Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ Review
Mac users, we're pleased to announce Macphun's all-in-one photo editor Luminar is now available for purchase with special launch pricing. (Existing Macphun customers get a further discount.)
We rated Luminar as "Highly Recommended", and you can now visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Based on its specifications alone, it would be tempting to dub the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ a “jack of all trades, master of none”, but this would be unfair. Firstly, this is an excellent macro lens - it would be hard to name another standard zoom, in any system, whose close-up performance comes close to that of the Olympus 12-50mm. Secondly, it's a splendid video lens too, despite its slow and variable maximum aperture. The new electromagnetic zoom mechanism really provides for smooth and even zooming, with the zoom ring in the “E-ZOOM” position. And even though you lose some of its angle of view when shooting movies in widescreen 16:9 format, it still provides plenty of wide angle for dramatic video footage. Thirdly, it's a great “walk-around” lens, arguably better - and definitely more versatile - than most of the other Micro Four Thirds kit zooms. On recent camera bodies like the E-P3, it also offers some of the fastest AF performance we've seen from any compact system camera kit to date.
Of course, it's not a perfect lens. While centre sharpness is pretty high throughout most of its focal length range (including 12mm); contrast tends to be on the low side, especially wide open. The corners are a bit soft at the 12mm setting, though they are a better match for the image centre at other focal lengths. Some chromatic aberrations are visible at 12mm. On the plus side, vignetting is not a real issue and distortion is very well auto-corrected through software algorithms. Actual distortion is on the high side at the 12mm end but you'll need to shoot raw and use a program like Raw Therapee to see it. Finally, the lack of in-lens image stabilisation makes the lens somewhat impractical for Panasonic camera owners.
All things considered, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ is a great lens for those Olympus Micro Four Thirds users who want an all-in-one solution to their everyday photography, videography and macro needs. Photographers who require maximum sharpness and resolution will of course be better served by one - or more - of the excellent, fast, sharp Micro Four Thirds primes; but the Olympus 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 is hard to beat on versatility and price-performance ratio. As to those who want a weather sealed lens for their OM-D E-M5 camera, well, the 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ is currently the only game in town, save for a Four Thirds lens + MMF-3 adapter combination.
|Ratings (out of 5)|
|Value for money||4|