Best Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

With this Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3, Olympus signs an optics as versatile as it is interesting, the advantages of which will seduce traveler photographers.

Presentation

After a very good 12-100 mm f / 4 IS Pro , Olympus offers a new zoom at the record focal range from 12 to 200 mm equivalent to a 24-400 mm in 24×36. A very versatile essence lens with a f / 3.5-6.3 sliding aperture.

The optical formula of this new model shows a construction with 16 elements grouped into 11 groups. You will note the presence of 3 aspherical lenses, two Super ED (Extra Low Dispersion) elements, two ED lenses and finally a Super HR glass and two HR glasses.

The minimum focusing distance is quite short both at wide angle (22 cm) and in tele position (70 cm), with in the end a magnification of 0.46x in 24×36 equivalent.

The optics are MSC (Movie Still Compatible), which ensures a flexible and fast autofocus motorization both in photo and video. We regret, however, that a zoom of this amplitude is not equipped with an optical stabilization system to reinforce the mechanical stabilization of the Olympus cameras. The maximum photometric aperture of the optics decreases quickly enough to reach f / 5.6 from 45 mm focal length.

Best Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

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

3. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

4. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 to 300mm II F4.8-6.7 Zoom Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

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

Ergonomics

The first contacts with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 is very pleasant: the optics are quite compact and light and the finish very pleasant and serious. At the bayonet, you will notice the presence of a seal which limits the intrusion of dust and humidity between the optics and the housing. 

The zoom ring is quite wide and the coating rather eye-catching, but there are two points showing a little more resistance over the entire travel of the focal range: around 25 mm and between 100 and 200 mm. Nothing prohibitive, but we are in the presence of an optic at more than 900 € and we would have appreciated a fluid race from start to finish, even if we are aware that it is a real challenge on such an important beach (12- 200 mm). By zooming, the optics deploys in an impressive way, practically doubling in length. 

The focus ring is smaller and very (too) flexible. We bet that it will ultimately be little used and that most photographers will prefer to trust the Olympus autofocus system.

The optic is delivered with a sun visor in corolla and a case completes the entire service of a very correct level. 

In practice

The main interest of this optic is that it allows to replace several fixed focal lengths, even several zooms by covering a large focal range and by having a short focus. With this Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3, we therefore reduce the size, weight and opportunities to get dust into the housing with each change of lens. FYI, this 12-200 mm has the luxury of being lighter than its big brother 12-100 mm Pro f / 4 which displays almost 560 g on the scale.

For our field tests, we used both the formidably efficient E-M1 X, but also a Pen-F more suited to this category of optics. 

The zoom range is naturally very appreciable and can cover most photographic needs, from landscape to portrait, including even proxyphotography.

The vignetting is well contained on this 12-200 mm from Olympus. Not very visible at wide-angle, darkening of the edges appears when zoomed. Nothing really dramatic and it will be easy to correct in post-production. On this point, the zoom achieves a good performance.

The geometry of the optics is also well preserved, with little distortion, both at wide angle and on TV. Again, on such a focal range, performance deserves to be highlighted.

Bokeh

With a relatively small aperture of f / 3.5 to f / 6.3 and the use of a 4/3 “sensor, the depth of field may be important in certain shooting conditions. To reduce that and get an interesting back blur, you can play with the short focusing distance and the focal length.

The rounds of the bokeh are not extraordinary and clearly lack uniformity and there is a stretching of the halos on the periphery, a sign of slight vignetting.

This Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 can also be transformed into portrait optics using the longest lens wisely. If the light is there, you should not hesitate to close a little to gain a little precision, but the results are already attractive, with a slight softness that will cut well when the texture of the skin is rendered.

On the ground, the 12-200 mm behaves really well and is very pleasant to use … as long as the light is there. Indeed, the modest aperture of the optics will quickly force up the ISO sensitivity. Since electronic noise management is not the strongest point of the Micro4 / 3 system, we would have appreciated the presence of optical stabilization.

Sharpness

The measurements in our laboratory are made in partnership with Imatest. Software, tools or charts, Imatest offers complete and tailor-made solutions to analyze and test the quality of cameras and photographic lenses.

The notion of dive is quite delicate to deal with. This is what we can assimilate to the “feeling of sharpness” or to the “precision” that we observe on an image. It can be very different from one lens to another, from one focal to another and from one aperture to another. It can also vary between the center and the edges of the image.

We tested the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 in the studio with the Olympus Pen-F camera equipped with a 4/3 “20 Mpx sensor. Each pixel therefore measures 3.34 µm The results were analyzed using Imatest software.

With our Pen-F, the “mega” zoom 12-200 mm from Olympus is really convincing, with a striking wide-angle in the center on practically all apertures. You have to wait for f / 16 and the diffraction undermining work to see the performances collapse. The periphery is in withdrawal, but obtains a still honorable score.

By extending the zoom a little, the optical performance deteriorates a little. The center remains sharp, but the periphery of the image, especially the edge, decreases in quality. 

At 100 mm, the 12-200 mm becomes a little less precise while remaining at a more than respectable level in the center, and this, at practically all the openings used. It is especially the periphery of the image that degrades a little more.

More

When you reach the end of travel at 200 mm, the optical performance is still in retreat, with an unflattering center at f / 6.3, but which gains in consistency when you close a little more. The edges of the images remain imprecise and we will think to center the subjects well.

Given its large focal range, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 – which we remember is equivalent to a 24-400mm all the same – offers a rather interesting performance with a large – well stitched angle and an honorable TV. If the precision decreases while zooming, the level remains of good quality over the whole focal range. However, you must take into account the sharpness drop when you move away from the center of the image.

These trends analyzed by our software are verified in practice on our test scene of which we present you some details at 100% of the pixel size.

If this 12-200 mm is a singular optic which will be able to interest only by its important focal range, it is also legitimate to compare it to the 14-150 mm of Olympus which, certainly, is not as versatile, but which is also a lot less expensive. We can also compare it to the 14-140 mm from Panasonic recently updated with a weatherproof finish (test not yet published).

The 12-200 mm from Olympus outperforms these two competitors at wide angle, but is caught up and overtaken as soon as you zoom in a bit. At bottom of TV, the 14-140 mm from Panasonic clearly takes the advantage over the two competitors of Olympus, the 200 mm offering a more than honorable service. 

STRONG POINTS

  • Very versatile focal range.
  • Short focusing distance.
  • Manufacturing quality, with seals.
  • Fast and fairly silent autofocus.
  • Good dive at wide angle.
  • Good dive in the center over almost the entire focal range.
  • Little distortion and vignetting well controlled.

WEAK POINTS

  • Stitched back on the edges of the image, except at wide angle.
  • No optical stabilization.
  • Quite sensitive flare phenomenon.
  • Chromatic aberrations visible at the edge of the image.

CONCLUSION

Olympus offers here a really interesting optics and which presents a nice balance between very wide focal range and image quality, in the center at least. It will therefore be wise to focus on the subject. The close focus enhances the versatility of a zoom lens that will delight photographers who do not wish to burden themselves with a multitude of fixed focal lengths. A valuable tool for travel photography, but which will be much more comfortable in bright outdoor than indoor.

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