The Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro was introduced at the same time as the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Compact System Camera with 16MP and 3-Inch LCD – Body Only. With the 12-40mm comes a new type of lens, the Pro lens that Olympus is marketing at (you guessed it) the professional crowd. If all goes according to plan these lenses will be the first ‘pro quality’ lenses available for the m4/3 format. Olympus ranks the ‘pro’ lens higher than the prime lenses (think 12mm, 48mm, etc) that it released last year.
The Olympus 12-40mm is also the first of the m4/3 line of lenses to be Splash-proof, Dust-proof and Freeze-proof. The Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm f/2.8 Lens (macro) and the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ are Olympus’s only other “weather proof” lenses available for the m4/3 format without an adapter. The 60mm macro lens is a must have if you’re looking for a high quality macro lens for your micro four thirds (m4/3) camera, the 12-50mm lens on the other hand is best skipped over for the new 12-40mm from Olympus or the excellent Panasonic H-HS12035 LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH X Series Lens (reviewed here). But I digress…
One of the things I really like about this lens (and a couple of other Oly lenses) is its manual focus “clutch” which just means the focus ring can be slid back and forth to select either manual focus or auto focus. What’s more is Olympus finally listened to their customers and are including a lens hood as well as a center pinch lens cap (clap, clap, clap). The lens comes in just under $1,000 which is important considering its main competition is the Pana 12-35mm that costs at least $200 more. Incidentally, if you own the Pana 12-35mm now is a good time to sell it and put in your pre-order for the Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro before the price of the Pana drops in order to compete (from the test shots I’ve seen thus far I can confidently tell you the Oly is the better glass).
There are 14 elements, 1 aspherical element, 1 dual-sided aspherical element, 2 ED glass elements, 2 HR glass elements, 1 EDA glass element, 1 HD glass element. The lens will have a constant aperture of f/2.8 which should excite you. The lens does not have image stabilization built-in which is fine for the OMD owners out there but not so much for the Panasonic owners (who need image stabilization built into the lens since the Pana camera bodies don’t). The minimum focus distance is about 8″ (7.87″) with a max magnification of .3x (the lens could achieve decent macro shots if need be).
Understand that these reviews may be favorable due to the relationship between the reviewer and/or blog and Olympus, obviously they aren’t going to tell you the lens is terrible and risk not receiving gear to review before the general public in the future. Keep an open mind and review the sample images but remember that the review is going to be skewed a bit. Stay tuned to PhotolisticLife for a non biased review after using the lens extensively.
Whether or not you are planning on purchasing a new lens or camera be sure not to fall into the “waiting for new gear” slump… This is where you put your photography on hold until your sparkly new gear shows up in the mail. Stay frosty and get the camera gear you have now out of your closet and participate in a photo contest (here) or a photo challenge (also here). Enjoy!