Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED EZ - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published November 2014

Introduction

Small is beautiful these days - especially in the Micro-Four-Thirds system - and pancake lenses are very popular among buyers. This "movement" started with comparatively conventional prime lenses but lately we are seeing more and more standard zoom lenses. The Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED EZ the latest addition to the topic. However, as usual for zoom lenses the pancake classification is achieved using a trick - out of the box (in its "transport position") the lens is not ready for shooting. It has to be extended to its working mode similar to a digicam lens. However, due to the motorized zoom mechanism you just have to switch on/off the camera to extend/retract the lens automatically. In working mode it isn't really any smaller than e.g. the conventional Panasonic Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II. Like many MFT standard zoom lenses, it offers an equivalent focal length of 28-84mm in full format (35mm) terms. It is available both as part of camera-lens kit but also individually. In the latter case is available for around 400 Euro/US$ which is certainly a bit expensive for a lens in this class but its "pancake"-style character just doesn't come for free.

Despite the extremely low weight, the build quality is quite good thanks to quality plastics based on a metal mount. The inner lens tubes wobble just a little bit in working mode. As implied by the "EZ" in the name, the zoom mechanism is not mechanically coupled but driven by a motor. That being said there's still a zoom ring although the zoom action isn't quite as instantaneous as on conventional lenses. The front element does not rotate thanks to an inner Focus System.

The following product image shows the three available pancake zoom lenses (Panasonic Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS (left), Panasonic Lumix 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OIS (center) and the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED EZ (right)) in their respective transport modes - thus retracted.

And the same gang of three in their working mode. Please note that the Panasonic Lumix 12-32mmm f/3.5-5.6 OIS does not feature a power zoom mechanism.

The AF performance of the lens is both fast as well as silent. Manual focusing is also available on the M.Zuiko. It may be hard to spot in the product images but there is actually a dedicated albeit very tiny focus ring. As usual, manual focusing works "by-wire" thus by triggering the AF motor. This works reasonably well although probably few users will ever take advantage of this option.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length28-84mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/7-f/11.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction8 elements in 7 groups inc. 3x Aspherical, 1xED & 1xS-HR elements
Number of aperture blades5 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
min. focus distance0.2m (1:4.3)
Dimensions (L x W)60.6x22.5mm (transport mode)
Weight93g
Filter size37 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNo
Other features-