Lack of respect for the 12-50mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Lawrence A., Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    I don't understand the widespread hostility to the weather sealed kit lens for the E-M5. It is, quite understandably, not equal to the 12-60mm to which it is unfairly compared, though coming in at almost half the price. At 100% it is not going to hold up to the nice primes so many of us love, but IT'S A KIT LENS. I may be in a minority, but I think it's much better than "not bad"; it's quite good -- versatile, weather sealed, with a nice 12mm wide angle on one end that is pretty sharp, a killer macro mode, a customizable function button (I use mine for Dof preview), and overall image quality that no one should feel they have to apologize for. It won't replace the PL Summilux 25mm as the everyday normal on the front of my camera, but I think it is quite a nice lens, with many strengths.

    The images to follow are 100% from pictures taken with the lens at various focal lengths, straight OOC jpegs shot at camera default settings. I don't see anything to complain about, though I would apply sharpening to all of them. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    • Like Like x 7
  2. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    I see an average $500USD lens... I'm not sure what the samples you've posted are supposed to demonstrate?
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    Yeah, if you're trying to defend the lens, this isn't doing it.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    From the PCMag review: "I used Imatest to test its sharpness at 12mm, 25mm, and 50mm. It impressed at each of these focal lengths—notching 2,129 lines at its widest, 2,521 lines in the middle, and 2,477 lines at its longest. All of these figures are well in excess of the 1,800 lines required for a sharp image—a number that kit lenses sometimes struggle to hit. I considered the 18-55mm (27-82.5mm equivalent) zoom that is bundled with the NEX-7 to be better than most, and that lens only managed to hit an average of 1,720 lines through its zoom range."
    Sounds like more than an average kit lens.
    • Like Like x 4
  5. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    Real Name:
    William Barnett-Lewis
    My only real problem with it is the same one I have with all zooms; it's dog slow optically. F/3.5 - 6.3?

    My E-PL1 is my first real digital. I've been using a Leica IIIf, a Nikon F2 & a 4x5 prior to this, so to me an f/2.8 lens is slow in mini formats. IF I am going to deal with f/6.3 it should be for something like my beautiful old Bausch & Lomb 5x7 f/6.3 Tessar from 1912.

    I'd rather spend a bit more for a constant f/3.5 lens honestly. It isn't going to happen because price is too big a concern but still that's what I'd rather have. f/2 would be even better but considering the laws of physics, well, it's look rather humorous hanging it off of my E-PL1 let me simply say...
  6. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    What no one has posted yet in a comparison of the jpegs and video of the E-M5 with it's kit lenses vs the Pen cameras. My E-M5 with the 14-42 kit lens arrived this afternoon, but rainy weather limited my ability to do much testing. However, my very prelimary testing of the E-PL1 vs E-M5 suggests the E-M5 is NOT any better than the E-PL1 at low ISO detail resolution and sharpness (and pending further testing, the E-PL1 might possibly be slightly better just as it has been slightly better than the 3rd generation Pens (E-PM1, E-PL3 and E-P3).

    Where the E-M5 shines far above the Pens is in image stablization, particularly when in video mode. The hand held video of the E-M5 is remarkably steady, plus the video itself is butter smooth and free from wobble (like the Pens have). The stereo sound of the E-M5 video sounds rich and the volume is adjustable and so is the strength to the wind filter. When you couple these video strengths with the power zoom feature of the 12-50 lens, the E-M5 thus becomes Olympus's first serious video camera!

    I bought the E-M5 for it's hand held video capabilities, but (pending further testing) I might possibly still carry the E-PL1 with me to obtain the sharpest low ISO landscape jpegs. For pixel peeper types like me, the E-PL1 might still be the most satisfying Olympus camera out there (again pending further testing, including trying out the kit lens of the E-PL1 on the E-M5).
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    It all depends on your standards. The 12-50 is a $500 MSRP lens. Granted, it's also a kit lens, but for the price, a lot of use have certain expectations. Look at the lenstip resolution numbers for example. Switching to a prime like the 45/1.8 gets an almost 50% bump in the lp/mm you can resolve. The Panasonic 20/1.7 earns a 37-40% boost. I'm not expecting complete parity with a prime, but that's a pretty big gap. To be fair, the wide end does look adequate.

    The upcoming Panasonic 12-35/2.8 doesn't look particularly big - no more than 20% longer and wider.

  8. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran


    It's a cool lens. A jack of many more trades than your average kit lens: weather sealed, fast focus, relatively small, a bit of macro, nice sharp WIDE low-end, and a bit farther reach than the top end of other m43 kit lenses.

    It's not going to be your most low-light lens, but hey wait, on the EM-5 perhaps that's compensated for low noise at high ISOs. Hmmm.

    On the EM-5 it costs $300, if you're savvy enough to get it with. Name any other kit lens on the planet as kick as that for $300 bucks? No takers?

    What the heck? Some guys just want a Mini Cooper, not a Land Cruiser. What are you going to do?

    Use it, make great photos with it, have a blast. Keep a sharp prime on hand for when your picture will depend on that extra sharpness. Ehm, how often is that?

    At some point when I go for the EM-5 it will definitely be with the the 12-50mm.
  9. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Real Name:
    Russell Olaguer
    For me, the 12-50mm is a nice compliment to the prime lens that I have.
    It's not the ideal zoom lens for me but for now, it does its job.
    I'm thinking to replace it with the 12-35 f2.8 once available and once I have the budget. :)
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    How about the Olympus ZD 14-54/2.8-3.5? Or before that the Nikon 18-70/3.5-4.5? Both were available as kits with mid-range bodies for $300 or less.

    Kit lenses can be good!

  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I don't think its a bad lens at all, but the 12-50 does strike me as being a tad spendy at $500 for what it is. From the images I have seen I am not sure it is any better optically than my Panasonic 14-45 (it's not any faster) and it is not in the same league as the much loved Olympus 14-54. I think folks were hoping for an m43 version of the 14-54. For $300 with the OMD it makes sense but I don't see it as being better than other kit lenses out there. It's good but there are a lot of good kit lenses.
  12. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Real Name:
    Daniele Frizzi
    I'm pretty sure I'll buy it (in the omd kit), it will be my walking lens on rainy days and my 12mm f3.5 prime on sunny ones :)
  13. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    It doesn't even have a fixed aperture. Look at all the other premium kit lenses for aps-c slrs. Constant 2.8, and this doesn't even manage that at the wide end. Weather sealing suggests this is supposed to be a pro lens, but its performance tells a different story. There still isn't a quality standard zoom lens available for the system; they've left the ball in Panasonic's court there.
  14. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    The lens is similar to a Nikon 16-85 or Canon 15-85 though not as long at the long end, but both have 3.5 at 24 equiv, with the Olympus price slightly cheaper.

    The other kit lenses for the Canon and Nikon full frame are the 24-105 and 24-120, which have 4.0 at the wide end.

    You can't compare this to a 17-55 2.8, those lenses are many times more expensive, and also it doesn't go as wide as the Olympus.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Holmes375

    Holmes375 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2010
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    I don't think any of the kit lenses can be appropriately judged by their standalone MSRP in terms of value. I can't imagine many kit lenses are purchased separately as compared to those acquired with a camera package.

    The 12-50mm strikes me as a very nice $300 lens but a noticeably less attractive standalone at $500. The 40% differential is significant when assigning a real world value.
  16. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Real Name:
    Daniele Frizzi
    It's pretty similar in focal lenght and f-stop to old nikon 24-120 used on full frame (3.5-5.6 version), some of my friends have it and they don't like it. It was sold on d700 as kit lens.
  17. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Real Name:
    That is my exact stance as well. I'm willing to buy into it for the better than most kit lens zoom range and weather sealing at $300 coupled with the E-m5. No way it is worth the current asking price of $500, no kit lens is worth that much, let alone one with a wide open aperture as slow as f6.3. The E-m5 owners will be the early adopters of this lens, and in the long run it'll likely sell on the used market for around $225-250 given the real street msrp of $300 as part of a kit.
  18. DizzyV6P

    DizzyV6P Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2012
    You guys crack me up. Canon ppl complain about the 18-55 IS Kit lens all the time. Same complaints here...not sharp enough, not fast enough, not ***** enough...etc. All kit lens get this complaint.

    It's not until you get to the $3000+ cameras do you get the nice 24-150 IS kit lens in the Canon 5D Mark 2 or the $4300 5D Mark 3.

    The Canon 7D still gets the soft 28-135 or the 18-135 for $1700 and $1800 respectively.

    I'm just glad its weather sealed. I'm not demanding total excellence here. I just need something usable that I can take everywhere. I'm even chosing the 12-50 over the *GASP* 14-42 for the weather sealing properties. Since I'm new to the m43 system, I need a zoom lens for my all purpose shots. Those already invested in the m43 system already have their lenses and many I've seen have opted for body only.

    No other camera manufacturer includes a very well made kit lens like the weather sealed 12-50 for this price. NO ONE. For Canon, the price of the pro-level lens that's weather sealed that comes with a kit is over $3000. The 24-105 f/4 L IS, is a $1000 lens/$900 used and is an awesome...but heavy...all in one lens.

    The Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS is not weather sealed, early version were notorious dust pumps and many returned for dust inside the lens, is for crop cameras and cost $1100 new/$850+ used. It has never been a kit lens.

    I give major kudos to Olympus for even including the 12-50 in this kit. They could have easily given the middle finger to everyone just like Canon and Nikon does for all their under $3000 kits by including the Olympus 14-42 II.

    You just gotta keep things in perspective :)
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    This is a really bad example, if that's the point you're trying to make. You can buy the 18-55 for about £100 on its own. As a kit with a camera, it's practically free. It is also generally acknowledged to a great performer, particularly considering its low price. It has its issues, but the price more than makes up for that. You can't say the same about the Oly 12-50.
  20. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Real Name:
    The Pentax 18-55mm WR (Weather resistant) lens is bundled as a kit for $100 extra (msrp), sells for about that used as well. I do think the 12-50 is worth more given the better range and close focus capability, but it is still a kit lens. Like I said, $300 is reasonable (for the early adopters), but Oly doesn't deserve any extra kudos for it!