Skip to main content

Cheaply Made

Cheaply made
Missing the front cosmetic covering.

Less than a year ago I wrote a glowing review of the M.Zuiko 17mm on Matthew's Reviews. Today, while out walking down State Street in downtown Boston, the front cosmetic element of said lens fell off the front of my lens and into the street. I heard it 'ding' when it hit the sidewalk, but because of rain and pedestrians I didn't see where it landed. It's gone.

While the 17mm isn't quite as pricey as say, the Panasonic 20mm, Olympus sure isn't giving them away. And because I paid good money to own this lens, I have expectations. Those expectations include the belief that bits shouldn't go falling off for various and trivial reasons. This happened while I was wearing the camera around my neck. In fact, I wasn't even using the camera. It was just hanging there, being protected by my umbrella and snuggled close to my jacket to keep warm.

Holding the M.Zuiko 17mm pancake for mounting
What it looked like brand new.

I suppose I should run over to Matthew's and post this, but Matthew runs a classy place, and I feel that venting my spleen over on his blog is, well, a bit crude. Guests just don't go crapping about a host's house or their blog.

So I'll be all crude and ugly here.

Why am I all upset over this? Because every other piece of gear I've gotten from Olympus (with the notable exception of the Zuiko Digital 9-18mm) has been a stellar performer. Because all of it works and wears so well, it's notable when something goes wrong like this. I mean, I liked the eight-year-old Olympus E-1 so well I bought two of them. In fact, for what I paid for the 17mm I could have paid for one of the E-1s.

I've been ambivalent about the use of plastics in all interchangeable lens cameras for some time now. Especially plastic bayonets on lenses. Fortunately the 17mm has a real metal bayonet, but plastic is used just about everywhere else, like the front cosmetic element and the front blue section that now stands quite exposed.

Although I use my gear quite a bit, I take pride in my gear and take good care of it as a consequence. My gear might not look brand-spanking new, but my gear doesn't look like it was used to beat down rabid unicorns either. It's well taken care of, because well cared for equipment performs well when needed.

I'm going to ask Olympus if this is covered under warranty and see if I can get another copy. It should, since I've owned it less than a year. But still, it's annoying.

It's very annoying.


  1. please follow up with your thoughts there. As you may know I've been a keen m4/3 convert but have been critical of the diversity of lenses. I haven't made any observations of the durability and overall quality, but my feelings are "plastic".

    I've resisted making such observations because cameras such as the Canon AE-1 are plastic chasis and seem to have held up.

    I am critical of the lenses and the electronic focus methods and think that the Olympus SWD lenses are a better system and better made.

    If m4/3 is to challenge 4/3 in any serious way it will need to address these issues


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…