Olympus H. Zuiko Auto-S 42mm f/1.2 review (The Panasonic alternative!).


Image courtesy: LightAndLogic

As you know Panasonic will ship the new 42,5mm f/1.2 MFT lens in late 2013. While we don’t know the price yet we can be pretty certain that it will be expensive. You could buy the Nokton 42,5mm f/0.95 lens (here one Bay) but you still have to pay $100 (or 100 Euro) for it. A nice and cheaper anlternative could be the lens tested by LightAndLogic (Click here): The Olympus H. Zuiko Auto-S 42mm f/1.2 (ebay auctions here). Alex writes:

When it comes to superfast lenses on Micro Four Thirds, options are somewhat limited. The H. Zuiko 42mm f/1.2 has several advantages over other adapted f/1.2 or faster lenses. In fact until the Panasonic/Leica 42.5mm is released, it is the smallest and lightest superfast lens available. In my real-world testing over the last few weeks, I have found this Zuiko to be very enjoyable to use. It is a fun lens that is easy to get used to, and produces some amazing images. It will live on the front of my EP-5 for the foreseeable future.

Great lens really!

P.S.: Olympus H. Zuiko Auto-S 42mm f/1.2 auctions list on eBay (Click here).

  • Tobias Giesen

    Admin, 100 or 1000$ for the Nocton?

    • Camaman

      I really wonder.

  • 800 USD for an used manual F1.2 lens? Crazy. (And you want the Panaleica Nocticron 42.5/1.2 would be cheaper than 1000 USD after all, don’t you?)

    LOL, guys.

  • Yun

    According to my sources , a Pana guy telling me the Leica Noticron lens will cost around $1.6K USD & that is the lowest you can expect .
    So have to start saving from now on .

    • Anonymous

      how credible are your sources?

      • Anonymous

        my source told me that your source is lying

  • peppone

    …the various c-mount 25mm f0.95 are smaller (and even faster)

  • Hans

    A better alternative would be the OM version: the Zuiko 50mm/F1.2. Multicoated, more modern design, still lightweight and compact.

  • The best alternative is still the Voigtländer 42/F0.95 which should be tack sharp at F1.2.

    • Mr. Reeee

      I’ve been using my Voigtländer 42.5mm (and 17.5mm) for the past few weeks on a trip through Provence and love it. Beautiful color, very sharp, wonderful to use. I think it’s marginally better than the other two Noktons. The Panasonic will have to be incredible to best it.

      • kiki

        It would be nice if you share some pics taken from there with yours voigtlander. Thank you!

      • dau

        Which body are you using it on. I have the 17.5 and its a wonderful lens but am starting to think its wasted on my g3. Currently tossing up between the gx7 or em1/5. Will the new panny IS be effective or should i switch to the oly 5 axis stabilisation? I love the nocton but would love it more if i could hold my camera, and take less shots with it balanced on a ledge!

        • I have owned a G3… (and GX1)…now own a an OMD EM5 & E-P5. You will think you have died and gone to heaven with the 5-axis…I also feel that the Oly image files are just better…all around, (just MY experience..Panny’s seem flat and lifeless compared to Oly’s, Raw or jpeg). I am sure others will disagree. You will have to stick out a learning curve on the (I think) inferior Oly menu system…but it is totally worth it!

          • +100

            I also have the same experienced with Panny,.I started my M43 gear with GF1 , as previously i had D300 &D700 before,. i beginning t the IQ,. o feel the advantage of smaller format,. i was fell in loved with GF1, nice color, clean & crisp,.even though its only usable till ISO 800 for its was ok ,.and i purchased my second body {G3} but ,.seems like Panny downgrading the IQ, compared to GF1 in good light condition,.and then when the GX1 announced i gave my G3 to my girlfriend,.and then purchased GX1,. but again ,.i compared it with my GF1 ,.in a good light ,.i prefer the GF1 color ,.and crisp rather than GX1,.and under artificial light ,the GX1 showing an odd color tonality.like in times square situation,.i was really disappointed with Panny,.

            And i bought the OM-D ,., i was really hate and confused with the menu and lay out button of E-M5 at that time need a lot of time to get used to it,.but,.for the file it self,.i compared it to GX1 ,.wow ,.now I understand,.why they called olympus as A Camera maker,.the IQ is far better ,any panasonic camera i have used,.specially the tonal color,

            • damn ,.i dont know why,. everytime i posted comment ,.some of the word from the paragraph always got cut out and lost from the line,.

            • Phred..

              Glad you posted…I am glad to see that you have the same experience..I started with a GF1 as well….(I still maintain a complete FF system…but these cameras can’t be beat for the shear JOY of using them..makes photography super fun!).
              Your comment about Olympus being a camera maker (their software sucks tho…LOL!)….yeah..it shows in these cameras. I enjoy the OMD…but the EP5 w/VF4 is soo sweet in your hands you just do not want to put it down…so fluid and solid. Never said that about any of my Pannys. That just is not there. I think eventually that my OMD & Grip will be going up on the block and an M1 is in my future..but after the 12-40mm f/2.8! LOL!

        • Mr. Reeee


          I’ve tried, and wanted to like, the EM5, but I absolutely loathe the poor ergonomics and even worse UI. Maybe the EM1 will be better? I’ve batted about the GH3, but find it too big, even thought the ergonomics and physical controls are generally excellent. I’ve got my eye on the GX7, too, even though I’m not a fan of the offset viewfinder and lens configuration.

          The GH2 I use, forget about and just shoot with. I really appreciate the transparency. Sure, it’s a homely bugger, but for me a tool that I can merge with… USE and can forget about… is worth a lot. A LOT!

          Unfortunately, there’s NO perfect camera!

    • matt jones

      I use the 17.5mm Nokton on an E-M5, and whilst I wouldn’t call it tack sharp wide open, it is sufficiently sharp, but the resolving power is very high. The best thing about the modern lenses is they can handle the high resolution sensors, which the Noktons do really well. As for the older lenses you get a nice effect, but the blooming, and distortion is there, but you will also get some digital blocking in the shadows. However if you are doing video the old lenses are perfect as the resolution is not required, my Jupiter-3 f1.5 looks positively crisp wide open in HD video.

  • All of that is kind of frustrating for me. You can get 42.5mm f0.95 or 1.2 manual lenses, with no IS for 500 (Zuiko) & 900€ (voigtlander). Or wait for the luxurious and too expensive Pana with IS and AF but >1000€.

    For film-making i dream of some stabilized great aperture lens, but it seems a 5-axis IS EM-1 will soon be less expensive that those lenses, and usable with my Oly 45mm f1.8…

    I sold a leg to get the great Pana 12-35mm, but i doubt i’ll give a kidney for the Nocticron.

  • Gabriel

    Fuji is also releasing their 85mm 1.2 equivalent soon. It would be interesting to see how they all compare.

  • I can recommend the CV Nokton 50mm f/1.1 , if you take the time, you can get it on ebay for around 600 euros.

  • So…I have to say…the lens at the top of the eBay link associated with this post…
    link http://www.ebay.com/itm/EX-OLYMPUS-PEN-H-Zuiko-AUTO-S-42mm-f-1-2-lens-42-F1-2-49mm-UV-HK3867-/160923498915?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2577c9b9a3
    …if nothing else is quite an object of beauty…considering that it is almost 50 years old…it must have been kept in someone’s air-conditioned sock drawer. It looks quite perfect! Also, it is quite a bit smaller than a vintage lens for most 35mm cameras…especially at that f/stop, w/rounded aperture blades.
    …based on condition and rarity…the asking price is not ridiculous…the new Vöigtlander also holds considerable charm without the need to adapt.
    Very interesting and enjoyable article.

    Aside: $1600 for the upcoming Panny f/1.2?…REALLY?

    • Anonymous

      “Aside: $1600 for the upcoming Panny f/1.2?…REALLY?”

      The FF Canon 50mm F1.2l COSTS $1600 no way will the Panasonic cost this

      • uiti

        Lica may ask $600 to Panny for NOCTICRON licence.

  • Vivek

    The lens (if it is a good sample) is great but is a waste on the m43rds. APS-C coverage (Sony NEX, Fuji X) is there and it does well.

  • Waiting fot the metabones

    I am patiently waiting for the metabones adaptor for om lenses to apply it on the zuiko 1.4, not cheap by itself but at least i already owns the lens. Any news when will it arrive?

    • Anonymous

      Speedbooster for m42 format would open quite a better world in my opinion….

  • Mike A

    My own alternative is a Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 ($350 used) w/ the speedbooster ($420) = 41mm f/1.

    • Curious…how sharp is that wide open?…I.e. how much does the glass in the speed booster degrade the image?

      • The SpeedBooster MFT version does not affect the IQ, corner areas are much better then the aps versions. Only minor point can be the price, as most people think that adding glass only makes the IQ less. Other point is the lack of choice in legacy mounts, forcing people to use additional adapters, which can affect the MF wideopen with certain adapters.

  • lone.samurai

    I’d never buy this lens at that ridiculous asking price!
    I don’t believe the leica nocticron 42.5 f1.2 will be $1600 but I also think anyone expecting $900-$1000 will be disappointed.
    I believe around $1199-$1299 recommended retail price is to be expected for a premium product with f1.2 AF and that leica badge. On the plus side, street price should be around $1050-$1150 and that’s a realistic price all things considered. Remember the voigtlanders are around that price anyway and that’s a premium product.
    I came so close to buying the 17.5 voigtlander but that weight was a barrier for me I couldn’t ignore. I’m willing to carry a fixed aperture weather sealed Pro zuiko m43 zoom at that weight which is extremely versatile but not a lens that was to be only used as a low light specialist and for some video.
    Now I hope panasonic can pull off this 42.5 and a 17.5 nocticron af f1.2 at no more than say 320grams. I know that means the build quality won’t be anything like the voigtlanders but it’s of no use to me if it sits at home.
    I can carry a 12f2, 45f1.8, 9-18 and 60f2.8 and that’s still lighter than the voigtlander 17.5. Yes it’s a unique lens but that’s heavily restricted me from what m43 allows me to do.
    I sold my 43 8mm fisheye lens that weighed almost half a kilo and now I use the 197gram samyang 7.5mm fisheye and I forget I’m even carrying it.
    I guess the beauty of this system is the choices we have. For me personally I’m willing to carry a half kilo pro grade zoom that covers a nice useful range but I want my primes to be mostly light, that way these things are light enough to carry and compliment the zooms by filling the gaps were speed or a specific need is required.

  • Jack

    As a owner of this lens I would say you are not looking at tack sharp on this lens, it is its character that I love about it and some of my best portrait shot are taken with this lens

  • Anonymous

    Considering the price, I have choosen Zuiko 40/1,4 as a better option. It’s rather sharp wide open and costs a fraction of the price asked for the bigger brother 42/1,2. It’s also more compact. So far my favorite of the adopted manual lenses on m4/3.

  • Leendert

    The Minolta Rokkor 58mm f1.2 is very nice!

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