by Ian Burley
Have a careful look at the picture below. It contains an Olympus Digital Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 tele zoom kit lens, an Olympus Mju (Stylus) 790 SW* camera, and an Olympus Digital Zuiko 35-100mm f/2.
What do they all have in common, apart from being made by Olympus? The camera is shown for puposes of scale only, but the two Digital Zuiko lenses have overlapping coverage. But what drove me to produce this picture in the first place was the awesome difference in size between these two lenses. The diminutive 40-150 (80-300 equivalent) actually has a wider 3.7x zoom range than its big brother's 2.9x, and a higher magnification at its telephoto end. What makes the 35-100 (70-200 equivalent) so much bigger? Basically, its ability to transmit 2-3 stops more light onto the sensor. The 35-100 also has 21 glass elements, one Super ED type and three additional ED type compared to the 12 elements of the 40-150 and single ED element.
The relatively tiny 40-150 Olympus kit lens to the left of the big 35-100 f/2 pro Olympus lens remarkably has more zoom range and more reach
The 35-100 also has a tough all-metal construction, weather sealing, a tripod mount/collar, internal focus and zoom design, nine aperture iris leaves and focus lock buttons adjacent to the manual focus ring. It's the first constant aperture zoom as fast as f/2.0 and neither Nikon nor Canon have anythiung remotely comparable for their APS sensor DSLRs, nor - for that matter, for their full frame SLRs.
But let's not forget about the little Mju/Stylus camera - its lens is equivalent in range to a 3x 38-114mm lens and represents an equally impressive feat of miniaturisation.
If you aren't just a little moved by all this, well, what can I say?!
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