Did I really need this lens? Was I only interested in it because of the price? How often do I really put the intended body cap on our camera?Those were the question I kept asking myself as I added and deleted Olympus BCL from my cart. I'll admit, it isn't the most practical lens, especially since it's a focal length (and aperture) that is covered by just about all my zoom lenses, but when you factor in its price... and mainly it's size, it's hard to convince yourself that it's not worth the pickup.
This lens is extremely thin, it's legit the same size as a body cap. With that being said I'm impressed by everything Olympus was able to do when designing it (will talk more about that later). The lens has 3 glass elements (which is impressive) and is made out of complete plastic. I doubt this lens can take much of a drop, but it's so cheap that if it did accidentally fall you wouldn't be too upset. The reflective metal strip on the front of the lens is rather appealing, it makes the lens look less inexpensive. There's not much beyond that...
Operating the lens is fairly simple, again, when you factor in its size you can't expect it to be a really intricate device. Because of its small size, there is no focus ring, instead, the lens has a little lever towards the bottom that gives you three different options. The first is to close your lens, this is what I call "body cap mode". The second option on the lever allows the lens to focus at infinity and the last option allows the lens to focus as close as 30cm.
For those wondering, no, the lens does not have autofocus, but it's not as much as a downfall as you'd expect! By not having to worry about focusing (beyond switching the lever back and forth) it really allows you to focus on the shot, you become more aware of how you need to shoot and you know when to get closer or when to step back, it's quite calming. The lack of autofocus and electronic functionality also means your camera loses all EXIF data, so for those of you who have in camera IS be sure to set the focal length via your camera so this feature can be activated properly.
If you're expecting superb image quality from this lens than you're in the wrong place. This lens was not designed to blow you away, but to ensure you have a lens on your camera at all times. With that being said it is quite sharp in the middle of the frame, but as you get closer to the edges and corners you start to see a dreamy like effect. I for one love this look, if I shot with this lens only I feel like it would give my images a distinct look, it would allow people to identify my work instantly. It's unique and again, quite pleasing in my opinion. The lens's aperture is set to f/8, meaning it allows for a great deal of depth, but it also means this lens can only be used in situations where a great deal of light is present. I find after 5 PM it starts to become useless.
The verdict on the lens? It's a winner, but only because of its cheap price. If this lens was $100-200 I wouldn't even look at it, but because it can be held for less than $40, well I'll take that challenge every time. For what you get the lens is a steal, if I didn't vlog I'd legit have this mounted to my camera all the time. It would be my go-to street lens! Again, it's not perfect, but that's what makes it fun, it's stressfully good and this statement is coming from someone who has somewhat high expectations when I shoot with it.
The Olympus 15mm BCL is available for purchase on Amazon.
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