Hans Groen

olympus m.zuiko 12-45/4 lens

Summary: this lens is very sharp, already at f4;  the constant f4 is perfect for my style of photography when ‘walking around’; with the OM-D EM1-ii it makes a set which I can slip in my backpack for a bike trip, together with my lunch.

For more samples of its close focus capabilities, see the page with cherry blossom.

My workhorse, the D.Zuiko 12-60/2.8-4 broke down — the diaphragm got stuck and I got mixed messages on repairs in the Dpreview-forum. I had owned the lens since 2007; it had served me well, but it was a bit bulky and although the autofocus worked very well on the OM-D EM1-ii, some functionality was not available (the Pro-Capture L-setting). It is an expensive joke to replace this lens, but without such a zoom one is a bit handicapped. The difficult thing was that I was used to the easy of the 5x zoom and I often used the lens in the 60mm end at street parties. Though there is an Oly 12-40 with a max. aperture of 2.8, most of the time when I used the 12-60 I used it with f5.6 to f6.3 because of its sharpness and the depth of field I need for landscapes and ‘city-scapes’. And at 60mm/5.6 the depth of field is shallow enough for subject isolation at street parties such as ‘Hartjesdagen‘. The new M.Zuiko 12-45/4 then came into the picture. Being an Olympus lens, it is fully functional with the EM1-ii; the maximum f4 is not a showstopper for my habits, the 45mm-tele gives me a bit more freedom (and sure, 5mm extra is rather a matter of feeling; I realized that my first Fourthirds lens was a D.Zuiko 14-45 which I kept for a long time as a spare and took on our trip to Istanbul in 2012 with enjoyable results).

Of course, also this M.Zuiko lens uses software rather than glass to correct the images. If you want to know how much: I use DxO OpticsPro and they have not yet released a correction module. Below first the images with and without (manual) corrections (see the captions in the viewer), first at 12mm/f4, then at 45f4. At 12mm barrel distortion and vignetting are unmistakably visible, at 45mm there is at most some minor vignetting.

 

 

Then of course the bokeh, or just in general subject isolation at 45mm/f4. As the lens can focus very closely, achieving background blur is not overly difficult and I think the bokeh is fairly smooth, nicer also then what I achieved with the D.Zuiko 12-60.

And then for subject isolation, that is a bit different; as we are in an intelligent lockdown due to covid-19, I have not been able to experiment on the market square, but the pictures with subjects on about 1 to 2m give an impression.

 

Will I miss the 60mm tele? What I discovered is that with the EM1-ii it is fairly easy to use manual focus lenses. I still have an old Zuiko 50/1.8 and I have used that lens at street parties, so I can use that lens as portrait lens (gives me also a bigger aperture of 2.8, even 1.8 at the cost of some sharpness and contrast). And I have a Lumix 35-100/4-5.6 for my generally limited tele-needs.