Olympus 12mm Review

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Jman, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Hey everyone. Just thought you guys might like to read my review of the Olympus 12mm. If you've followed some of my image threads in the past few months, you've probably already seen most of the images, but the lens has seen a huge portion of my shooting since I got it.

    Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 Review @ Admiring Light
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  2. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Nice review. It is funny though, most of the lenses I have bought costing from $400 to $4000 never came with a lens hood.
  3. capodave

    capodave Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 4, 2010
    Southern Cal
    Real Name:
    Beautiful pictures also Jordan.
    I use this lens more than any other with my E P3.
    I also still pair up the 20 with my E PM1 for the small form factor, but the 12 takes wonderful photos.
    I've had this since September and finally shelled out for the hood.
  4. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    Thanks, a good review that becomes very good because of the honest inclusion of the build quality issue.

    This could be a great lens if only there was more consistency between individual samples. Unfortunately, there isn't any consistency so it is a great lens only if you are lucky enough to get a good copy.
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Well-written and illustrated review!

    Not sure how I'd feel about going through 3 copies to get a decent one though. Perhaps $800 doesn't mean what it used to...

  6. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Thanks... I'm hoping my 3 copy experience is rare, however.

    I actually would have been fine with my 2nd lens. What happend was I bought the first lens from my local shop (Midwest Photo Exchange). I noticed the decentered element almost immediately and called for a replacement. Unfortunately, the lens I bought was the last one they had in stock, but they said they'd order another for me, but it would take a few weeks.

    Being in a hurry, I ordered another lens from B&H, intending to simply return the faulty lens to Midwest Photo. It came in, and it was good, but had some field curvature. In most shots, it really wasn't an issue, but occasionally it would cause some interesting results. Overall, I feel I'd have been happy with that lens. There wasn't anything really wrong with it, but it wasn't perfect. I was ready to return my lens to Midwest Photo, when they called a week early and said the new lens was in. I figured why not give that one a shot...worst case scenario is that it's the same or better than the B&H lens and I end up returning it...so I got that, and it was darn near flawless...so I sent the B&H lens back the next day.

    If I had simply kept the B&H lens, you'd have had a positive review, but with the additional Con of some field curvature that could be problematic on distant subjects (it was fine for close subjects out to about 30 feet...it was the near infinity subjects that could occasionally have issues, and even then, sometimes the field curvature could help by making the foreground sharper than it otherwise would have been.) For instance, this shot, which I like quite a lot, was taken with that second lens:


    It's hard to see at web size, but the foreground and the middle 2/3 of the building are razor sharp, but the very top of the building softens a smidge due to field curvature. It wouldn't have been a dealbreaker, but my third lens is better overall, so I kept that one.
  7. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Thanks for sharing the detailed review, Jordan. Great images also!
  8. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Real Name:
    Very well balanced and well written review. it matches my experience with the lens, but I must have been lucky and got a decent copy straight away.
  9. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    :frown:Disappointed - tried two of these, both were inferior to the 12-35/2.8 and 7-14/4 at equivalent apertures. Not willing to try a third - you're a better man than I am! :redface:
  10. sacjdp

    sacjdp New to Mu-43

    Dec 13, 2011
    Thanks Jordan, thinking of getting this or the pany 12-35mm.
  11. OMDUser

    OMDUser New to Mu-43

    Oct 20, 2012
    Thanks for the review!
  12. damienangel

    damienangel New to Mu-43

    Jul 18, 2012
    Great review jordan. i am two weeks out from buying a lens to pair with my Oly 45mm so solid opinions like these are great for helping me decide.