Olympus 12-100...manual focusing?

Lenny

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I once had in my possesion the Pana Leica 12-60, having been influenced by the many positive reviews out there. I thought it'd make a worthy replacement for my trusty 12-35mm f2.8 for my video making tasks. So I dove in and...sank to the bottom.

What made me get rid of it? The versatile zoom range? The solid, weather sealed build quality? The useful (for well lit situations) aperture? No, no and nope. It's the bloody manual focusing!!!*

It's almost like this lens was designed specifically to annoy and frustrate the user if they dared to switch to MF for video. No matter how many methods I tried, I just could never get consistent, predictable focus control. This complaint is echoed in this review which I wish I watched before purchasing (link starts at the relevant point):


I now turn my attention to the Olympus 12-100 as a possible contender.

So, Oly 12-100 owners, I would love to hear your feedback on how this lens handles in video focusing! Much appreciated if you could share your experiences, thanks.

*Context: I do manual focusing for all of my video work and while electronic focus isn't ideal compared to fully manual lenses, I've been able to get by just fine with my Pana 12-35 f2.8, Pana 15mm and Nocticron. Why not just get fully manual lenses, I hear you say? Show me a fully manual, native mft zoom equivalent to 12-60/12-100mm and I'll stop moaning ;)
 

PhotoCal

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I seldom shoot video but I have no complaints about the Olympus 12-100's operation or performance.

Olympus dealers have a free loaner program. You may see if it's available near you.
 

PakkyT

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No idea how it will work in video, but thought I would note that the 12-100 having the manual focus clutch ring allows for two types of MF; the one in the camera where you simply switch to MF mode and the other using the lens clutch ring. I am not sure of all the details, but the clutch has hard stops on either end and the focus point is dependent on the position of the ring. Where as the normal focus by wire of the camera body the ring is independent of the ring position since it only looks for the ring turning, not its position. there might be a speed different between the two but I am not entirely sure of that. So if you don't like one, be sure to try the other.
 
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ooheadsoo

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If you use the clutch for manual focus, the focus action will be linear and does have hard stops as PakkyT mentions. It's still a modern short throw MF mechanism, though, unlike the long throws of the old MF lenses.
 

Lenny

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Thanks all for the replies. I wasn't aware that the clutch focus ring activated hard stops, that'd be super useful for focus pulling. A sure purchase edges closer!
 

retiredfromlife

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Thanks all for the replies. I wasn't aware that the clutch focus ring activated hard stops, that'd be super useful for focus pulling. A sure purchase edges closer!
The manual focus clutch also has a memory. When you pull back the manual focus clutch it will go back to the last focus position that it was in when you used it. Not sure it it holds the last focus if the camera goes into sleep mode though, never tried that.
 

RichardC

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The manual focus clutch also has a memory. When you pull back the manual focus clutch it will go back to the last focus position that it was in when you used it. Not sure it it holds the last focus if the camera goes into sleep mode though, never tried that.

The EM1.2 has a function to instruct the camera to do just that.

Menu A4 - reset lens.
 

b_rubenstein

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It's still a modern short throw MF mechanism, though, unlike the long throws of the old MF lenses.

There is no manual focus mechanism (focusing helicoid) in any of the Olympus lenses with a focusing clutch. It is still a fly by wire system. The position of the focus ring is passed back to the camera body and the focus control engages the focus motor in the lens to move it to the correct position.

If anyone really thinks that theses lenses are being mechanically focused, they should take it off the camera, look through the lens, rotate the focus ring and see if the image goes in and out of focus.
 

ooheadsoo

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There is no manual focus mechanism (focusing helicoid) in any of the Olympus lenses with a focusing clutch. It is still a fly by wire system. The position of the focus ring is passed back to the camera body and the focus control engages the focus motor in the lens to move it to the correct position.

If anyone really thinks that theses lenses are being mechanically focused, they should take it off the camera, look through the lens, rotate the focus ring and see if the image goes in and out of focus.
The point is that it's a short throw movement.
 

PakkyT

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Not sure it it holds the last focus if the camera goes into sleep mode though, never tried that.

The manual focus clutch assembly uses an absolute encoder so its position is always known immediately on power up. When you slide the ring forward (normal mode) you are not engaged with that encoder so you can spin the focus ring continuously and the encoder just sits there static. When you slide it back you engage the encoder, which has a limited range of rotation, and now the ring turns this encoder. When you slide it back forward again the encoder is left in whatever position it was and stays there until the next time you engage the clutch. So even if you power off the camera, when you power back up again the encoder is still in that same position even if the camera resets the lens focus to infinity. If you engage the clutch the camera already knows the encoder position and immediately changes the lens's focus to that position.
 
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