Best Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f / 4 IS PRO Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

In addition to the launch of its new flagship, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus has also announced two major optics. The first – which we have already tested – is an ultra-bright 25mm f / 1.2. The second, which interests us here, is an ultra-versatile zoom with constant aperture all options. It is a stabilized 12-100 mm f / 4 equivalent to a 24-200 mm!

Best Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f / 4 IS PRO Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 Pro Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

2. Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm F4 is Pro Lens, Suitable for All MFT Cameras (Olympus OM-D & Pen Models, Panasonic G-Series), Black

3. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R Zoom Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras (Black)

4. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm F4.0 PRO Lens Black, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

5. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

Ergonomics

This new zoom belongs to the PRO range of Olympus. Its optical formula is based on 17 lenses divided into 11 groups with 3 aspherical elements, 5 ED glasses, a DSA glass and two super HR elements. The opening is ensured by a circular diaphragm with 7 blades. There is obviously an optical stabilization which, associated with the mechanical stabilization of the case (Olympus), is supposed to save up to 6.5 EV. 

This lens is quite compact (11 cm space folded). It’s the same kind of template as that of the 12-40mm f / 2.8 PRO. On the scale, despite a metal construction, count only 561 grams; a good point for long freehand shooting sessions. However, with a case of the caliber of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, using the grip can be a good idea to balance the whole.

The build quality is excellent and the lens is ready to face the worst shooting conditions. The design is very successful, in line with that of the M. Zuiko PRO range. As always, there is a metallic construction for the external body, a sober satin black finish and many inscriptions of all kinds.

Olympus has reused its tilt system to disengage the autofocus, display distance indications and activate the manual focus ring. The latter, although narrow, is quite pleasant to use: very good fluidity, real stops. It is flawless. The zoom ring, located towards the housing, is much wider. Despite a slight lack of flexibility, it is very easy to use and it is quick to go from 12 mm to 100 mm.

Finally, there is the traditional programmable key L-Fn and a switch to deactivate optical stabilization.

In practice

A 12-100 mm in micro 4/3 is a real Swiss knife that allows you to do everything. By applying the conversion coefficient of 2x, it is a 24-200 mm equivalent (8.5x zoom). We therefore have a real 24 mm wide-angle, perfect for landscape photos, as well as a small 200 mm TV for wildlife or sports photography. In between, we find happiness in doing portraits and reporting. We can even play with the close-up photo, because the reproduction ratio is 0.3x.

The constant aperture f / 4 is a real plus. Thanks to it, it is possible to photograph a subject under the same conditions (trio aperture, speed, ISO) whether one is at 24 or 100 mm. However, this opening is not very bright. In low light conditions, it will be necessary to leave the hand to the management of the high ISO sensitivities of the box (quickly limited on micro 4/3 hybrids) and especially to the stabilization (optical and / or mechanical of the box).

The bokeh effects are quite limited, however. Indeed, a relatively large aperture associated with a “small sensor” micro 4/3 does not work in favor of a shallow depth of field. Anyway, at full zoom, with a short focus distance and a good distance between the main subject and its environment, it is possible to obtain beautiful effects.

More

All Olympus boxes (current range) are stabilized at the level of their sensor. The cumulation of a sensor stabilization to that of an optical stabilization is supposed to work miracles. Olympus proudly announces that it can compensate up to 6.5 EV. In fact, we managed to obtain a perfectly clear image in 1/13 s at 100 mm, a gain of 4 EV. It is far from the 6.5 IL announced by the brand, but it’s already huge!

The vignetting and the distortions of this objective are well controlled. As for the first, it is visible in the extreme corners of the images with the largest openings. We feel it up to f / 5.6 at all focal lengths. Beyond that, it becomes negligible. For the seconds, they are very discreet. So a good point.

Sharpness

Although it is not perfect, the optical quality of this Olympus lens is really very good. At the 12 mm wide-angle, we observe a very sharp dive from the largest aperture as well as a lack of homogeneity between the center and the edges of the images, but this phenomenon is ultimately quite relative given the very high level of dive . As you close the diaphragm, the general sharpness tends to decrease, and this, in a uniform way – on the contrary, we are more used to seeing it go up to f / 8 then decrease again taking into account the diffraction.

A fairly similar behavior is observed at 25 mm, although the difference in homogeneity between the center and the edges is smaller. At 50 mm, the sharpness is strong, homogeneous and constant from f / 4 to f / 11.

Finally, at 100 mm, the “bell” curves reveal a more classic behavior: the sharpness goes up to f / 8 and decreases from f / 11, all with very good homogeneity.

STRONG POINTS

  • A Swiss army knife equivalent lens 24-200 mm.
  • A constant opening f / 4.
  • Optical stabilization.
  • Design, build quality and handling.
  • General optical quality.

WEAK POINTS

  • Different behavior depending on focal lengths.
  • Lack of homogeneity of sharpness between the center and the edges of wide-angle images.

CONCLUSION

With this new 12-100 mm, Olympus signs a “must have” for all users of micro 4/3 hybrids (Olympus but also Panasonic) who want a very good optic to do almost everything. Versatility, constant opening, very good stabilization, handling, build quality … everything is there! We have almost no complaints about it except that we would not be against an f / 2.8 version if it was technically feasible.

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