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12-50mm's electronic zoom, a gimmick?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RichA, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. RichA

    RichA Mu-43 Regular

    120
    Mar 28, 2012
    Seems like it was developed to make ex-P&S'rs more comfortable.
    You can hear it on video, so you definitely don't want to use it there. You can zoom faster manually so that makes it less desirable in certain situations. Has anyone found a real use for it?
     
  2. bongestrella

    bongestrella Mu-43 Veteran

    404
    Sep 2, 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    I guess I've been (video) shooting in loud places because I never hear mine while zooming. Sometimes I find it annoying though, the focus ring slides up and down accidentally so very easily that when shooting stills and zooming in/out only to find out it's on e-zoom mode!
     
  3. dcisive

    dcisive Mu-43 Veteran

    460
    Feb 19, 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Lee
    I never really gave it much thought. But I'm not embarrassed to say I use it exclusively at this point. It is smooth and I no longer mess with the mechanical aspects of the lens.
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, it does feel rather gimmicky. It's slow and tedious, and I really don't know what the purpose of building it is. I'm just glad they didn't include a power zoom switch and forgo the zoom ring like the Lumix X 14-42mm pancake zoom. That's the most messed up thing I've seen in modern lens construction next to the power focus switch on the same lens (which definitely takes the cake). ;)

    It's definitely not for video, except maybe to make consumers more familiar just Rich says about the point-and-shoot crowd. Videographers use manual zoom, and in fact manual focus pull and zoom are key elements to getting those smooth, professional transitions. Have you ever seen a professional video camera or even a high-end camcorder (ie, Canon XLR or Sony VX class) with a power-zoom? It doesn't happen. Power zoom always gives that jerk when you let off the zoom, and makes people think you're filming the Blair Witch Project.

    One reason many of us switched to an interchangeable lens system was no doubt so we could get real lenses with real lens construction, including normal focus and zoom rings (many of us still long for an aperture ring even). This power-zoom carp is like buying a Japanese Katana with no temperline on the blade and a handle that can't be taken apart.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting down the m.Zuiko 12-50mm in particular. If it didn't have a normal zoom ring and focus ring, then I would put it down... but it does so I'm okay with it even if they add carp I don't want. I just don't like the trend they're following, which has already taken away any usable manual focus function on two lenses from other manufacturers (1 Nikkor 10-100mm and Lumix X 14-42mm pancake zooms). Now that's taking it too far, and I hope Olympus never crosses that line.
     
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The 14-42X has to be a power-zoom design because it is pancake sized. There's no space for a zoom ring, and even if there were, a collapsing design and mechanically coupled zoom ring would be a recipe for disaster. Obviously, not everybody wants or needs a pocketable zoom, but if you do, the 14-42X is it.

    The 12-50's powerzoom seems a perfectly legitimate choice if one shoots video. And as there's space for a zoom ring, they included one. I don't really see the problem.

    DH
     
  6. bongestrella

    bongestrella Mu-43 Veteran

    404
    Sep 2, 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    12-50's manual zoom doesn't feel right though. A nitpick sure, but if I was given a choice of a standard manual zoom and this, I'd pick the former. But then again, oly's 14-42mm's standard manual zoom also does not feel right to me.
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I never said there was a problem. I said there is no problem because it includes both a zoom ring and power zoom, not just one. :cool:

    That doesn't mean that I see the real purpose in adding it however. As long as they don't remove the functions we need (like the 1 Nikkor and Lumix X pancake zooms, which have no functional manual focus at all), then I'm okay with it. Just like how I don't need Art Mode and Scene Modes or iAuto on my camera, but they don't disturb my use of the camera as long as they don't remove PASM.

    The power zoom is a little bit in the way however, as bongestrella mentioned it can easily slip into e-zoom when you don't want it to. I found it awkward myself. It feels really weird and I wouldn't want it as my main lens, but I wouldn't discount the lens because of it.
     
  8. ill_dawg

    ill_dawg Mu-43 Veteran

    201
    Aug 26, 2010
    I can see the power zoom being useful for zooming to get trails during longer exposures. If you were trying to get that effect handheld, the power zoom could do it more smoothly than a manual because it is a bit easier to compensate for the motion of the zoom ring. It's kind of a corner case, but it is a use for the power zoom.
     
  9. CUB

    CUB Mu-43 Veteran

    275
    Apr 19, 2012


    Bragging rights, of course! :smile:
     
  10. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    +1. I don't bother to use the manual zoom on the lens anymore, because I hate that cheap mechanical sound. I also find motor-assisted zoom not only great for video, but also smooth for photo use...
     
  11. dcisive

    dcisive Mu-43 Veteran

    460
    Feb 19, 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Lee
    unless you're using a large heavy and weighted lens and focal length extension that is buttery smooth (just about NONE are) than there's NO way you will likely replicate the smooth transition possible with the power zoom on this lens. Not sure what you're hatred is for it but it does as advertised and well indeed. I can see it doing a fine job for changing focal lengths without jerking around like the manual method typically renders. Pro's use special gear that gets around this. I'm NOT a pro videographer and have much simpler desires in mind. So for us little people it works great and I'm glad it's there.
     
  12. c_henry

    c_henry Mu-43 Regular

    65
    May 12, 2012
    I think it was purely for video, using the mechanical zoom sounds like someone grating a parsnip, although it does seem to be getting quieter, though I might be getting used to the noise. One of the nastiest sounding zooms I've ever used.

    Overall I really like the lens though.

    Colin
     
  13. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    475
    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    I haven't used the 12-50's implementation, but the 45-175 X power zoom is actually quite nice. I didn't think I'd like it at all, and while I'd probably still rather have a mechanical coupling, in practice it essentially operates like it's mechanical (minus the hard stops). I've found it to have very little lag, capable of zooming quickly, etc. Plus, with the switch possibility too, it makes for very smooth handheld zoom blur photos. :)
     
  14. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Is electronic zoom on every camcorder a gimick?
     
  15. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    Just about every 2/3 mount pro-zoom comes with a variable speed power zoom, that pretty well includes every pro-ENG camera I've ever seen.
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    And variable speed is the key. Like a powered focus follower, you mean? That's nothing like the power-zoom found on consumer-grade camcorders and point-and-shoots.
     
  17. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    836
    Feb 29, 2012
    All the Canon camcorders are variable speed zoom, my consumer HF100 has it. My ancient Panasonic DV cam also has variable speed zoom.
     
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    But if Panasonic had kept a zoom ring, the 14-42X wouldn't be a pancake zoom. Which is sort of the point.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I have yet see a power-zoom where the powerzoom feature doesn't serve a legitimate purpose, although I admit I don't personally have much use for it.

    DH
     
  19. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    And variable speed is what the 12-50 has, which is another great point about this powered zoom!
     
  20. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't shoot a lot of video, but the power zoom is much smoother than my attempts at manual zoom, and I don't hear the motor either.