Olympus 12mm f/2.0 review at Photozone. SLRmagic 11mm f/1.4 test at ThePhoBlographer.


Image courtesy: Photozone (Click here)

Photozone (Click here) posted their detailed Olympus 12mm f/2.0 review: “The mechanical implementation is fantastic and matches e.g. the Zeiss ZM or Voigtländer VM series. The optical quality of the M.Zuiko is quite impressive but we actually hoped for a little more here. The lens is very sharp in the center zone whereas the border/corner resolution is “only” good-to-very good and not breathtaking“. In summary: “Although the M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 ED may not be perfect there’s much to like about this new little Olympus lens. However, the pricing is a little too steep in our opinion.“. See the full very detailed review at Photozone. Click those shop names to check the Olympus lens price: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

ThePhoBlographer (Click here) tested the new SLRmagic 11mm f/1.4 lens: “Overall, is this an impressive lens? Sure is! In fact, it’s nearly perfect with the exception of the vignetting. If I switch aspect ratios, then the problem goes away“. You can get that lens on eBay (Click here to check the price).

P.S.: A couple of Olympus 45mm f/1.8 image samples have been posted on Optyczne.pl.

  • Regarding the 12mm: I have made print 48 x 33 cm and examined corner sharpness and have nothing to complain about. Also this is a very wide-angle lens that is used differently than, say a “normal”. Not only that the design is a lot more complex, corner sharpness is not as important. Comparing with Nikon 24/2,8 and 12-24mm, the Oly is better. The need for wide-angle is two-fold: You want to show a lot within a short distance, or use the perspective of a wide angle.
    Again: Measuring may seem objective and trustworthy – but what is really measured and how relevant is it in real life photography?
    As I see it the Oly 12/2 is “professional level” in usability and image quality. Build seem to be there too, but only time will tell if it is sturdy enogh

    • MikeS

      Disappointed m4/3 users can take solace in the fact that the comparable 24mm lenses from Nikon/Canon have similar resolution/vignetting issues despite their (relatively) astronomical prices.

  • frank

    Their complaints about the barrel distortion are a bit useless as it is corrected in camera. But it remains a shame that a wide angle lens of this price does not have the hood included as standard. I have the 7-14/4 though and this 12mm is certainly a wide angle, but not a “very wide” angle. 12mm is where wide angle begins for m4/3, but shorter focal lenghts make an enormous difference to the viewing angle.

    Going from 20 to 12 gives about a 50% increase in viewing angle. Going from 12-7 gives an increase of about 50% again!

    Reading this and other tests btw, I’d say (without having used the 12/2) that the 7-14/4 is a better lens at 12mm, gives much more possibilities and is only slightly more expensive.

    • Katsunami

      Quote:”Reading this and other tests btw, I’d say (without having used the 12/2) that the 7-14/4 is a better lens at 12mm, gives much more possibilities and is only slightly more expensive.”

      I disagree. The 12mm f/2 is a very different lens when compared to the 7-14 f/4.

      It is much more compact, and 2 stops faster, which is a lot if you need to shoot in low light. The 7-14 f/4 is of course better when you need an even wider lens, or if you need a zoomlens.

    • There’s also the 9-18mm which is cheaper than either of those. Small and have good range, it’s great walk around lens. Though I wish it was brighter, I’ve got a hang of using it in low light.

  • pisto

    We, as consumers, are at a loss with m43. What we face is a never ending series of body releases which share 95% of the characteristics but are too costly when compared to previous system (every m43 has been priced between 600€-900€).

    Lenses, to date, have been of average quality and reading this photozone review it is clear that they are deceived by several parts of the first Oly pro lens for the system (corner performance, distortion, vignetting). Some of this issues are software corrected but lens price is too high to depend on software.

    I guess that the main advantage of m43 is compactness, and I really appreciate it, but IMHO, IQ is not up to the asking price for a system with one body and a couple of good lenses (more than 2000€).

    I guess I am not changing my oly e-dslr with the 14-54 f:2,8-3,5 and when I want compactness I am going for a small compact camera.

    • frank

      Ahum… Quote from photozone about the 20/1.7 (and there are many mroe m43 lenses that are very good): “The center performance is nothing short of stellar straight from f/1.7 till at least f/5.6.” Or have I just been trolled?

      • Esa Tuunanen

        Quality of lens is never judged with tunnel vision from only single performance figure.
        Outside center 20/1.7’s sharpness drops disappointingly for a prime and is more like in average zooms.
        Geometric distortion is extreme and what would be normally expected from zoom instead of prime. (stretching&interpolation for correcting that contributing to sharpness decrease outside center)
        Also vignetting is at level of what would be expected from average zoom.
        So it’s high quality lens only when rated as pancake and overlooking software corrections. That’s why Photozone doesn’t give m4/3 lenses star ratings.

  • agent00soul

    The 7-14 also gives less possibilities, as it’s not as usable in low light.

    • Swejk

      Real photographers will cope well with low light.

      • MikeS

        Real photographers also take differences between lenses into consideration before choosing one or the other.

        • Swejk

          Yes, that’s an apple 7-14/4, which is 12 / 2 a pear, and the 12-35 / X is a peach … ; °)

    • Mr. Reeee

      Personally, I’d prefer a 10mm to a 12mm, but the 7-14mm covers them both admirably.

      The 7-14mm is far more flexible given the ultra-wide 7mm, covering everything up to 14mm. It’s actually a fun walkabout lens, given it’s fast AF and range. I’ve never had a problem shooting with it in low light.

      Besides, it’s just like Swejk and MikeS said…
      One learns to adjust and adapt. Don’t blame the tools, either.

  • Ahmad

    Have you checked Nikon and Canon’s prices for their lower tiers of dslrs lately? Their ultra-wides and long telephotos? Funny how the two themes of your post (expense of total system, relative adequacy of small compacts) seem to have exploded on the web over the last week. This is the third post I’ve encountered in the last day or two containing the wildly inaccurate claim that a small M43 system will cost over (insert currency here) 2000. Of course it could, on the top end, but you can buy an excellent body and cover a wide range of focal lengths (or pick up a nice pair of primes) for well less than half that sum. And you can be sure that the quality of M43 lenses at the entry-level is easily superior to competitors’ lines.
    It’s almost as though we’re being subjected to a campaign. ;-)

    • pisto


      Not a campaign on my part. Just how I see it. I am very happy with my e-420 + 14-54 f:2,8-3,5. I was spared of 800 euro for such a system.

      My point is that I cannot find enough reasons to discard my current system and go for a m43 combo. There is no zoom lens of similar quality yet. A GF + 20mm f:1,7 was around 600 euro last time I checked. The Leica branded 25mm f:1,4 by Panasonic, and the 45mm f:1,8 are steps on the right direction, as is the 12mm f:2,0 from Olympus.

      The idea of a high quality 12mm f:2,0 was interesting and I acccept to pay an extra for a high quality lens (that’s why I purchased the 14-54). But for a prime with a MSRP of 800€ I think we should get the quality from hardware, and not from software.

      • Well compromises for size have to be made imo. And if the software correction works well, why should it bother you? You can’t be thinking of adapting these lenses to another system, are you?

  • R

    The lens is as good as you need for the small 12 or 16mp sensor. Corners are exceptionally sharp and compared to a 40d and 11-18mm lens, much much sharper in the corners.

    • quiquelbola

      Pisto I own an e-400 with the kit zooms and the 11-22mm. My ep1 is better than the e-400 in quality -final results I mean- and in size, portability, etc,etc. The only problem with the new 12mm is that is expensive, like other prime lenses in m4/3, like the pl 45mm 2.8 the pana 1.7 20mm or the new pl 25mm 1.4. Yesterday after reading this review I have ordered my 12mm f.2 . The PL 45mm 2.8 is the leader in bad reviews and is an amazing lens. I hope the same thing with this little wonder 12mm from oly.

  • Duarte Bruno

    I really can’t see what that lens is all about.
    Focusing and controling focus plane looks like riding the Large Hadron Colider…

  • mfbernstein

    Not sure where all these claims that 24mm EFL lenses can’t be good are coming from.

    Olympus themselves make the ZD 12-60, which beats the 12/2 at 12mm, hands down. And the 12-60 is a 5x zoom to boot. A 12mm is a much simpler design, and it’s bizarre that they couldn’t get it to even match their own legacy zoom lenses.

    • TheEye

      In what regard does the 12-60 beat the 12/f2 at 12 mm? From what I’ve seen the prime doesn’t have the mustache or any noticeable distortion? Is sharpness performance from centers to corners not on par at 2/f.8? I own the 12-60, and it is the lens I use the most. I would expect the 12 mm prime to do even a bit better.

      • Boooo!

        The prime has huge distortion and vignetting (worst ever on any Panoly lens ever made) – they are corrected through software, as lens corrections are a mandatory part of the m4/3 standard.

        The zoom is sharper, more versatile and has better build quality, including weather sealing.

        The prime beats it on size and weight.

        • TheEye

          The Panasonic G14 f/2.5 has supposedly -6.37% barrel distortion, so it’s worse than the 12 mm f/2.0, especially considering that the G14 is less wide.

          • sdw

            the Panasonic is less than half the price in UK

            • TheEye

              Half the price makes the distortion look less? ;-)

      • Esa Tuunanen

        Fooled by marketing schemes of surface polishing.
        Read Photozone’s analysis of both lenses completely and you’ll find out its geometric distortion is optically uncorrected and over double the 12-60@12mm. Also outside center sharpness is actually slightly lower, chromatic aberration is lower only because of software correction and neither is vignetting corrected at widest aperture.
        Now remember that all lens aberrations are lot easier to correct/keep controlled for single fixed focal length than for (especially ambitious 12-60mm) zooms which led primes to have lot better performance in these until modern computer aided lens design/simulating became possible.
        So this kind optical performance for supposedly premium prime lens is more like DE-evolution than high quality.

        • TheEye

          Fooled? Hardly. I simply hadn’t seen the test you mentioned. I also had no intention of buying the lens before finding out how good optical performance was without software correction. I don’t use OLY software and I am not interested in software-corrected lenses.

          • good luck getting small lenses

            • TheEye

              Small lenses aren’t my priority. I shoot almost everything with the not exactly small 12-60. Alas, Olympus, or soon-to-be Panalympus, has of course their own priorities, which is catering to the lowest common denominator. If people don’t mind software-corrected distortion, don’t mind the loss of sharpness and resolution that comes with it, if they don’t mind the cropped field of view, I guess it’s going to be amateur gear at a premium price.

  • Brod1er

    Phoblographer article looks biased to the slr magic lens. It just isnt a 11mm with all that vignetting and there definitely is distortion. I like vignetting but suggest you treat this review with extreme caution. I suspect the Panny 14 f2.5 is much better – I have one and it is really sharp, compact, with very fast AF and well made.

  • R

    The panny 14 is inferior in every way. I had both, gave them a head to head and the 14 ended up on eBay within a few days…

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