Olympus 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital
(From Olympus lens literature) Standard with the EVOLT, the Zuiko Digital 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (equivalent to 28mm-90mm in 35mm photography) delivers superb image quality from edge-to-edge. Its 3.2x zoom covers a broad range, with close-ups coming out crisp and clear as near as 15 inches/38cm. A new multi-coating minimizes ghosting and flaring that can occur while the sturdy metal lens mount ensures rugged durability. With 12 elements in 10 groups and a weight of just 9.98 oz. / 285 grams.
This is the lens that ships in all kits with the E-500, whether they be single- or dual-lens kits. Offering a range of angular field of view equivalent to that of a 28-90mm lens on a 35mm camera, this is a good general-purpose lens to use with the camera, and the one that most users will probably keep on the camera most of the time.
Looking at the interactive blur plot, we see that the Olympus 14-45 looks a lot like other inexpensive wide angle zoom kit lenses from other manufacturers. (On SLRgear.com, you can find test reports for competing optics from Canon and Nikon, if you'd like to compare how they perform.)
Wide open, the 14-45 does quite well in the center of the frame, but gets soft on the edges, particularly toward the middle of its focal length range, at 25-35mm actual focal length. (Note: We think that the increased softness seen in the upper right corner of the frame on the blur plots may have been caused by a slightly cockeyed chip in the E-500 body we used to do the tests with: The 40-150mm lens we tested on the same body showed very similar behavior, despite being an entirely different lens.) Many inexpensive zoom lenses tend to show softness in the corners of the frame, so this isn't exactly news. What's a bit different about the 14-45 is that it actually does quite a bit better at both the wide angle and telephoto ends of its range than it does in the middle. Also like many inexpensive zooms, the 14-45 settles down quite nicely when you stop it down one or two f-stops. In fact, two stops down (f/5.6 at wide angle to f/8 at telephoto), it actually preforms quite well, comparing favorably with much more expensive lenses. As you stop down further, things stay more or less the same until you get toward f/11 at wide angle or f/16 at telephoto, at which point diffraction limiting begins to have an effect. As usual, stopped down to its minimum aperture of f/22, the entire frame is soft, but at least there's no additional softness in the corners.
Chromatic aberration in the 14-45mm ranges from moderate at wide angle to quite low at telephoto, with relatively little variation across the range of apertures at any given focal length. Matching our own experience when shooting with it, geometric distortion is quite high at wide angle, at nearly 1% barrel distortion, decreasing to almost zero at telephoto. (Interestingly, the distortion always stays slightly to the barrel side of the graph, never crossing over to pincushion distortion.) Finally, uncorrected vignetting or shading ranges from a moderate 0.3-0.4 EV at both side angle and tele focal lengths to less than 0.2 EV in the middle of the zoom range. Vignetting also decreases as the aperture is reduced, remaining below 0.2 EV at f/8 and higher for all but the longest focal lengths.
Important to note is that the in-camera shading compensation offered by the E-500 and E-1 bodies can almost completely eliminate the shading or vignetting seen in the above tests.
Overall, this is a pretty decent lens considering the low cost of the camera body and either one or two lenses. Its performance is very much in line with that of the kit lenses for other entry-level d-SLRs that we've looked at.
Olympus 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital User Reviews
6 out of 10 points and not recommended by jfgroen (3 reviews)compact and lighta bit slow; vignetting; distortion; image quality
The lens came as a kit with the Olympus 330, together with the 40-150mm/f3.5-4.5 zoom. Unlike the telezoom, I find this lens quite disappointing -- I just expect better quality than 'sufficient' from an Olympus lens. Barrel distortion is on the high side at 14 mm, and stays noticeable throughout much of the zoom range. Though the test results show sufficient sharpness, I find the images slightly, and for my idea: too, fuzzy. Vignetting makes the lens for me in fact only usable from f-stop 8 (given the smaller chip size, and the more square four-thirds standard, I think vignetting should not be a problem at all with these lenses).reviewed December 30th, 2007
8 out of 10 points and recommended by epixx (5 reviews)Sharp, useful rangeDistortion at the wide end, slow at the long end
This is a surprisingly good lens. For me it was "free", since it came with my E-1. I didn't think I would use it much, but for sunny days, its a very good walk-around lens. The only serious downside is distortion at the wide end.reviewed March 17th, 2007
7 out of 10 points and recommended by llbeanie1 (17 reviews)
sharp image qualityreviewed January 1st, 2007
10 out of 10 points and recommended by clark666 (5 reviews)comes with camera. Sharp images, light weight no need to replace itThe 14-54 is faster and sharper, but weighes more
It came with the camera and has no shortcomings. A faster lens is better. A wider angle is good, but the 14-45 is fine on its own.reviewed November 28th, 2006
9 out of 10 points and recommended by halfmac (11 reviews)Good sharpness, small size, non-rotating front for shade, metal mount.Slow f-stop on the 45mm end (what do you expect from a kit lens)
This is the best kit lens on the market. The only one with a metal mount. Only one the front does not turn.reviewed November 8th, 2005
Very good center and edge sharpness. Seems very well made for a kit lens.
Both of the kit lens compare very well to Olympus OM prime lenses and these are zooms.
Came with lens hood!