Best cheap Olympus kit lens

Started Jun 10, 2017 | User reviews
Humansvillian
Humansvillian Senior Member • Posts: 2,177
Best cheap Olympus kit lens
4

This lens is only $129 online. For that you get a weatherproof lens, with a choice of electric or manual zoom, a real macro switch to allow macro use, an extra function button, in a kit lens that zooms from 12mm to 50mm.

For $500, this would not be such a deal.

For $129, this lens is a screaming bargain and the best cheap Olympus kit lens, by a wide margin.

It' about the same size as the 40-150R kit telephoto.

It takes beautiful photographs, it's cheap, and it has lots of extra features.

What more, could you ask for, in a $129 lens?

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ
Zoom lens • Micro Four Thirds • V314040BU000
Announced: Dec 14, 2011
Humansvillian's score
5.0
Average community score
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mring1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,404
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

I have it and have used it, though not much anymore

Would agree at $129 it's a great deal. Don't think I'd give it a 5. OTOH, when you get a good copy and work within it's limitations, it's a very serviceable lens. For hikes and so on as a one lens solution it works quite well with it's pseudomacro option. That and it's WR are the best parts.

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stateit
stateit Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
1

My best shots with this are at 43mm (Macro). I love it. It's what came with my m5ii.

Since then I've got 25mm & 45mm primes which I'd rather walk-and-zoom with for certain shots, but as an all-round lens I still love and use the 12-50. The 12mm aspect is so useful. As it is as at max.

But then zooms are generally used at either min or max. That is an acknowledged but often resented fact.

I bought the 14-42EZ thinking it might be a good 'compact' lens, but I've hardly ever used it as the 12-50 still finds itself on the camera most of the time.

I've the 12-40 as well, but it proves just too cumbersome in a lot of situations for me.
The 12-50 is a 'swiss-army knife' of a lens. Carrying on in this vein I'd call the primes 'Opinel knives' (very sharp)

I might be one of the few still to fall in love with the 12-40...

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zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 4,117
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
2

stateit wrote:

My best shots with this are at 43mm (Macro). I love it. It's what came with my m5ii.

Yes, the macro function is very nice. But I sold mine when I got my 12-40, as the the close focus of the 12-40 is enough in most cases.

Since then I've got 25mm & 45mm primes which I'd rather walk-and-zoom with for certain shots, but as an all-round lens I still love and use the 12-50. The 12mm aspect is so useful. As it is as at max.

But then zooms are generally used at either min or max. That is an acknowledged but often resented fact.

I bought the 14-42EZ thinking it might be a good 'compact' lens, but I've hardly ever used it as the 12-50 still finds itself on the camera most of the time.

I still have one of these that came with my E-PM2, but have barely used it, and it's not worth selling. With the 12-32 and 12-40, and the fact that I spend a lot of time at 12mm, there just isn't much call for this lens.

I've the 12-40 as well, but it proves just too cumbersome in a lot of situations for me.
The 12-50 is a 'swiss-army knife' of a lens. Carrying on in this vein I'd call the primes 'Opinel knives' (very sharp)

Curious why you find the 12-40 cumbersome? The 12-50 is the same length, just thinner and lighter.

I might be one of the few still to fall in love with the 12-40...

Yes, I think you might be.

I agree with the OP that the 12-50 is an absolute steal at $129, and I don't think there is a lens anything like it on any system at 3x the price.

It's funny how one of the most maligned lenses in the system can suddenly become a bargain once Oly chops the price from $500 down to $129...

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Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,875
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
1

Humansvillian wrote:

This lens is only $129 online. For that you get a weatherproof lens, with a choice of electric or manual zoom, a real macro switch to allow macro use, an extra function button, in a kit lens that zooms from 12mm to 50mm.

For $500, this would not be such a deal.

For $129, this lens is a screaming bargain and the best cheap Olympus kit lens, by a wide margin.

It' about the same size as the 40-150R kit telephoto.

It takes beautiful photographs, it's cheap, and it has lots of extra features.

What more, could you ask for, in a $129 lens?

Three other features of the lens:

  • It is one of 4 micro 4/3rds lenses that has an electronic zoom.  The electronic zoom can be useful for slowly zooming during video.  It is also useful if you want to mount the camera and use it remotely, and you want to zoom in or out via the Olympus or Panasonic smartphone apps (though you probably need to pair it with a gimble for best results).  The other lenses with electronic zoom are (Olympus 14-42mm EZ, Panasonic 14-42mm PZ, and Panasonic 45-175mm PZ).
  • The 12-50mm uses internal focusing, which means the lens is the same size whether you are shooting wide angle or telephoto.  Since one of my hobbies is making steampunk camera cases, I've recently been using the 12-50mm for this, so I don't have to worry about the lens zooming in or out.
  • It is the cheapest lens that is weather sealed, unless you bought the G85 with the G85's kit lens (12-60mm).  This is useful if you picked up a refurbished E-m5 or E-m1 and wanted something weather sealed.
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Robert Evagelista
Robert Evagelista Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
6

It is disguised to be a kit lens...
it's weather sealled
It has a descent Macro Performance
it is sharp...
It is no so fast but with the latest sensors.. you can Increase ISO so much speed can be compensated.. Plus there is the 5-axis IBIS..

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Soulhand Senior Member • Posts: 1,464
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

zuikowesty wrote:

I've the 12-40 as well, but it proves just too cumbersome in a lot of situations for me.
The 12-50 is a 'swiss-army knife' of a lens. Carrying on in this vein I'd call the primes 'Opinel knives' (very sharp)

Curious why you find the 12-40 cumbersome? The 12-50 is the same length, just thinner and lighter.

I think you just answered your own question

I might be one of the few still to fall in love with the 12-40...

Yes, I think you might be.

I'm another one of the few, then

I like the pictures that result from my 12-40 but it is simply too heavy for me a lot of the time (while not going long enough).  I know it pretty much has to be that big, but it still makes for a bulky result.

Having said that, I don't use my 12-50mm much either.  The 14-150mm is my usual lens (I just wish it was a bit wider than 14mmm).

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Skinnybloke
Skinnybloke Regular Member • Posts: 110
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
3

Robert, your pics are the epitome of the old saying "A good tradesman never blames his tools".

rwbb Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

Where do you find this lens available for $129? I have checked several vendors and it is in the $500 range.

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G1Shooter Contributing Member • Posts: 685
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
1

Robin Wong got very good results with this lens relative to the price:

https://robinwong.blogspot.com/2012/01/olympus-mzuiko-12-50mm-f35-63-review_05.html

I love my 12-40, but it does get heavy after a day of hiking.

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Robert Evagelista
Robert Evagelista Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
1

Skinnybloke wrote:

Robert, your pics are the epitome of the old saying "A good tradesman never blames his tools".

In addition to that All the Olympus Gear/Lens I have.
Have Limits beyond my capability as a photographer.
If it fails, it is my Shortcoming.
Some gear are easier to use and more forgiving.
However most of them can be pushed to great limits...

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Bob Carstens Contributing Member • Posts: 804
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

Humansvillian wrote:

This lens is only $129 online. For that you get a weatherproof lens, with a choice of electric or manual zoom, a real macro switch to allow macro use, an extra function button, in a kit lens that zooms from 12mm to 50mm.

Where did you find it for that price?  Thanks

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Bob Carstens

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Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington Forum Pro • Posts: 21,112
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

I'd love to see a higher IQ version in the $500-$700 (USD) neighborhood.  Such a lens would never come off my camera.

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SkiHound Veteran Member • Posts: 3,851
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

Lovely photos Robert. Your work is always lovely. Perhaps I had a bad copy but the 12-50 I had was, optically, the poorest performing native m43 lens I've used. Mine was distinctly poorer than the copy of the 14-42 kit lens I owned. And I don't think I'm a real lens snob. I've been very happy with images from the Panasonic 12-32, 14-140, Olympust 40-150 f/4-5.6, etc. The 12-50 is a very versatile focal length range, weather sealed, and has a very useful close focusing capability, but I never felt the IQ was adequate. I do think there may have been a lot of lens to lens variation with the 12-50, especially when it first became available. I recall user reviews being very mixed. So perhaps I was just unlucky.

Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,875
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

rwbb wrote:

Where do you find this lens available for $129? I have checked several vendors and it is in the $500 range.

Olympus seems to offer it for sale every so often.  If you live in the USA, check at the Olympus outlet center from time to time.  Also keh.com has 2 used 12-50mm's for sale right now, one is $150 plus s/h:

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Robert Evagelista
Robert Evagelista Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

SkiHound wrote:

Lovely photos Robert. Your work is always lovely. Perhaps I had a bad copy but the 12-50 I had was, optically, the poorest performing native m43 lens I've used. Mine was distinctly poorer than the copy of the 14-42 kit lens I owned. And I don't think I'm a real lens snob. I've been very happy with images from the Panasonic 12-32, 14-140, Olympust 40-150 f/4-5.6, etc. The 12-50 is a very versatile focal length range, weather sealed, and has a very useful close focusing capability, but I never felt the IQ was adequate. I do think there may have been a lot of lens to lens variation with the 12-50, especially when it first became available. I recall user reviews being very mixed. So perhaps I was just unlucky.

Thank you for the kind words..

I also observed that there is a lot of mixed reviews...
I might have a good copy..
However I also find the 12-50 the most forgiving to use.
I only use the 12-50 on situations that I have time to fine tune...
or situations With Flash, and on Long Exposures..
For portraits I would not use it.
Recently I only use it for Macro..
Since I do not have dedicated macro..
And I become comfortable and reliant with the 17,25,45 mm fast primes..
I plan to use it for Holi events (Colored powder celebrations) .. since it is weather Sealed..

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Tim Reidy Productions
Tim Reidy Productions Veteran Member • Posts: 4,094
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
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Humansvillian
OP Humansvillian Senior Member • Posts: 2,177
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens

rwbb wrote:

Where do you find this lens available for $129? I have checked several vendors and it is in the $500 range.

Ebay has the lens from more than one vendor in the $130 range.

Here's one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-M-Zuiko-12-50mm-f-3-5-6-3-Aspherical-AF-ED-Lens-For-Four-Thirds-Black-/172433189768?hash=item2825d1ab88:g:AkoAAOSwA3dYRPiP

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HRC2016 Senior Member • Posts: 5,987
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
1

I agree this is a nice lens, but IQ is not on par with the 12-40 pro, which is much faster.

I will use the 12-50 in a situation where I need the FL of the 12-40, but not the speed nor weight, nor IQ.

It's a steal at $150 and when you combine it with the $99 40-150 shows that you can get decent lens/reach for under $250.

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Robert Evagelista
Robert Evagelista Veteran Member • Posts: 3,434
Re: Best cheap Olympus kit lens
1

HRC2016 wrote:

I agree this is a nice lens, but IQ is not on par with the 12-40 pro, which is much faster.

if we compare the Kit lens to the Pro... it is us who have low IQ...  LOL...
But I know what you mean, the gap is huge... but the kit lens is still usable..

I will use the 12-50 in a situation where I need the FL of the 12-40, but not the speed nor weight, nor IQ.

It's a steal at $150 and when you combine it with the $99 40-150 shows that you can get decent lens/reach for under $250.

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