Oly 12-200 review

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tomhongkong Veteran Member • Posts: 3,701
Oly 12-200 review

I have been trying to find reviews for the new Oly lens. It is very difficult to get good information but I have found a German site which has done a test comparing it with 14-150 (which is very relevant for me as I have that lens)

The link, if I have got it right, is


The review has images at several focal lengths and commentary. I have done a google translate of the commentary as follows (sorry it is rather long)

"For the first comparison between Olympus' three superzoom lenses, I searched for a suitable medium-distance subject on a windless day, which can serve as an eye-catcher for an assessment of lens performance in the typical long-range range. It is not an all-encompassing test, but allows a practical assessment of imaging performance. The recordings were made with the Olympus E-M1 Mark II from a sturdy tripod with electronic shutter and remote release, autofocused with manual focus control. 12/14 mm First, a comparison of the two image sections at 12 mm (left) and 14 mm focal length (right), which is not quality assessment, but shows the difference between the wide-angle position of the lenses. An area was selected from the middle of the image (always left) and one from the image bor der (always to the right).

It can be seen that in the center the two older superzooms 14-150 and 14-150 II show a slightly higher resolution with open aperture, but also dimmed, a difference that is directly visible in the direct comparison, but not in the practical individual consideration strong. This looks different at the edge of the picture, here is the new 12-200 in the advantage and shows already with open aperture a better imaging performance, which also significantly improved by dimming than the two older models. Again, the difference in the direct comparison of course, more striking than in practice, but it is in absolute terms larger. In simple terms, the 12-200 in the wide-angle position shows a more homogeneous image than the two models with 14-150 mm focal length

With a focal length of about 30 mm, a completely different result is shown. In the image center, all three lenses are at a very similar level with slight but in practice practically irrelevant advantages for the 12-200. On the other hand, at the edge of the picture the difference between the lens constructions is very clear, to the disadvantage of the new model. In fact, the image quality disadvantage is so noticeable that I thought only of a mistake in the recording - but the same blur was synonymous in other pictures with this lens, so it is at least representative of my sample tested

About 60 mm was the focal length in the third comparison series, and here is no trace of the obvious weakness. In the image center, the 12-200 is at least as high resolution as the 14-150 II, while the 14-150 of the first generation conspicuously degrades. At the edge of the picture, the 14-150 II is better at 60 mm than the newer 12-200, but the difference is not particularly great. Interesting are the differences in the general contrast behavior, which suggest a larger difference here, and which persist up to the maximum focal length. The 14-150 I is again the weakest at this point

At 100mm focal length there are no significant differences in the center between the 12-200 and the 14-150 II, only the 14-150 I shows somewhat weaker performances. But this is noticeably good at the edge of the picture, while the 14-150 II and above all the 12-200 in the direct comparison visibly worse off, in the case of the 12-200 again with the conspicuous loss of contrast.

150/200 mm The last series of comparisons was carried out at 150 mm (left) and 200 mm (right), again here two pictures that illustrate the difference.

In the image sections, the usual picture emerges again, 12-200 and 14-150 II are in the center at a very similar level and show only the contrast slight differences, while the 14-150 of the first generation visible visibly weaker.
I find the comparison at the edge of the picture interesting, because here the weaker contrast deceives the impression, but in fact the 12-200 delivers quite a good performance and shows more details than the two 14-150, both at the same and at the maximum focal length of 200 mm.

The 12-200 shows some untypical features for a superzoom, in which it reproduces well in the ultra wide angle position and satisfactorily in the telephoto position, both in the image center and at the edge of the image. In addition, the center itself is never bad, even when the aperture is open, but on the contrary usually shows good resolution and contrast values. I can not say that from the edge of the picture, however, especially in the medium focal range, there are some obvious weaknesses that cloud the impression and culminate in a focal length around the normal range. However, the lens can still be sharp, but dimmed down to f-stops 8 to 11, it can be recommended almost without restrictions, over the entire focal length range and up to the edge of the picture.
Note: Of course I compared all test images with the other results and example shots in order to exclude extraneous confounding factors and to provide a representative overview of the specimen I have tested."

Draw your own conclusion from this.  It looks to me as though there is overall a modest improvement over 14-150ii, with of course the advantage of wider range.  Is it worth $899?  That's your choice.

Perhaps a German speaker can look at the original and provide a more accurate view


Olympus 14-150 F4-5.6 II Olympus E-M1
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