Is the Olympus 12-50mm a bad lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jaomul, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    I am doubting my ability to judge this lens. A friend is selling it and said I can have it for 100 euro (about 140 dollars). Its practically unused. I tried it today and was very impressed, yet the lens gets such bad press. The macro mode is what I really wanted to try out and though not full macro it is pretty good locked at 43mm.

    On a side note my EPL5 took a tumble from about 5 feet across a road yesterday damaging a corner and a lens hood that i am glad was attached. I was very annoyed as through my own stupidity I never properly closed my camera bag. There is a nice dent but it seems to do everything as before. I did not know it was a metal body
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    You said that you were impressed by the lens, so it clearly must meet your requirements.
    100 Euros is a steal. You should get it and take photos with it. Stop worrying about what other people have to say about this lens (including myself ;-))
    • Like Like x 1
  3. rex87

    rex87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2011
    winnipeg, mb
    what he said^^
  4. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Ya thanks. I don't particularly worry but always appreciate user over internet reviews. I didn't test it extensively so just wondering if I missed something
  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    It's actually very good for a kit lens - yes, there are lots of better lenses in the system, but the 12-50 is a pretty unique combo of cheap (or at least affordable), weather sealed, good pseudo-macro mode, and the best range among the 'low end' kit lenses (vs. the 14-xx lenses).
  6. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Definitely go for it. At that price you can always resell and get your money back if you really don't like it. Unless you drop it. :)
  7. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    Despite quite a lot of bad press it's not that bad:-

    Points to consider
    1 It's still one of the cheapest ways of getting a 12mm POV (Pana 14 + adaptor is the other) after that you have the Pana 12-35, Oly 12-40 or Oly 12 F2 none of which are at the economy end of the market.
    2. It's the cheapest way of getting a weather proof lens.
    3. It's close focus ability (I will not call it macro so I don't offend any purists) is a lot better than it's price would suggest.

    Yes the handling is a bit odd because if it's shape.

    Performance wise it's better at the 12-25 range after this is does tend to get worse as you get closer to 35-50mm.
    My copy is better than both of the Oly 14-42Mk2's we have and better than the Pana 14-42 we also have (I know some others don't agree with this but it's even apparent on our 12MP EPL-3,s)
    It's definitely better than the kit zooms on my brother's In law's Canon or his Nikon APS/C cameras.

    Yes it's not a good as the 12-35/12-40 or primes 12/17/20/25/45 but it doesn't cost anywhere near as much either.

    Bad? No, Excellent? No,
    worth having at the right price? Absolutely.

    It's a very unusual combination of features so there is no direct comparison

    However if you have this lens then I think you also need the Oly 45mm F1.8 to take over where the performance drops off in terms of both lens speed and resolution.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Thanks all for your input
  9. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Real Name:
    I got this lens only recently mostly because of the three reasons - 1) 12mm fov, 2) weather sealing and 3) macro. My copy is amazingly sharp at 12mm f4.0. It is definetely much better than 14-42 I've been using. I did a few portraits at 50mm and they are not too bad. I can see a loss of sharpness and resolution, but for some portraits it is ok. I don't really understand why people consider this lens to be bad. Yes, it's slow and not the best option for the indoors photography. But that's pretty much it. When I go outside and there is a bad weather - there is no better option. I got mine almost brand new for $180, so your price is even better. If you appreciate 12mm fov, if you want to enhance your macro photography skills and need a weather sealed combo - this lens is simply a bargain!
  10. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Real Name:
    One of my former photographic instructors many decades told me this..

    Looking for perfection in a lens and a camera body brings too much expectations. When your expectations did not come, too many disappointments come. Learn to appreciate a lens or a camera body's imperfections and in them you will find perfection.

    You can substitute lens and camera body with a person and dating. It's equally as true.

    That's the crux of the problem here. The internet is a brewing ground for people who have high expectations of some things and yet they do not see the perfections within the imperfections like some posters here who did with the 12-50 lens. Those who do appreciate the value of the lens get the best deals.

    Btw, buy it and start shooting photos not brick walls or test charts like other fools do!!

    • Like Like x 1
  11. Mikros

    Mikros Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 16, 2013
    There is a member here - etude. Look up his photos (he frequents EM-5 Images thread). He shoots exclusively with 12-50mm. Amazing what can be done with this much maligned lens.

    Also 12-50mm images thread in Native Lenses galleries is good place to see the real life pics taken with it.
  12. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I bought the 14mm and the 30mm expecting they wouldn't be so great but I'm very satisfied with both of them, so don't believe everything you hear, especially since you tried it yourself and like it.

    The Oly 14-42 and 40-150 are also good lenses, but they aren't good at the long end. The 12-50 is considered a better lens than these, plus you get great benefits that a lot of standard zooms don't have:


    There's no other lens with that feature set. It simply doesn't exist. And for 140 it'd be cheaper than most of the kit zooms. Is the US$350 12-32mm sharper? I think the consensus is yes, but you lose tele, macro, weather sealing, and a good bit of cash. The Panasonic 14-42 version II was high on my list at around US$130 or so new. It's sharp across the range, but I opted for the 12-32 instead because of it's compactness and also the fact I got it for under $300 :)