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OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Kit Lens...Love It or Hate It?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by 938mm, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. 938mm

    938mm Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 24, 2012
    Hong Kong
    Hello All,

    Alright, this is my first thread here and coming from DSLR I'm relatively new going into the M43 format.

    So I've had my OM-D for just over 3 months now and really love the camera. I got it with the kit lens but fact is, I've only used the kit lens twice! Most of the time my Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 is on the camera and that's because I love this lens so much plus of course it's normal focal length.

    I have very mixed feelings about the 12-50mm, sometimes I just feel I should sell it because I rarely use it. However, on the other hand this lens does provide a lot of features that aren't available in other zooms and also ideal for travel use. I mean, this lens is really like the jack of all trades but a master none. I'd like to use it more often but because it's a slow lens and the IQ not being top notch, its just made me reluctant to use it.

    I'd like to know if any of you have similar thoughts about this lens or even positive views on it.
  2. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    This is exactly what it is. And this is exactly what a kit lens should be.

    In fact, with the exception of some lenses bundled with top FF DSLRs (like the Canon 24-105 f/4.0) this is perhaps the best "kit-lens" out there, bar none, in terms of value for money. It has adequate focal range, it has power zoom for video, it has macro. Its IQ cannot compete with fast primes, but is that the question?

    For me, it stays, and it gets fair use in good light conditions. I don't plan on replacing it, except perhaps when the rumored 12-60 f/2.8-4.0 comes out.
  3. gardengirl13

    gardengirl13 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 26, 2012
    I only got my OMD last week, so I only have the kit lens right now. I like quite a bit. Of course my idea of zooms is for walk around use. I prefer primes unless I have to have a zoom (ie for weight reasons I have (hopefully soon to not have) the canon 55-250 since it's light weight compared to the 300/400 primes.) Sure a prime will beat a zoom any day, BUT they do come in handy. Wouldn't you rather have a zoom when you need it? In a tight space somewhere and you can't move forward or back? Zooms can come in handy. Plus if you want a 1 lens day trip somewhere zooms are nice if you're not sure what you'll be shooting.

    I had the 28-105 on my DSLR and some people didn't think it was a good lens. I thought it was fast, had ok range and was VERY sharp. Sounds a little like the 12-50. To me they're similar. Know how to use it and it's great!
  4. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    What I like about this lens:
    - 12-50 is a good range for a kit lens that no other m4/3 kit can match to date;
    - lightening fast AF;
    - the macro function comes in handy;
    - it's a good video lens with the motorized zoom;
    - it's currently the only native weather-sealed lens in my collection.

    What I don't like about this lens:
    - small aperture;
    - this lens is just not very sharp, and IQ nowhere near my prime lenses;

    Like you said, it's a jack-of-all-trades, and because of its flexibility, it ends up spending quite a bit of time on my E-M5, but I wish it is a sharper and faster lens, so it's a love-hate relationship. If my Zuiko 14-54 Mk II focuses faster and more reliably on my E-M5, I might consider getting rid of it... but, nah, the 14-54MkII cannot do video because of the focusing noise, and it lacks the macro ability of the 12-50, so I guess it's a keeper for me...
  5. bongestrella

    bongestrella Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 2, 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    I loved mine when I still had it, though I soon realized that the 14-150 offered me more, so I traded it.

    I will be visiting Niagara falls in a few weeks though, makes me wonder if I should have held on to it a little bit longer.
  6. c_henry

    c_henry Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    I really like it, it's sharp, good range, quick focus, great Macro. I've upgraded to the 12-35 though, so the 12-50 may well go on eBay.

  7. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    The IQ puts me off from getting this lens. I hate working to capture wonderful, possibly once in a lifetime images, especially during travels, only to wish, after-the-fact, that I had done so with a higher quality lens. There's a bit of an IQ hit when moving from FF sensor to m4/3 sensor, so choosing the best glass for m4/3 helps make up for that.

    I'm hoping the rumored 12-60 has superb IQ because 12-60 is a dream general use focal length range in one lens - IF, the IQ measures up. Meantime, the 12-35/2.8 is my choice for general range zoom and may continue to be such even after the 12-60 materializes.
  8. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Same here. I much prefer primes on the OM-D, but I keep the 12-50 for two reasons. It's a decent walkabout lens when you need a bit of range. More importantly, I keep it because it's my only weather sealed lens- should I need to take an image in the rain, it's good to know it's there. That said, if a better weather sealed lens comes out with improved optics, more reach, and a wider- dare I say it fixed- aperture comes along, I may be tempted to upgrade ; )
  9. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I don't love it or hate it, but I'm way closer to the love side of the equation. The reasons are well annunciated by most everyone. Boil it down to one word: Versatility.

    And I do see it as a long-term keeper. Since I much prefer primes I doubt that I'll spend big bucks in the future for a faster, sharper, weather-sealed zoom. Primes will still be better, and the 12-50 will still be the jack-of-all-trades in the bag for whenever it's needed.
  10. 938mm

    938mm Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 24, 2012
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for the comments so far. Seems the majority of you are happy with the lens for its capabilities and performance. I think the problem could be me rather than the lens itself. Having come from FF and used to great zooms lenses such as the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 and 16-35 f4.0, I'm obviously still very attached to high IQ those lenses were producing. This is also obviously why I use the CV 25mm and Oly 12mm more often. I bought the Oly 75mm f1.8 today and I'm completely in love with it. I think what I'm after is a faster zoom with superb IQ. I know there's the Panny 12-35 f2.8 but I'm not keen on it and its also a very pricey zoom. The rumored Oly 12-60 is more likely the choice if the IQ is there and the reach is a lot more. As for now, I'll keep the 12-50 and make use of it more, maybe I'll grow to like it enough.
  11. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    First of all, I take issue with the best "kit-lens" out there, bar none, in terms of value for money - that was most definitely the 14-45 as part of the G1 or GF1 kit. Of course that isn't available anymore, so maybe my point is moot ;) 

    I've been rather unimpressed with the sharpness of the 12-50 from the samples I've seen. That said, sharpness primarily matters if you are going to enlarge to gigantic proportions. Most people don't, and even people that do only do so rarely. Really, how much wall space do you have for giant images?

    With that in mind I think the 12-50 seems to offer a lot for the compromise in IQ. 12-50 is definitely a more useful range than 14-42. Good macro performance can be a big asset for some. Weather sealing as well. Jack of all trades and master of none seems a good characterization and there is a lot of utility in that. As part of a kit seems a decent value.

    It really depends on what you are most likely to use. Want the best IQ in a walk around slow zoom - get the Panasonic 14-45. Want the most compact slow zoom at any price - get the Panasonic 14-42X, but beware of the OIS issues. Want a very compact slow zoom with decent IQ and very low price, get the Olympus 14-42II as part of a kit. Don't mind a slightly bigger lens and not quite the best IQ for a broader range of features, get the 12-50.

    And then of course there is the 14-140, 14-150 and 12-35/2.8 as well.

    We are blessed with so many mid-range zoom options in m43 these days!

    • Like Like x 1
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Well, we're blessed with a gazillion slow kit zooms, and one fast zoom in the mid-range. What we lack is a medium aperture zoom with a decent range and price tag, like the old 14-54/2.8-3.5 or 12-60/2.8-4.0.

    • Like Like x 2
  13. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    That's exactly why I am still keeping my 14-54MkII/2.8-3.5 around!
  14. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    No matter which way you turn, you've got to give up something. Just decide what you can trade off for what you want to have.

    Here's hoping the rumored 12-60 hits it out of the park. :smile:
  15. cookme

    cookme Mu-43 Regular

    May 25, 2012
    I using the 12-50mm for walkaround all the time. It's so simple with just the camera and one lens. I don't even touch my bag at all other than storing the camera or changing batteries.

    I really hope the 12-60 turns into reality, the speed and IQ upgrade are much needed...
  16. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    I am able to get rather sharp images, with nice color from this lens.

    I have yet to test it in lowlight or pitch darkness, and I will....

    E-PL1    ---    12mm    f/14.0    1/30s    ISO 200

    E-PL1    ---    12mm    f/14.0    1/40s    ISO 200
    • Like Like x 1
  17. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Indeed. Unfortunately it would appear that for the first few years of m43 that Olympus was still kidding itself that four-thirds was a realistic answer to the high end market. As a result we got mostly junk from Olympus as far as optics goes for m43. All the decent optics were coming from Panasonic, but even they weren't doing much in the zoom category you are referring to.

    Fortunately with things like the 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 coming out (not to mention the E-M5) there is hope Olympus is figuring out 4/3 is an anachronism and that the real market for high end optics is over on the m43 side. They can make amazing optics when they want to, as so many 4/3 lenses demonstrate.

    All that said, to stay alive they need their low cost slow zooms to sell cameras to "most" consumers.

    • Like Like x 2
  18. 938mm

    938mm Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 24, 2012
    Hong Kong
    No doubt that in good light the lens performs pretty well. Though it still lacks the pop or wow factor that I'm looking for. In low light this lens is just very difficult to use at the long end and I that's why I now have the range of primes that pretty much cover the focal lengths I use most.
  19. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    It is no doubt a compromise lens, but a very versatile and capable one. Is it great, no, but it is better than most seem to give it credit for.

    I really enjoy using it and so look forward to the rumored 12-60. If Oly would make the 11-22 and 50-200 in m43 I'd be more thrilled, those were my two favorite, non-exotic, 4/3 lenses.
  20. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    There is no comparison with 24-70 or other lenses from CaNikon. And the Pany 12-35 isn't expensive, IMO, if you compare it with those lenses, right?

    I should have cleared my initial post by saying that I'd definitely wouldn''t buy the 12-50 by itself esp. at the retail price it sells. But as a kit with the E-M5, I stand by my initial statement of it being the "best" current kit-lens (read "best compromise in all respects") out there.

    I have high hopes of a 12-60 ported from 4/3. This lens has great IQ and performance on 4/3 and from 12mm to 35mm its aperture would be (guessing) f/2.8 to less than f/3.5, so not much slower than the Pany 12-35.
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