The Olympus 15mm body cap lens

When this lens first came out a few years ago, there were a bunch of articles on the internet praising its ingenuity. And then, after two or three months, you never heard anyone talking about it again. Everyone who praised it apparently came to realize that, objectively, it was a pretty crappy lens (although an excellent body cap), and their praise was just a case of temporary G.A.S. induced love. End of story.

The photograph above was taken today with the body cap. I attempted to improve the image in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop, and cropped it to a 2:3 aspect ratio (currently my favorite aspect ratio for still photography). Can you tell that the lens is crappy without pixel peeping? Actually, I think if I had taken the same photo with the super-sharp Olympus 12-40mm lens, and you could compare them, you would notice that the photo taken with the 12-40mm is technically superior. But I think that, when the image is reduced to a web size and viewed by itself, the body cap passes the decency test, but just barely.

I think that Olympus could have made a much better body cap lens if they had wanted to. If only they designed a four-element lens instead of a triplet. But I’m not a lens engineer, so what do I know?

What I like most about this lens is that it’s really the only lens that makes an Olympus Pen-F pocketable (but that would still be a coat or jacket pocket, not a pants pocket). And as I previously pointed out, sharpness is a bourgeois concept. Possibly. Just because I wrote that doesn’t mean I’m 100% sold on it.

As crappy as the body cap lens is, I still like the image quality more than what I get from my iPhone 6, but maybe if I upgraded to an iPhone 8 or X then I would have a more positive impression of iPhone image quality.

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The black body cap lens has been discontinued. You can still get the silver body cap lens for $49.99 at the Olympus website.

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