Photography News issue 24

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Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

Tests

Olympus 7-14mmED f/2.8 Pro £999

Specs

Lens options for the Micro Four Thirds system continues to grow and this ultra-wide zoom is the latest from the Olympus stable. With the 2x crop factor of the format, this 7-14mm is an equivalent to 14-28mm in the 35mm format. A constant f/2.8 aperture 35mm format lens of this range would be a hefty piece of glass, so it’s no surprise that this lens is reasonably big for an Micro Four Thirds optic. Its internal design, though, means the lens does not change size during focusing or zooming. I tried the lens on Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and OM-D E-M10 Mark II cameras. You won’t be surprised to hear that both combinations are front heavy but not uncomfortably so, and there is plenty of lens surface for left-hand support. Autofocus is lightning fast and in good contrast, even in poor light, locking on was no issue at all. In practical terms, the AF is also silent. One quarter lens rotation takes you from one end of the focal length range to the other, and it’s almost identical in manual focus going from infinity to the lens’s 20cm minimum focus distance. One control

I thought could be better is the manual/AF clutch. It could benefit from being a little more stiff as I managed a couple of times to inadvertently switch to manual as I pulled the lens from the bag. At minimum focus and the 7mm setting you have about a two inch clearance from the front element so take care. Watch out for the lens’s shadow too if you move in this close. Some keen landscapers might rue the fact that using filters is a challenge. If Lee came up with an adaptor for its SW-150 system (see First Tests this issue) that might be an option but using such a large filter system on such a compact camera system sounds counter-intuitive. Nothing counter-intuitive about the lens’s optical skills. It is simply a consistently very sharp lens especially at the centre of the image from f/2.8 to f/11 and from 7mm to 14mm. In the corners and edges detail is softer at those apertures but can be easily improved with a little unsharp mask. From f/16 onwards diffraction has an impact and the images are less impressive so if you want critical

results shoot within the range of f/2.8 to f/11 with f/5.6 being generally the best overall aperture for image sharpness. Distortion is not such a big issue nowadays because it is easily fixed in software, which of course applies equally to such failings as chromatic aberration. But distortion, surprisingly for such a wide lens is under tight control. WC

Price

£999

Format Micro Four Thirds Mount Micro Four Thirds Construction

14 elements in 11 groups Special lens elements

Two aspherical ED (extra-low dispersion), 1 DSA (dual super aspherical), 1 aspherical, 3 Super ED, 1 ED, 2 HR (high refractive) Coatings ZERO – Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical Filter size Not applicable Aperture range f/2.8-22 Diaphragm 7 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Barrel slides back Minimum focus 20cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 0.11 Distance scale Yes, in manual focus mode Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser Olympus use an in-camera system Tripod collar No Lens hood Yes, fixed Weather-sealed Dust, freeze and splash proof Dimensions (lxd) 106x79mm Weight 534g Contact olympus.co.uk

Autofocus is lightning fast and in good contrast, even in poor light, locking on was no issue at all

How it rates

Verdict True, this is a weighty lens in the Micro Four Thirds world, but the fact is remains that it’s compact for what you get and any negative thoughts about its bulk are swept away once you start using it. Simply, there is a great deal to enjoy about this lens. Its wide field of view is brilliant for making the most of strong foregrounds, it handles really nicely and optically it delivers in spades. High sharpness, excellent flare resistance and minimal distortion all help to make this a very desirable lens.

24/25

Features A pro spec ultra-wide with plenty of specialist glass

23/25

Performance Less impressive at its two smallest apertures but generally a high flyer

Handling Very good even for a big lens in Micro Four Thirds world. Manual focus clutch OK 23/25

23/25

Value for money You get a lot of lens and well priced at a smidge under £1000

93/100

Overall Great for scenics, interiors and dynamic compositions

Pros Impressive AF speed, minimum focus distance, image quality Cons Manual focus/AF switchover ring could be better, filter use an issue

7MM

10MM

7MM, F/2.8

7MM, F/56

7MM, F/11

10MM, F/2.8

10MM, F/56

10MM, F/11

The images We shoot a great many and a wide variety of pictures for our lens tests. Here, though, we shot the same scene at three focal lengths and at every lens aperture to assess image quality. The 7-14mmwas fixed to a tripod-mountedOlympus OM-D E-M10Mark II shooting Raw format.

14MM

14MM, F/2.8

14MM, F/56

14MM, F/11

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