Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published November 2015

Introduction

Traditionally a professional zoom lens system is supposed to consist of a gang of three core lenses - an ultra-wide-, standard- and medium-tele lens with a max aperture of f/2.8. Over at Canon and Nikon there have been generations of these lenses already. However, Olympus is the very first mirrorless camera manufacturer that completed such a set. In this review we are going to have a look at the latest edition - the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO. In full format terms we are talking about a "14-28mm" lens here. Typical applications include landscape and architecture photography with a special kick towards producing drama via extreme perspectives.
Unfortunately Olympus is also following the DSLR manufacturer in another aspect - pricing that is. The M.Zuiko will stress your bank account with a price tag of no less than 1200US$/EUR. That's 300US$/EUR more than Panasonic is asking for the Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm f/4 ASPH which is the direct competitor battling for your bucks. While we haven't tested the Panasonic lens on 16mp yet, it performed impressively during the initial test. In fact it remained in my personal stock ever since so I was also curious about the Olympus lens.

The build quality of the M.Zuiko is certainly up there with the big boys as well. The lens body is made of metal, everything is tightly assembled, weather sealed and the control rings operate smoothly. Typical for such extreme lenses, you have to live without front filters simply because the massive front element is bulb-shaped. However, the vulnerable front element is not without protection because the there's a built-in petal-shaped lens hood which is deep enough to shield it from most accidents at least. The inner lens tube moves a little when zooming through the focal length range but the physical length remains constant due to the deep lens hood. Similar to the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 ED, Olympus implemented a focus clutch mechanism which allows you to switch between AF and manual focusing. The lens is also dust- and splash-proof.

Normally we'd now state that the lens has manual focusing mechanism that works "by wire" (driving the AF motor). Honestly it's really hard to tell this time but in any case there's no practical difference compared to a mechanical focus mechanism. The AF speed is fine although that's rather irrelevant in this focal length class really. The lens features an MSC drive which allows noiseless AF operations both during movies as well as still photography.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length"14-28mm" (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.6 (full format equivalent in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction14 Elements in 11 Groups (2x Aspherical-ED, 1x DSA, 1x Aspherical, 3x Super-ED, 1x ED, 2x HR)
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.2m (1:8)
Dimensions (L x W)78.9x105.8mm
Weight534g
Filter sizen/a
HoodPetal-shaped, build-in
Other featuresDust- and splash-proof, ZERO coating, Focus clutch, L-Fn button