Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site

Started Dec 28, 2011 | Discussions
NZ Scott
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Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
Dec 28, 2011

Hi guys,

Robin Wong has posted the first decent user-review of the Oly 12-50mm on his website. Part one of his review shows that the lens has good macro capability and is plenty sharp at its price-point.

Check out the review at:

robinwong (dot) blogspot (dot) com

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farrukh
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 28, 2011

Nice review with some fab macro shots. Thank you for the link.

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dave92029
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to farrukh, Dec 28, 2011

Interesting review, thank you for telling us about it.

The macro photos are very impressive, both in the detail and the lighting. It's hard to believe that they were achieved from a "kit lens" and not a dedicated Macro lens.

I may have to reconsider this lens. It appears to be a lot sharper then my 14-42 II.
Dave

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jennajenna
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to dave92029, Dec 28, 2011

dave92029 wrote:

Interesting review, thank you for telling us about it.

The macro photos are very impressive, both in the detail and the lighting. It's hard to believe that they were achieved from a "kit lens" and not a dedicated Macro lens.

I may have to reconsider this lens. It appears to be a lot sharper then my 14-42 II.
Dave

and costs 5 times more lol

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gotompoes
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to jennajenna, Dec 28, 2011

still very cheap for the quality it delivers

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papillon_65
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 28, 2011

As I said when all the wailing and gnashing of teeth of teeth started about this lenses speed, it will be better than people seem to think. Robin's review has done nothing to change my mind on that. I look forward to part two when hopefully he'll show us what it can do in normal use.
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Tim in upstate NY
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Must admit that I spoke too soon . .
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 28, 2011

NZ Scott wrote:

Hi guys,

Robin Wong has posted the first decent user-review of the Oly 12-50mm on his website. Part one of his review shows that the lens has good macro capability and is plenty sharp at its price-point.

Check out the review at:

robinwong (dot) blogspot (dot) com

. . . Thanks for posting this link. I've been one of those who was more than a little negative about this lens when it was announced but after looking at Robin's photos, I'm thinking that this lens is a lot more attractive than I originally thought. That 100% and 200% crop is truly amazing and it was handheld !!!!

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mister_roboto
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Re: Must admit that I spoke too soon . .
In reply to Tim in upstate NY, Dec 28, 2011

I too was on the negative side for this lens when it was announced.

I've had a change of heart, it's really a kit do-it-all lens. Zoom, macro, weather sealed (still weird option all things considered), doing all these things at the expense of speed (and a little with size).

I still won't get it But I'm more interested in the implications of a possible weather sealed Olympus camera, because you know... it would make sense to have one if you're making a weather sealed lens and all.

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Camp Freddy
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macro gap- but will it do portraits?
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 29, 2011

For me macro is a side show but maybe that is the USP oly were looking for in launching this before a body cut to match the weatherproofing and the video performance.

Look forward to seeing bokeh at over 40mm: if it makes a good portrait lens on speed accuracy of focusing, contrast and of course Bokeh.

Without a good bokeh @45-50mm then they may as well have done say a 60mm fixed macro.

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Louis_Dobson
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 29, 2011

Thanks.

On paper it is the perfect landscape lens, and I suppose I will have to get one.

It fills me with no enthusiasm whatever though. .76 is not enough for a macro, and f6.3(?) is terrible. Still, for walks in the hills what more does one actually need?
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Louis_Dobson
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Re: macro gap- but will it do portraits?
In reply to Camp Freddy, Dec 29, 2011

Too slow for portraits. A great lens for landscapers.
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sderdiarian
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Re: It's right-sized and right-priced
In reply to jennajenna, Dec 29, 2011

jennajenna wrote:

dave92029 wrote:

Interesting review, thank you for telling us about it.

The macro photos are very impressive, both in the detail and the lighting. It's hard to believe that they were achieved from a "kit lens" and not a dedicated Macro lens.

I may have to reconsider this lens. It appears to be a lot sharper then my 14-42 II.

and costs 5 times more lol

It's advertised at $499 on Adorama and on other sites, just Google it. It's also definitely not over-sized, being of identical length to the M14-150 and M40/150 (3.27"), a little narrower (2.24"vs their 2.5") and only weighing 7.4 oz. Compare this to the FT 12-60's 3.9" x 3.13", 20.3 oz. and $900 price and you'll understand what Olympus has accomplished.

Based on Wong's review, this is a quality weather-sealed everyday use zoom with the added feature of macro that finally also realizes mFT size and weight advantages. Yes, slower than we'd like, but if resolution is excellent I could probably live with that.

What's of greatest interest to me is it also forecasts an upcoming weather-sealed body from Olympus. My guess, they wanted to create a stir in advance rather than waiting until its ready, thereby getting twice the publicity.

If the weather-sealed body is also "realistically" priced (as opposed to Olympus' usual practice of price gouging on intro, then dropping 2-3 months after) at $600-700 for the body, they'll have a success on their hands.
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Andy Crowe
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Not really spec'd for portrait work
In reply to Camp Freddy, Dec 29, 2011

For me macro is a side show but maybe that is the USP oly were looking for in launching this before a body cut to match the weatherproofing and the video performance.

Look forward to seeing bokeh at over 40mm: if it makes a good portrait lens on speed accuracy of focusing, contrast and of course Bokeh.

Without a good bokeh @45-50mm then they may as well have done say a 60mm fixed macro.

It's not really spec'd for portrait work, it's more of a rugged travel zoom for outdoor work (weatherproof, macro etc.) and video lens (power zoom), f5.6 - 6.3 isn't going to be enough for portraits. You'd be much better off with the cheap and excellent 45mm f1.8.

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Big Ga
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 29, 2011

NZ Scott wrote:

Robin Wong has posted the first decent user-review of the Oly 12-50mm on his website.

He's obviously managed to block the vast majority of conventional fourthirds out of his memory:

"I personally think that Olympus has always prioritized size/weight over performance ratio"

I just found that line hilarious when you think about lenses like the 35-100! I'm tempted to say that in the (near) past at least it was the complete opposite. They always prioritised optical performance at the expense of size weight!

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SteB
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Re: Review of Olympus 12-50mm on Robin Wong's site
In reply to NZ Scott, Dec 29, 2011

Just one small point about this review. There are some very nice macros, especially given it was just an outing to test the lens.

However, on the butterfly 200% crop it says "but still, the patterns of the eye is fully visible !!". This is not actually true as most of the detail in the eye visible in this shot is clearly false detail. Close up the structure of a butterflies eye does not look like that. The regular patterns of insect compound eyes often seems to have that effect on image processors. In other words many of the patterns seen in the eye are really digital artifacts, and are not the real structure of the butterfly's eye.

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beomagi
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Re: Must admit that I spoke too soon . .
In reply to Tim in upstate NY, Dec 29, 2011

Tim in upstate NY wrote:

That 100% and 200% crop is truly amazing and it was handheld !!!!

The power of flash

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Jogger
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Re: It's right-sized and right-priced
In reply to sderdiarian, Dec 29, 2011

sderdiarian wrote:

jennajenna wrote:

dave92029 wrote:

Interesting review, thank you for telling us about it.

The macro photos are very impressive, both in the detail and the lighting. It's hard to believe that they were achieved from a "kit lens" and not a dedicated Macro lens.

I may have to reconsider this lens. It appears to be a lot sharper then my 14-42 II.

and costs 5 times more lol

It's advertised at $499 on Adorama and on other sites, just Google it. It's also definitely not over-sized, being of identical length to the M14-150 and M40/150 (3.27"), a little narrower (2.24"vs their 2.5") and only weighing 7.4 oz. Compare this to the FT 12-60's 3.9" x 3.13", 20.3 oz. and $900 price and you'll understand what Olympus has accomplished.

If you knew anything about the 12-60, you wouldnt be making this silly comparison.

Based on Wong's review, this is a quality weather-sealed everyday use zoom with the added feature of macro that finally also realizes mFT size and weight advantages. Yes, slower than we'd like, but if resolution is excellent I could probably live with that.

What's of greatest interest to me is it also forecasts an upcoming weather-sealed body from Olympus. My guess, they wanted to create a stir in advance rather than waiting until its ready, thereby getting twice the publicity.

If the weather-sealed body is also "realistically" priced (as opposed to Olympus' usual practice of price gouging on intro, then dropping 2-3 months after) at $600-700 for the body, they'll have a success on their hands.
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Kevdog
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Re: It's right-sized and right-priced
In reply to Jogger, Dec 29, 2011

It's advertised at $499 on Adorama and on other sites, just Google it. It's also definitely not over-sized, being of identical length to the M14-150 and M40/150 (3.27"), a little narrower (2.24"vs their 2.5") and only weighing 7.4 oz. Compare this to the FT 12-60's 3.9" x 3.13", 20.3 oz. and $900 price and you'll understand what Olympus has accomplished.

If you knew anything about the 12-60, you wouldnt be making this silly comparison.

I have to agree. a 12-60@2.8-3.5 is a lot different than a 12-50@3.5-6.3.

A closer comparison is the 14-54. And here's where it gets interesting.

12-50 * 14-54
211g * 435g
57mm * 74mm (diameter)
83mm * 87mm (length)

The weight is the main difference. The diameter is up as well to accomodate the bigger glass. So they could make a fast zoom of the same size and specs, it would just be heavier and a bit bigger diameter. A 2.8-3.5 12-50 would excite people a lot more.

But once I found out it was a kit lens, I stopped being upset at the specs

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Mark Thornton
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Re: It's right-sized and right-priced
In reply to Kevdog, Dec 29, 2011

I seem to remember that the 14-54 was also a kit lens --- on the e-1.

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sderdiarian
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Re: It's right-sized and right-priced
In reply to Kevdog, Dec 29, 2011

Kevdog wrote:

It's advertised at $499 on Adorama and on other sites, just Google it. It's also definitely not over-sized, being of identical length to the M14-150 and M40/150 (3.27"), a little narrower (2.24"vs their 2.5") and only weighing 7.4 oz. Compare this to the FT 12-60's 3.9" x 3.13", 20.3 oz. and $900 price and you'll understand what Olympus has accomplished.

If you knew anything about the 12-60, you wouldnt be making this silly comparison.

I have to agree. a 12-60@2.8-3.5 is a lot different than a 12-50@3.5-6.3.

I agree as well; we'll see what tests bear out on optical quality, but the 12-60 (and 14-54 MkII) is the gold standard in FT for a normal zoom. The point I was trying to make was that in terms of size/weight/price, the 12-50 is a better match as an upgrade to the kit zoom for many mFT users. Apologies, posts are more challenging than a simple conversation!

A closer comparison is the 14-54. And here's where it gets interesting.

12-50 * 14-54
211g * 435g
57mm * 74mm (diameter)
83mm * 87mm (length)

The weight is the main difference. The diameter is up as well to accomodate the bigger glass. So they could make a fast zoom of the same size and specs, it would just be heavier and a bit bigger diameter. A 2.8-3.5 12-50 would excite people a lot more.

My take is if one wants the qualities of the 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 MkII, simply buy it. It's virtually the same price ($520 on Amazon) and is CDAF enabled, so I'd expect it to have acceptably fast AF with the newer Pen bodies, and it's an excellent lens, albeit more than twice the weight of the M12-50. The reason Olympus went the route they did was to meet weight and price goals to sell a lot of lenses. Doesn't mean it isn't good even if slower than many would like; tests will bear this out.

But once I found out it was a kit lens, I stopped being upset at the specs

The 14-54mm was the kit lens for the E-3 and had superlative specs; kit lenses don't have to be mediocre.

And many of us bought into Olympus FT (E-510, E-620 user) primarily for their excellent yet affordable SG and HG lenses. I'm still using them with my E-PM1, not as big a deal as some make it out to be.

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