Tag Archives: Olympus lenses

Other Olympus announcements

I have already blogged about the OM-D E-M5 Mark II here along with some of my thoughts. Whilst the updated E-M5 was the main news Olympus also announced or pronounced some other photographic goodies too. You can see a few of these at 43rumors here.

7-14mm f2.8 PRO Lens
This is the third PRO designated lens to be released and will complete Olympus’s “Holy Trinity” of f2.8 glass, similar to Nikon’s Holy Trinity (14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm f2.8), Canon have a similar set as does Sony now for their A7 series cameras. Panasonic have had their 7-14mm lens out for some time now; however it is only f4.0 whereas the Olympus variant is f2.8. The downside to being faster is that that the Olympus lens is much larger and heavier; in fact it’s about the same size as the their 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Even though it is larger than Panasonic lens it is much smaller and lighter than the 35mm “full-frame” f2.8 glass from Canon, Nikon and Sony.


Like the other PRO lenses the 7-14mm is fully weather-selaed as well as dust and freeze proof, it has the clutch mechanism for manual focusing and also sports the lens function button too. The petal lens hood is built in and although it does not internally focus, the bulging lens element does not protrude outside the permitter of the integral lens hood.

There are still no details on pricing and the release date is scheduled for this summer (2015). If the lens is priced competitively I would certainly like to add this to my lens collection but we’ll have to wait and see and to be fair I would rather have another lens that probably won’t be released until the end of 2015 – the 300mm f4.0 PRO lens.

8mm f1.8 Fisheye PRO Lens
This is a new lens addition to the PRO range and until just a few weeks before the announcement was unknown of. Whilst the lens is weather sealed, dust and freeze proof it does not have a lens function button and does not have the manual focus clutch mechanism either. However, this probably isn’t a problem as the depth of field of lenses this wide do mean that you won’t need to adjust the focus much if manually focusing.


Until recently if you wanted a fish-eye lens for your M43 system you had two real choices. One was Panasonic’s 8mm f3.5 lens which is an expensive lens at £555, this does provide full autofocus and on Olympus bodies is stabilised too. The other option is the Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fully manual lens – there is not autofocus or metering, the aperture is controlled manually too, this lens is priced rather competitively at £256 and also comes in Silver or Black as required. Now we have a third choice and bearing in mind that this is f1.8 compared to f3.5 I suspect that it will be quite expensive, this lens is also coming this Summer too.

14-150mm f4.0-5.6 Mark II Lens
Olympus also released the second version of their extreme wide to telephoto M.Zuiko lens, this was no surprise as the previous original version had all but disappeared from stockist shelves. The lens will be available soon for £549 (ouch!!!) and is also dust and splash proof too.


Lens Roadmap
With all of these additional lenses, Olympus had to update their roadmap too:

OM-D E-M1 v3.0 Firmware update
The final “big” announcement were the details that there would be another firmware update for the OM-D E-M1. Although I welcome anything that improves the performance of the camera I’m not sure that this warrants a major release number of v3.0. The firmware gives the following improvements:

  • 9-fps sequential autofocus on top of the OM-D’s benchmark Dual Fast AF, refocusing for each frame to deliver pin-sharp stills with zero blur
  • Compatibility with the latest version of OI.Share (v2.5), which in turn enables Live View control during video recording via a WiFi-connected smartphone

The upgraded firmware will be available from 24th February 2015 free of charge via the Olympus Digital Camera Updater. The updated Olympus Image Share app (v2.5) was released on 5th February and is already on my iPhone and iPad and now also supports iOS8.

Dot-sight Viewfinder
Olympus released a whole plethora of accessories for the new EM-5 Mark II (like the new flash, battery grip, usual cases, etc) but also an item first seen on their superior compact cameras, the externally mounted (via a hot-shoe) “dot-sight viewfinder:


When shooting at full telephoto with a long lens it can be very difficult to ensure that the subject remains in the viewfinder particularly if that subject is in motion such as a bird in flight (or BIF as it is known); this is due to the very narrow field of view of telephoto lenses. This accessory assists in framing when photographing far-away subjects. The brightness and position of the reticle can be adjusted. Because it is powered by a coin-type battery, it can be used when attached to the hot shoe or cold shoe. This accessory has the following features:

  • Dustproof and splashproof dot sight
  • Compatible with any camera with a hot/cold shoe mount
  • Slide lever style opening mechanism
  • Reticle brightness and position can be adjusted
  • Perfect for super telephoto shots of wildlife

What is not known at this time is how this works in conjunction with different telephoto lenses, I will have to wait and see for reviews of the device which still isn’t listed on the Olympus UK site; the only mention is on the Olympus US site. The availability date and UK price are also unknowns at this time too. If this is priced correctly and is truly a useful device I may invest in one.

So after a very quiet time at CES earlier this year Olympus have pre-announced a lot of new stuff for the Japan based CP+ show, this runs from the 12th to the 15th February. There are more than a few items that I am interested in here but I will only invest in an item if it solves a photographic problem that I have, this is something that Moose Peterson preaches and is a rule that I have started to follow.


Christmas Dogs 2014

Zara in Christmas Hat

Zara in Christmas Hat

A few years ago back when we had two other dogs – Tessa and Topaz, I took a few photographs (snapshots really) of them wearing a full size Christmas hat calling Xmas Dogs. They were captured using a 1.7MP Fuji MX1700 digital camera which in 2000 was the only realistically priced digital camera around; this camera used the horrible and flimsy Smart-media cards that were only a few MB in size, you read that right, that’s right MB not GB!

This Christmas my sister (Louise) brought with her a small Christmas hat that she had used with her cats with the express intention to use it with our current dogs (Zara and Seska) and getting some photos of them wearing the hat. I think that either Louise or my mum took some photographs on their iPhones but asked if I would like to take some shots too. The hat was left with me and I decided to plan a small shoot with the dogs with and without the hat. The shots in this post were all taken over a two day period using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and the rather excellent 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens. I also used the two Cactus RF60 flashguns that I own along with the V6 Transceiver in TX mode.

Day One Shoot:
The idea for both days was to photograph the dog on a stool (anything without a back) with the Christmas tree behind them, using a wide aperture (f2.8-f4) the tree would be out of focus and it would produce some nice “bokeh”. Just to be clear here “bokeh” is the quality of the out of focus background elements and has nothing to do with the aperture which really deals with the amount of background elements that are out of focus.

The tree was on a small table at the far left of the room next to the book case, as I didn’t want to re-arrange the room I left it where it was and worked around its current location. I placed one of the kitchen stools a couple of feet in front of the tree; on the stool I arranged a few of the christmas cloth napkins that we had so that the corner pattern on each was covered or out of shot. The cloth napkins were predominantly what I call “Christmas green”, they had a “Christmas red border” on the outside but this was quite thin so was not too distracting.

I took some meter readings of the tree at f4 (going for f2.8 was pushing it) and at ISO 800 I worked out what shutter speed was needed to get the tree exposed, it was quite dark in the room as it was the evening – remember shutter speed controls the amount of ambient light in the room in flash photography.

With the ambient light readings noted, I placed the two flashguns. The flash to camera right was on a lightstand with an umbrella acting as a reflector – the flash fires into the umbrella and then bounces back. The flash was initially set to its lowest power 1/128 and was left at that power, the flash was on channel A. The flash to camera left was placed onto a quite high CD cabinet and then I placed a gold reflector on the back of the settee just to the left of the stool, the flash was angled at the reflector this flash was also on channel A at 1/128 power. I took meter readings of the flash and then set my camera to manual with the readings (f4, 1/128s and ISO 800) and took a few test shots of a toy dog on the stool. With hindsight these are a little under-exposed a little so I had to push them a bit in Lightroom. I should have gone for a stop more light – such as 1/60 shutter speed or maybe 1/64 power on the flash?

However I did manage to get the following shots of Zara and Seska. My favourite is at the top of this post, the slight tilt of Zara’s head just makes the shot. I started with Seska which as the smaller of the two dogs had no trouble sitting or standing on the small stool, however she was not too happy at being there. I was also having trouble focusing as the light levels were so low, however this is the best shot that I got that is OK but is slightly soft. Fortunately, the expression carries the imperfections in the technical areas:

Seska in Christmas Hat

Seska in Christmas Hat

Zara on the other hand managed quite well on the stool and was less worried even though she is much larger than Seksa, I managed to get more photos of Zara in focus, she is quite happy having her photo taken:

Zara in Christmas Hat

Zara in Christmas Hat

Both dogs were praised during and after the shoot and fed a few more doggy chocs that they both really like. 🙂

I later post processed the images the next morning (in Lightroom) and was a little unhappy with the results for Seska as they didn’t turn out like I hoped. I liked the overall idea of the shot but decided that a daylight shot was needed to help with the focus and I would try for a bit more light, I had too much as it happens. I must remember to check ALL of my camera settings such as the ISO!

Day Two Shoot:
This was also the last day that I could take the photos with the tree in the background as it was going to put away. So we moved the tree onto the ground and used the lower but larger “puffe” that lives in the living room to put the dogs onto. The puffe was covered in the same green cloths and the extra space to camera left meant that I could use my second stand and umbrella on both sides. Again both flashes were set to their lowest power and pointed into the umbrella for a reflected flash. This time I set one on channel A and the other on Channel B. Good practice and common sense dictates that when you are using multiple speed-lights on different channels you go from A to D starting at camera left on going around left to right sequentially, unfortunately as I haven’t got round to uploading the latest firmware the flash to camera left would only work on channel B, the flash to camera right didn’t care and worked on any channel; so I used channel A in this instance.

I took meter readings of each light and the ambient too and the plan was to shoot at ISO 400 at around f2.8 to get the maximum separation between the dogs and the tree. I concluded that 1/250sec was right. I started here and later changed this to 1/200sec to get an extra half a stop of light. The flash to camera left was at 1/128 power and the flash to camera right was at 1/64 power – I was trying to get some light into the dogs left eye, I also changed the angle of the flash and stand to get it as close as the dog as possible but just out of frame. This helped but in hindsight a reflector in front of the dog would have helped bounce the light into their faces – they both have large “eyebrows” at the moment!

However, with the test shots out of the way I took some shots of Seska with and without her hat as well as Zara without her hat. We also removed Zara’s peach jumper as she looked better without it; rest assured the jumper was re-applied after the shoot was concluded.

So we started with Seska and once the initial “what am I doing on the puffe” look was over she settled down and let me take lots of photo’s, again I had some issues with focus but nothing like what I had had the previous day. All shots here have been processed in Lightroom and saved from the overexposure using the “Highlight” slider. The overexposure was only evident in the white parts of the fur and the white fur trim of the hat. The reason I had not noticed during the shoot is that I had changed my picture display from highlight and histogram view to full screen with no details so that the parents could see the shots as they were taken. IF i had set this back to the highlights warning I would have noticed and then set the ISO to what it should have been, the photos were around 1.25 stops too bright (ISO 400 vs ISO 1000).

Early into the shoot before she had fully settled down, I got this shot of Seska in the hat:

Seska in hat

Seska in hat

After a slight wardrobe malfunction I took some more photo’s without the hat:



As you can see when has settled down to a lying position:





So eventually we managed the best shot of Seska lying down and proudly wearing the hat:

Seska in hat

Seska in hat

I didn’t want to leave Zara out so this time I took a few photographs of her without the hat:



Zara was even better than Seska as she crossed her paws and “vogue” she was in the zone:

The girls were again praised and plied with a few doggy chocs for being good subjects and I got some nice shots to boot. I will take some more shots of them after their next grooming session when their look their best in February. I will put into practice what I have learned here, check everything and check it twice. I will also upload the latest firmware into the RF60 flashguns and V6 transceiver – hopefully this will combat some of the issues I have found. I will also learn more about the OM-D E-M1 camera, although it is a fantastic picture taking tool there is a lot more that I can learn and master.

My thoughts on being an Olympus OM-D Owner

I have been an Olympus OM-D E-M1 owner for just over a week now and since the purchase of the camera I am being more and more impressed with the company.

The pre-sales work they did at the LCE Photo and Optics show was the best there (from what I experienced anyway), both of the Olympus guys at the stand couldn’t be more helpful. Their principal UK Photographer “Damian McGillicuddy” was the highlight of the show and it just keeps getting better and better.

There are currently 3 promotions in effect at the moment and it looks like I will benefit from all 3 of them.

Promotion 1: Free Grip
OM-D E-M1 Free Grip
I purchased the camera on the Wednesday and I used their online promotion system to register for a free grip, I was informed by the confirmation email that it can take 4 days for Olympus to acknowledge the request for a free grip. The following morning (just after 9am) I received the acknowledgement email and by lunchtime another email informing me that my claim had been successful and to allow 30 days for the grip to be sent to me.

I was speaking to Dave at LCE yesterday and he told me that someone else who purchased an OM-D E-M1 at the show has received their grip so it should only be few days until I get mine.

Promotion 2: £150 Cashback
OM-D Lens Cashback
I purchased the camera kit and paid for the 40-150mm f2.8 lens on the Wednesday and I used their online promotion system to register for the cash-back, whilst I also got a the confirmation email for the request (with the same 4 days message) I was not sure that it would go through OK despite Dave frm the LCE store telling me that he had this agreed with Olympus UK.

However, just like the free-grip request, I received the acknowledgement email the following morning and by lunchtime another email informing me that my cash-back claim had been successful and to allow 30 days for money to be credited into my back account (no silly cheques to pay in). As of a week later the cash was in my account!

Promotion 3: £50 Image Space Cash-back
Olympus Image Space Cashback
I received one of these at the LCE Photo and Optics show as an extra thank you from Olympus and Damian for pre-ordering the 40-150 f2.8 lens (and paying for it in full). The voucher allows you to get £50 cash-back if you spend £300 or more on any Olympus Accessory or Lens.

I was told that I should be able to use it with the 40-150mm f2.8 lens but I wasn’t sure. However another store in the UK (with an online presence) – Clifton Cameras are having an Olympus event this weekend (also with Damian) and they are offering 10% off all of the Olympus lenses for show-goers and online orders for a few days. So I ordered the M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 macro lens (the first lens of my wish-list) for £349 less the 10%; I also took the opportunity to order my first extra Olympus BLN-1 battery – that £150 cash-back helped me do this so soon after the show!

When this arrives I should be able to use the receipt with the voucher to get the £50 cash-back, which pays for either the 60mm lens hood or a 3rd battery.

Once I got my Olympus OM-D E-M1 I was expecting to have to update the firmware on the camera and if there was one, the lens too. This has been my experience with other camera manufacturers, particular Fujifilm; however, the camera had the latest version (v2.0) which is quite amazing as the as the firmware was only released a few weeks ago!

NOTE: Since writing this post v2.1 has just been announced which improves the AF accuracy of the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens with the E-M1.

The lens has no need for a firmware update at his time. It will be interesting to see if the 60mm Macro needs the updating to the latest firmware.

Damian mentioned during his second shoot at the LCE Photo and Optics shoot that he would be running one of his Olympus Experience shoots at the end of November in Nottingham (which is just over an hour away from Lincoln). Not long after the show the course details were released.

I have even had an online chat via Facebook with Damian about the course – I have never met anyone this dedicated to other photographers who want to learn!

After clearing the days off with work I booked myself on 2 of the 6 options that Damien offerered, here are the training options (taken from Damian’s website):

November 27th: Touch & Try (£45) Morning or afternoon
This series of rolling demonstrations will give you a ringside seat to see exactly how a commercial shoot is conducted. In addition to observing Damian’s methods and techniques in multiple locations, you’ll be able to get hands on with the full Olympus OM-D range. Don’t settle for fiddling with a camera in a shop – give it a test drive “in the field” and see for yourself why top photographers choose top kit!

November 28th : The Big Shoot (£95 morning/£95 afternoon/£175 whole day)
A masterclass in every sense of the word! First you’ll have the opportunity to see Damian set up every aspect of a publication-standard shot. From his patented lighting techniques to the way he directs models, watch how a Master Photographer of the Year-calibre image is created… then you can put his trigger on your camera and use his custom set-up to capture your own! A surefire way to add an instant classic to your portfolio.

November 29th: TOTAL IMMERSION (£295 whole day)
This is your all-access, no-holds-barred, VIP pass to a photography experience like no other. More shooting time. More access to the location. More models to work with. More secrets, more techniques, more tips and tricks, and more opportunities to learn from Damian’s 30 years of experience.
You’ll have all the raw materials you need to create spectacular images, elevate the standard of your portfolio and, most importantly, deepen your knowledge of photography on both a technical and creative level. It’s not just being told what makes a good picture; Damian will show you how to maximise your equipment, location and subject to turn good images into
great images.

I picked the morning on Thursday and the whole Friday events. I’m not sure if I’m ready for the Saturday event at the moment. I am hoping to learn a bit more about how to use the Olympus in a full portrait shoot environment and the fact that it takes place in Nottingham means that I can drive to and from the event each day – no expensive hotel stays required.

If you are interested in attending one or more of these training opportunities, click here for the full details.

Once the training is over I will be posting my thoughts about it and by then I should also have some more user-views about the OM-D.

Olympus Magazine
Olympus Mag
Like Fujifilm, Olympus UK also publish a free monthly E-magazine too; this is quite a good read and the fact that I can view this on my iPad makes it even better.

Anything I don’t like?
There are only a couple here and they are I think limited to the same problem. Like most new cameras that I purchase I am going through the user manual (PDF version as you don’t get more than 10 pages of a multi-lingual starter guide) and I am struggling to understand some of the language, this is also the same for a few of the menu names and locations in the camera’s menu system. Even though I am gradually getting used to the differences, I still think it could be much better. I feel that the menu system and the user guide are direct Japanese translations; although they are accurate in the use of the English language, they should have used different wording that is more universally excepted at least on their competitor’s cameras. Both Canon and Nikon have better menus and manuals, with Canon having a slight edge here at least on the menu front.

The guide is so confusing in parts that I have decided to purchase Danny Friedman’s OM-D E-M1 e-book on how to get the best out of the camera. This is a much better read and I am gradually making my way through the book.

Prime movers

One of the main advantages of the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system is that there a lot of lenses available, most of these come from Panasonic and Olympus with a few from Sigma, Samyang as well as a smattering of lenses from much small players (such as Voigtlander).

I have used the Panasonic lenses may times before from the cheap and cheerful 14-42mm f4.5-5.6 to the more professional 35-100 f2.8 OIS lenses but have never used any of the Olympus lenses before although now that I am about to invest in their ecosystem I should consider their optics with a view to owning some of them.

35-100mm f2.8 Lens

Before I continue, I have always admired the quality of the Olympus prime lenses they are sharp, priced fairly (for the most part) and show the benefits of the MFT system as they are small and light. Some of the prime lenses are very well built too; the 75mm f1.8 lens is probably their top optic and would give Panasonic’s 42.5mm f1.2 lens a good run for its money. I should also state that this isn’t going to be a Panasonic bashing sessions eithe, they also have some very fine optics too.

Panasonic 42.5mm-f1.2

Stated earlier the main benefits of the MFT system is the number of lenses but the fact is that the Panasonic lenses work to their fullest capability on Panasonic bodies; similarly the Olympus lenses work to the best of their abilities on Olympus bodies. This is mainly due to the in-built lens correction algorithms built in to the Panasonic and Olympus bodies – for their own lenses. Secondly is the fact that Panasonic do image stabilisation in the lens (OIS – Optical Image Stabilisation) whereas Olympus do this in the camera’s body (IBIS – In Body Image Stabilisation).

The lenses are also marketed differently, nearly all Panasonic lenses come with a lens hood and lens bag, the Olympus lenses typically don’t although the new “PRO” line which only includes the 12-40mm f2.8 and the 40-150mm f2.8 do come with these accessories; the bag with these new Olympus lenses is nicer too. I suspect that the new PRO lenses, the forthcoming 300mm f4 and the 7-14mm f2.8 will also come with a hood and suede-leather bag too.

So without further a do what does the Olympus lens line-up look like? Olympus have 3 distinct ranges of lenses as well as a few oddities, these are as follows:

NOTE: All prices are correct at time of publication.

M.Zuiko PRO Lenses:

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO – circa £799 (Weatherproof)
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO – circa £1299 (Weatherproof)
  • M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x teleconverter MC-14 – circa £299 (Weatherproof)

Theses are the best Olympus lenses in their line-up and today include only the two fully weather-proof 12-40mm (24-80mm) and the 40-150mm (80-300mm) f2.8 lenses. The 1.4x teleconverter is technically not a lens (PRO or otherwise) but it only works with the PRO lenses (the 40-150mm and the 300mm lenses). They are all weather-proof (dust-proof, water-proof and freeze-proof). This means that you shouldn’t be afraid to use these lenses attached to and equally weather-proofed OM-D in adverse weather conditions. I wouldn’t go diving with them though! 🙂


The PRO range uses the best optics and are second only to the aforementioned 75mm f1.8 lens but only just. They use the very best that Olympus can manufacture and are not considered as budget lenses as can be seen by the price-point.

The other benefit of these lenses is that they have a manual “clutch” focus system that can be engaged by pulling back on the focusing ring. This give the added benefit of something called “snap-focus” whereby the camera can be focused on an object at one focus distance and the focus can be snapped to a different focus by pulling back on the focus ring – the manual focus position over-rides the (usually) different auto-focus position.

When I purchase the OM-D E-M1 it will come with the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens and I have pre-ordered the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens form my local London Camera Exchange. In fact I pre-ordered the 40-150mm +1.4Ex combo pack as this saves you £100 over purchasing them separately.

When the 300mm f4 lens is released I would like to own that lens but it will come down to what it will cost – I suspect we will be looking at £1500 to £2000 – it could be more 😦

M.Zuiko Premium Lenses:

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £556 / £739 (Snapshot)
  • M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £369 (Snapshot)
  • M.Zuiko Digital 25m f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £349
  • M.Zuiko Digital 45m f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £218
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro MSC – circa £365 (Weatherproof)
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £719

Olympus also has a “mid-range” system of lenses that comprises purely of prime lenses ranging all the way from 12mm to 75mm (24mm to 150mm) and all but the Macro lens have an aperture of f2.0 or greater. All of these lenses are excellent optical performers and if Olympus were to create the lens line-up today many of these would have a PRO rating (it could be that even faster f1.4 or f1.2 variants are coming later).

Olympus 75mm f1.8 (Black)

All of these lenses also have the MSC designation which stands for “Movie and Stills Compatible”, this means that these lenses are silent or very nearly silent when they are focusing making them ideal for video with on-board sound-recording.

These lenses are however not fully weather proof apart from the 60mm Macro lens so this is most likely the reason that these are not PRO lenses. I can see a longer focal length macro lens in the future and that will probably be a PRO version.

As you can see both the 12mm and the 17mm have the “snap-shot” focus system as they also have manual focus clutch mechanisms.

M.Zuikio 60mm f2.8 Macro Lens

From this range the number one lens for me is the 60mm Macro as this is the most versatile lens there, I might also get the Black 45mm lens as it is so cheap. If I didn’t already own the Leica 25mm f1.4 lens I probably would have gone for the Black 25mm f1.8 lens too.

Yes, they are all magnificent lenses that I would obviously like to have but I have little practical reasons to own many more of them. If they come up cheap second-hand maybe…

M.Zuiko Lenses:

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 – circa £480
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ (Silver & Black) – circa £280
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake (Silver & Black) – circa £250
  • M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R (Silver & Black) – circa £250
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f4.0.5-5.6 (Silver & Black) – circa £250
  • M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f2.8 Pancake (Silver& Black) – circa £230
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R (Silver& Black) – circa £230
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II (Black) – circa £390

The budget or consumer lens range is the third in the Olympus line up an also contains their very first lenses released or newer versions of those lenses. You can see that they are not very fast; the 12-50mm has an aperture of f3.5-f6.3 and the 75-300mm lens has a range of f4.8-f6.7. All of these lenses are zoom lenses apart from the 17mm f2.8 pancake lens.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some gems in this lens line-up. The 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Ez lens for example is incredibly small and compact when the camera it is mounted to is off. When the camera powers up the lens extends from it compact position and is ready to shoot. The “EZ” in the lens name is for “Electronic Zoom” and this lens is great for video and when you want a really compact lens on the camera. The lens also contracts into its compact home position when the camera is powered-down.

Until the PRO 7-14mm f2.8 lens is released your only wide-zoom options (in the MFT range) are the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 lens which isn’t cheap (circa £850) or the M.Zuiko 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 lens which is almost half the price.

M.Zuiko 9-18mm ED f4-5.6 Lens

The final lens that I will point out here is the 75-300mm lens, this is very similar to the Panasonic 70-300mm lens but is slower at the long end (f6.7 vs f5.7). Depending on who you believe this (mark II version) is very similar in performance to the Panasonic lens and maybe surpasses it. I’m not sure who to believe but I probably should have held onto my Panasonic lens until the PRO 300mm is available.

Although I wouldn’t mind having some of these lenses I will have to wait and see if good cheap second-hand variants come up as I would rather save my money for the 300mm and possibly the 7-14mm PRO lenses when they become available next year.

Other Stuff:

  • Body Cap Lens 15mm f8 (Silver, Black, Red and White) – circa £59
  • Body Cap Lens 9mm f8 Fisheye BCL-0980 (White & Black) – circa £89

Finally we have a couple of options that can only be placed in the “weird” lens camp. Both of these describe exactly what they do on the tin and yes both are (thick-ish) lens caps with a few built-in optical elements, they have no electrical contacts either.

Fish-eye Body Cap Lens

When you take into account what they are and what they cost they can actually be fun to use as long as you are aware of their limitations (manual focus, fixed aperture and limited optical quality). The fish-eye variant is particularly interesting and I will have to keep an eye out for a second-hand one preferably in black.