PeterB666's reviews

  • Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 ED M.Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very compact when stored, great image quality, excellent flare control
    No lens hood or pouch supplied

    This is an outstanding lens, and despite the cost, great value for money. I got my lens from Japan and the price paid includes EMS shipping and currency conversion fees. It wound up cheaper than the Four Thrids equvalent lens is locally (Australia) so very pleased as this lens will be selling at a premium.

    The lens feels good on the Olympus PEN cameras. Although a telescoping lens, there is only minimal play when extended.

    It focuses reasonably fast and is absolutely silent as far as I can tell.

    It is a joy to use and the only caveat I place on that is that as the lens is so compact, I found that you can accidently change the focus (I shoot a lot of MF) when you zoom the lens. Once you get use to it, that problem is essentially eliminated.

    There are no problems with using Cokin P series holder and filters which keeps me very happy. There is no vignetting with the filter holder at 9mm even when 3 P series filters are stacked. One of the advantages of the compact design thanks to Micro Four Thirds.

    There is a lot of detail in the photos and they seem pretty sharp from edge to edge. Flare is minimal at 18mm and low at 9mm.

    The lens is still small enough to fit with the camera into some compact camera pouches.

    Highly recommended.

    reviewed May 19th, 2010 (purchased for $697)
  • Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED M.Zuiko Digital

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Compact, light weight, good close focus and general image quality
    Rotating front element and won't focus with Cokin filter holder as weak AF motor

    This lens has some great plusses. Very good image quality in most situations, very compact when not in use and excellent close focus distance - you get 0.25m at the 42mm end of the zoom.

    On the down-side, there is some play in the double telescoping design which gives the impression of a cheap point and shoot camera's lens. It doesn't affect image quality but dosn't instill confidence in the construction.

    The front element rotates when focused and zoomed. When using manual focus, you have to be careful not to knock the lens barrel otherwise you need to refocus.

    The AF motor is very weak and cannot handle the load of a filter and lens hood combined. Nor can it take a Cokin P series filter holder and in any event, the rotating front element and inability to retain focus when changing filters makes this lens close to useless for ND filters etc.

    If this lens was aimed at point and shoot photographers, you may forgive these short-comings but the Olympus PEN has a much wider market. If the lens was redesigned to be more like the M.Zuiko 9-18mm with a non-rotating front element, it would be a much better proposition.

    It is a pity because the photographic quality is very good for a kit lens.

    reviewed May 19th, 2010
  • Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 ASPH LUMIX G

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Good image quality, compact, about right for a 'standard' lens for Micro Four Thirds
    Overpriced, suffers from flare, noisy aperture and AF

    The lens is very compact, reasonably fast and focuses well. This makes a great little all-round 'standard' lens.

    The image quality is generally very good. As an everyday lens that can be left on the camera and cope most day-to-day candid photography, hard to beat.

    The lens does suffer from more flare than it should for a modern lens of a fairly simple design and few lens elements.

    The aperture and AF are quite noisy.

    reviewed May 19th, 2010 (purchased for $450)
  • Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED DX AF-S Nikkor

    7 out of 10 points and recommended
    Sharp, nice zoom range
    Affected by flare, build lacks a quality feel

    I have mixed feelings about this lens. The image quality most of the time is very good indeed and that's what you want but I am returning to Nikon after a absense of a number of years and find the build quality very dissapointing.

    The zoom ring has a courseness that surprised me and the focus ring movement on manual focus could be extended to allow more accurate focussing however I cannot say that I have had any real problems focssing the lens. The amount of movement beyond the infinity marker before you encounter the increased resistance of the ring is odd to say the least.

    Probably the thing that concerns me the most is the amount of flare that can be induced when the lens is pointed towards a pont source of light at night or sunrise/sunset. I this respect, if falls well short of my Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm lens which is a somewhat cheaper lens.

    Overall, I am giving it 7s due to the dissapointing build quality (I guess this is the modern 'standard') and the poor control of flare.

    reviewed November 13th, 2010 (purchased for $800)
  • Tamron 60mm f/2 Di II LD IF Macro 1:1 SP AF

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Very sharp, relatively compact, fixed front and rear elements
    Build quality a little light, not f/2 when focussed closer than 1 metre, AF performance in low light

    I have had this lens for a while. It produces fabulously sharp images and is a joy to use. The internal focussing means that as you focus closer, you don't need to get as close to the object as you do with non-internal focussing lenses.

    I use mine with a Nikon D90 and AF performance is fine in good light however a focus limiter would have been nice. As the light levels fall, the lens has difficulty automatically focusing but there is a nice wide range to the manual focus and a lovely big focus ring.

    The lens is not perfect, build quality is adequate but could be better. The AF-MF switch is too light, the lens far from robust. I had the lens roll off a desk and had to have it repaired as the follower-arm for the focus jumped out of its guide and jammed the focus. It prevented the lens from auto focusing and manually focusing. The lens was otherwise unscathed.

    A depth of field scale would be nice and the lens does have some limitations with portrait and other work as the aperture drops as you focus closer so you wind up with maximum apertures of f/2.2, f/2.4 etc. This is common with macro lenses but you should be able to have maximum aperture with a 60mm lens to at least 1 metre or even 0.7m rather than just 3 metres.

    For macro work, simply brilliant and provided you take your time, great for portraits. Very nice bokeh too!

    Provided you are not rough with your lenses, highly recommended.

    Edit March 2017: Now using this lens with a Nikon D5500 which has greatly improved the AF performance. A much better match for this lens.

    reviewed January 7th, 2012 (purchased for $380)
  • Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED DX VR AF-S Nikkor

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Good zoom range, very sharp for a lower cost zoom, great value, makes a good kit lens and would do as an only lens when travelling.
    High vignetting and distortion (corrected in camera for jpg or in lens profile in Photoshop). No focus distance scale. Mean not include the lens hood as standard.

    What incredible value, especially if you don't buy the full retail boxed item. Good value if bought as part of kit, or like me, as a Nikon refurbished model (and with a 20% discount on top of that).

    I am using this with a Nikon D5500 and also have a D90. Some time ago I had the excellent Nikon 18-105 VR but gave that away as payment for services. Returning to the DX format Nikons I needed a zoom as I found the 35mm f/1.8 just too restrictive for general use. Not happy with the performance of the 18-200mm or 18-300mm lenses it came back to the 18-105 which I was happy with or the 18-140 which turned out to be cheaper than the shorter range zoom. Turned out to be a good choice.

    Very sharp in the field, even works well indoors taking advantage of the VR and the good low-light capabilities of the D5500. Oh yes, the VR seems to work quite well especially at longer focal lengths. I have taken to shooting with this combo rather than an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the brilliant 40-150mm f/2.8. I have less processing work to do. While the Nikon 18-140mm isn't in the same class of lens, the overall result of the lens stabilisation and lower noise levels makes this better option (even if it doesn't look as sexy).

    The lens is very well made. Despite being "refurbished", lens appeared brand new. Took a day of use to free up the zoom and focus rings - feeling a little course at first, these are now fine. One thing I would have liked is a focus distance scale for manual focus and a wider focus ring.

    Like that this lens has a proper metal lens mount even though I never had problems with the plastic mount on the 18-105mm. Maybe it is just a psychological thing that gives the impression of better build.

    Close focus is reasonable but nothing exceptional.

    So compared to the 18-105mm, the 18-140mm seems to be better build quality due mainly to the mount, has a slightly better range with no apparent loss in quality and only adds a little extra bulk.

    For the money, I would recommend this lens (but don't buy the full-boxed retail version, buy the white box ex-kit or refurbished). Also buy the lens hood to provide a bit of protection.

    reviewed March 19th, 2017 (purchased for $221)
  • Olympus 12mm f/2 ED M.Zuiko Digital

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    Reasonably compact for a fast-ish lens of this focal length, great manual focus clutch mechanism.
    Feels like a metal clad plastic bodied lens, buy the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 instead.

    I liked the 12mm f/2 Olympus a lot when I got it along with my Olympus Pen E-P3 but no longer use it now that I have the Olympus 12-40mm lens.

    Image quality is good, flare resistance is very good for this focal length, distortion is low as is vignetting but I actually expected more from this lens. The standout is the clutch manual focus which despite being fly-by wire provides a great feel and the Olympus system is fantastic implementation of manual focus this type of lens.

    I don't particularly like the build quality which initially seems impressive but the more you handle this lightweight lens, the more it feels like a gilded lily, a metal clad plastic lens body.

    It is a pretty expensive lens for what you get and I would think paying a small bit extra for the 12-40mm is a no brainer unless you want this lens as a compact walkabout lens. You have to choose between recommend this lens or not - I would put it as "depends".

    reviewed March 19th, 2017
  • Olympus 45mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Outstanding value and fantastic image quality - there is no other lens of any make that will give you as much bang for the buck if you are into portrait photography.
    I wish it had the push-pull clutch manual focus ring like some of the other Olympus optics but that is really picky at this price-point.

    This lens is an absolute bargain. I have had this lens for ages, and I was blown away by the image quality. Nice quick AF and incredibly light.

    It is a great size lens and the only thing that you could improve on is the manual focus, which while fine in practice, doesn't offer the joy of the push-pull clutch manual focus rings on some of the other Olympus options. Even if they upped the price another $50 to include this, it would still be outstanding value.

    Build quality is fine with a plastic body make to look like metal. If you want a low-cost, compact portrait lens, just buy this.

    reviewed March 19th, 2017 (purchased for $231)
  • Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Stunning standard zoom.

    I bought this lens with a second OM-D E-M5 body (1st edition) when that camera was near the end of its life where effectively you could consider I bought the lens and got the camera body for $100, or I bought the camera body and got the lens for $100.

    I was expecting a great lens after reading the reviews and I was still blowed away. I think the limiting factor with this lens is the camera rather than the lens itself.

    Superbly sharp, great images from wide open at all focal lengths. Distortion may be a little higher than the Olympus 12mm f/2 but I simply don't use that prime any more since getting the 12-40. The focal length is fine and with the f/2.8 aperture does OK as a short portrait lens.

    Despite the size of this lens, it does well as a walkabout lens.

    The manual focus is a joy with the Olympus push-pull manual focus clutch mechanism and the build quality is fantastic.

    reviewed March 19th, 2017
  • Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ M.Zuiko Digital ED

    9 out of 10 points and recommended
    Great value, very versatile, good macro for a zoom.
    Slow at the long end.

    This is a great little lens for the money. Readily available for under $300, I got mine as a kit lens with my first OM-D E-M5 and was expecting it to be crap after the reviews that I read.

    I think it is superior to the standard 14-42mm kit zoom in every way. The 12mm wide end is useful and the 50mm does the job in most circumstance despite the slow f/6.3 aperture.

    Having weather resistance in such a low-cost lens is impressive and the macro setting makes a dedicated macro lens redundant for most people.

    Light weight and reasonable build quality top off what is a great value lens for the photo hobbyist on a limited budget.

    reviewed March 19th, 2017
  • Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED

    10 out of 10 points and recommended
    Probably one of the best zoom lenses at any price
    The bokeh could be better

    The Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 is a brilliant lens. Very sharp, reasonably compact and light for the aperture and focal length and has the fabulous Olympus push-pull manual focus collar.

    This lens exceeds the capabilities of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (1st version) and on that camera, the reliability of the focus sometimes lets things down although I think this is the camera and not the lens. I am sure it would be better on more recent Olympus models but I don't have the money to upgrade.

    While used in conjunction with the companion tele-converter, it still gives fabulous, sharp images, I find the focus misses are compounded.

    Image quality wise, with messy backgrounds, the bokeh could be better.

    I am keeping the lens as one I may be able to afford an OM-D E-M1 II.

    reviewed March 19th, 2017