Filter Bracket for E-P1 14-42mm Kit Zoom

The E-P1 kit zoom is the first generation Olympus 14-42mm Micro Four Thirds zoom, which does not handle filters well.  The terminal element rotates as the lens focuses, and the petite focusing motor is not happy when torque is applied to the filter threads.  Even rotating a 46mm polarizer needs to be done gently to avoid an irritating and cryptic “Please check the status of a lens” message on the viewscreen.  (Reportedly, the 2nd generation 14-42mm has internal focusing and avoids this problem.)  Clearly, there was no way that the little focusing motor could handle a Cokin A holder and a graduated ND filter for shooting landscapes with the lens at its wide angle setting.

The simplest solution appeared to be to form a bracket to position an empty filter ring around the end of the lens when in its extended wide-angle position (a peculiarity of the lens is that it is shortest in the middle of its zoom range, extending out as it goes either towards the wide angle or telephoto end.)  Accordingly, an L-shaped piece of scrap aluminum was cut to rough size from a salvaged piece of electronic equipment.  Measuring the desired setback of the camera body with the lens extended, a 1/4″ hole was drilled for a screw to attach the bracket onto the base of the camera via the tripod mounting socket.  Note that this screw should have a threaded recess itself to allow the entire ungainly assembly to still be tripod-mounted.  Thin cork gasket material was attached to the top surface of the aluminum with double-sided tape.  The camera was then secured into place, the lens extended and an empty 55mm filter ring placed roughly concentric with the end of the lens.  The filter ring was traced, this outline used as a guide to cut a curve in the aluminum, and the ring attached in place with epoxy.

A second scrap filter ring was added; this second ring not only provided additional surface area for the epoxy bond, but also extends back over the end of the lens to provide some shading, particularly when the lens is retracted in its middle range.  The back of the aluminum was eventually cut so as not to protrude behind the camera as it does in these early views.

Now, any filter system that can adapt to a 55mm thread can be attached, without straining the delicate focus motor of the lens.  This piece of gear, along with a Cokin A holder and 55mm mounting ring, was dutifully stowed away in the center console of my automobile ready for use in my travels.

In practice, I hardly ever pull out this clunker, and instead simply hold a grad ND filter by hand in front of the lens.  This does require a good bit of care to avoid reflections when there is light striking the camera from behind.

Happily, I found that this rig is well suited for shooting in rain and snow (without a filter).  For this use, a 1-gallon plastic bag with one corner cut off is forced over the marrow section os a telescoping rubber 55mm lens hood, and the hood is then screwed onto the ring on the bracket.  The bag covers the camera, with access for the hands from below, and the hood extends to shield the lens from precipitation.