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

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length45.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/320s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/125s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length45.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/1600s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length45.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/1600s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length33.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/250s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/800s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length24.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/1000s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length12.0mm
Aperture:f/6.3
Exposure1/400s

MakeOLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
ModelE-M5MarkII
ISO Speed200
Focal Length45.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/2000s

Competition

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO (shown to the left below) competes with its in-house cousin, the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO (center), the Panasonic Lumix G 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH OIS II (to the right) and possibly the Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH OIS (not shown). The ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is, obviously, an f-stop faster and a tad better at 12mm - but it is also 50% more expensive. If you want more speed and live on the Panasonic side of the system, the Panasonic lens may be attractive - also because it is compatible with Dual-IS on Panasonic cameras. This also applies to the Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH OIS. The extra range is certainly a plus for the Leica lens but this also means that it is bigger.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO offers very high performance in a very small package. In terms of sharpness, it doesn't show any major weakness across the zoom range. If anything the borders/corners could do with a bit more bite at the 12mm. Micro-Four-Thirds is auto-correcting most of the other technical image aspects. Thus there's just a hint of barrel distortion at the wide and the vignetting is quite moderate. When looking under the hood, the distortions are extreme at the 12mm setting though. Lateral CAs are low and nothing to worry about. The quality of the bokeh is generally Ok within the limited capabilities of the slow max aperture at least.

Despite being tiny, the lens remains true to its "PRO" designation. It features a tightly assembled, weather-sealed, metal body and smooth control rings. The AF is both quick and noiseless.

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO is certainly not a lens for everyone. The rather slow max aperture was subject to quite some debates at the time the lens was announced. While it is a limiting factor for some use-cases, you have to keep in mind that Olympus had different design objectives here. If you want more speed, just go for the ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO. However, if you want maximum portability, the ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO has its merits - especially when combined with one of the smaller Olympus cameras like the E-M5 III. Especially outdoor enthusiasts may appreciate such a package.


Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

What does this mean ?