Lens review

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

30 August 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

The resolution of the tested lens was based on the strength of RAW files from the Olympus E-3 camera. Its sensor features 10 million of photosensitive cells which ensure high linear density of pixels and high MTF values - comparable to those we get in tests based on the Canon 50D. It’s worth remembering that the best prime lenses, tested on the E-3, can reach results as high as 51-52 lpmm and the decency level in this case is near 34-35 lpmm.

Let’s look how the Zuiko Digital ED 14-35 mm f/2.0 SWD performs in the frame centre.

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

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Well, well. Only one word comes to mind here – impressive. The performance of the lens is perfectly even – the differences between particular focal lengths are very small. What’s more, by f/4.0 at all focal lengths we reach results near 51 lpmm. Practically no system fixed focal length lens can fare better. At the maximum relative aperture the Olympus lens performs very well too. The MTFs we get there are in the range from 43 to 47 lpmm so the images are sharp indeed. Only the best lens of 24–70 mm f/2.8 class which have been tested by us, namely the Sony Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 24–70 mm f/2.8 T* SSM, can compete with the Olympus here. It also showed a very even performance and at the maximum aperture gave us images with equally great sharpness. The Nikkor AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8G ED and the Sigma 24–70 mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM fare a bit worse here and the Canon EF 24–70 mm f/2.8L USM lags behind the most, as at the maximum aperture it barely brushed against the decency level. The Canon is the oldest lens in this group, though, and supposedly the first to be replaced by a newer model.

What does the edge of the frame look like? Let’s have a glance at the graph below.

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

The word „impressive” still describes perfectly the performance we see here. Even at the maximum relative aperture the MTFs reach nearly 40 lpmm, exceeding safely the decency level. On slight stopping down the MTFs increase to levels which would be very hard to criticize. The lost of that evenness of performance at all focal lengths is one thing that can be regretted here- it becomes especially visible in the frame centre. Now, we can notice that 14 mm focal length is significantly better than the 23-35 mm range. Such a problem is not serious at all, though. Especially that the Olympus compares so well with its full frame competitors. To make this comparison completely fair we should take into account the results of other full frame lenses at the edge of full frame. There, at the maximum aperture, few devices exceed the decency level. Some of them don’t manage it even on stopping down by 1 EV. The advantage of the Olympus is clear and indisputable then.

At the end we would like to present our test chart crops, saved in JPEG format along with the RAW files, which were used to determine the MTF50 values.

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