Olympus 12-50 what's the general opinion of this lens

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Paul80, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Hi all

    Thinking of adding a Olympus 12-50 lens to my system

    What's the general view on this lens

    Rather taken by rhe extra width and length that it will give over my standard zoom which is the 14-42 and by the claimed macro performance, which could make it a very useful lens to replace the standard I have.

    There are lots of photos that seem to show its a good performer but not much in the way of user reviews, so what are they realy like.

    Thanks for any input.

  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    It's a decent performer, not outstanding. If you don't need fast aperture, it is fine. AF is fast. It has the bonus of having a macro mode at 43mm.

    I found the micro contrast and some fine detail lacking, so I went with primes.
    Unless I was needing to shoot in the rain or snow, it always stayed home.

    Out of all the "kit" lenses, it was one of the better ones out there.

    Have switched over to the 12-40/2.8
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  3. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Real Name:
    Its a decent to good budget zoom. Its pretty versatile: better zoom range than the 14-42 kit lenses, weather resistant, and macro mode - all at a reasonable price (used, anyway). The image quality varies depending on who you ask; I found it to be sharp enough, maybe a bit better than the Olympus 14-42 II, but it falls short compared to the majority of primes or the 2.8 zooms from Panasonic and Olympus.
  4. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    Nice range, I find the 12-14 a bigger advantage than 42-50. Marco is very useful. It's a 24-100 35mm eq, so it works well as an all in one travel zoom. It has manual AND zoom by wire setting for video. It also has a lens function button, I have mine set to active peaking but there are several options for an extra function button that would be useful.
  5. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I think it's a good lens but it isn't a great lens. I got it when it was released because it was the only weather sealed Olympus lens available at that stage and I wanted a weather sealed lens to go with the weather sealing of my E-M5. I seem to remember feeling that it was a better lens than some of the comments made about it had led me to expect. I found the manual zoom ring to be a little stiff in action. Overall I'd regard it as a decent performer but I continued to use my primes when I didn't need weather sealing. I'd say there's nothing really to complain about with it but while it basically does the job it doesn't excel like the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO does. Of course there's a big difference in price between those 2 lenses.
  6. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I have not used it myself but would consider picking one up as a general-purpose travel lens for those times when I just can't be switching primes. The wide end and pseudo-macro are the main points it has over the 14-XX zooms, plus weather sealing if you have a sealed body. I think the lens was not as well-received at first in part because people were hoping it would be a reincarnation of the 4/3 12-60 mid-grade zoom. Despite the lukewarm reviews, based on the images I've seen posted it's a solid jack-of-all-trades.
  7. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    Here's a pro photographer with plenty of full frame experience and commercial clients who owns it, uses it for personal work, and likes it (link) (link2). Also a prior mu-43.com thread on this point (link3).
  8. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    I used to have it when I bought an EM5 - In my opinion, it is the bet "kit lens" by far. My copy was very sharp. Macro was excellent, weather sealed, and good range going out to 50mm. You'd be very happy I think, unless the copy was a dud.
  9. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies.

    Looks like I will be getting one then, especially as the S/H prices are so good at the moment, for some reason?

  10. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It is that way because many get it as a kit lens for the OM-D and then ditch it for the 12-40 f/2.8.
  11. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I'd echo what others have said. It covers a very useful focal length range, it's weather sealed, and it functions pretty well for macro. Very versatile. But IQ, at least for the copy I had, just wasn't in the ball park of lenses like the 12-40 or primes.
  12. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    Used prices fluctuate, a $25 - $50 swing, up or down, over the course of a few months is not unusual. I purchased a 35-100 f/2.8 once for $975. Was lucky enough to sell it on I high cycle for $1100. A few months layer they were selling in the $850 range.
  13. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 4, 2014
    Real Name:
    Yeah, as I everyone said, it is the ultimate kit lens - able to get people new to photography engaged in a number of situations. It has a good focal range, electronic zoom for video, macro function, an extra function button, and weather sealing. It's small and light, and can easily serve as a single-lens kit. But at some point most people will look for sharper and faster options.

    I wonder if there will be a 12-50 II in the future?
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think the length of the lens. the so-so sharpness and initial cost turned most off. Where it is currently priced on the used market (<$200) , it is a pretty attractive option if you don't favor size above all else or need OIS.

    I don't know if it was well received enough to warrant a II version. I think most would rather see a reincarnation of a 14-54 or 12-60 instead with a bit better optics and faster aperture.
  15. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    Pretty good kit lens and a good value especially when bundled with a new camera. Versatile with good light or for macro and is also weather sealed. Downside is it's slow aperture and while it's IQ is respectable, it isn't in the same league as the 12-40/2.8 or primes.
  16. jin

    jin Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 27, 2014
    Surprisingly positive feedback from this forum. dpreview users aren't as kind. I find it to be pretty good value for the price right now. My copy isn't bad and although I'm picking up the famous Panasonic 14-45 for my uncle, I can't see myself letting go of the 12-50. It's just too versatile.
  17. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    What is in the same league as the 12-40? :)
  18. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    From what I have seen personally from"gear heads" is that they are all talk. Once in awhile you catch one of their very rare shots posted on a forum... let me put it this way - they would do better with another hobby. You could give any of them the best lens, best camera and 1 - they would still complain, 2 - couldn't take a decent picture.

    That is my 2 cents.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  19. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Even longer former thread on this lens: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/61544/

    The Panasonic 12-35, minus the closer focussing.
  20. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    I've heard the 12-50 is good for copying slides using the macro mode at 43mm and a Nikon slide copy adapter. Thinking of getting one myself for that purpose.