December 5, 2016 by jeremy
very good
good kit lens overall really like the macro feature. would recommend
November 29, 2016 by peter
Too many design compromises
I bought this lens with an OMD-EM-5 (Mark I) shortly after Olympus brought out the body. I got it from a local camera store wanting to support them. To start off, the body is terrific, although since greatly surpassed by the EM-5 Mk II. I will not review the body here. The m.Zuiko is a well built internal zooming and focusing lens which promises a lot. Sadly, it fails to deliver. The range of focal lengths is great for walking around. However at essentially all apertures and focal lengths it is soft. The principal problem in my single sample is significant chromatic aberration. To some extent this is clearly a conscious choice in the design because it is somewhat corrected by the camera's firmware -- if and only if you're shooting in JPEG. But serious photographers using a camera this sophisticated will be shooting and printing from RAW where the internal post processing is not available. The other major problem I have is the serious amount of flare in the system, particularly when facing into bright lights. It is intrinsic and cannot be fixed in software post-exposure. The effect is a subtle to serious loss of contrast and color saturation, making for flat images. As slow as the lens is, this sample could not be used wide open at 12mm. Stopping down more than one stop to f/8.0 seemed mandatory to get acceptable images from the point of view of edge sharpness and also color saturation. That pushed me up against the envelope in several dimensions: 1) exposures have to be longer, and even with five axis stabilization this can get out of hand, or 2) the ISO setting has to be faster, creating a noise problem given that the sensor is a micro 4/3 (yes, you can get away with ISO 1250, faster than almost any film ever made, but we are in a digital era) and 3) with small apertures and short focal lengths, separating subject from background and getting creamy bokeh becomes impossible. Pictures made with this lens tend to have no more background separation than a shot made in broad daylight with a very small sensor point and shoot. The lens is yet slower at 50mm, which means that you may need to shoot between f/8.9 and f/11 to get acceptable sharpness and CA when shooting RAW. Longer focal length + smaller aperture <=> longer exposures or higher sensitivities. In turn this means noisier images and less subject-background separation. The actual sharpness at long focal lengths also falls off as can be seen in the Olympus MTF charts for the lens. The lens is unacceptably soft wide open at 50mm, and even stopping down only gets to barely acceptably at f/8.0 before the effects of diffraction impare performance a f/11. Olympus provides the lens with a macro setting which enables quite close focusing at 43 mm, fixed focal length. Is it an advantage to have a crippled macro setting as opposed to no macro? That's a personal choice. I preferred to work from a little farther away with a longer focal length or the ability to zoom to fill the frame. Note that the lens is so slow that a tripod or other steadying assist is mandatory. I bought the brilliant 60mm, f/2.8 macro which solved those problems. The lack of inherent sharpness means that any closeup pictures will lack the high subject sharpness that makes a great macro picture. It's particularly noticeable in photos of flowers and leaves where stamens, veins and edges really should look as if engraved with a laser. The problems come not from the construction of the lens, but rather the compromises that have to be made to get a compact 4:1 zoom that can be sold at a price that made the combination of body and lens extremely attractive and still let the designer obey the laws of physics and the refractive indices of glasses in the standard catalogs. My real problem is that I did not think through the compromises before opting for the 12-50 mm as opposed to the smaller, lighter, slower, and cheaper 12-42. Nevertheless I was initially so disappointed with my pictures that I nearly returned the whole m4/3 system. That would have been a mistake. Today I sold the 12-50 lens and bought the 12-40 f/2.8 PRO lens. Now that lens is simply magnificent!!
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November 23, 2016 by WalterBear
Exellent all-purpose zoom with lots of features
I love this lens. It's so versatile and, in my opinion, one of the best values in Olympus lenses. I like that it has such a wide focal range of course, and the macro function is very impressive, but the thing I like best is the really good images it captures. I'm not too concerned with its speed (but admit that's what cost it 5 stars) because I fully understand it is a "daylight use" lens. I have the 25mm f1.8 for nighttime shots. What this lens really does well on my E-M10 Mark II is serve as a "one-lens" solution for walking around during the day sightseeing. I took some really great shots with it on my last trip to San Diego. Very impressive clarity, contrast and color. Good bokeh in all shots that show that aspect. Oh, and I really like the size! It's not at all "too big." Its length actually makes it much easier to hold the whole camera. And with the hood on, it stands up very well (nice and level) when put on a table. I really like using the manual zoom mode for still shots (a bit more control), but have to say that the electric zoom mode is perfect for video. The macro mode is very impressive. What else is going for it? How about weatherproof? Dedicated function button (really useful to me)? In summary, two words...Buy it!
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October 1, 2016 by Mirko
Good all-rounder
Very good for casual shooting and travel and OK for other purposes (macro, portrait). Excels in optimal conditions (enough light) but starts having trouble as the light gets lower. I don't think the size or the weight are too much as I've never thought the setup with it and the E-M5 was cumbersome. Haven't done any videos so can't comment on that but it does have a motorized zoom which should come in handy. Weatherproofing proved to be a great feature. Overall, a good all round lens which doesn't break the bank.
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July 18, 2016 by decia d.
It's like have two lenses in one!
This lens is a perfect when you only can bring one lens with you and it's weatherproof. The electronic zoom it's a great help to capture thing for far away. Also, it can convert to macro, like have two lenses in one!
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