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Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD Lens

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Dave Jenkins, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    I'm very interested in the Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD lens. It may be just the lens I want for most of my work. Who on this forum has owned or has used one on an OM-D5? Did you find the autofocus adequate for your needs? I would like to hear about your experiences.
     
  2. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I've owned the 12-60, the 12-50 and the 14-54ii. I kept the 14-54ii.

    There are long threads on all of these lenses. Unfortunately it boils down to what works for you and this is going to be tricky to figure out until you try it.

    For me the lower weight and faster long aperture were the biggest issues. If I want more reach I can add the 1.4TC to the 14-54ii which takes it to 76. It adds a stop but you are starting at 3.5 instead of 4. Focus is a wash in my mind between the two. Neither is as fast at the 12-50 but both have much higher image quality.
     
  3. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    12mm at the wide end is a must for me. I had the 12-50, but sold it because it is so slow.
     
  4. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I have a 9-18 for that requirement :wink: . In the 4/3 community this is a common discussion - 9-18+14-54 or 12-60. I suspect you will have to try one to really answer your question. The image quality is excellent, no issues there.

    It is a heavy lens. Without a grip on the OM-D I think it would feel awkward.
     
  5. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    805
    Dec 2, 2012
    COLORADO
    Interesting, I've never had the 12-60, but everything I've read is the 14-54MKII is a much better focusing lens on m4/3. I've had it and it is more than adequate. The 12-60 has the SWD which apparently burns up fairly quickly on m4/3 because of the rapid back and forthing to catch focus. The 14-54MKII was designed to use the same focus detecting mechanism that m4/3 uses. . The 12-60 was not. I had the 50-200 SWD and it often missed focus after locking. MF worked better.

    After trying many combos of lenses, I'd say buy a used 12mm or 12-35. The 12-50 is a better lens @ 12mm than 50mm, but if it's not fast enough @ 3.5 then will 2.8 help that much? I now have a 12mm and a 25mm and a 60mm for this range. I need the 25's speed on occasion or I would just get the 12-35 and 45/60mm.
     
  6. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    Well, it only weighs 1/4 pound more than the 14-150 I currently use as my walk-around lens. On the other hand, when you add the necessary adapter, it would weigh about the same as the Canon 24-105 which I sold because it was too heavy. Go figure!
     
  7. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    On single AF the 12-60 is fine, I wouldn't use it on C-AF, and it does not have the front focus issue all the 50-200s have. I have the 50-200 as well, they are pretty much an MF lens with EXIF data*.

    *Unless you have sufficient DOF that focus issues don't matter.
     
  8. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    My issue was not the overall weight, it was the distribution. The front element is huge. Most of the weight is in the front of the lens. The range and image quality is awesome though, no question. If you look at the 12-35 and the 14-54, the size is proportional to the reach. I doubt a 12-60 F2.8 to F4 m43 is going to a whole lot smaller.

    9197058622_b65471eae7.
    12-35+14-54+OM-D by pelicaneng, on Flickr

    9194671003_3e58cdb8f8.
    photo4 by pelicaneng, on Flickr
     
  9. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    328
    Jan 28, 2012
    It's pretty big on the E-M5 but not unworkable, especially if you have the horizontal grip. Mine just doesn't seem to AF well. Not just slow but I don't find it very accurate either. I generally use it MF on the E-M5. I just find the AF too lacking. It's a great lens and I really wish there was an m43 version with the same optical quality. Mine is sharp wide open and very sharp stopped down one stop. There is some complex distortion at the very wide end so it's not ideal for architecture at the very widest angles. That's pretty much gone by 14mm and you won't see it with most general subjects unless they have distinct horizontal lines.
     
  10. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    Mine AF'd well. The distortion at 12 is annoying though.
     
  11. Mr Hahn

    Mr Hahn Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Jul 9, 2010
    SLC, Utah
    Nate
    Anybody know what the 14-54mm MkII is worth these days? I haven't look at their values since I sold my E-3 a few years ago. I really miss that lens so I might try to find one for my OM-D and try it out.
     
  12. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Anything under $300 is a great deal. Anything over $400 is overpriced.
     
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The 12-60 was the primary lens on my E-M5 this past year. My feelings are somewhat contradictory - it is a great lens, but I wouldn't recommend it save in very specific circumstances.

    To cut a long story short, the AF motor in mine has now failed twice in the space of a little over 5k actuations, and the cost to repair is ~$300. I'm fairly confident that the CDAF focusing is the main culprit behind this. So unless you a) get it with an extended warranty and b) are willing to deal with Olympus support fairly regularly, I would give it miss. Alternatively, if you don't expect to use AF more than once in a blue moon, you should be okay.

    With that huge caveat, I will say that it's probably the best 4x+ standard zoom available for any system. Sharpness is consistent across the frame and indeed at the wide end, the only thing one gains stopping down is DoF. It can focus quite close, so for flowers and the like, one can generally avoid needing a macro. It is sealed as well.

    It does have the downside of being fairly large and heavy compared to native zooms. I don't really find it unwieldy, but I'm sure some people might. Basically, if you're used to supporting a camera by the lens, it's fine.

    As to the AF speed, it's noisy but generally accurate and takes 1.5-2.5 seconds usually to lock. Fine for stationary subjects. Completely useless for moving ones.
     
  14. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    The 12-60mm is a great lens - just not on m4/3s. It is slow focusing typically 1/2 - 1 1/2 secomds to focus. And I only tried it in bright sunlight.
     
  15. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    Well, so much for that.:frown:

    The 14-54 sounds like a good lens, but 12mm at the wide end is a must for me and I don't want to carry another lens to obtain that. I'll wait to see if Olympus comes up with an alternative to the Panasonic 12-35.
     
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I'd wait a month or so until the E-M7 is announced before making any big purchases. If they do implement on-sensor PDAF, then the main issue with the 12-60 will go away. Of course, prices might recover too, but its hard to predict...
     
  17. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I would not conclude that the motor failure has anything to do with CDAF. There are plenty of threads on the interwebs with some discussion of SWD failures. It appeared to affect some small batches of lenses.

    12-60 motor failure?: Olympus SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    If the slower focus speed is OK, personally I would jump now. I expect the 4/3 used lens prices to recover fairly quickly.
     
  18. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    The latest rumor is the new Oly zoom will match the image quality of the 14-35 SHG lens. That I would buy - limited zoom range and all (well as long as it is weather sealed).
     
  19. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Dave's question and dhZEGHI's response got me thinking about the 12-60mm lens again. So today I tried something different.

    I put the camera in focus release priority and as at the first indication of focus I tripped the shutter, and about 97% of the shots were in focus. I did this in a business office with most of the overhead lights off with exposure around 1/50, f/3.2, ISO 200. Focus speed would be about 1/10 second as a SWAG.

    What made me think about this was dhZEGHI's response about the AF motor failed twice. What happens when focusing, the camera/lens targets the focus point and starts chattering till it nails the focus. I imagine the chattering is what some might call rattle snaking, a lot of quick front to back minor adjustments to lock in focus. This probably overworks the motor from what it was designed to do. But the initial focus is pretty close if not right on and the DOF hides most focusing errors.

    However...I'm waiting to see what gets released.
     
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    There are certainly examples of the SWD motors failing when used with DSLRs too. That happened to me too, with a different sample of the same lens. But that was after 3+ years and 30k+ images.

    The difference is the how quickly the motor died. This was a lens that was repaired by Olympus, inspected, and managed to fail again <5k actuations later. That's what I attributed to CDAF.

    That is a good point.