Thursday, November 28, 2013

Almost an Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Lens Review. Almost

I actually intended to do a full blog review on that amazing Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens. I got out shooting most of the weekend, but at the same time I also had visitors from Germany who travelled to Kuala Lumpur to spend a day trip here, and I was more than happy to show them around my usual street hunting grounds. Well, I was not really a good multi-tasker anyway, and I really enjoyed myself with Robin and Jenny whom I brought along to Chow Kit, Kampung Baru and Masjid Jamek area. 

Having the 12-40mm F2.8 lens review in my mind, I did make some effort to shoot, but coming home and reviewing my collection of images, they were somewhat insufficient to constitute a full review. There were so many things to cover for this lens, some notable strong points such as good close up shooting capability was not tested. 

So in this blog entry, instead of being a blog review for the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens, this shall be a small collection of images I have taken over the weekend.



All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens. 

Robin and Jenny from Germany. Check out Robin Schimko's amazing photos here (click)
1/80sec, F2.8, ISO640, 40mm



1/80s, F2.8, ISO250, 40mm

1/40sec, F2.8, ISO500, 38mm


1/5000sec, F2.8, ISO200, 27mm

1/50sec, F5.6, ISO500, 21mm

1/25sec, F4.5, ISO200, 20mm

1/20sec, F8, ISO200, 15mm

1/100sec, F2.8, ISO500, 27mm


1/50sec, F2.8, ISO800, 40mm

1/50sec, F4.5, ISO200, 12mm

1/160sec, F2.8, ISO800, 23mm

1/160sec, F2.8, ISO800, 23mm

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO500, 36mm

1/800sec, F4.5, ISO200, 12mm

1/640sec, F2.8, ISO200, 40mm

1/10sec, F10, ISO200, 12mm

1/15sec, F5.6, ISO250, 19mm

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO800, 12mm

1/200sec, F2.8, ISO800

1/200sec, F2.8, ISO500, 38mm

1/125sec, F2.8, ISO200, 31mm

26.4sec, F14, ISO200, 12mm

15sec, F16, ISO200, 12mm

For those of you looking for just one lens, and do not bother adding too many lenses into the camera bag, this Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens is an absolute must have! It is so versatile, covering wide angle 12mm all the way to medium telephoto of 40mm, all in constant aperture of F2.8. Zooming in to the longest end of 40mm at wide open F2.8 aperture, the lens can create shallow depth of field for good subject isolation. Te boke quality is excellent, smooth, creamy and very pleasing to look at. This 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is VERY sharp, surely not as sharp as some of the best micro 4/3 lenses such as the 75mm F1.8 but for a zoom lens I do believe it is excellent. I do not encounter any cromatic aberration or distortion issues (mainly because the OM-D E-M1 does have superior image correction) and I was generally very pleased with the images this lens produced. 

The M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 pro lens is designed for use with OM-D E-M1 in mind, you will know this is true when you use the combo together. It is almost impossible to find any fault in the lens. My only wish (not big issues here) would be having internal zoom (so that the lens does not extend when zooming) and also electronic zoom (power zoom) for smooth video recording with zoom actions. Other than these two minor misses, I believe the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens is truly a great lens. 

56 comments :

  1. OMG SO SHARP. SO SO SO SHARP.

    Btw, are those the light trails picture you took with Alex?

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    Replies
    1. hey Carmen,
      Yeah those were the ones with Alex. Hehe

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  2. Words on the street is that the 26.4 seconds long exposure light trail picture was taken hand-held assisted by Olympus's excellent 5-axis IS. OK, I am kidding of course, but I keep seeing evidence of the IS superiority.
    Once again your blog is preventing me from buying the very affordable but well received NEX 5T but I can't afford a E-P5 yet. Now maybe if the rumour of an upcoming OM D entry model pan out to be true, I may have something to look forward to.

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    Replies
    1. Dear John,
      I wish the IS was that superior, then the tripod manufacturers will be doomed!
      Have you considered the E-M5? it is still a great camera!

      Delete
  3. What kind of strap use Robin in the second picture for E-M1? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. I do not know the exact one in the photo. However if you search for "Paracord camera strap" on google you should be able to find those types of straps. They are woven from paracord which is a very string nylon cord used in parachutes. Supposedly you can undo the strap and get a very long line that can be used for other purposes.

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    2. Aleksandr - to me this looks like a Barton 1972. See http://www.barton1972.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=1_4&products_id=1

      Robin - good photos, like always.

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    3. Thank you Wolfgang. It's what i find.

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    4. This is the beauty of this online platform, everyone starts helping each other out! Thanks Wolfgang and Trideep for the info. Aleksandr, you getting the strap? Seems cool!

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    5. It's a Barton 1972 strap like Wolfgang mentioned. :)

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  4. beautiful and brilliant photos as always. You absolutely bring out the very best in your subjects and in the equipment.

    When you say, "The M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 pro lens is designed for use with OM-D E-M1 in mind"... is there any reason to think it would be less-great on my E-P5?

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    Replies
    1. I believe its a matter of handling. The lens is a bit larger and heavier than the 12-35 panasonic. Its a bit awkward on any non OMD body. Even on the EM-5 its a bit too heavy and I feel like I have to hold the camera by the lens most of the time. A grip of course easily solve that problem.

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    2. Trideep has answered my questions and I would not have worded it better. I was referring to the handling of the lens/camera combo.

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  5. Robin, beautiful pictures. After 6 months shooting with the E-M5 I decided to make the jump, and 3 days ago I bought the E.M1. Amazing camera!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrea, I am sure you will enjoy using the E-M1!

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  6. Your photos continue to impress Robin. I know this might be backwards but I am considering the 12-40 first prior to picking up the EM-1 or whatever might be available within the next 6 moths. I have the EPL-5 and while the 12-40 might be top-heavy on that camera, the sensor is up to the task. I am therefore anxious to read your review of this lens.

    Ron

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    Replies
    1. Dear Ron,
      Thanks so much for the kind compliments. That 12-40mm F2.8 lens is a great lens, prioritizing it is a wise move. Yes, I am sure the 12-40mm will do well with the 12-40mm lens as well, though it may be slightly out of balance.

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  7. Yes, the 12-40mm lens is excellent. For someone coming from Four-Thirds bodies and lenses, I found the price between the 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 and 14-35mm f/2.0 to be good and consistent with maximum aperture and capabilities. The extra 2mm of wide angle focal length is extremely helpful.

    It was the first micro Four-Thirds lens I found to not be too small.

    Of course, your photos are excellent, but I have a feeling that you could use a pinhole lens and make the most amazing street photos.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Sakamoto,
      Not only the price of the 12-40mm F2.8 is between 14-54mm and 14-35mm, the optical quality and overall performance is also in between the two lenses, hence justifying the price.
      Nonetheless that statement of yours is not true, because I have not used pinhole lens before so if you give me one I would not be able to shoot with it!

      Delete
  8. I hate u Robin, first you made me get an em5 and now this. :) Keep up the good work Robin

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    Replies
    1. Thanks avira! Don't hate me, I am innocent!

      Delete
  9. Robin,

    Did you have any grinding noise with the zoom or focus rings. Just received my 12-40 lens, and it makes so much noise video is not possible. Just returned it to Amazon for another.

    Josh

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    Replies
    1. I'm not Robin, but the two samples the Olympus representatives had were very quiet lenses, although I don't remember seeing "MSC" on either, for video compatibility.

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    2. I do not experience the grinding noise with the zoom or focus right though.

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  10. Hi Robin,

    Excellent pics as usual mate! Is it possible to compared tihs lens against the 12-60mm 2.8-4 4/3 lens???
    Thanks

    Eric V
    Edmonton Alberta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Eric,
      The 12-40mm lens is a better lens, in almost all regards. Of course the 12-60mm is awesome too.

      Delete
  11. Excellent photos Robin. Still waiting for this lens to arrive in Australia...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Antoine! We do not have the lens in Malaysian market yet unless you buy it together with E-M1

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  12. Beautiful pics and another great shutter therapy session you have undertaken.
    Your images have already made the 45mm 1.8 Christmas bucket list. I so wanted it on a friends wedding recently and they did not have a photographer. I just had my 17mm1.8 and EM5. Oh well.
    The EM1 and 12-40mm seem a marriage in heaven. Oh if I had the cash or I could get my hands on one for the day. Ok I will stop salivating. Keep up the great work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey JSM,
      Thanks for the kind words. The 45mm F1.8 is an absolute must have lens! No worries, the 12-40mm is a wonderful lens but surely I would also strongly suggest to get the 45mm F1.8 first.

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  13. That is one sweet lens indeed. And your pictures are impressive - as always. Excellent work! One question: stopping down that much (for the night shots) does introduce some diffraction, possibly. In can't say that I see any, but would you notice it if you'd stop down to, say, F8 instead? Just curious.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Andre,
      Thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately I did not do extensive tests for the night shooting, due to KL streets being unsafe (did not wish to stay out with tripods for a long time being vulnerable). If I do similar tests again at narrow apertures I will surely report here.

      Delete
  14. Hi Robin

    My E-M1 arrived last week, I am thinking to sell my loved and mythical Zuiko 14-54 mm Mk1 in order to step to the 12-40, but the 14-54 has always worked brightly and has delivered me superb photographic moments.

    Of course both are excellent lenses but, do you think image quality improvement (E-M1+12-40 vs E-M1+14-54) will be noticeable?

    Checking MTF charts, there is an important difference between them, better the 12-40.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Daniel,
      I personally think the image quality of the 12-40mm F2.8 pro is on the whole better (though not by that far) than the 14-54mm F2.8-3.5. The difference is noticeable, but not overly significant.

      Delete
  15. Really lovely shots. Mine's on order. Now I really can't wait!

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. Great mini review. Really nice images. Would love to see a head to head with the panasonic 12-35 f2.8

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    Replies
    1. If only I can get my hands on the 12-35mm...

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  18. Hey Robin, nice little review with great images! Really cool to be on one of the pictures here. I was really surprised the moment I saw the link on facebook.
    This lens is a stellar performer like yourself and as a one lens solution it seems to be a perfect match for the E-M1!

    I recognized most of the photos you took and can't wait to see mine. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Robin, so good to hear from you. So good to have you with us and I hope you have enjoyed yourself.
      I can't wait to see your photos as well!

      Delete
  19. Hi Robin,

    Is the lens available in KL now? I've been asking around and everyone says Dec.

    Great photos and I wish I was around for the walkabout. Next time!

    Cheers

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  20. Robin how would you compare the 12-40 mm to the 12 mm prime - I am considering to sell my 12 mm to buy other stuff hehe ? or do you think i should still keep the 12 mm prime ?

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  21. Hey Robin,

    I finally got my hands on the 12-40 mounted on my E-M1 two days ago. So far, I haven't been able to do much shooting with it, especially since I'm in Toronto and the sun goes down pretty early around here. So of course, I took some long exposure night shots! I was thrilled when the image appeared on my LCD screen. I was so impressed with one exception... when I zoomed in to the picture, I noticed many white little dots. I tried lowering the ISO. It helped, but still a significant amount of white dots. The only lenses I've been able to compare to so far were some old OM lenses via an adapter. I haven't been able to load the images to the computer yet, so I can't even show you the images. To my relief, I tried some more night shots last night, and I found the problem was gone. Do you have any idea what it was that I could have done wrong? I really don't remember changing any settings. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You may want to update your firmware. Oly just issued an update and from your description it might be helpful.

      Delete
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  23. Robin,

    I'm using and E-M5 and would like a good wide angle that goes to at least 12mm. Which of the options (12mm, 9-18mm, 12-40mm, panasonic lenses) would you suggest. Weight and cost are primary considerations for me.

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  24. Hi,
    Really fantastic set of Photos out their. I am just curious to know about the resolving Power of this Lens. Is it possible to make 20X30 prints without loosing any details anyone? Cheers

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  25. Awesome pics as always...I picked up an E-M1 a month back in Phuket of all places but it came with the 12-50mm kit lens. and then passing through Bangkok airport two weeks ago on my way to start a Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand off-road motorbike trip there was the 12-40mm Pro in duty free! I grabbed it along with the 45mm F1.8 (in matching black) and went on to take some great pics in the middle-of-nowhere land. At night i would just stick the whole camera under the shower to wash off the mud and dust - all good and shiny again! Though the 12-40mm is fantastic I must say I did find myself switching out to that stunning 45mm a lot...what an amazing little lump of clarity! Thanks for your efforts!

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  26. How is that 12-40 "full blog" review coming along Robin?

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  27. Have you used this lens with an EM5? I am wondering if it will have any CA or distortion issues using an EM5

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  28. Great lens cant wait to get my hands on one, not released yet in Oz as at 31st Dec, 2013. Lowest price for pre-order is $1049AU

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  29. Hi Robin
    I have enjoyed reading your reviews. Are you aware of the E-M1 lockup issue people are talking about when the only solution is to remove the battery to get it back to normal operating state?
    I was shooting the night photography (with 3-5 sec exposure) the other day with full battery in it and suddenly none of the switches are working, not even the power on/off switch. The last shot image was showing on the EVF until I remove the battery to reset it.

    I called the Olympus support but they have no clue. I have firmware 1.0 on the camera, using Zuiko 12-40 lens.

    Regards
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dave, I am facing the same issue on my EM-5 as well on a couple of occasion. Mostly when on shooting streak.. (Eg Turning the Camera on and on the streets taking photos for more than ½ hr).... only solution was to take out the battery, rest for a while and then place it back and everything back to normal.Upgrading the firmware doesnt help. Maybe overheating problem?

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    2. Had the same experienced as Dave with lock up, wrote to Olympus Australia. They never respond or reply regarding this issue.

      Delete
  30. Dear Robin.
    I do rely like your pictures. Thy very nice colors which I really likes.
    Du you add anything to get that bright colors when develop the pictures from the RAW files.
    Looking forward to hear your comments.
    Best regards
    Jens

    ReplyDelete