Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 review
The Digital Zuiko ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD is Olympus's latest upmarket standard zoom, announced to accompany its E-3 flagship DSLR in October 2007. Firmly placed in what Olympus refers to as its 'Pro' lens lineup, this lens offers a near-ideal focal length range for a standard zoom (24mm to 120mm in 35mm-equivalent terms), combining a useful wideangle for landscapes and architecture with a telephoto extending nicely into the classic 'portrait' range. Hopefully this 5x zoom range isn't so ambitious as to introduce unacceptable optical compromises. The optical configuration is sufficiently exotic to offer great hopes in this regard; the lens boasts no fewer than three extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements, one of which is aspherical, coupled with two further aspherical elements, and as the icing on the cake one Super ED glass element. Clearly Olympus has adopted a "no holds barred" approach to lens design here, which can only be applauded.
This lens also sees Olympus finally adopting the now near-ubiquitous ultrasonic motor for focusing, here dubbed the 'Supersonic Wave Drive', and (according to their press material at least) offering the world's fastest autofocus when used with the E-3. This in turn allows the use of a mechanically-coupled manual focus ring, in a welcome contrast to the somewhat-unloved 'focus-by-wire' mechanisms on its previous lenses. Further headline features include dust and splashproofing for protection against the elements, a 25cm close focusing distance, and a circular aperture diaphragm promising pleasing background blur. On paper at least, this makes for a hugely compelling overall package.
Of course the 12-60mm has a hard act to follow, as the spiritual successor to the highly regarded 14-54mm F2.8-3.5, which was the standard kit lens for the E-1. In comparison, the newcomer offers extended range at both wideangle and telephoto, improved focusing, and even better macro performance, but at the expense of a slightly dimmer maximum aperture throughout the range. Of course this all comes at a price, and the 12-60mm is by no means cheap; so do the optics justify the price tag?
Use of the Panasonic L10 as Four Thirds test body
We have chosen to use the Panasonic L10 as our standard test body for Four Thirds lenses purely because it gives the highest numbers in our resolution tests (which we believe is most likely due to it having a relatively weak anti-aliasing filter); this is intended simply to provide the fairest comparison to other manufacturers' systems. The samples gallery contains images taken using various camera bodies (Olympus E-3, Olympus E-510, and Panasonic L-10).
- 24-120mm equivalent focal length range
- Relatively fast 2.8-4.0 maximum aperture
- Four Thirds mount for Olympus and Panasonic DSLRs
Angle of view
The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto:
|12mm (24mm equivalent)||60mm (120mm equivalent)|
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 specifications
|Street price|| US: $900
|Date introduced||October 2007|
|Maximum format size||Four Thirds|
|35mm equivalent focal length||24-120mm|
|Diagonal Angle of view||84°- 20 °|
|Lens Construction||• 14 elements/10 groups
• 1 super ED glass element
• 2 ED glass elements
• 1 aspherical ED glass element
• 2 aspherical elements
|Number of diaphragm blades||7, rounded|
|Maximum magnification||0.28x at 60mm|
|AF motor type||Supersonic Wave Drive|
|Focus method||Internal focus with floating mechanism|
|Filter thread||• 72mm
• Does not rotate on focus
|Supplied accessories||• Front and rear caps
• Petal-type lens hood LH-75B
• Soft pouch
|Weight||575 g (20.3 oz)|
|Dimensions||79.5mm diameter x 98.5mm length
(3.1 x 3.9 in)
|Lens Mount||Four Thirds|
|Other||Compatible with teleconverter EC-14 and extension tube EX-25|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
Apr 7, 2008
Oct 16, 2007
Mar 31, 2011
Mar 31, 2011
|Christine by JP Zanotti|
from Car wreck
|Fangorn Forest by cand1d|
|Yosemite Falls with Moonbow by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Best Landscape of the Week 4
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out (no, really - another one) and the most recent poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop. Read more
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more