Olympus 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 M.Zuiko Digital ED
– Posted by AL Lee.
Image: Editor AL with the NEW Olympus 12-200mm mated to his OM-D EM1 MarkII.
09th March 2019, Singapore – Olympus’ latest lens – the mighty 12-200mm – created a new benchmark in Super-Telephoto Zoom lens. It gives users a wide angle equivalent of 24mm to a super-tele range of 400mm making itself the near-perfect all-in-one lens. While many Olympus touted this new lens to be the replacement for the aging 12-100mm, from what we have gathered, this lens will be sitting on a higher rank and possibly selling alongside with the 12-100mm until Olympus confirms that the new 12-200mm will send the 12-100mm for permanent retirement.
Before I continue, I would like to disclaim (as usual) that we are more interested in how this lens performs rather than the technical part of it. For those information that you might be seeking, you may wish to visit Olympus’ websites to find out more – back here, we just wanna share about our view and user experience of this new lens. If you are cool, read on.
Most Olympus users will know by now that the Zuiko lenses are classified into 03 ranges – namely the top-of-the-line M.Zuiko PRO for the super high performance and build quality, the M.Zuiko Premium range for those who demands more than the M.Zuiko Standard line of lenses – we feel that the new 12-200mm sits somewhere between the Premium & Standard range after using it for a day.
Let’s take a quick look at its specifications. We were surprised that although the new 12-200mm is not designated as a PRO range lens – it comes with dustproof & splashproof build design – a first for Standard range lens. Given the zoom range – if you done the math you will realised this is really a 16.6x Zoom lens – another first in the Micro Four Third system.
Small & compact – measuring a mere 99.7mm x 77.5mm and weigh only 455gm, this is consider small when compared to the focal range that this lens offers. The lens barrel is pretty much “very Olympus” and carries the same design cue with other lenses in the standard line. As expected from all Olympus lenses, the zoom ring and focusing ring feels good to the touch and operates smoothly. No complaints at all.
Inside the lens, it has a 7 rounded aperture blades allowing users to use light from F3.5 to F22 which is pretty much standard – but another surprise for us is, the lens elements are not what we expected from a standard lens – it has 16 elements in 11 groups – 3 x Aspherical elements, 2 x Super ED elements, 2 x ED elements, 1 x Super HR element and 2 x HR elements and comes coated with the company’s renowned ZERO Coating – these are the groupings and elements that you can find in most of the Zuiko PRO lenses and this was why we felt that this 12-200mm is something else.
The front of the lens accepts 72mm screw-on filters and the lens starts to focus from as close 22cm which is pretty good. I like the internal focusing with the HS Imager AF machine which allows a quiet operation but kinda felt strange that the lens focusing motor is a rotary-based unit. It works as how it should work and behaves how it was expected to behave, maybe its just me who are already used to electronic focusing units.
Image Slides: See lens barrel position at 12mm & 200mm.
And so, I took the New Olympus 12-200mm out for a photo outing at Chinese Gardens (Singapore) and spent some time using this lens as the ONLY lens in the bag. Singapore’s Chinese Gardens offers many interesting subjects for various photography genres – landscape, macro, birdings, infrared etc – since the New 12-200mm is supposedly a super lens with a range of wide angle to super-tele, I have 24mm to 400mm at my disposal and off I went.
I tried shooting whatever that comes within my range and even shot subjects that are not within my range.
Did You saw the escaping Fly?
I kept reminding myself that this is NOT a 40-150mm F2.8 PRO or 300mm F4 PRO. But I used it like as if it is a Pro lens.
The close-ups were awesome too!
Then I went into more in-depth subject like birds. Chinese Gardens is a haven for Bird photography. It boost a healthy eco-system that both local and migratory birds can mingle and has their own “territories” within the garden and the garden offers enough food sources for all.
Although I wouldn’t say these are the best images that the new 12-200mm can produce, but comparing the New 12-200mm to other lenses in the PRO category will be pretty wrong too. I felt that what I had managed to get from this lens is pretty much acceptable and the lens had “done its best”.
Below is a slideshow of images shot at all the focal range stops on the lens.
Here’s another slideshow below that jumps from 12mm to 200mm.
A quick summary – the New 12-200mm comes with many features that are previously found in the PRO range which brings smiles to users. The super zoom focal range puts the New 12-200mm into the category of Travel Photography lens and its capability creates possibilities. However, after spending a full day with this lens, I find that users may have to spend a little time to get acquainted with this lens, to understand it better so that you know where are the limits and what limits you – or the lens.
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