Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monster of a Zoom -- Bushnell 70-220mm f3.5

I recently acquired this lens in Olympus OM mount, and it was put away for a couple of months, like so many of the lenses I bought. While doing some re-organizing, and I noticed this very large and heavy lens. Decided to give it a try and I was surprised to see that it's quite a decent lens. Very unique is its macro mode. Although it does not say what magnification ratio this mode provides, but I would estimate that it's at least 1:2.

Curious, I put it side by side against the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS and they look almost the same size, even about the same weight.

Side by Side -- Taken with G1 with Kit lens. Larger Picture.

One of the bad things of this lens was immediately noticeable the first time I used it -- flare against the light source is very, very bad. The built-in hood is all but useless. Quality wide open is very good at close range:

Megan. Notice the left side. It's washed out -- 5D & Bushnell 70-220mm f3.5 @ f3.5, ISO 1600.

The macro mode is quite interesting. This mode works at all focal lengths, instead of most zooms where it only works at its widest or longest. Basically, this is a built-in extension tube. At maximum macro settings, the vignetting is quite severe, but image quality is good.

This picture was taken near maximum macro setting at f5.6. See next picture for 100% crop. Larger Picture.

100% crop from previous picture. Not bad. Larger Picture.

I am not a zoom guy, but if I ever use this lens again, will write up an update for it.


  1. does it extend much when zooming?

    I think the canon does not move. If so then the Canon shows the advantages of time and development as it even has a very nice tripod collar

  2. That's true. The Bushnell's lens front element rotates as your focus, so using polarizing filters on it could be a problem. But, it does have a tiny built-in tripod collar, but it does not rotate like the Canon collar.

    But, we are looking at a $1500 lens versus one that costs $15.

  3. Oh, the Bushnell lens does not extend when zooming. It's push & pull design. In all, very nicely designed lens.