Panasonic 7-14 f4 or Olympus 12mm f2

Started Mar 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
Henning W
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Re: 3 points for the Olympus 12mm f2, (and 9-18mm)
In reply to Perihelion, Mar 26, 2012

Perihelion wrote:

I'd be very pleased if the focus ring worked. On thephotographyblog.com they had the same problem with the lens ring and infinity focus across three samples. The review isn't terribly recent; do you think perhaps older versions had a problem that has been resolved with newer ones?

Normally I'd just get the lens and see for myself, but my current schedule of travel for work will force me to make these decisions more or less entirely blind, regrettably. Consequently, all this feedback is immensely valuable.

Ray Sachs wrote:

Henning W wrote:

I forgot to mention: the distance scale on the 12 is both pointless and badly executed. When you focus manually without the distance scale, like with all other m43 lenses, the focussing is stepless. With the ring pulled back, the lens focusses in steps that are noticeably larger than the dof will cover at f/2.

Then, the scale is totally inaccurate. True infinity focus isn't at the infinity mark, it's at the 3m mark which is definitely not covered by the dof.

In other words, DON'T USE THE FOCUS RING PULLED BACK! Olympus really screwed this up. It could have been nice, but a bunch of people were asleep at the wheel on this one. Maybe the management that had to leave because of fraud and mismanagement were responsible and had other things on their minds.

Not my experience at ALL. I tested this when I first got it and just did it again. I pulled the lens ring back and stood with the camera back exactly 5 feet from the target, manually focussed with the magnification on, and looked at the distance scale - dead on at the five foot mark. Repeated at the two foot mark and it was also dead on. I tried it at three meters before and it was good there too, but I didn't bother to repeat that today. I'm not looking for depth of field at f2.0 anyway and I've found the lens more than fine for zone focusing, usually set at five feet and something like f5.6, or 6.4 (at which five feet is the hyperfocal distance). When I'm shooting at f2 and looking for critical focus, I'm not relying on the distance markers but using the magnified view to get sharp focus, but for zone focus at apertures with a bit of depth of field, I find the lens with the focus ring pulled back just wonderful to work with. That's how Olympus sold it, as an aid to zone focus, and I find it dead on for that application. Its the only m43 native lens I'm comfortable using that way. There are workarounds for getting there with other lenses, but its a royal PIA in comparison.

It's not sample variation either; all the copies I've seen have these two problems.

Sorry all of the copies you've seen have been bad - maybe mine is the outlier, but its as close to perfect in this regard as I'd ever want.

If you ignore this ring, the lens is great, and I wouldn't be without it.

I think its great without it too. And in my case, the ring is a feature, not a bug.

-Ray
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/collections/72157626204295198/

Maybe it is a production run problem since some people have and have seen samples that work. Mine is a quite early sample. I bought it about 2 months after it first was in stock on the shelves here. It's just that between the unnecessary stepping of the focus zones and the inaccurate scale the whole thing becomes pointless. It should be fixable in firmware; at least the first issue is purely firmware and the second could be solved if in no other way than allowing a menu item to calibrate the lens.

I'm glad at least some copies are better, and, as I mentioned, the lens is a joy otherwise and I wouldn't be without it now.

Henning

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