Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8 review
The Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8 was announced at Photokina 2012, alongside the PEN E-PL5 and E-PM2 mirrorless models. It is, in essence, exactly what it says on the tin - a lens in a body cap - but with something of a twist. Because despite its tiny size and low price, Olympus has ended up making something rather more ambitious than you might think. Within its 9mm-thick housing, Olympus has managed to fit a three element lens, complete with a simple manual focusing mechanism that lets you get within a foot of your subject. Compare this to Pentax's recently-announced '07 Mount Shield Lens' for its Q-series mirrorless cameras, which is a fixed-focus single element design that's more in keeping with the fun, 'Toy Camera' side to the Q's personality.
The 15mm F8 offers a moderately-wide angle of view that's equivalent to 30mm in full frame, which means that it's just slightly narrower than the 14-42mm kit zooms that come with most Micro Four Thirds cameras. It has a fixed aperture of F8, which isn't exactly fast, but does mean it offers immense depth of field; when it's set to its 'snap' position, everything from about 1.5 meters to infinity is in reasonably sharp focus. The lens doesn't communicate with the camera in any way, so Olympus owners will need to remember to set the focal length manually for the camera's in-body IS system. And of course there's no autofocus, although you'd rarely need it. This all means that the 15mm goes without the 'Zuiko' branding that Olympus uses on its 'proper' lenses.
The Body Cap Lens is decidedly inexpensive as lenses go (approx £60 / $60 / €70 at the time of writing), but even at this relatively low price, it's not quite an obvious buy. At 15mm F8, it doesn't offer anything that's not covered by the kit zooms that come with every Micro Four Thirds cameras, and Olympus's in particular are already pretty compact. There's also the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH to be taken into consideration - a tiny pancake lens with rapid AF and pretty good optics, that can be bought quite cheaply when split-off from a GF-series kit. In this review we'll see what the BCL 15mm F8 has to offer in comparison.
- 15mm focal length (30mm equivalent)
- F8 fixed aperture
- Ultra-compact 'body cap' design: just 9mm thick and 22g
- Manual focusing down to 0.3m
- Micro Four Thirds mount for Olympus and Panasonic cameras
Angle of view
The picture below illustrates the angle of view, taken from our standard position. The lens offers a moderate wideangle view, that's slightly narrower than typical 14-42mm Micro Four Thirds kit zooms.
|15mm (30mm equivalent)|
Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8 specifications
|Manufacturer's product code||BCL-1580|
|Approx Price|| • $60 (US)
• £60 (UK)
• €70 (EU)
|Date introduced||September 2012|
|Maximum format size||Four Thirds|
| 35mm equivalent focal length
|Diagonal Angle of view||71.6º|
|Lens Construction||3 elements / 3 groups|
|Number of diaphragm blades||Fixed circular aperture|
|Focus method|| • Unit
• Manual focus only
|Weight||22 g (0.8 oz)|
|Dimensions||56 mm diameter x 9 mm length (2.2 x 0.4 in)|
|Lens Mount||Micro Four Thirds|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
This lens review uses DxOMark data thanks to a partnership between dpreview.com and DxO Labs (read more about DxOMark and our partnership with DxO Labs). DxOMark is the trusted industry standard for independent image quality measurements and ratings. DxOMark has established this reputation with its rigorous hardware testing, industry-grade laboratory tools, and database of thousands of camera, lens and mobile test results. Full test results for this lens can be found at www.dxomark.com.
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.
To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.
DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.
This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.