M.Zuiko 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II MSC - Olympus Micro Four-Thirds Lens Roundup
M.Zuiko 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II MSC
This is actually the second edition Micro Four-Thirds lens covering the 14-42mm range. This one is MSC which means it focuses much more quietly than normal lenses. The range covered by this lens is akin to most DSLR kit-lenses with a 3X optical zoom starting at a wide-angle 28mm-equivalent and reaching 84mm.
The 28-84mm focal-range is quite suitable for general photography from landscapes and typical interiors to close ups and social snapshots. Note the narrow aperture at the telephoto end makes it not ideal for portraits as it may show more depth-of-field than is desirable and needs slower shutter-speeds or higher-ISO sensitivities.
The compact carrying size of this lens is achieved via a clever collapsible design. It needs to be extended by about 3cm to become usable and reach its widest focal-length. The M.Zuiko 14-42mm feels light and is mostly composed of plastics, other than the glass optics of course. Both the zoom and focus mechanism are very smooth and steady. This lens accepts 37mm filters which are not very common and do not come in much variety. A 37-to-58mm step-up ring exists to use more filter types.
Sharpness is good in the center at wide-angle and barely soft at the corners. Stopping down a ½ stop makes the corners nearly as sharp as the center. The diffraction limit at 12 megapixels is reached at F/13 which shows a slight amount of softness. Stopping down further blurs everything. At telephoto, center sharpness is excellent starting at the brightest aperture of F/5.6. Corners at 42mm show noticeably more softness than at 14mm. Stopping down helps, reaching maximum sharpness at F/9.5 and F/11. Still, the corners become acceptable but never reach the same sharpness as the center.
There is slightly visible barrel distortion at 14mm. It diminishes towards telephoto becoming minimal at 42mm. Vignetting is moderate wide-open to F/3.5 at wide-angle but improves by F/5.6 without ever disappearing. At the telephoto end, vignetting is slightly noticeable at F/5.6 and becomes inconsequential by F/11.
Overall, this lens should be considered a relatively good performer since sharpness starts high wide-open and remains steady until the diffraction limit. Vignetting is only disturbing for the first 2 stops at wide-angle.
What is shown below are 5 crops taken from a photograph, repeatedly captured for each combination of focal-length and aperture. The smaller pieces are cropped from the extreme corners of the image, while the middle wide crop comes from the center of the image. Select an aperture in a row for a desired focal-length to see the crops from the corresponding image. When judging quality, keep in mind that these crops come from a 12 MP image which is normally used to print an image up to 16x12". On a computer display, these may appear much larger which magnifies image defects.
M.Zuiko 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II MSC Sharpness
Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:
Panasonic Lumix GX850 Review
Highly compact mirrorless with 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor capable of 4K Ultra-HD video. Fast 10 FPS drive and 1/16000s-60s hybrid shutter. 4K Output for 30 FPS bursts, Post Focus and built-in Focus Stacking.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review
Olympus professional Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless with 20 MP sensor, built-in 5-axis Image-Stabilization, 121-Point Phase-Detect and Contrast Detect AF, 60 FPS Drive, 18 FPS with Continuous AF, Ultra-HD and Cinema 4K Video. Large built-in 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 100% Coverage, 0.74X magnification and Eye-Start Sensor in a freezeproof and weatherproof body with dual control-dials.
Fujifilm GFX-50S In-Depth Review
In-depth review of the Fujifilm GFX-50S Medium Format Mirrorless Digital Camera, a groundbreaking 50 megapixels camera with large 44x33mm sensor and unique modular EVF system. ISO 50-102400 range, 3 FPS drive and 1080p video.
Fujinon GFX Lens Roundup
Roundup of reviews for GFX Medium Format Mirrorless lenses: Fujinon GF 23mm F/4R LM WR, GF 32-64mm F/4R LM WR and GF 110mm F/2R LM WR.
Nikon D500 Review
Full-review of the ultimate Nikon flagship APS-C DSLR. The Nikon D500 offers a new 20 MP CMOS sensor with incredible ISO 50-1638400, 10 FPS, 4K Ultra-HD and a 153-Point Phase-Detect AF system sensitive to -4 EV. Built for professionals into a weatherproof body with dual control-dials and large 100% coverage viewfinder with built-in shutter.
DxO ViewPoint 3 Review
Review of DxO ViewPoint 3. Perspective, distortion and horizon correction software.
Nikon D5 XQD Review
Nikon flagship professional DSLR with 20 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor. All-new 153-point Phase-Detect AF sensitive to -4 EV. ISO 50 to unprecedented 3,276,800! 12 FPS Drive for 200 JPEGs or 180 RAW. First Nikon DSLR with 4K Ultra HD video.
Olympus Professional Lens Roundup
Roundup of Olympus Professional and Premium lenses: M.Zuiko 7-14mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12mm F/2, M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Review
Olympus second generation base OM-D with an anti-alias-filter-free 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor mounted on a 5-axis in-body stabilization system. Speedy 8.5 FPS drive, full HD @ 60 FPS and a wealth of features in a compact and lightweight body. Offers a 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 0.62X magnification and 100% coverage, plus dual control-dials and a highly customizable interface.
Fuji X-Pro2 Review
Fuji flagship XF-mount mirrorless with 24 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. 273-Point AF with 169 Phase-Detect points. 8 FPS Drive, 1080p video. Dual control-dials, direct dials and a hybrid viewfinder in a weather-sealed freezeproof body.