1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Olympus 12-40mm not fragile by the industry standards

Discussion in 'Back Room' started by New Daddy, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011

    • Like Like x 22
  2. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Should I need to rent, you just earned my business. You are an important asset to this forum.
  3. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    When two materials interface, the softer of the two will wear. This is true for metals of course, but for a metal to plastic interface, there is only one winner - no prizes for guessing. This doesn't mean failure, just that the plastic mount will wear gradually from day one, resulting in increased play at the interface.
  4. Photodan1

    Photodan1 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2012
    Nashville, Tennessee, USA
    Very informative. I worked for a camera retailer for many years and sold both metal and plastic mount lenses. Other than appearance, I don't think the plastic were any less reliable. If the lens mounts were indestructable, it would result in many more broken camera bodies.
  5. Gary Ramey

    Gary Ramey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 27, 2012
    Aurora Colorado
    ...that pop you heard....was the bubble in my fantasy world...gee thanks:eek: 
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    This is certaintly true - although with the latest polycarbonates, this will take a lot longer to happen than it used to. I will say this: If I do have an accident while the lens is mounted on my camera, I personally would prefer that the lens mount breaks off cleanly rather than bending, taking much of the lens and/or camera innards with it.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    That's a fair point and a plus for a sacrificial plastic mount (I think we should refer to them as engineering polymers, not plastics).
  8. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    North Saanich, B.C.
    What is the mechanism for that? Wear is caused by friction. If there is no relative motion between parts there will be no wear. I can't see any reason to expect the plastic on the inside of a lens mount to wear and cause slop. If the bayonet is plastic, then that would wear when the lens is installed and removed from the camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
  10. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    But the fact is, there have been several examples of early catastrophic mount failure with the Olympus 12-40mm lens. That might or might not be due to a poor design decision, or it might or might not be due to a manufacturing fault. But it is real and it is happening.
  11. broadway

    broadway Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 27, 2011
    "Olympus 12-40mm not fragile by the industry standards" is not what Lens Rentals said:

    "Much of the recent internet rioting was triggered by some Olympus 12-40 lenses that broke off at the plastic mount. Several people reported their lenses broke at the mount with minimal force applied (a short fall or even pressure from other items in a camera bag). I can say we ship those lenses all over the country and they seem no more likely to break than any other lens we stock. But apparently at least some of them had a weak mount.

    What amused me was the absolute fury expressed by numerous photographers that a “professional quality” lens might have a plastic mount. I’ve looked up the term ‘professional quality’ everywhere and nowhere have I found it defined as ‘having an all-metal mount’. But some people are livid that it isn’t so. If you’ve read one of these posts on the internet lately, you’ve learned all kinds of things. . . none of which are true."
  12. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    I don't think the failure is down to a plastic/metal interface, it's screwing the mount into plastic ( from what I've read).

    Replace professional quality with inappropriate material selection. Olympus may well be good at optical design, servo control, but they don't seem to be too hot with mechanical design. Anyone worth their salt would not design like that.
  13. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    Thank you to the OP, we should make this thread required reading for all contributors to the 'ouch' thread? The quote I remember is 'that you convict beyond reasonable doubt' whereas in the discussion with the 12-40 there has been a tendency 'to convict with unreasonable certainty'
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Glenn S

    Glenn S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2010
    Not to mine it's not
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    A few lenses have broken. Some more may yet break. Perhaps with the fullness of time this will turn out to be a real issue or a silly mob panic. In the meantime I continue to use my 12-40 with the same realization as I use all of my other lenses - it hasn't broken, it probably won't, but if it does, I'll deal with it then. At this point it's a non-issue to me. This article reinforces this approach. If it breaks someday, I'll get it fixed. Until then I use it like any other lens, with no special provisions to prevent breakage.

    • Like Like x 8
  16. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    ...and this is exactly the type of statement Roger was referring to. Irony is alive and well, it seems ;) 
    • Like Like x 3
  17. At no point during the article does Roger mention having opened up a 12-40mm lens. It's basically saying that the use of structural plastics is not uncommon even amongst larger and more expensive lenses. Whether there is a design, manufacturing, or assembly related issue on a few, some, or all copies of 12-40mm lenses is still unknown. Haven't heard of any more breakages though so fingers crossed they were isolated events.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    It is reassuring that Lensrentals has been sending copies of this lens all over the place without incident to date:

    • Like Like x 2
  19. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Having worked in manufacturing for most of my working life I would comment that fixing metal parts to engineering grade plastics using thread forming screws is nothing new.

    Yes I've seen failures like the photographs before and they are quite often due to a combination of factors rather than just one. For example:-

    1 The hole in the mouldings is close/ on top design limit on one impression/tool.
    2 The moulding tool was not quite up to temperature and the first few of a batch are slightly different to the rest/approved product.
    3 The moulding powder was not pre-treated properly.
    4 A batch of screws were on bottom design limits of diameter and/or length.

    Please note - None of the above are "design" flaws or errors.

    It might take three of the above before a lens "fails" when stressed. If the probability of each one is say 1% (0.01) then you might see 1 in 1,000,000 fail. You are unlikely to find this out during product development.

    Obviously 1 and 4 above can be checked physically and or slight corrections made to eliminate them but 2 and 3 are much more difficult to trace. I would suspect that Olympus is not going to say anything during the investigation ( if at all going by most Japanese company's ethos).

    Without being involved with the process of investigation it's impossible for any of us to state the reasons why. But if I was a betting man ( I'm not) I would be looking at 2. given the level of failures.

    Yes it may be possible to make the area stronger ( e.g. deeper holes with longer screws) but I think the question is what do Olympus do when people have any failures - hopefully we will find out over the next few weeks as lenses get repaired/replaced.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    His point was that we keep getting sidetracked by irrelevant stuff. He never said the 12-40 wasn't fragile, in fact he said:

    "Obviously a few Olympus 12-40mm lenses have broken at the mount. It may be there was a batch of badly molded mounts. It may be a design flaw. It may just be random chance – a few of everything break. But it’s not just because the mount is plastic."

    He is saying that even though "Obviously a few Olympus 12-40mm lenses have broken at the mount", its not simply because the mount is plastic. He defending plastic mounts, not the lens.

    I can totally understand owners of this lens being invested into thinking the breaks are an anomaly (and I hope they are), but the insistent and not always logical ways people rush to defend this lens and the issues we have seen is bizarre. Honestly, I'm beginning to think Steve Jobs reality distortion field was amateurish compared to Olympus.
    • Like Like x 2
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.