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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Lens Review - Performance

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Performance

Sharpness measurements with the usual methodology applied give us some mixed results, but it is worth bearing in mind that the lens will not be used for photographing test charts, but rather for wider fun than that, perhaps as a travel companion.

At 12mm central sharpness is excellent from f/3.5 to f/8, very good at f/11. good at f/16 and softening at f/22. The edges do not fare so well, but are good from f/3.5 to f/8 and thereafter only fair.

At 25mm, the centre is very good from f/4.7 to f/11, good at f/16 and fair at f/22. The edges are good at f/4.7, very good at f/5.6 and f/8, good at f/11 and f/16 and soft at f/22.

At 70mm, the centre is very good from f/6 to f/11, good at f/16 and fair at f/22. The edges are soft at f/6, fair at f/8, good at f/11 and f/16 and softening at f/22.

At 200mm, sharpness centrally is only fair and the edges are quite soft, but we can bear in mind the original caveat that the lens is not designed to reproduce test charts and the in the field long distance results are much better.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G9 using Imatest.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) at 12mm is almost zero centrally, but more obvious at the edges where is averages around one and a half pixels width. At 25mm the edges improve a little but the central figures start to creep up. Nevertheless, the central result is still excellent. CA tempers a little from 70mm right through to 200mm, remaining well controlled centrally and improving to one pixel or less at the edges. It is a very commendable result overall.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G9 using Imatest.


Distortion follows an interesting pattern, being a modest -0.87% barrel at 12mm, a virtually rectilinear +0.28% pincushion at 25mm, an even lower +0.10% pincushion at 70mm before almost a perfect result at 200mm, where we can measure -0.10% barrel.

Bokeh describes the rendition and gradation of out of focus areas in an image, and the whole range of the lens produces very pleasant results.

Flare is not generally a problem, but as soon as bright lights come into the edges of the image field, then we find a magnificent display of multi-coloured artefacts. This could be creatively magnificent or a defect, depending on the individual's response to it. However, for most purposes, there is not a problem with flare.

At 12mm, vignetting starts at -1.3 stops and continues thus all the way through the aperture range. At 25mm we have just -0.3 stops of corner darkening, -0.6 stops at 70mm and around -0.7 stops at 200mm. This is a very satisfactory result.

In one way the technical tests do not do the lens justice as it is a very ambitious optic that covers most bases and does so with a generally satisfactory standard. The weakest area is at 200mm where the sharpness is not exciting, but still acceptable for many subjects, at longer ranges than test targets.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Sample Photos


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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