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

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2009


The Olympus Digital Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED is one of two "standard" (budget) class standard zoom lenses by Olympus. It is usually sold as part of camera "kits" but it's also available separately for as little as 200€/US$. Its focal length range is equivalent to about 28-84mm in full format (35mm) terms. The 14-42mm is a really a dwarfish lens although still perfectly usable for us big boyz.

Subjectively it suffers a bit from its lack of "substance" (in terms of weight/size) but the build quality is actually very decent. The lens body is all made of light but good quality plastic down to the lens mount. The zoom action is quite smooth. As you can see above the lens extends when zooming towards the tele end. There's basically no wobbling of the inner lens tube - something where many more expensive zoom lenses fail. The front element does not rotate thanks to an inner focusing system.

The small but usable focus ring is coupled to a focus-by-wire mechanism which is quite common in four-thirds lenses. While this may sound strange it is certainly superior to the microscopic "focus ring" found on other kit lenses a la Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. The Zuiko relies on a conventional micro motor for focusing. It is pretty fast and accurate also in contrast AF mode (slightly less so compared to phase detection AF of course). Full time manual focusing is possible in single AF mode.

Equiv. focal length28-84 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/7-f/11.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction10 elements in 8 groups inc. 2x aspherical and 1x ED elements
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance0.29 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.2)
Dimensions66 x 61 mm
Weight190 g
Filter size58 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, snap-on, supplied
Other features-

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