Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 III EZ
Claimed as the most compact ‘pancake’ style zoom lens yet released, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 III EZ electronic zoom lens is the third generation of the company’s standard kit lenses, which cover a focal length range equivalent to 28-84mm in 35mm format. Only 22.5 mm thick when retracted, it’s about half the length of the previous kit lens and weighs just 93 grams.
The optical design is moderately complex, with eight elements in seven groups, including three aspherical elements, one Super HR (High Refractive) index lens and one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element.
The closest shooting distance is 20 cm at the wide angle position and 25 cm at telephoto, an improvement on the previous kit lens. The maximum magnification is 0.45x equivalent (35mm conversion).
Designed to suit both OM-D and PEN cameras, this lens features the Olympus MSC autofocus system. It is compatible with the optional LC-37C automatically closing lens cap, which is the first of its type for interchangeable lenses.
It is being offered in black and silver to match the OM-D bodies and comes with front and end caps ““ but neither lens hood nor carrying pouch.
The M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 III EZ represents a significant upgrade to Olympus’s basic kit lens and has the advantage of being quite a bit shorter and lighter than its predecessors. This makes cameras more easily portable ““ and even pocketable ““ in some cases.
While its optical performance isn’t quite as stunning as other (more expensive) Olympus lenses, it is nevertheless competent, producing images that are sharp, particularly at the longer end of the zoom range. Everyday consumers who begin their journey with the Olympus OM-D or PEN systems can be confident they have chosen well.
The build quality is remarkably high for such an affordable kit zoom lens. Autofocusing is fast and almost silent, which means little or no interference on movie soundtracks. And the price of the lens won’t break the bank.