Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

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Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,698
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

magnesus3 wrote:

tomhongkong wrote:

Well, each to his own, of course, but for me the 200mm end is more important than 12mm. There are already zooms starting at 12mm, including the 12-100, but nothing which gives the range, and is WR, to get out to 200. Cropping the 12-100 will just not give a satisfactory result for me. (and the 40-150 or 50-200 mean either lens changes in atrocious conditions, or two bodies which is not practical)

Unfortunately most of the test data is quite disappointing for this lens at 200. There are very few quantitative tests yet. Ephotozine is about the best we have so far, but that says that its test at 200 (dismal) is not really representative of the lens in practical use (without giving us an example of what they mean). It is even hard to find decent sample shots at 200, they are either short range shots or very dark subjects or out of focus. The chimneys in the Ephotozine sample actually look quite good if given some PP. Other test sites suggest stopping down to f8 to get anything approaching acceptable quality.

Maybe I am being pushed to an RX10iv! I will wait a couple of weeks by when there should be better results available.

tom

One thing to consider with RX10IV is that the zoom is electronic I think - you can't just rotate the barel and go from wide to tele in half a second like on the 12-200.

Are you sure cropping 12-100 won't be enough for you? Have you tried on some sample photos?

The first month I owned the 12-100mm f4 I took it to White Sands National Monument instead of the 12-40 and 40-150mm f2.8’s. Saved many lens changes over 4 days of very dusty shooting and only a very selected few times did I wonder all the way out to between the 80-100mm range.

Looking back at what I captured, the vast majority of what I shot COULD have easily been handled by just the 12-40mm f2.8, but any savings of lens changes in that environment is helpful and I don’t doubt it conservatively saved 4-6 changes between the 12-40 and 40-150mm daily.

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magnesus3 Regular Member • Posts: 466
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

My experience with cropping is not very positive. I was all set to get 12-100, but held off because I tried cropping my 35-100/2.8 to 200mm equivalent, and didn't get particularly good results, certainly not enough to justify the cost and size of a 12-100. 35-100 is at least as good as 12-100 so results should be similar.

I understand. I usually limit cropping to around 1.5x so a sharp 100mm could replace for me a not so sharp 150mm. 200mm would be going too far. Shame 12-200 seems no so sharp in the 100-200 range. Would be a great lens otherwise.

Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,698
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
1

I would not term the images Robin captured at 200mm as all that awful. If you accept the lens is going to be in the same class as of the 14-150 and not a 12-100mm f4, for the few times I would venture into the 100-200mm range with that lens, it looks good enough as a substitute for a heavier setup and a step up from the small travel zoom compacts I would not spend money on today.

When I elect to use the 12-100mm f4, I also carry the 40-150mm f2.8 and use it first as a 150mm f2.8 prime....a prime I could also use instead of the 12-100mm when needing to zoom somewhere else between 101-149mm to get a shot.

Could the 12-200 be a decent option to use that bridges the gap between a 7-14mm f2.8 and 300mm f4? No idea, but I anticipate receiving an email sometime next week from Olympus that a copy of the 12-200mm is headed my way to try in that exact fashion.

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tomhongkong Veteran Member • Posts: 3,803
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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Gregm61 wrote:

I would not term the images Robin captured at 200mm as all that awful. If you accept the lens is going to be in the same class as of the 14-150 and not a 12-100mm f4, for the few times I would venture into the 100-200mm range with that lens, it looks good enough as a substitute for a heavier setup and a step up from the small travel zoom compacts I would not spend money on today.

When I elect to use the 12-100mm f4, I also carry the 40-150mm f2.8 and use it first as a 150mm f2.8 prime....a prime I could also use instead of the 12-100mm when needing to zoom somewhere else between 101-149mm to get a shot.

Could the 12-200 be a decent option to use that bridges the gap between a 7-14mm f2.8 and 300mm f4? No idea, but I anticipate receiving an email sometime next week from Olympus that a copy of the 12-200mm is headed my way to try in that exact fashion.

I am looking forward to your conclusions after trying it

tom

geepondy Senior Member • Posts: 2,197
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

I would love/hope to see this as well.  I'm a new GX9 owner and one thing I found I'm already quite tired of is walking around on hikes/nature walks and swapping out the kit 12-60 and 45-150.  The 14-140 looks promising although the kit 12-60 is very sharp and wonder if the 14-140 could match that within the respective focal ranges.

Now the new Olympus 12-200 looks interesting but assuming image quality is acceptable, one big turnoff is that you are already at f6 by 100mm.  Plus I assume the Panasonic 14-140 with lens IS on a Panasonic body is going to give better total IS then the 12-200 which would rely on the camera IS only.

4thnebula wrote:

Very helpful would be comparison to competition like the Panasonic 14-140 (which I have and have used a lot) and Sony RX10 iv.

Example: Would it be worth upgrading from 14-140 to 12-200 just for the long end and better sharpness.

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Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 16,345
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
1

I could see the benefit of no lens swaps in any place with "Sands" in the name.

Windy days at the seashore present a special challenge to gear, both the possibility of getting salt and grit inside the camera and lens, and coating the front element. I try to minimize/avoid lens swaps and use filters to ease cleaning at day's end.

It's helpful to think about environmental challenges when selecting the kit.

Cheers,

Rick

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spike29 Senior Member • Posts: 1,849
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

geepondy wrote:

I would love/hope to see this as well. I'm a new GX9 owner and one thing I found I'm already quite tired of is walking around on hikes/nature walks and swapping out the kit 12-60 and 45-150. The 14-140 looks promising although the kit 12-60 is very sharp and wonder if the 14-140 could match that within the respective focal ranges.

14-140mmii does very well. even the Wide angle and full zoom are still good. NOT weather sealed sadly. (But most people don't care about that.) It's made dual IS2 compatible by firmware update.

Now the new Olympus 12-200 looks interesting but assuming image quality is acceptable, one big turnoff is that you are already at f6 by 100mm.

And i suppose you need to stopdown a bit at the end so minimum is F7.1?

Interesting concept indeed but i hope it's as good as your combo otherwise it is as the 45-200mm very handy but not a fast seller.

Plus I assume the Panasonic 14-140 with lens IS on a Panasonic body is going to give better total IS then the 12-200 which would rely on the camera IS only.

4thnebula wrote:

Very helpful would be comparison to competition like the Panasonic 14-140 (which I have and have used a lot) and Sony RX10 iv.

Example: Would it be worth upgrading from 14-140 to 12-200 just for the long end and better sharpness.

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Maikeru C Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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Well, looks like my local store has a copy right now. Not sure if I will swing by and take a look or not. I already have the 7-14 and 12-40 2.8 pros and the 75-300 Oly and the Tamron 14-150.

Took the Tamron 14-150 on a trip recently and it was "ok", but that's about all I thought as as a one lens solution.  Not much different than a good point and shoot frankly.

Heading to Singapore and Western Australia and still dithering about what to bring.

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Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,698
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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Just received the email from Olympus, the 12-200 I pre-ordered was shipped via two-day air today, so I’ll be shooting with it before the end of the week.

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tcab Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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I've had the 12-200mm for five days now and shot about 600 shots on my EM5II. I like the ergonomics (handling, size, weight) but have been on a learning curve re sharpness.

Having being spoilt by the primes and the excellent 12-40 f2.8 and 40-150 f2.8 zooms, I know the 12-200 isn't going to match those - and it doesn't. Wide open at 12mm I reckon it does - super sharp. For the rest of the focal range, you need to stop down, but not too much of course because of diffraction stealing sharpness. My current results are as follows

12mm - f3.5, advice: wide open ok - do not go over f8
26mm - f4.7, advice: stop down to 6 - do not go over f9
50mm - f5.7, advice: stop down to 7 - do not go over f9
100mm - f6.2, advice: stop down to 8 - do not go over f10
150mm - f6.3, advice: stop down to 8 - do not go over f10
200mm - f6.3, advice: stop down to 9 or 10 - do not go over f13

The above is only a rough guide re maximum central sharpness, and its rules can probably be bent slightly. Happy to compare with other numbers people might have - its also a bit hard to remember!

Unless wide open at 12mm, this lens rarely gives me that micro-contrasty 3D feeling of satisfaction that I get with the other Olympus lenses. Yes, yes, I know - that is to be expected for this insane zoom range form factor. I probably would have been happier with the 12-100mm f4 which I don't own - as I am a bit of proud pixel peeper. Still the results are very good as long as I remember to stop down. If I forget, I can get soft photos. Below is a brick wall shot that I stopped down correctly for - thus its decently sharp.

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Auf Reisen Contributing Member • Posts: 625
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

Thank you! That is informative.

What did you think of CA, distortion, and corner sharpness, especially at the wider focal lengths?

How do the zoom and focus rings feel? Do they operate smoothly? How much resistance do they have?

And do you think you could qualify your perceived lack of sharpness vs. the primes and Pro zooms a bit? In what way is it apparent?

Also, and this might seem a little bit silly, but what kind of material is the zoom and focus ring made out of? I have the 75-300 and my girlfriend has the 12-50, and while they look very similar, the 75-300 is made out of a very different material that just attracts scratches like nothing else.

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1943Mike
1943Mike Regular Member • Posts: 262
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

My thanks to you as well for posting your initial thoughts and settings.

If that brick wall is near you, would you mind shooting it with the 12-200 at 200mm? Or any equivalent scene with lots of detail. Since my interest lies mostly in having an all around/travel lens with that extra reach, an image of how well that lens can resolve detail at 200mm would be very informative to me. I've read the reviews but there's nothing like seeing an image to add more visual information to my decision making process.

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1943Mike

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tcab Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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@auf - I haven't studied the CA and corner sharpness yet so can't comment. Zoom ring has resistance and requires a bit more force to get the last bit of the zoom lens out. Zoom and focus rings feel like metal - very nice feel. As for describing the perceived lack of sharpness - I thought I did pretty well with my phrase "micro-contrasty 3D feeling" Sharpness is good, not bitingly excellent, when stopped down. Here are some sample shots, using correct stopping down technique, all unprocessed and exported from Lightroom:

@1943Mike Unfortunately that wall is an hour's drive away, but here are a bunch of shots at 200mm, mostly stopped down as specified, all unprocessed and exported from Lightroom.

Interestingly, the rusty tank shot is taken at both f8 vs f11 and looking at it again, I can't see much if any difference in detail, suggesting you don't need to stop down to f9 and above for 200mm - and that f8 is sufficient. Though that might be because the rusty tank subject is far away. If the subject is close, then I would still stop down to f9, f10 or even f11 at 200mm.

200mm f11

200mm f8

200mm

200mm

200mm

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JakeJY Senior Member • Posts: 3,525
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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1943Mike wrote:

My thanks to you as well for posting your initial thoughts and settings.

If that brick wall is near you, would you mind shooting it with the 12-200 at 200mm? Or any equivalent scene with lots of detail. Since my interest lies mostly in having an all around/travel lens with that extra reach, an image of how well that lens can resolve detail at 200mm would be very informative to me. I've read the reviews but there's nothing like seeing an image to add more visual information to my decision making process.

This reminds me of a point brought up before. The performance of a lens can vary based on where the focus plane is. It may be the lens performs poorly when focused close (as is the case for most chart based testing) at the longest focal length, but performs better when focused nearer infinity (as is the case in the "real world" samples).

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1943Mike
1943Mike Regular Member • Posts: 262
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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Jake - Thank you! The rusty tank shots are very helpful to me. I appreciate your having taken the time to post them.

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1943Mike

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JakeJY Senior Member • Posts: 3,525
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
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1943Mike wrote:

Jake - Thank you! The rusty tank shots are very helpful to me. I appreciate your having taken the time to post them.

To clarify, I wasn't the one who posted the pictures. It was tcab. I just made a general comment about taking into account the focus distance when lens testing.

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Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,698
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out
2

Gregm61 wrote:

Just received the email from Olympus, the 12-200 I pre-ordered was shipped via two-day air today, so I’ll be shooting with it before the end of the week.

Mine showed up today. The FedEX notification said "before 8pm" and Olympus required someone be there to sign, so of course I stayed close to home most of the day, with the FedEX truck pulling up right at 5pm.

The physical look is similar to that of the 75-300 II and feels like I would imagine how that lens would if it were similarly gasketed like this lens.

The zoom ring is nice and smooth, with the exception of a small bit of extra resistance out-of-the-box somewhere around 150mm or so that seemed to smooth out a little bit as I worked it throughout the range and feels better when the lens is mounted on the camera. The resistance at 150mm or so was more pronounced zooming from 12-200 than when starting at 200mm and zooming back down. Size-wise, at 12mm it's basically about the same size, length-wise but not as thick as the 12-40mm f2.8 when set to 12mm. Weight-wise, it's night and day compared to the 12-100mm f4, two very obviously different lenses when compared with one in each hand, but there's nothing "cheap" about the feel of the 12-200. It's a very well made lens, just different materials.

As late as it arrived I had little chance to do any shooting beyond the normal 1-2 subjects everyone has around home you might use to check for resolution compared to other optics. I now have the lens mounted on my E-M1X and plan to do a lot of architectural shooting with it tomorrow downtown which abounds with subject matter one can use to test the full zoom range. I may even make a side-trip out to the Arboretum as the close focus distance throughout the focal length range, like so many of these M. Zuikos, is impressive.

One note regarding what was "in the box", the B&H listing shows the lens case being included. The case was not in the box and I see nothing in the Olympus materials that says it should be, so B&H may just have that incorrect.

One use I already imagine utilizing is zooming this lens to 150mm and enabling the digital 2x zoom to "preview" the view at 300mm to see if I want to swap to that lens or not.

It's loaded in a Tamrac Velocity 8X bag, along with the 300mm f4, 7-14mm f2.8 and 8mm f1.8 Fisheye, all of which I plan on using during the day to see how the images compare.

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Messier Object
Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 8,422
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

I am curious to know how noisy/quiet is the aperture mechanism when you zoom the lens.

My choice of the 12-100mm F4 was primarily for video and with its constant aperture there are no aperture sounds when zooming.

FYI B&H has updated their site - not showing a lens bag as In the Box

Peter

Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,698
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

Messier Object wrote:

I am curious to know how noisy/quiet is the aperture mechanism when you zoom the lens.

My choice of the 12-100mm F4 was primarily for video and with its constant aperture there are no aperture sounds when zooming.

FYI B&H has updated their site - not showing a lens bag as In the Box

Peter

Aperture mechanism is, thankfully, totally silent. No noise whatsoever.

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Skeeterbytes Forum Pro • Posts: 16,345
Re: Robin Wong's 12-200 review is out

Gregm61 wrote:

Mine showed up today. The FedEX notification said "before 8pm" and Olympus required someone be there to sign, so of course I stayed close to home most of the day, with the FedEX truck pulling up right at 5pm.

Someday, we will all be reimbursed for time spent waiting past the promised time range given by deliveries, repairmen, contractors, inspectors.... It will add years to our life expectancy.

The physical look is similar to that of the 75-300 II and feels like I would imagine how that lens would if it were similarly gasketed like this lens.

The zoom ring is nice and smooth, with the exception of a small bit of extra resistance out-of-the-box somewhere around 150mm or so that seemed to smooth out a little bit as I worked it throughout the range and feels better when the lens is mounted on the camera. The resistance at 150mm or so was more pronounced zooming from 12-200 than when starting at 200mm and zooming back down. Size-wise, at 12mm it's basically about the same size, length-wise but not as thick as the 12-40mm f2.8 when set to 12mm. Weight-wise, it's night and day compared to the 12-100mm f4, two very obviously different lenses when compared with one in each hand, but there's nothing "cheap" about the feel of the 12-200. It's a very well made lens, just different materials.

Have long been impressed by the Oly quality of even the least expensive, which this is clearly not but not a Pro either, so good to know they did well. I think sometimes that "hitch" one feels at some point in a zoom's range is from a second set of cams being deployed, and a zoom range this massive must be very complex.

As late as it arrived I had little chance to do any shooting beyond the normal 1-2 subjects everyone has around home you might use to check for resolution compared to other optics. I now have the lens mounted on my E-M1X and plan to do a lot of architectural shooting with it tomorrow downtown which abounds with subject matter one can use to test the full zoom range. I may even make a side-trip out to the Arboretum as the close focus distance throughout the focal length range, like so many of these M. Zuikos, is impressive.

One note regarding what was "in the box", the B&H listing shows the lens case being included. The case was not in the box and I see nothing in the Olympus materials that says it should be, so B&H may just have that incorrect.

One use I already imagine utilizing is zooming this lens to 150mm and enabling the digital 2x zoom to "preview" the view at 300mm to see if I want to swap to that lens or not.

It's loaded in a Tamrac Velocity 8X bag, along with the 300mm f4, 7-14mm f2.8 and 8mm f1.8 Fisheye, all of which I plan on using during the day to see how the images compare.

Looking forward to your initial trials!

Cheers,

Rick

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