While not offering the highest resolution, Olympus has certainly made an optic that stands out...
Olympus always produced small, high-quality optics that were well respected in the days of the OM system, though Zuiko lenses were reborn with the introduction of the Four Thirds system. The Four Thirds sensor is smaller than APS-C, so the focal length magnification factor is 2x to give a 35mm equivalent – in this case the 14-45mm lens translates as 28-90mm. It must be remembered that the 4:3 ratio of the sensor is different to the 2:3 ratio of APS or 35mm film, so viewing angles are slightly different, too.
Thanks to the 12 optics in 10 groups this is a comparitively heavy lens, with two aspheric elements. This is a solidly made optic, with a combination of plastic exterior and metal lens mount. The zoom action is smooth, while the focus can be set via the camera menu to auto focus, manual focus or a combination of AF and manual. The manual focus ring is also smooth and has an impressively deep grip. Focus is quick and relatively quiet, though less so than the Nikon equivalent.
While not offering the highest resolution, Olympus has certainly made an optic that stands out. Offering a long focal length, the lens is sharp enough from centre to corner for most everyday purposes, though there are some corner sharpness issues. Where the lens shines is in its control of distortion and fringing, with low wideangle chromatic aberration readings, but it does lose some points at the telephoto end.
Zuiko lenses have a good reputation, and this lens shouldn’t detract from that. A nice build combined with impressive performance for the price leads to a lens worth hanging onto.