LensTip.com

Lens review

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD

30 August 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • very solid, weather-sealed casing,
  • sensational image quality in the frame centre at all focal lengths to boot,
  • very good image quality at the frame edge,
  • well-corrected chromatic aberration,
  • not very bothersome distortion,
  • low astigmatism,
  • not many problems with vignetting,
  • silent and quick autofocus.

Cons:

  • weak transmission for this class of equipment,
  • average work against bright light,
  • high price.

Taking up photography seriously is, unfortunately, also seriously expensive. If we have chosen the 4/3 system, decided to buy a good body and we want to own a high-end, fast, journalistic zoom lens, Olympus offers us such a device. The fact that the price is rather high might be quite understood in a way. Fast journalistic zooms are always expensive, no matter what system you take because there’s simply no compromise possible in their construction. The problem with the Olympus is that this device is the most pricey of all this class instruments without giving you such a wide angle of view as full frame lenses with focal lengths ranges starting from 24 mm.


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Do we get something in return? Of course we do. We get f/2.0 aperture – although it can’t give us such a depth of field as full frame, it can easily compete with any APS-C/DX sensor. What’s more, the fastness better by 1 EV means the possibility of using speeds by 1 EV lower. You must add the image quality at the edge of the frame – in this area full frame lenses can’t compete with the Olympus at all. One more advantage, which neither Canon, nor Nikon, nor Sigma can offer: the Olympus 14-35 mm on the E-3 body is a set with the image stabilization as efficient as 3 EV (or so show our tests). Here only Sony and its Zeiss 24-70 mm can compete with the Olympus, although in the case of the A900 and the A850 the stabilization was nowhere near as efficient. If we start comparing prices, though, it turns out that the E-3 plus the 14-35 mm set will be cheaper than the A850/A900 and the Zeiss 24-70 mm.

One more comparison which we can present here. The E-3 plus the 14–35 mm can give us the angles of view range, the depth of field and the quality of work more or less the same as, e.g. the Canon EOS 7D with the EF-S 17–55 m f/2.8 IS USM. Here the duel is fierce indeed because the Canon set features efficient stabilization and an USM motor, the 7D itself being a good journalistic camera. What’s more, the Canon equipment is by some several hundred dollars cheaper than that of Olympus. Similar set can be constructed using Nikon devices – the D300s camera and the Nikkor 17-55 mm f/2.8. We will lack stabilization here, though and the price is higher than in the case of the Canon (but still lower than the price of the Olympus). Pentax can also take part in the competition. The K-7, small but solidly build, is a huge advantage and the 16-50 mm f/2.8 Pentax lens, although optically worse than the Olympus, will give you the widest angle of view of all sets, described in this paragraph. The Pentax, contrary to the Nikon, features stabilization. It is not as efficient as in the E-3 but still it offers 2 EV. The price of the Pentax set, the lowest of all, is the additional strong point – you can have it for about 1900 $. Only Sony has left this segment lately. The A700 model has been withdrawn from the market long time ago and the line-up of this company still lacks a good 17-55 mm or 16-50 mm class f/2.8 lens.

Whew...I must admit if anybody presented all these sets, mentioned above, before me and asked me to choose one of them I would face a serious problem. On the other hand such problems are nothing but sheer pleasure. Rich choice and fierce competition have always been and will be a very good thing for customers.


Sample shots

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 14 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.42 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 14 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.34 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 21 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.38 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 21 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.26 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.2, exp. 1/6400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.18 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.52 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/8000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.46 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 14 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/4000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.43 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 14 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.46 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 23 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/4000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.53 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 23 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.32 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/4000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.08 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/2000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.52 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.42 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.01 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.74 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/3.2, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.39 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.44 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.09 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 30 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.38 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 3.98 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 24 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.18 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 24 mm, f/2.0, exp. 1/60 s, ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.21 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 28 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/160 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3648×2736 pix, 4.5 MB



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