For The Price, A Great Lens

Started Aug 8, 2016 | User reviews
Henry Alekna Photography
Henry Alekna Photography Regular Member • Posts: 402
For The Price, A Great Lens
4

When this lens was first released, the pricing for a lens with a very slow f/6.3 at the zoom end was ridiculous. Now, years on, when I purchased this lens in 2015 for less than half the price it originally retailed for, I expected the kind of results you get from a basic kit lens- how wrong I was!

It is definitely not perfect- no lens in this price range is, with clunky, noisy, fragile and frankly unnecessary electronic zoom, though the "M-Zoom" mode is passable since it bypasses the electronic motor.  There is a surprisingly excellent, (if rather slow) macro mode, which more than makes up for it.  The weather sealing is an excellent feature, I am really glad they included it as it makes it a great combination for my weather sealed Olympus EM5.

For landscape use, for the price it is excellent, with good performance particularly (and unsurprisingly), at f/8.0.

21mm @ f/8.0, 1/200 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 100

At the wide angle, the performance is completely acceptable, though it does require a little sharpening in Lightroom.

12mm @ f/5.6, 1/320 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 800

As you get towards the telephoto end, from around 46-50mm the quality, while still good, is no longer at its best.

44mm @ f/6.3, 1/200 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 500

46mm @ f/6.0 1/13 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 200

Once you get to 50mm, the images it produces are good, but again, they need some work in Lightroom to look their best.

50mm @ f/6.3, 1/320 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 500

50mm @ f/7.1, 1/100 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 1600

I was really surprised by the quality of the lenses macro mode, though it does limit the lens to a slow maximum aperture of f/6.0, which can require you to boos the ISO to have a well lit photo.  The macro mode sets the lens to 43mm.

43mm @ f/6.0, 1/40, Olympus EM5, ISO 1250

43mm @ f/6.0, 1/100 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 200

43mm @ f/6.3, 1/60 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 500

43mm @ f/6.0,  1/40 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 1600

For street photography, the lens performs well for the focal lengths and quality, but is let down by the slow apertures.  Because of this, most street photography has to be shot at a high ISO, which can be a problem for Micro 4/3s cameras.

42mm @ f/5.6, 1/100 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 6400

50mm @ f/6.3, 1/50 second, Olympus EM5, ISO 4000

For long exposures without an ND, (neutral density) filter, the quality at f/22.0 is quite acceptable,

20mm @ f/22.0, 20 seconds, Olympus EM5, ISO 200

30mm @ f/16.0, 3.2 seconds, ISO 100

And lastly, an example with ND filter.  I kept the aperture small here to keep the customers in the shop I was taking a photo of as nothing more than transparent ghosts.

23mm @ f/20, 40 seconds, Olympus EM5, ISO 100

Overall, for the price, it is a great lens and if you aren't doing anything that makes a fast aperture essential, I highly recommend it.  Some of the highlights are the excellent (if slow), macro mode, the handy focal lengths and the weather sealing that has allowed me to shoot quite a few of my macro photos in the rain!  It also comes in handy for all outdoor photography situations.  It also makes a great, lightweight backup lens to keep in your camera bag for emergencies, and for the odd macro shot.

Overall, if you can get a reasonable price on it, (it is quite expensive in the US for some reason, but is a bargain price in Australia), it is well worth it.

Well, I hope that covers just about everything.  Let me know what you think of this review, as it is my first one.  Hopefully the first of many!

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My work can be seen on my Flickr page- https://www.flickr.com/photos/henryaleknaphotography/

 Henry Alekna Photography's gear list:Henry Alekna Photography's gear list
Canon PowerShot G16 Canon EOS 80D Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM +1 more
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ
Zoom lens • Micro Four Thirds • V314040BU000
Announced: Dec 14, 2011
Henry Alekna Photography's score
4.0
Average community score
4.2
JaKing
JaKing Senior Member • Posts: 6,299
Re: For The Price, A Great Lens

A well done review, Henry. I have this lens also. Pretty much agree with your thoughts. Better than the 14-42EZ IMO. Not in the same league as my 14-54 MkII. Each has its uses.

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br, john, from you know where in Melbourne ...

 JaKing's gear list:JaKing's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 Olympus E-1 +28 more
tgutgu Veteran Member • Posts: 4,134
Re: For The Price, A Great Lens

Apparently, you were lucky to get a decent sample. For me, the 12-50mm was the worst zoom lens I ever owned and used. Sharpness, contrast aren't really up to what one should expect from a kit lens. Color fringing and reflexes are too abundant.

Olympus should have made a lens with that specification a class higher with more quality.

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Thomas

 tgutgu's gear list:tgutgu's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Olympus E-PL7 Olympus E-M1 II Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS +31 more
Henry Alekna Photography
OP Henry Alekna Photography Regular Member • Posts: 402
Re: For The Price, A Great Lens

tgutgu wrote:

Apparently, you were lucky to get a decent sample. For me, the 12-50mm was the worst zoom lens I ever owned and used. Sharpness, contrast aren't really up to what one should expect from a kit lens. Color fringing and reflexes are too abundant.

Olympus should have made a lens with that specification a class higher with more quality.

That would be very annoying! Where you able to return it? It sounds to me like that is definitely a bad sample of the lens.

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My work can be seen on my Flickr page- https://www.flickr.com/photos/henryaleknaphotography/

 Henry Alekna Photography's gear list:Henry Alekna Photography's gear list
Canon PowerShot G16 Canon EOS 80D Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM +1 more
Henry Alekna Photography
OP Henry Alekna Photography Regular Member • Posts: 402
Re: For The Price, A Great Lens

JaKing wrote:

A well done review, Henry. I have this lens also. Pretty much agree with your thoughts. Better than the 14-42EZ IMO. Not in the same league as my 14-54 MkII. Each has its uses.

Thanks!  I agree, the 14-42 EZ is really more for convenience than IQ.  I would expect the far cheaper IIR version of the 14-42 to out perform it, though I don't own the EZ version to check.

I have read some great things about the 14-54, if I eventually get an EM1, I will definitely try it with the greater 4/3 compatibility that the EM1 offers.

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My work can be seen on my Flickr page- https://www.flickr.com/photos/henryaleknaphotography/

 Henry Alekna Photography's gear list:Henry Alekna Photography's gear list
Canon PowerShot G16 Canon EOS 80D Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM +1 more
obsolescence
obsolescence Contributing Member • Posts: 703
Re: For The Price, A Great Lens

One possible advantage for video that is seldom mentioned is the ability to control the electronic zoom remotely with the OI.Share app, thus not needing to touch the camera while zooming silently. I plan to get this lens specifically for use on a pole.

rashid7
rashid7 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,569
Re: For The Price, A Great Lens
1

I am glad you like it.  Any m4/3 lens used optimally will yield nice results.  It appears you got a good copy, and it is a versatile lens indeed!

But I would never recommend it when there are so many better alternatives.

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Keep it fun!

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