Monday, March 9, 2015

Must-Have Lens Cap for Sony and MFT Pancake Zooms

If you have a Sony 16-50 OSS or Panasonic 14-42 PZ (and possibly the Panasonic 12-32 or Olympus 14-42 EZ), you have to have this lens cap!  I'll let the video speak for itself.


ADVANTAGES
At the risk of stating the obvious, I'll point out the advantages:
  • Protects the lens from dust and scratches
  • Much faster and easier than using a regular lens cap.
  • Never lose or drop your lens cap.
  • Never forget to attach your lens cap after using your lens.
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Matches the look of your lens
On the last point, the build quality of this auto lens cap is surprisingly good.  Yes, it's plastic, but the plastic isn't as cheap-looking as the generic 3-leaf auto lens cap that I have.  The leaves close fully, with no visible gap.  The JJC auto cap also has grooves on its sides that are similar (but not identical) to the grooves of the focus ring on my Sony 16-50.  Finally, the face of the JJC auto cap has very fine concentric grooves that give the cap a sheen, without making it look cheesy.

DISADVANTAGES
To be fair, there are some disadvantages:
  • Not as protective as the original lens cap.  The leaves that will cover your lens are only plastic, and about as thin as the automatic lens covers commonly found on point and shoot cameras.  They won't give way even when pressing them, but they won't protect your lens from a strong impact, or from a diagonal impact that could push away the leaves.  I would recommend storing your camera in a camera bag when not using it, or possibly putting a slip-on/push-on cover over it.
  • Can't use a lens hood.  The Sony 16-50 and Panasonic 14-42 PZ don't come with hoods but some people use a screw on lens hood, which you can't use with this auto lens cap.  A minor complaint is that I wish the auto cap for the 16-50 had a rectangular opening, like the auto cap for the Panasonic.  A rectangular opening would decrease the chance of flare.
  • Difficult to use a filter.  If you attach a filter to your lens then put this auto lens cap over the filter, the button that closes the lens cap will be too far from the body of the lens, so the auto cap won't close properly if you have a filter on your lens.  It is theoretically possible to put something on the lip of your lens body so that the cap's button will still be pressed even with a filter in between, but I haven't tried it.  A more practical solution is to use square filter, handheld.
  • Covers the labels on the lens; no brand visible. This lens will cover the labels printed on the front of the lens.  Also, unlike the original lens cap, it doesn't have the brand stamped on it.  This is hardly a disadvantage but I just wanted to mention it. 
COMPATIBILITY
JJC has two versions of this auto lens cap - one for the Sony 16-50, and another for the Panasonic 14-42 PZ. The Panasonic 14-42 PZ has a filter size of 37mm, as do the Panasonic 12-32 and Olympus 14-42 EZ.  It therefore seems that the Panasonic version of this cap might also work on the Panasonic 12-32 and Olympus 14-42 EZ but I haven't tried it.

Update: for the Olympus 14-42 EZ, you can get the Olympus LC-37C lens cap which is similar to this lens cap.  The LC-37C has been confirmed to fit on the Panasonic 12-32, which makes it more likely that this JJC auto cap would also work on those lenses, and vice-versa.

WHERE TO GET IT
I got mine on eBay.  Most sellers seem to sell it for around $20.  I got mine for $15 from seller Rainbowimaging (we're not affiliated with them and receive no commissions).  Considering the advantages, I think the price is very reasonable.