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mZD 12mm 2.0 diary and notes

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by WT21, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I'm going to use this thread to post some comments/observations about the new Oly 12mm lens. This is not a FL that I'm an expert at. I'm much more comfortable with a normal lens, but I've been meaning to try and get wider, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    I DIDN'T get this lens to do landscape or architectural. I got it for people and indoors (that's why I value the wide angle and 2.0) but as there's nothing social going on, I'm going to start with some landscape stuff.

    I'm also REALLY busy at work right now, so this may be sporadic, and if someone else starts with a real review of the lens, I'll stop posting here and let someone run a "proper" review, but I figured people might want to see something ASAP on this lens.
     
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  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    First up: physical package

    First, the negatives:

    1) The lens doesn't come with a hood or a lens bag

    ??????????? :eek::mad:

    Yes, I knew this, but when you open your $900 lens, and you are only looking at the lens and a cardboard box, it comes home to you and really ticks you off a bit. I might return it just because of that. If I'm paying $900 for a lens, I expect something else in there. I can get a cheap hood from ebay, but no lens bag or case (also see point #2 just below)!!!!!

    2) I think the finish might scratch easily. I'm not daring to try, but I remember one early on line reviewer had some scratches on their 12mm. They were a photo journalist and maybe got their's free. Mine cost $900. Looking at the finish, I dare say it may scratch easily. I feel prone to babying it.

    3) the clutch engaged MF does NOT engage the auto focus assist! Regular MF (by wire) does engage Focus Assist, but when you engage the clutch to get the distance scale, it's like you have a manual focus lens, and you have to manually go into focus assist. I think this is a big mistake.

    Now the good:
    1) This lens is much lighter and smaller than I expected.

    2) The focus motor is near silent. When doing stills, the only noticeable noise is the aperture opening/closing. When doing movies, the aperture doesn't seem to open/close. You can slightly hear a noise in movie mode in a silent room (and only on video playback, so it's likely vibration induced -- this is on an EP1. Other bodies might differ). Note, though -- while the AF is silent. Rotating the ring manually (in either focus by wire or clutch manual mode) makes more noise than the AF. This is all in a silent room. I'll try to post some movies to vimeo later, but I am nearly certain in a situation with any ambient noise, it will likely be operationally silent.

    2b) AF is fast on my EP1 (would you have expected otherwise, given it's wide angle).

    3) The clutch manual focus ring is a marvel. It's also very interesting, in that when you engage the clutch -- regardless of where you were in the focus range before, it returns to the distance set with the manual clutch focus. So, for instance, let's say you were street shooting and had the clutch manual focus set to 1m focus distance. Then you switched to AF and shot something at infinity. Setting it back to the clutch manual cause the focus to set back to 1 meter. I believe this might be cool, but I haven't really tried it in real life, so I'm making a statement of fact. I'll pass on actual judgement for now.

    3b) It's nice to have manual focus again with positive stops at either end.

    4) 46mm filter size -- I can reuse the ND and CPL from my Panny 20!

    5) it close focuses closer than my Canon 17-40 zoom (.2m vs. .28 for the 17-40. This is a noticeable difference in a wide angle lens). That's kind of nice.

    6) This thing rocks in the looks department on my EP1!

    More to come...
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    A picture comparing a distant shot (maybe not that distant). Oly 12mm at 4.0 vs. Canon 17-40 set at 24mm on a 5D classic, at 4.0 (both cameras are 12MP).

    100% crops then jpgs downsized through LR, using the default LR profiles for EP1 and 5D. No lens correction on the 17-40.

    Screen shot from LR of 100% crops
    Screen_shot_2011-07-21_at_9_39_17_AM.

    Olympus EP-1 with 12mm 2.0
    [​IMG]

    Canon 5D Classic 17-40 (DIRTY SENSOR ALERT!)
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    First, thanks for sharing these interesting comparisons! One observation (not a criticism), is that the 5D is known for using a weak AA filter while the E-P1 is known for using a strong one, so it might be worthwhile to give the E-P1 files some extra sharpening relative to the 5D files in LR.
     
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  5. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks for the reminder! I'm waiting to buy the EP3 or EPL3. I just LOVE my EP1, but I am dying for that weaker AA filter, but I was unwilling to go EP2 or EPL1 without a much better LCD, and by the time the EPL2 came out, I had already decided to wait for the next EP series.
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Oly 12 vs. Panny 14

    Here are some quick shots between the Panny 14 and the Oly 12. All shot on the EP1. It COULD be that results on the 12 are being held back by the EP1.

    12 vs 14 FOV outdoors


    More PF with the 14mm


    Lower Corners are weaker on the 14




    Oddly, the upper right on my 14 is no worse than the 12, and center sharpness is nearly the same.





    Indoors FOV comparison


    and a bokeh test, wide open (not a great bokeh test, but you get the idea). For this test, I went to minimum focus distance, so the narrow aperture on the 14 was made up for by getting closer to the subject (MFD of .18 meters instead of .2 on the 12mm), yielding similar OOF area, even though the central flower subject stayed about the same size, though FOV on the 12 is clearly broader. The OOF is still a little more diffuse on the 12, but not by that much. Also note the camera boosted the ISO to 1600 vs. 1000 because of the 2/6 stop difference in the wide open aperture settings.



    You can also see the set here, where you can expand the pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/t.blog.w/Oly12VsPanny14?pli=1&gsessionid=yN9sk_rsvOHgCKTo5gQUOw# (I think that link will work. Not entirely sure)
     
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  7. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    No images showing......
     
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  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Sorry for that. Uploading files to the gallery here is just so painful (one at a time, and now you have to do the Captcha thing each time).

    I believe I changed the permissions on Picasa. Can you let me know if you can see them now?
     
  9. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Yup, can see them now, thanks....
     
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  10. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Thanks for the review and comparisons!

    I am amazed that Oly didn't include a hood for an expensive lens. But I suppose they didn't include one for the 9-18 or 14-150 either. In fact, have they included a hood for any of their m4/3 lenses at all?? Aargh.
     
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  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    No I don't think Oly did. I got a hood with my NEX and also Panny 45, but I didn't get one with my Panny 20, nor the 14.
     
  12. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    I have to agree regarding the hood thing - in fact I'd go as far as to say, even if I could afford it, I wouldn't buy the lens due to this very fact. Don't they realise that things like this really angers people? $900 and they can't throw in a $5 lens hood? Happy enough to charge you $100 for it though, thank you very much.... :dash2:
     
  13. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
     
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  14. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Well, I decided to go with the 14mm prime. It's not because of the quality of the lenses -- the 12mm is clearly better. The 14mm shows pf very easily -- the 20mm almost none. The 14mm is much weaker in the corners, where the 12mm is very nice.

    Mainly it's price and priorities. That's a lot of money for me at present, because I've decided to get both the EPL3 and also I want to step up out of my laptop monitor, and I just ordered a Dell IPS panel monitor. Maybe with my new monitor, I'll see more clearly how weak my lenses are and regret this, but I figure I might buy back into the 12mm in 6-12 months.

    Great lens, just not for me at this time.