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Olympus Zuiko ED 18-180mm F/3.5-6.3

Olympus Zuiko ED 18-180mm F/3.5-6.3
Price: €729.99
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Olympus Zuiko ED 18-180mm F:3.5-6.3 + 62mm UV Filter Bundle
Price: €759.99
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Olympus Zuiko ED 18-180mm F:3.5-6.3 + 62mm UV And Polarizer Filter Bundle
Price: €789.99
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Build and handling
Built exclusively for the 2x crop Four-thirds mount, this lens is quite compact for its range, increasing its length through a double trombone by around 52mm when zoomed to its full stretch. The well torqued zoom ring, marked at 18, 25, 35, 50, 100 and 180mm is plenty wide enough for mast hands while the narrower manual focus ring is a tad slacker and is redundant unless the fly-by-wire manual focus is switched on through the camera. The near bucket shaped hood fits with a firm bayonet to the front element that sports a deep 62mm filter thread.

The autofocus is reasonably quiet with just a whisper of whine as it searches through the blur looking for the sharp bit. At the short end, this is found and locked onto well, although at the longer focal lengths some hunting or checking either side of the lock is tried before final lock is achieved. This is more noticeable in lower light conditions. Overall the AF is quite accurate and as the focus is achieved internally the lens does not extend during the process. This also keeps the front element from rotating, handy if you are using filters.

Optical quality
Billed as an f/3.5-6.3 aperture lens, the f/3.5 quickly drops off and has gone past the f/4 point before it reaches 25mm in focal length. At 77mm it passes the f/5.6 stop and, because the whole lens is electronically operated and does not go further than f/22, it leaves over half the focal range with only five useful stops compared to the normal six or seven of a conventional lens.

When set to the widest focal length, the lens is an average performer where resolution is concerned and for most of the frame, chromatic aberrations are fairly well controlled although still evident at the edges. As the lens is extended however, things do not improve and there is noticeable CA towards the edges along with a decrease in resolution. The decrease is not severe and Olympus has done well to keep the performance fairly consistent throughout the 10:1 focal range. It would have been nice though, if the start point had been better. Flare and ghosting on the other hand, do seem to be well controlled throughout the coverage of the optic and are difficult to induce, even with a strong torch.

Focal Length 18 - 180mm
Comparable Four Thirds and Micro 4/3 Focal Length: 36 - 360 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 - 6.3
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Four Thirds
Format Compatibility Four Thirds
Angle of View 62° - 6.9°
Minimum Focus Distance 17.7" (45 cm)
Magnification 0.23x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:4
Elements/Groups 15/13
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread 62 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.07 x 3.33" (7.8 x 8.45 cm)
Weight 15.34 oz (435 g)