Review of the 2,0/12mm by Ctein

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by 6x6, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. 6x6

    6x6 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    The Online Photographer

    Outside price and quality of pics, this was his biggest complaint:

    "Olympus's implementation of this ( = manual focus) has three big problems:

    The focusing ring focuses well past infinity. The end stop is at about +ƒ/4 (I'm using the depth of field marks as indicators). You can't blindly set the lens to infinity, or you'll actually be focused well beyond infinity. This kind of slop is often needed with telephoto lenses to allow for thermal expansion, but that shouldn't be an issue with a 12mm lens.

    If you align the infinity mark with the focus line, you're still not in focus at infinity. True infinity focus is when the infinity mark is at about –ƒ/2.8. Consequently, scale focusing isn't going to be very accurate.

    When you focus in this full manual mode you don't get continuous focusing, as you do in normal manual focusing where the ring free-wheels. The manual ring only provides coarse zone focusing. Focus snaps from zone to zone abruptly; the separation between zones is about the same as the separation between the focus line and the ƒ/5.6 mark. That huge jump makes it impossible to achieve either precise or accurate focus."
  2. JayShiva

    JayShiva Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 6, 2011
    Yarm, UK
  3. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Sounds like he didn't have the focus ring fully engaged for manual focus.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Not unexpected, but still disappointing (the lens, not the review).

    Don't understand why Olympus is trying to gouge customers by selling a mid-quality lens at a premium price.

    Either bring the price down to something sane ($450 or so). Or give it the optics to back up the price. The 7-14/4 looks better at 12mm, and it's not even a prime!

  5. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    contrary to what is said positively here in the forum about the lens... interesting.
  6. JayShiva

    JayShiva Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 6, 2011
    Yarm, UK
    'tis a very aesthetically pleasing lens though.

    Thought I'd say something nice :)
  7. 6x6

    6x6 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    I havent had the chance to use that lens, so maybe someone can shed a light.
    Is there really no stepless manual focus?

    I cant believe that to be true. With manual wide angles I always used the method to set up focus by combining an aperture with a chosen distance on the lens.

    And the distance symbols not being right on is somehow difficult to believe, too. If its not possible to use this age-old technology, why did Olympus manufacture this lens with a feature like this at all?
  8. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    I've been shooting with this lens in manual focus mode using the zone focusing method and have not noticed any part of the scene that was intended to be in focus to be out of focus. While I have not taken a measuring tape to judge the accuracy of the distance/aperture scale on the lens, or done extensive pixel peeping, my experience thus far has not been as negative. Of course, that may simply mean that I am not as critical with my equipment as I should be, or it may reflect my happiness with finally having a fast wide angle lens which I enjoy using. As far as value for the money, that is going to vary with each person, but in the absence of an alternative, I am ok with my purchase.
  9. capodave

    capodave Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 4, 2010
    Southern Cal
    Real Name:
    I absolutely love this lens.
    For what you get, I think it's a great value.
    But what do I know?
  10. CPWarner

    CPWarner Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2010
    Real Name:
    The optical results also go against what the SLR gear review showed. That review looked good to me. It does make one concerned about a bad copy though. I will definitely test mine when it shows up.
  11. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Where are the pitchforks and torches? To the TOP!

    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I wouldn't call the 12 a great VALUE when you've got the 14 within about a half stop at a fraction of the cost. But its still a damn fine lens! I don't find myself using the manual focus ring much for zone focus because the AF on any of the current Oly cameras is sooooo good that I'm almost always better off using that, even shooting from the hip with the epl3. And I'm often pulling this lens out in low light and shooting it wide open, when AF is work better than zone focus anyway because wide open the DOF just isn't that great. And there is something a little clearer/sharper about that lens than the 14, although its pretty subtle and I had to work with the files from both quite a lot before I started seeing it. And having a good quality wide angle at f2 is just a very nice thing to have for all kinds of shooting. So, for me, it was a worthwhile lens, but I'm a wide angle junkie - I live down there. For many, the 14 would do just fine and its clearly the wide angle VALUE lens of the m43 system.

  13. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    *Appears* to be a QC issue in somewhat the same venue as the 45mm....:confused:
  14. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    Neither would I.. the best value is the Panasonic 20mm F1.7
  15. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    I have to agree. Not what one would call a value by any means (not like the Oly 45mm or the Panny 14 and 20mm), but still a good piece of kit. At least Ctein has warned potential owners of certain limitations with large prints - I suspect they wouldn't affect me very much. But, as long as I still have my Pentax DSLR kit, I'm not sure I personally would pay this much for a :43: lens. But more power to those who will! Bring the price down under $500 and I'd be very interested.
  16. Fred49

    Fred49 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2010

    I ended buying both the 14mm and the 12mm.

    Despite the huge price gap ( i bought the 14mm for 170€ and the 12mm 600+€)
    i kept the 12mm and sold the 14mm:

    the extra 2mm with f2 is worth it for me for indoor shots,

    but yes i wouldnt call it a great value lens
  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I think that it would have been helpful in the review to have mentioned what camera/lens combination/s he had used satisfactorily in the past for similar sized prints since I'm assuming that this isn't the first ~24mm equivalent lens that he has used for such an application.
  18. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    Good point! Most of the non-L Canon wide angle primes are nothing to boast about either, although they don't cost $800.
  19. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I found the review interesting because I've never noticed an edge sharpness issue, but then I don't print and I've never really gone pixel peeping into the corners.

    As luck would have it, I picked up my Oly lens hood for the 12 mm today from a local camera store so I wanted to try that out, especially since I'd actually managed to get quite noticeable flare in a shot taken in late afternoon a week or so ago. Today wasn't a good day to go flare hunting since it was overcast but I took the 12 out to my local park and some parts of a nature strip near home.

    Pixel peeping in Aperture afterwards, using the loupe at 100% magnification, I couldn't see anything I would describe as "smearing" in the lower corners. In some shots the lower corners were out of focus since the point of focus was much further away and I was shooting at f/2.8 but in the shots where I stopped down to around f/11 I thought things looked acceptably sharp in those corners at 100%.

    What I did notice that I hadn't noticed before was in the upper corners when there was foliage there, rather than just open sky. I saw a small amount of purple fringing indicative of a touch of chromatic aberration. I can't make that out clearly just viewing those shots full screen which gives an image size just a bit under 19" x 13", and I can't see any problems with smearing or sharpness in the lower corners at that size.

    In Ctein's review he says he sees the corner sharpness problems in 20" x 15" prints and Jeffrey Goggin's comment at the end of the review reports that he's satisfied at 12" x 16" so Ctein is saying he's unhappy at a bit larger than my full screen size, Jeffery Goggin is happy at a little under my full screen size, and I'm happy at my full screen size.

    In the interests of full disclosure I'm 64 and my eyesight is definitely not perfect. I need spectacles for age related focussing issues and mild astigmatism. I also have problems under less than ideal lighting because I have small pupils (my eyes are not "fast eyes" and will never keep up with fast glass) and I have the beginnings of cataracts but those 2 issues are more likely to make me see things as "smeared" than not—movies in a cinema no longer look sharp or well focussed to me even when companions tell me they are quite sharp and focussed. I'm also not used to pixel peeping and examining my shots at 100% resolution except for checking that I have what I was interested in in acceptable focus.

    So I'm not certain quite what to make of Ctein's comments on edge sharpness. I'm definitely not the best person to act as a judge of that, but viewing my shots full screen on my iMac at a size just above what Jeffery Goggin says he regards as his upper printing limit for acceptable results certainly looks acceptable to me. That makes me wonder whether somewhere between 12x16 and 15x20 is the upper limit for printing/close viewing an image from a 12 mp M43 file with Jeffery Goggin erring happily just slightly on the conservative side and Ctein erring unhappily just on the overly optimistic side, though that could be me wanting to back up my own impressions using Goggin for support. If 15x20 is a reasonable size for a 12 mp M43 file, then Ctein could well be right in saying that the 12 mm doesn't cut it at the edges.

    Just my 0 cents worth—YMMV.
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    That's the size he makes his prints at. He didn't arbitrarily decide on the size after getting the 12/2. He's been doing this for quite a while.

    We can disagree as to whether the 12/2 is 'good enough' or not. The real puzzling part is the price. They charge as much as they do for the 12-60 for this lens. Yet all indications are that the 12-60 is a better lens optically. And it's a 5x zoom to boot.