Olympus has just announced their latest lens to the public – 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3. It will feature a power zoom – good for video crowd, weather seal, and it will be macro capable.
The estimated street price will be US$499.
So how does it compare to the rest of the mft lenses already available?
- 12mm is nice. It is significantly wider than what kit lenses offer which typically start at 14mm. If you are into landscape photography, you may end up replacing your current kit zoom with this.
- Macro feature is also nice. Ok, so its not quite 1:1 but 0.72x maximum magnification is still useful. It might be just enough for me to not consider getting the 45mm macro and sell my Raynox.
- Weather sealing is something many have asked. I’m not one of them but for some, I can see the usefulness. Small details – we have no weather sealed bodies yet, Olympus!
- Power zoom is probably nice for video shooters. For still-only shooters, I don’t think there’s any advantage. In fact, it might be slightly worse. Worse still, if you are a video shooter, keep this in mind – this lens does not feature IS and IBIS doesn’t work well with videos so you are stuck with less than ideal digital IS built into the body. Either use a tripod or get one of the Panasonic power zooms with IS built-in. Their own press release describes this power zoom feature as “The photographer can control the zooming speed by turning the barrel – slowly for drama, quickly for performance, or at an intermediate rate. Manual zooming is also available for those looking to take full control.”. Could be nice.
- IQ is still unknown. Olympus seems to be quite confident about it, so for the sake of Olympus (and us), IQ of this lens will exceed that of the kit lenses (which are no slouch to be honest).
- Auto-focus speed should be good. It apparently uses an internal focusing mechanism. It should be fast, quiet and accurate.
- This lens only weighs 211g, 57x83mm and takes 52mm filters. In comparison, Panasonic 14-140mm weighs 460g, 70x84mm and takes 62mm filters. Olympus 14-150mm weighs 280g, 63.5x83mm and takes 58mm filters. So it is basically thinner but just as long as 14-150mm. Not exactly compact given its range. Still for those who value 12mm more than 150mm, this might be the lens for you. Both lenses aren’t exactly a speed demon anyhow.
Would I want to try this lens out? I think so.
UPDATE (2011/12/16): On the topic of macro capability, it appears that this lens is only capable of 0.36x magnification. It was claiming 0.72x at 35mm equivalent scale. In comparison, the 45mm macro lens is capable of going to 2x at 35mm equivalent. So in reality, this is not a macro lens. Oh well.
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