9 out of 10 points and recommendedLight, small, good IQ and DoF control for a travel zoomZoom too stiff for smooth movie recording, visible corner CA when using the macro adapter
I have been using this lens on my E-PL2 for a few moths already (I got it as a kit lens), and I would like to compare it with the double zoom kit I had on my previous Olympus E-510 (14-42 + 40-150).reviewed August 22nd, 2011
First of all - is much more light and compact, and, better then all, is just one lens, with less need to swap lenses (btw, I still swap lenses if I want to use prime lenses or the excellent full FT-sized 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 II Zuiko lens)
Compared to the E510's dual-zoom kit, this lens offers significantly better depth of field control (this was quite a surprise for me, as the sensor size and the f-stop specifications are pretty much the same), more precise focusing, especially at the tele end, and, also at the tele end the focus is often faster, even if the focusing system is contrast-detect and not phase-detect.
The macro performance is significantly improved (0.28 vs. 0.18 without adapter or 0.4 with the macro adapter). Is still not a true macro lens, but at least is usable for some real close-ups (the largest image size is actually 0.8 if you consider the 35mm equivalent).
The main drawback of the macro adapter is a rather pronounced blue chromatic aberration in the corners. This can be corrected by software (I use DxO and it does a really fine job) but it might be problematic to use directly some of the in-camera jpegs.
My only real complaint is that the zoom ring is too stiff for creative movie recording. While it can be handled really easily for shooting still pictures, if you want to zoom in or out while recording a movie, it is nearly impossible to do it without causing camera shake at an extent that cannot be compensated by the built-in stabilizer.
All in all is an excellent kit lens, and if you can get a MFT camera kit with this lens, just go for it!
Just for comparison, its is not much bigger than the Oly MFT 14-42 II lens or the Panasonic equivalent, and is just marginally larger than the Sony 18-55 on the NEX cameras, but is much more capable!
=== 8.Sept.2014 Update:
After some years of using it, I can assess it a bit better:
- It is a really good all-rounder;
- I use DxO Optics Pro and it corrects most of its issues: CA, softness, distortion etc.
- It is very small and light compared to any similar zooms, it is even smaller than some APS-C 18-55 kit lenses (maybe some of the latest Tamron and Sigma super-zoom APS-C lenses are somewhat comparable in size)
- It might have quite a prominent flare burst when the sun is at a certain angle in the frame (the flare is quite spectacular as "art" effect, but sometimes you just don't want it :) )
- It gets some dust behind its front-lens, but I haven't noticed so far any effect of it on the image quality
If the focal length reach and its aperture fit you, then this lens is a must-have.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedGood zoom range and IQ, not too big for its class, fast phase-detect AF, reasonably fast CDAF, DxO support on MFT camerascurrently nothing (DxO support for MFT just added)
I have used it extensively on my old Olympus E-510 with excellent results. I guess it was supposed to be the "poor-man's 12-60" but it is far more compact than the 12-60 and it has a pretty similar zoom, maybe a tad more restrictive on the wide end. Additionally, it turned out to be a "future-proof" investment, as it works fine on the contrast-detect AF system (CDAF) on the micro-four-third (MFT) cameras.reviewed September 8th, 2014 (purchased for $750)
Meanwhile, I have indeed switched to micro-four-thirds (I already own my second MFT camera) and use this lens with a FT2MFT adapter, especially indoors and for events, where a longer zoom is not needed.
Even though it seems a bit big for the tiny MFT cameras, I could not yet find any reasonable replacement (both in terms of size and price). The only thing I really need on MFT (e.g. on my Oly E-P3) is a custom grip, that helps me balance its extra weight.
The focusing speed on MFT/CDAF is somewhat slower than with the classic phase detection AF (PDAF) or with the newest MSC (movie & still) lenses, but is not slower than some older MFT lenses, like the excellent Panasonic 20mm f1.7
DxO has just added support for it on the MFT bodies (hooray!) so I am back in the "pro league" with it.
It is a great lens, I really recommend it.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedsmall and portable, wide aperture, good sharpnessa bit slow focusing, it hunts in very low light
It is probably one of the lenses that made the Micro-Four-Thirds system be what it promised to be: small and high quality. It is my lens of choice when I need a to make my Olympus EP3 fit in my coat's pocket.reviewed September 8th, 2014 (purchased for $250)
Pros: its focal length (40mm equiv. - a bit wider than the standard 50 mm equiv.) makes it good for an ultra-compact all-rounder
Cons: in low light it hunts for focus, making it difficult to use on badly-lit events etc. when you still need to catch the instant action.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedGood portrait lens
It is a very nice lens, I use it for portraits or as medium telephoto (90 mm equiv) for low-lightreviewed September 8th, 2014 (purchased for $350)
It has fast focusing and a pleasant bokeh.
The only thing I dislike is that it is not a pancake lens, like e.g. the Panasonic 20 mm or the Olympus 17mm...