Olympus m.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 Review

Olympus m.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 : Perfect Travel Option

Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro Review Image

From Photography Blog UK:

“The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro makes a great all-in-one travel partner to the OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera, forming a fast, well-built, weather-proof system that delivers excellent image quality, not to mention featuring the most advanced image stabilisation system of any camera/lens combination currently available.

Optically, it’s not quite a perfect lens though. While both centre and edge sharpness are very high throughout most of its focal length range, the performance drops off a little at the 100mm focal length, where you need to stop down to get acceptable results. Otherwise it’s all good news. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent, vignetting is not a real issue, and distortion is very well auto-corrected through software algorithms.

The Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro is a great choice for those users who want an all-in-one solution to their everyday photography and videography needs, covering a very versatile focal range whilst featuring both a fast f/4 aperture and an amazing image stabilisation system. Highly Recommended”! 

November 2016

Olympus mZuiko 30mm f3.5 Macro Prime Review

Olympus mZuiko 30mm f3.5 Macro Prime : Small lens, big performance. 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro Review Image

Photography Blog UK has published a review of the petite Micro Four Third (M43) Olympus mZuiko 30mm f3.5 macro prime lens the little brother to Olympus’s mZuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro which is a great value macro and short telephoto prime in its own right.

The new Zuiko 30mm lens gives an equivilent 60mm focal length so with a bit of thought it can probably also double as a short telephoto prime for street photography or even general photography ?

Panasonic also does a micro four third 30mm macro prime, the Panasonic 30mm Lumix f2.8 OIS but its  a fair bit more expensive than the Olympus lens plus its bigger & heavier than the Zuiko prime (in part due to it having in-lens stabilisation).

As all Olympus M43 bodies have in-body stabilisation the new 30mm f3.5 lens can be constructed more cheapily than the Panasonic lens but it can still be used the recent Panasonic M43 bodies that sport in-body stabilisation.

So what did Photography Blog make of the new Olympus macro lens?

From Photography Blog UK:

“The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 30mm f/3.5 ED Macro is an outstanding performer in the optical department. Centre sharpness is very good wide open, reaching excellent levels at f/5.6. The borders are also very sharp, with optimum performance achieved at f/5.6 and f/8. Geometric distortion is essentially nonexistent, and chromatic aberrations are extremely well controlled too. Vignetting is visible at f/3.5 but goes away upon stopping down. Optically, the only weak point is lens flare – with the sun in the frame, you can see all sorts of streaking and ghosts, along with some veiling. A well-designed lens hood would probably help a lot here, but unfortunately none is included. Focusing is quick and almost silent, and the lens is pretty unobtrusive in ‘normal’ use. The lens’s maximum reproduction ratio of 1.25:1 is unparalleled in its class”.

My Take:

Yet another winner from Olympus, the new lens clearly offers excellent performance in a small package and at a very reasonable price.

Mark Baynham ( November 2016)

Panasonic 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 Review

Panasonic 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 review

Online review site Lenstip has conducted technical testing of the weather resistant Panasonic Lumix 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 zoom which is intended to act as a step up from the usual kitted zoom lens that often come packaged with Panasonic Micro Four Third (MFT – M43) cameras.

Panasonic Lumix G 12-60 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. - Introduction

As expected the 12-60mm optic ( which offers a 24-120mm 35mm equivilent) is better all round than the regular standard zooms and from testing it proved also slightly superior to the Olympus  Zuiko 12-50mm zoom that comes kitted with some Olympus M43 cameras.

Panasonic Lumix G 12-60 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. - Introduction

However the 12-60mm is not hugely superior to the tiny Panasonic 12-32mm panacke zoom although this petite lens only offers a 12-64mm equivilent focal length and isn’t weather sealed so in real world usaged the 12-60mm optic is probably more useful and pratical.

It so happens that Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine also undertook a review of the Panasonic Lumix 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 the other week and like Lenstip they considered it a sensible buy which gives better results than standard M43 zoom lenses.

You’d have to step up to the Lumix G 12-35mm f2.8 Zoom If you seek ultimate image quality form a Panasonic M43 lens or else use an Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 which is a superb (but expensive) m43 zoom lens.

Mark Baynham (October 2016)

 

Longer the better: Leica DG 100-400mm f4-6.3 Review

Lumix 100 400mm Front Oblique

Online testing site Cameralabs have tested the Panasonic-Leica 100-400mm f4-6.3 “Super-Telephoto” lens a Micro Four Thirds ( MFT – m4/3) a lens that offers the 35mm equivilent focal range of 200-800mm, so far more than your average telephoto lens.

But then the build quality and price of the Leica DG 100-400mm f4-6.3 means its far from your average telephoto lens, plus there really isn’t any MFT lens equivilent (Olympus nearest rival is the 300mm f4 “Pro”)

But does the lens justify its heafty £1000 plus price tag?

Well reading Cameralabs the simple answer is yes, the lens displays excellent optical quality, is built like a tank and has top-drawer features.

Lumix 100 400mm Extension Tripod Foot

If your a dedicated wildlife or sports shooter the Leica should certainly be top of your wish list.

Maybe only the Olympus 300mm f4 “Pro” is  worth serious consideration as an alternative provided you are content to have a fixed 600mm equivilent focal lenght.

The Leica is certainly more flexible than the Olympus 300mm f4 but the Olympus is “faster / brighter” and in testing produces slightly sharper images.

Finally if your a micro four third user and are on a tight budget, and you require a super-telephoto lens,  the  Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm should be considered, its a much cheaper option although unsurprising it is not as optically proficient as the Leica and has a shorter focal range.

The Leica 100-400mm is a top quality lens and that cannot be denied.

Mark Baynham ( October 2016)

Leica Summilux 12mm f1.4 Review

Leica Summilux 12mm f1.4 : Excellent performace but at a cost.

IMG_0025

From Cameralabs:

The Leica Summilux 12mm f1.4 is a wide-angle prime lens designed for the Micro Four Thirds system. Mounted on a Panasonic or Olympus body, it delivers equivalent coverage of 24mm giving you a comfortably broader field-of-view than a standard 28mm without the extreme nature of ultra-wides. Meanwhile the bright f1.4 focal ratio allows you to maintain lower sensitivities or handholdable shutter speeds in low light, while also providing better opportunities for shallow depth-of-field effects than rivals of the same focal length in the Micro Four Thirds catalogue.

The Summilux 12mm f1.4 is the sixth collaboration between Panasonic and Leica for Micro Four Thirds bodies and, like the five before it, delivers excellent results. The optical and build quality are a step-up from the Olympus 12mm f2, but equally it’s comfortably larger, heavier and a lot more expensive too.

In my tests, the Summilux 12mm f1.4 delivered sharp results into the corners even with the aperture wide-open; indeed just about the only evidence of shooting at the maximum aperture is some vignetting (darkening in the corners) which is easily correctable, and essentially disappears when you close it down a stop. The combination of a brighter focal ratio and a closer minimum focusing distance also allows the Summilux to produce a shallower depth-of-field for close-ups than the Olympus and I enjoyed this additional flexibility over rival models.

Ultimately the Summilux 12mm f1.4 is an unashamedly premium lens that compliments existing options rather than directly targeting them – and I salute Panasonic for taking this approach. It further enhances the already broad catalogue of Micro Four Thirds lenses where there’s typically two or three options at every popular focal length. This degree of choice is what I love about the system, and the Summilux 12mm f1.4 is a very welcome addition that comes recommended.

Good points

Sharp into the corners even with the aperture wide-open.
Bright f1.4 focal ratio is a stop faster than rival primes.
Reasonably close focusing distance good for mild macro.
Splash and dust proof construction.

Bad points
Larger, heavier and more expensive than rival 12mm primes.
No optical stabilisation – requires stabilised bodies to iron-out wobbles.
Aperture ring only works on Lumix bodies. Not supported on Olympus.

September 2016