Has the black Olympus 12mm lens gone for good?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell
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Being mount independent
In reply to Impulses, 2 months ago

Impulses wrote:

Good points Tom. Or say if another manufacturer such as Panasonic, Sigma or others bring out their own 12 mm lens in black with a good quality plastic build at a price of say $699 or $799. Hmmm...

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There are three kinds of people in this world - those who can count, and those who can't.

Samyang recently brought out a relatively compact 12/2.0 for $400, no AF tho. Haven't seen much discussion about it here, I imagine many would just choose to spend another $100 on the smaller Oly for AF even if it's used. There's certainly room for Sigma or Panasonic to bring out more wide primes.

The Olympus 12/2.0 is certainly well-made out of real metal, looks and feels good and has that trick little slide for manual exposure use. As far as quality looks and feel it is a winner. I cannot be more than a little disappointed at its outright performance compared to the (not really directly comparible) legacy lenses of equal, if not better, perfomance that can be had for a whole lot less money.

Consider some 50/60 year old "monster" FL and FD lenses that perform amazingly well and in such good condition for their age at a fraction of the price.

Obviously not "12mm" lenses, larger, heavier ... but also often faster, sharp as tacks and a delight to focus manually.

Therefore I am not arguing that the horses are suitable for the same course but that many legacy lenses offer extremely good value price/perfomance wise compared to even first line new ones.

Negatives of course are the size and weight and the need for adapters, no AF or communication with the camera. And of course I have never seen a legacy lens that was "12mm" and almost distortion free, has AF, let alone as fast as f2.0 and such a lens if it existed would not be cheap either (and so the Olympus 12/2.0 makes good sense to me). But other legacy lenses that have more directly comparible new release equivalents would be quite another story.

I am happy with my 12/2.0 even though I might grumble in small voice about it being rather more expensive than I think it should be (I would not send it back). In the end it is just supply and demand and after all the limited edition black 12/2.0 lenses seem all but gone, who can suggest that Olympus made a bad marketing effort? More lenses of this sort that are sales successes must do more for the Olympus bottom line than a whole squad of brand new camera bodies. But of course enthusiasts who are buying bodies inevitably add up-market lenses which are somehow much more expensive than the camera that they bought initially with kit-lens.

One of the principal selling points of the M4/3 mount system is the wide variety of lenses available. But at what a price - kitting up a system with a good range of AF lenses is just as expensive as it ever was on any mount system whereas those in any mount system willing to settle for legacy lenses via adapters have a real smorgasbord to choose from if the size burden can be accepted in exchange for economy. By selective choice there is no need even to settle for lesser perfomance other than MF which is not really that hard on digital cameras

Obviously a good range of modern "made for the mount" AF lenses is an easy-out, if an expensive one.

I think I am striking a good balance between native M4/3 mount lenses and a good number of legacy lenses happily re-cycled over (now) quite a few mount systems. Being mount independent gives a great freedom of choice as the current "best camera" leapfrogs around the brand names.

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Tom Caldwell

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