Lens review

Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5

4 December 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

When it comes to the dimensions and the weight, the Olympus 11-22 mm doesn’t differ much from its more universal cousin, the ZD 14-54 mm. It would be difficult to compare it to any competitors because, in fact, there are none. When it comes to other manufacturers’ offers, you would look in vain for a full frame lens with the range corresponding to the 22-44 mm precisely and quite fast to boot. The closest match seem to be: a Sigma 20-40 mm f/2.8 EX DG Aspherical, an L series Canon EF 20-35 mm f/2.8L, which is already out of production, or a Tokina 19-35 mm which has been tested by us. In the following chart you can see a comparison between the ZD 11-22 mm and those three devices. Although the Olympus gives us the narrowest angles of view of all those instruments and its construction is the simplest, it is far from being the smallest and/or physically the lightest of them. You must remember, though, that in the case of its competitors in order to obtain such a wide angle of view you have to use full frame bodies and these aren’t cheap.

Are there any ZD 11-22 lens’s rivals which can we used on APS-C/DX sensors? Once again you would look in vain for competitors with identical parameters. Similar performance can be obtained using such lenses as a Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM or a Sigma 15-30 mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG Aspherical ( the comparison is presented here ), although you should remember that both these lenses are designed for the full frame, not APS-C/DX sensors.

Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5 - Build quality

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Looking closely at the ZD 11-22 mm we see the first distinct difference between it and the ZD 14-54 mm. It’s undoubtedly a large, convex front element, which allows us to get the angle of view of 89 degrees by an aperture of f/2.8 - very good parameters as far as zoom lenses are concerned. It should be noticed that the front elements system extends during the focal length change and the lens is the biggest when zoomed to the short end.

Immediately after the mentioned front element you can find a manual focus ring which is comfortable, decent-sized, and it works properly. In the case of the Olympus system the change of the focusing mechanism mode is achieved through the camera menus so we won’t find any switch on the lens but it is worth knowing that the producer gives us many possibilities when it comes to the AF, MF mode or the mixture of both – we can correct the camera-cum-lens tandem settings manually and systematically.

Behind the ring there is a clear distance scale window marked in meters and feet. Below, we have a very big and comfortable zoom ring. It is well-damped and smooth but at 11-14 mm the resistance is a tad stronger than in the rest of the range. The weather-sealed barrel of the lens ends with a metal bayonet mount. On the other side we’ll find a non-rotating filter thread, 72 mm in diameter.

Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5 - Build quality

The lens’s inner construction consists of 12 elements in 10 groups. Two of them are aspherical. Inside we’ll also find an aperture with seven diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22.

The buyer gets both caps, a petal-type lens hood and a soft case included in box.

Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5 - Build quality