That's curious . . . I have the Vario-Elmar version (1:3.8-5.6) of this same lens and it auto focuses just fine on all three of the M4/3 camera bodies that I own (G1, F1 and EPL-1). The focus time with this lens might possibly be a hair slower than with the real M4/3 lenses I have, but it certainly focuses within workable limits. I wonder what the difference is?
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It's big and it's heavy, but I love the IQ of this lens.
The 14-50mm Elmar as well as the legendary 14-150mm Elmar have AF motors designed to play nicely with contrast detect AF, whereas the older 14-50mm Elmarit has a micromotor that requires phase detect AF to focus quickly. Incidentally, on the E-M1 with it's phase detect AF array there is not a whole lot to be gained in the AF speed of the 14-150mm Elmar and it will often fail to find focus in sub-optimal conditions. On my old contrast detect AF only Panasonic GH1 the AF failure rate is much lower. By comparison the 14-50mm Elmarit gets a huge boost in AF speed when used on the E-M1 and will find focus more reliably.
I think that Olympus could work on turning their contrast and phase detect AF into a hybrid system rather than being independent of each other.
There are some lenses that are "optimized" for use with CDAF and some that need a software update and some that just don't play well. A list of the optimized ones can be found here: http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/support/imsg/digicamera/compati/di004043e.cfm
The slower Leica zoom is on that list, but the one I own is not. It focuses just fine (albeit not as quickly as native glass) on my EM1.
But I mean, I'm mostly trying to show off the Asian-only market GF1 with the Leitz badge coupled with the Leica glass. Lol