visible in partial enlargements of wide angle shots, but in general it is manageable. In some cases, software correction will be favored in certain shots. Moving the aperture one stop is also often enough to prevent unwanted chromatic aberration, although in practice this is not always handy, especially if shooting with low light.
Olympus 14-150mm photo gallery
The Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-150mm f/4-5.6 test photos are taken in Ouwehands Dierenpark, the zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands. The Olympus 14-150mm lens test pictures in this article have been reduced to enable correct reproduction and compressed to ensure a faster loading time. To download the original Olympus test photos, simply click on the link below the photos. Enjoy the Olympus 14-150mm ZUIKO lens photo gallery!
Olympus PEN lens review
The Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-150mm f/4-5.6’s features are especially aimed at the photographer that is looking for a total solution for his or her PEN camera. What needs to be said is that this lens is certainly successful in achieving that. Of course there are points of criticism to be found that make one agree with those photographers that ‘swear’ by pure lenses, with fixed focal points. If you eliminate an important factor, namely user-friendliness, with that, is not so certain for us. The general image quality of the Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-150mm is good, especially for an all-round zoom lens with a 10.7x range.
Olympus lens review conclusion
It is especially the ease of the all-round zoom range in combination with the compact PEN system cameras that give the Olympus 14-150mm the advantage above the criticism. We actually only see one point of criticism, and that is the combination of the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds with this lens. The lack of stabilisation system weighs too heavily and is therefore not recommendable for Panasonic Micro Four Thirds system camera owners. For every other photographer, it is recommended for easy and relaxed photography!
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