|Olympus ZD 7-14mm design and build quality
Pictured below from left to right are the ZUIKO DIGITAL 50mm macro,
the older 14-45mm and 40-150mm kit lenses, and the 7-14mm. With a length of 120mm
and diameter of 87mm, it's clearly the largest of the group, and weighing
780g, the heaviest too. This contrast is even greater when compared against the latest compact kit lenses for the E-400, E-410 and E-510. Certainly the lens feels a little unbalanced when mounted on the tiny E-400 and E-410.
The extreme wide angle coverage of the 7-14mm lens means there's no
option to attach a filter, although it features a built-in petal hood
and comes supplied with a metal cap which slips over it.
The build quality of the 7-14mm is excellent and of a significantly
higher standard than the kit lenses commonly
bundled with the Olympus D-SLRs. Sporting a metal housing, the 7-14mm
feels reassuringly solid and well-built with smooth zoom and manual
focusing rings. Olympus claims the 7-14mm and other lenses in its Pro
and Top pro categories are both dust and splash proof, and certainly
during our test period it felt like it could stand up to any knocks.
Below is the 7-14mm zoomed-out to 7mm on the left and zoomed-in to 14mm
on the right. As you can see, there's very little difference between
the two states, with the highly curved first element moving only slightly
during the zooming motion.
optical design consists of 18 elements in 12 groups including two aspherical,
two super ED and one ED glass elements. It features internal focusing
and a fixed aperture of f4.0 throughout the entire range. Focusing is
fast and quiet.
Like other ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses, the 7-14mm employs motorised manual
focusing. Since Olympus bodies like the E-500 and E-510 can switch between clockwise or
anti-clockwise operation of the focusing ring, this can result in quite
an eerie effect where the ring could be turned one way and the distance
markings in the lens window turn the other. Fitted to an Olympus DSLR,
the lens focus also resets itself to infinity when you power the camera
Some photographers find the fully motorised focusing system works fine,
while others prefer a direct mechanically-linked system. Either way,
it's not a significant issue for the 7-14mm which enjoys such wide coverage
and large depths of fields, that it's hard to get an out-of-focus result.
See our Olympus E-410 review for more details on this subject.