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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO Review - Performance

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO Performance

Looking at the resolution, first at 12mm, we find that central sharpness is excellent at f/4 and f/5.6, very good at f/8 and f/11, good at f/16 and just fair at f/22. The edges are good at f/4, very good at f/5.6 and f/8, good at f/11, fair at f/16 and soft at f/22. Clearly the small format means that diffraction hits earlier than with larger formats, really taking its toll from f/16 downwards.

At 18mm, the centre is excellent at f/4 and f/5.6, very good at f/8 and f/11, good at f/16 and fair at f/22. The edges are very good at f/4 and f/5.6, good at f/8 and f/11, fair at f/16 and soft at f/22.

At 35mm, central sharpness is excellent at f/4 and f/5.6, very good at f/8 and f/11, good at f/16 and fair at f/22. The edges are excellent at f/4, very good from f/5.6 to f/11, fair at f/16 and soft at f/22.

At 45mm, central sharpness is excellent at f/4, very good from f/5.6 to f/11, good at f/16 and fair at f/22. The edges are very good from f/4 through to f/11, fair at f/16 and soft at f/22.

The lens performs very much like a “perfect lens” in that it is at its best wide open, thereafter diffraction steadily reduces the performance. However, if we avoid f/16 and f/22 then performance is very acceptable, reaching its peaks of excellence at the centre of the frame.

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO 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 and sharpness 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. Want to know more about how we review lenses?


CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled throughout, especially at the centre where it is virtually non-existent. Whether this is due to the lens alone or to software corrections in camera that we cannot switch off we cannot be 100% sure, but the end effect, in any case, is a very high standard.

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO 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 is also very low for a zoom lens and the same comments apply as regards software in the camera, but the end result is what matters and at 12mm we can measure -1.12% barrel, at 18mm +0.24% Pincushion, at 35mm +0.09% Pincushion and at 45mm + 0.10% Pincushion. From 18mm onwards the lens is virtually perfectly rectilinear. Straight lines at the edge of the frame will present as perfectly straight lines.

Bokeh, the quality of the out of focus areas, is very acceptable and particularly so at longer focal lengths.

Flare is very well controlled and pays testament to the effectiveness of the Olympus multi-coating.

Vignetting figures:

Aperture 12mm 18mm 35mm 45mm
f/4 -1.2 -1.3 -1 -1.2
f/5.6 -1 -1.2 -0.9 -1
f/8 -0.9 -1.2 -0.9 -1
f/11 -0.9 -1.2 -0.9 -1
f/16 -0.9 -1.2 -0.9 -0.9
f/22 -0.8 -1.1 -0.9 -0.9


Vignetting is modest and is not particularly obvious in most images.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO Sample Photos

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO 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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Comments


25 Mar 2020 3:46PM
Unfortunately I have a full set of lenses so not sure how this would fit in .
Oly mft lenses are really good , I compare to my previous Cannon L lenses here .
I have complete confidence in these smaller lenses and now coupled with the latest EM 1 - my iii.

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ChrisV 13 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
31 Mar 2020 10:13AM
As most lenses on ePhotozine get a minimum of 4.5/5, I’d equivalence (see what I did there?) a 4 on here as 2 - pretty damning. I’íve little doubt it’s sharp wide open (most mft lenses are, as noted they suffer more really closed down) and it performs well otherwise. Oly Pro lenses are well constructed, but I’m very wary of the mount. I dropped my 12-40 f2.8 from about 3ft on a hard floor and it sheered off. Not a mark on the camera (a GX80).

But six hundred quid for an f4 lens particularly for this format is absolutely outrageous. Especially at the wide end you’re only going to get subject isolation on very small objects. If you’re not the sort of photographer that worries, OK, but most would expect that facility in a ‘Pro’ lens. There’s also the issue of being able to double the amount of light potential with an f2.8 optic.

My go to standard zoom for the format is now the PanaLumix 12-60. Not a constant aperture, but a stop faster wide and f4 at 60mm - which is usefully a lot longer. I think it’s still too expensive for what it is (at around the same price as this), but apart from the physical size and a tad more weight, it has the Olympus best into a cocked hat. I know Olympus are struggling to make a profit and I’d hate to see them fall, but their pricing strategy means I for one have little interest in their products at rrp.

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