The Olympus m.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom - First impressions.

In the second part of this series of posts about why I'm using m4/3 as my primary interchangeable lens system, I'm going to concentrate on one specific lens. The Olympus m.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom I've just bought. 

There is only one other lens that has a similar specification. The ultra heavy, large and expensive Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. Now I'm not going to be doing any kind of comparison here, since I can hardly lift the Nikon, let alone think about buying it! Suffice to say, all the reviews of that lens say that it is remarkably good. Which is unsurprising, since it would be somewhat of a waste of time and money if it wasn't.

The Olympus m.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom, isn't light, small or cheap for a m4/3 lens, but compared to the heavyweight Nikon it's about a welterweight. It has a reassuring substantial feel and look to it, which is appropriate for a 'pro-spec' lens. And it is unique to mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L camera systems. Neither Fuji, Sony, Panasonic or Samsung have anything this fast for their mirrorless cameras and that f/2.8 aperture throughout and internal focusing certainly gives it a special place in the CSC range of lenses. 

Now I'm not going to give it a detailed review. Mathieu over at Mirrorlessons has done a thorough job on that at http://www.mirrorlessons.com/2015/05/28/olympus-7-14-2-8-pro-review/ and I see no reason to to do my own since I agree pretty much 100% with his assessment. What I will discuss however is it's role in my lens collections and what it says about the system.

Because of the size of the sensor m4/3 has a selection of five 'pro-spec' zooms with a constant f/2.8 aperture. This wide-angle, the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm and the Olympus  12-40mm and 40-150mm. And all are significantly less bulky than their 'full-frame' or APS-C counterparts. Which is, after all, probably one the main reasons why those of us who use m4/3 extensively bought into the system in the first place. I've owned all of the above apart from the Olympus telephoto zoom and the 7-14mm fits into that classy collection very nicely. Stopped down a little it gets seriously impressive and at f/5.6 it is ridiculously sharp. No built-in IS, but then if you can't hand hold a lens this wide steady at 1/15th. or even 1/8th. sec. then you either need to drink less coffee or seek medical advice immediately!! Besides Olympus cameras have IBIS and Panasonic now seem to be including this in some form in their latest cameras.

So first impressions are very positive and there will be more on this lens in future posts. And while one lens isn't everything, for me this shows the 'completeness' of the m4/3 lens range as opposed to Fuji X, Samsung NX and Sony FE and shows clearly what advantages that small sensor gives me. The equivalent lenses in those systems would be huge and heavy. The quality / size equation, for me, works best in m4/3 over all the other mirrorless systems and is one of the major reasons I like it so much. Because without that this lens simply wouldn't exist and wouldn't be capable of such great results.