The Worst Mirrorless Lens Ever?

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I recently wrote a post for my automobile photography blog about shooting a car show with my Olympus E-P3 and the inexpensive ($99) Olympus 9mm f/8.0 Fisheye Body Cap Lens. Since I put the new leather skin on the E-P3, this has become my new grab-it-and-go kit. Even on the chilly February day at the car show, the E-P3 without wearing gloves, felt great in my hands. The 9mm fisheye, not so much. I know, I know it’s a fish-eye what do I expect? I dunno. That’s why I used it to see how I liked it; the answer was that it’s great for landscapes, especially infrared, but not so much for car shows. That’s when I decided to get a Olympus 15mm f/8.0 Body Cap lens to use for this kit.

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Oh no, I can hear some of you say and even my compadre Mark Toal warned me this is the worst lens in the history of bad lenses. And it must be true because DxO said it was so and all the photo blogs in the world (not ours or mine) parroted this statement. People seem to love or hate DxO ratings. It all depends on whether or not their test results support the argument you’re having with Bob at the camera club. Me, I’m skeptical of any kind of lab test that doesn’t involve actually shooting pictures and looking at them on your monitor.

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Because I’m a religious photographer—a devout cheapo— I went looking for a used 15mm f/8. I figured the worst lens ever made should sell for bargain prices on eBay. Nope. A word or two about eBay: Somewhere in the Internet mythos, a rumor developed that you  the best prices on camera gear on eBay. And that may have been true in 1995 when eBay was launched and probably for a few years after. These days it is caveat emptor.

While shopping for a Lumix GX1 or Oly E-P3  that I planned to convert for infrared capture, I saw prices that went from the cost of new cameras from the same manufacturers to prices higher than what the camera sold for new. These are not Leicas, we’re talking about here… On eBay, almost all of the prices for used Olympus 15mm f/8 lenses were higher than what B&H Photo asked for a brand new one. So I ordered it for them. Please notice that from B&H the silver (painted) version sells for a nickel more; it is so ugly  I ordered the black—honest plastic— version and saved five cents.

The next Cars and Coffee @ Vehicle Vault is on March 12, 2016. Hope to see you there and I’ll be bringing the E-P3 with the 15mm f/8.0 Body Cap lens to see if it’s worth the big bucks I paid for it.

  • Starts: 9:00 am
  • Ends: – 12:00 pm
  • Location: Vehicle Vault 18301 Lincoln Meadows Parkway Parker, Colorado 80134