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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


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