Olympus 12-50mm question

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jaomul, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Hi all,

    I can pick one of these up really cheap off a guy local. My problem is i don't have an opportunity to try it beforehand to see how I like it. I already have the 14-42 II which I am very happy with, but this lens obviously goes wider, narrower and the real attraction is the semi-macro mode. The lens gets wildly different reviews. Can any users here tell me if it is good or bad in comparison to the kit lens I have. Thanks
  2. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    While I haven't used either one (but I do have a 12-50 on the way!), I've read quite a bit about both...quality-wise the 14-42 II is the clear winner. The 12-50 is not horrible, but the 14-42 II has been universally accepted as the best M4/3 kit lens to date (with perhaps the exception of the new Panasonic 12-32).

    I wouldn't have bothered with the 12-50, but I was planning a trip to Borneo, and wanted a weathersealed option. The 12-50 isn't horrible, and the macro mode is awesome...but if you don't need the weathersealing I'd just get a dedicated macro lens if you can afford it instead of picking up a very similar lens that will give you lower image quality than what you already have.
  3. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have the 12-50, never used any of the 14-xx kit lenses, however. The 12-50 is a great focal range lens (both the 12mm wider and added length are significant), and the semi-macro mode works great. It's a good, but not great lens, though I'm the first to admit I'm pretty picky. Nothing I've seen from any of the cheap kit lenses is particularly appealing, though.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    As others have mentioned, you might not be blown away by the image quality- but with the right light, it's just fine. The macro mode is a nice bonus and the weather sealing is the main reason I use it. I've had my E-M5 to the beach (held above the water taking shots), in a snowstorm, and it's rode down a sled several times with me (who needs a go pro??). It still works quite well. So, I feel that I've got my money out of the lens- but mainly because of the weather sealing. I've taken a few shots with the macro mode, but it's no where near as good as the 60mm macro. Oh, and it does have a built in zoom motor, so if you shoot video, you can zoom smoothly.

    If I had to describe this lens- it's an all around lens. Good at a lot of things, but not excellent in just one.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. turtleboy133

    turtleboy133 Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 13, 2011
    It really depends on your use-case. For example, if you do a lot of hiking and backpacking, the extra range at the wide and long ends, weather-sealing and macro mode would come in handy (assuming you don't want to carry extra lenses such as the 60mm). General consensus is that it's not worth list price, but it's a good deal at ~$150-200.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. jaomul

    jaomul Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    Thanks all for your help. I may re-think this one
  7. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Take a close look at some of my 12-50 results to see if it's good enough.
    I'm generally happy with it. Except I have the 9-18mm for the super wide shots now.



    Gambrinus by ianp5a, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 3
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    OP, I was in the same boat as you.

    I own both lenses in question. I got the 14-42ii kit w./the EM5 and never really used it much. The results were ok, but not quite like the primes. Decent for traveling light. I wanted a weather sealed version and also read the so-so reviews of the 12-50mm, but I later picked one up for ~$200 or less and I actually kind of like it. Personally, I think it's underrated. Maybe not worth $500 retail, but worth $200 easy. It's larger than the 14-42, but has more features and I think more contrast and less noise in higher ISO situations. I doubt you'll see a major difference in sharpness between them. Internal focus, macro mode, FN button, weatherproof, wider, longer are all pluses. Great for landscapes and tripod use too.

    If you get it at a good price and don't like it, you can resell it for no loss on ebay or here...or later sell your 14-42 instead.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    I initially had the 12-50 that came with the OM-D. I sold it after awhile, not sure why. I now have a 14-42 II and the copies I have/had, the 12-50 was way sharper. Just a better all around lens imho.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. mring1

    mring1 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2012
    Phoenix, Arizona
    John Taska
    The best synopsis of the 12-50...

    Lots of these lenses are now on the market, especially as owners purchase the new 12-40. I use a 12-50 to complement my 14-54 Mk. I on my E-M5. The old Oly is unarguably better, but the versatility of the 12-50 is not to be underrated. As long as you understand it's a kit lens, you'll be fine. Mine is actually very good from 12-25, stopped down 1/2 stop. Add that to the high(er) ISO capability and IBIS of the E-M5, and it's really a very competent lens.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    My copy of the 12-50mm is better than both of the Oly 14-42's we have and also the Pana 14-42 we have.

    There is a big difference between the 14 and 12mm POV and the 12-50 is better at the wide than the tele end. At the tele end I tend to use the Oly 45 f1.8.

    The close focus works better than I expected (I do have a legacy true macro).

    Yes the 12-50 is not as good as the best primes eg 12mm, 25mm or 45mm but is much better than many of the reports would have you believe. It struggles when light levels drop but no more than the other kit lenses.

    The length doesn't help the handling much but the weather proofing, close focus, internal zoom and the 12mm POV combined with a relatively low cost make it a good all rounder.

    If you want better IQ then the original Pana 14-45 or at much higher cost the Pana 12-35 F2.8 are possible options but I don't think there is another lens with the same combination of attributes and mine retains in place in my camera bag.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I agree with most of what you said...however...the lens has NOTHING to do with the amount of noise you see in a picture. (At least not directly...a faster lens lets you shoot at lower ISOs, thus leading to a less noisy picture, but speed-wise these lenses are about evenly matched).

    And, of course, at equal settings, you'd see EXACTLY as much noise out of the 12-50 as you would out of the 14-42.
  13. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    • 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.