Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO - Review / Lens Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2021

Introduction

The overall market has been shifting to high-end products, and primarily towards the full-format segment. However, Micro-Four-Thirds has maintained one stronghold - serving users who want to enjoy the benefits of system cameras while maintaining a compact setup. Full-format CAMERAS may be almost comparable in size and weight but there is barely anything that the manufacturers can do to shrink LENSES without giving up the benefits of full-format. And unless we are talking about single-lens setups, it tends to be the lenses that are responsible for the bulk of the carrying burden. An interesting variation to the size & weight topic is the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO. The ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is already small but the ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO is, of course, pushing this even further - whilst still promising professional-grade performance. And due to the slow max aperture, it doesn't even cost an arm and a leg at around $650/600EUR.

The handling of this lens is a bit of an unusual experience - at least for yours truly. Small zoom lenses tend to be made of plastic and often have mediocre build quality. This isn't the case here. The lens body is made of metal with smoothly operating zoom- and focus-control rings. Being a PRO lens, it is, of course, weather-sealed and on top of that - freeze-proof down to -10C. Unfortunately, it still uses an extending zoom mechanism but that's a common characteristic among standard zoom lenses. A petal-shaped lens hood is provided.

The AF is very fast which is hardly surprising given the weight of the tiny focus group. It's also noiseless. Manual focusing works, of course, "by-wire" thus you are driving the AF motor when turning the focus ring. This works just nicely and is very precise. If you want to switch between focus modes, you have to do so on the camera. There is no switch nor focus clutch on the lens for this. For image stabilization you will have to rely on the camera - there is none on the lens.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length (full-format)"24-90mm" (in terms of field-of-view)
Equiv. aperture (full-format)"f/8" (in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction12 elements in 9 groups (2x HR, 1x DSA, 1x Super-HR, 2x Aspherical, 2x ED elements)
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.12m (wide) / 0.23m (tele) (max. magnification 1:4)
Dimensions63.4x70mm
Weight254g
Filter sizeφ58mm
Hoodpetal-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresIPX1 dustproof, splashproof, freezeproof
MountMicro-Four-Thirds