Strange noise from the Oly 12-40/2.8

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Anders W
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Strange noise from the Oly 12-40/2.8
4 months ago

My new E-M1 with 12-40/2.8 arrived today and when playing around with them I picked up an unexpected noise. The noise is irregular and sounds a bit like the (new, electromagnetic) IBIS does when it is actively trying to counteract camera shake, especially when it has to work hard like when you have a tele mounted. The noise is not loud but still audible in quiet surroundings with your eye at the EVF (or even more with your ear to the camera).

At first, I suspected the IBIS system but have now determined that the noise comes from the lens rather than the body. I get the same noise when I put the 12-40 on my E-M5. And it disappears if I put another lens on the E-M1.

In trying to diagnose it, I made the following additional observations:

It is not from zooming. It occurs even when I don't zoom.

It is not from focusing. It occurs even when I don't touch the focus ring.

It is not from the aperture mechanism trying to adapt to varying light conditions. It occurs even with the lens cap on.

It is not from the OIS since the lens doesn't have any.

It is electrically driven somehow. It doesn't occur with the camera off.

It is sensitive to movement. It doesn't occur if I keep the camera perfectly still but starts as soon as I move it, even if slightly and gently, like tipping the nose down a bit and then back again.

I have found nothing wrong with the way the lens functions this far. Everything seems to work like it should.

Question: Is this noise normal and, if so, what the heck is the explanation? Why would a lens make noise even when none of its mechanisms (zoom, focus, aperture) is actively used? Does this lens somehow need electrical force just to keep things in place or what?

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +21 more
Olympus E-M1
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