User Review: Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 Pro Zoom
One decisions many photographers have to make when going on breaks or holidays is what kit do I take? How many lenses do I take? Do I go “prime” or try and maybe travel with just one lens? Or maybe simply use the standard zoom or possibly something else?
With weight and size restrictions on budget airlines exactly what kit to take becomes even more of a challenge.
Well I spent Christmas in Valencia (Spain) and this year my kit decison was easy, I’d take my Olympus OMD EM5II and my newly purchased M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 Pro Zoom.
The M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 is Olympus’s take on a Micro Four Third (M43) high end weather sealed all in one travel zoom that offers the 35mm equivilent of 24-200mm a useful general purpose focal range that covers most situations.
Being a M43 lens the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 is also far more compact that similar lenses designed for APS-C cameras with the added bonus of a constant f4 aperture throughout the focal range.
But the robust build, constant f4 aperture and lens stabilisation that works with some Olympus M43 cameras to offer up to 6 stops of stabilisation doesn’t come cheap, the “Pro” tag means this lens will set you back just over £1,000, so is it worth it?
You bet it is.
I own three other M.Zuiko “Pro” zooms ( all f2.8) and the new travel zoom easily maintains the high optical performance of its “faster” brothers.
The M.Zuiko turns out to be sharp lens throughout the focal range, distortion is minimal at both ends of the focal range and that focal range proved to be pretty much spot on. In fact I find it really difficult to find genuine fault with the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4.
If I had one observation it would be that its quite bulky and heavy for a M43 optic. On my EM5 II it balanced just about OK but would be even better suited when paired to the slightly bigger EM1 or new EM1 II. In fact it would even go well with Panasonic’s GH4 and the new G80.
On smaller Olympus OMD bodies or even say the Olympus PEN-F I imagine the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 would form an unbalanced pairing.
So yes, one lens can be a viable general purpose all in one travel option if its built like the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 and is as optically refined as that said lens.
Olympus are to be congratulated on the new addition to its “Pro” range, a range of M43 lenses that go from strength to Strength.
Mark Baynham (Jan 2017)