Is it just me or the Oly 12-50 is better than the charts/reviews would suggest?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by LowriderS10, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Good day, everyone!

    So I'm looking to add a weathersealed lens to my collection, and the 12-50's weight, price and focal length range are very attractive.

    However...just about every review I read slams it on sharpness/resolution. But I'm not seeing it. Every 100% crop/full size sample I've seen has been of respectable sharpness. Is it as sharp as an expensive prime? No. Is it sharp ENOUGH? I'd say yes (and I'm a bit of a sharpness addict).

    Samples like these look perfectly acceptable to me:

    I'm thinking of picking one up to have a weathersealed option for travelling and I really don't think I'd be as disappointed as the chart-shooters would have one believe...what do you guys think?

  2. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Also, while I'm very disappointed by its speed (though at equivalent focal lengths it's likely about the same as my current travel lens: the 9-18, so anything above that is going to be a bonus, even if it's a slow bonus haha), I'm rather impressed by its bokeh (another fixation of mine haha) in macro mode. It's extremely smooth and pleasing. I'm toying with the idea of going to Borneo in the winter, where there'll be lots of rain, moisture and crazy bugs to shoot...I'm having a hard time coming up with a better lens than the 12-50 for this purpose.
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I havent used it much since the better primes came along, but when I first got my em-5 it served me very well

    <a href="" title="P2180019 by kevinparis, on Flickr">//"768" height="1024" alt="P2180019"></a>

    <a href="" title="P8060214 by kevinparis, on Flickr">//"768" height="1024" alt="P8060214"></a>

    <a href="" title="P7280001 by kevinparis, on Flickr">//"768" height="1024" alt="P7280001"></a>

    more shots here

    Its a good workhorse of a lens and way better than the reviews would make you believe

    • Like Like x 1
  4. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Seems plenty sharp to me, despite the occasional panning it gets. What turned me off was the slow aperture and long length of the lens. If weathersealing were important to me, I'd snap it up.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Yes, in a lot of situations it is "sharp enough" and is quite good in the middle of the frame at wide to middling focal lengths, but known weak areas are the corners/edges at wide angles, a general softening approaching 50mm, and of course a rapidly diminishing maximum aperture (a problem shared by basically all slower variable aperture zooms, of course). My reason for keeping the 12-50mm is as a weather-sealed lens to match my weather-sealed camera (E-M5). If I am going to grab a zoom lens off the shelf in normal circumstances I would grab the Panasonic 14-45mm or 14-140mm first simply due to their better overall optical quality (on my copies at least).
    • Like Like x 1
  6. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Thanks for all the input! And great samples, Kevin!

    Yeah, I'm not saying this thing blew me away and impressed the heck out of me...but the real-world samples look MUCH better than the reviews would have you think. I'm okay with declining sharpness (and ridiculous aperture) as one approaches 50mm, as none of the other lenses I have/am considering (maybe the 12-35) go to 50, anyways. I'd rather have so-so quality at 50mm, than no 50mm at all! :D 

    More real-world 100% samples that I think are respectable:
  7. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I agree that the 12-50 gets more than it share of negative critiques. Maybe the list price drives up expectations? I don't know. But it's on my E-M5 quite often with no complaints.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I've always thought it is perfectly good lens.A great lens? No, but good, better than just "good enough", and versatile, weather-sealed, with a decent macro ratio. So what's not to like? I think a lot of the abuse of this lens arose from the fact that it is not as good at the 12-60 high grade lens for regualr 4/3, which is a stellar performer, by all accounts, and the fact that it was priced higher than what most people felt they wanted to pay for it.

    Taken on its own merits, it is a very useful optic. Right now you can get it for $250 refurbished from Cameta Camera on ebay. For that price, I'd just grab it. (I've bought several reburbished lenses from Cameta and they have always been like new. Demos or salesman's copies, I'd guess, certainly not used.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Dean: I think you're very right there. At $500 for a *KIT* lens, people had extremely high hopes. I still think that for $500 it's a good deal (sure, not the sharpest, but sharp enough, incredible macro...the best of any zoom lens I've ever seen, weathersealed, lightweight, has great focus, etc)...but for the current prices, it's a steal!

    Larry: Great points. I've actually read a few mentions of the 12-60 in reviews (been reading them all morning), and yeah, it's a bit of an unfair comparison, given the price/size/weight differences). Also, the macro thing is big for me...I'm not really a macro shooter, so I can't really justify buying a macro lens...but (especially for this upcoming trip), it would be extremely good to have a macro lens built into my walkaround!

    Thanks for the heads-up, I'll check out Cameta, or see if I can grab one from someone's OM-D kit haha.
  10. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    It is certainly not a great lens, but neither is it at all a terrible lens. At the prices it can be had used these days, it's well worth it especially since it's weather sealed. When I was using micro four thirds I used it without qualms when the weather was bad, or for it's macro capability when I wanted that as well.

    BUT: at the pixel peeping level, or for making large prints, it's not a good choice. If you do small prints, or just post online, there's no reason not to have it.

    Here's some shots I got with it I liked:

    Late Summer Colors: Big Business by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Late Summer Colors: Moth with a Fur Coat by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Begin Tapping! by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Late Summer Colors: Tiny Fly and Flower by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    Warm Fall Rain by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    When Things Go Wrong: Getting a Lift by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 2
  11. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2012
    The 12-50mm is available for around $250 used. Yes, it has a few flaws, but at this price, its a lens worth owning. I find the 24mm (35mm equivalent) focal length that the 12mm provides to be much more useful than 28mm (35mm equivalent) that a 14mm lens provides, particularly when photographing large structures up close. I have taken it to Circuit of the Americas on several occasions - I'll post some pictures.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. I basically use this lens (which I got with the E-M5 kit, so low price) as a 12 mm wide angle / 43 mm macro prime, unless I'm using it for it's convenience and weather sealing (on the beach, bad weather, etc). The only better lens with similar capabilities is the O12-40, which is way more expensive, bigger, and heavier. As for the other 12-X zooms, the P12-35 doesn't do macro nearly as well (and is also very expensive), and the P12-32 isn't weather sealed. As a daylight lens, it's just too versatile to be easily replaced.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I'm considering selling mine... it's hard to let it go. I would only sell it to replace it with another weather sealed zoom though.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I like it as a good all round lens & it is quite good at 12mm too, as this 13 sec. (held up against the glass window of the Broken Hill restaurant) letterbox crop shot shows (sorry, it is a large image to show the detail in it when you click on it & again in the gallery).

    • Like Like x 1
  15. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I love the versatility of the 12-50, especially because you can instantly switch to macro mode for purposes like this:
    • Like Like x 1
  16. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    I don't think you will be disappointed at all. I was intending to use either the tiny 14-42 or my 43/12-60 to cover this range with the OM-D but got a 12-50 SH for all the normal reasons. I hadn't even considered close-ups, but was pleasantly surprised.
  17. homerusan

    homerusan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2012
    izmir, TURKEY
    according to its price, its #1 my fav lens
    second is 45mm and third is 7.5mm :) 
    all budget and serves perfect for me.
    (oh wait i dont have any other lens :p )
    • Like Like x 1
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