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Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Lens Reviews

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Lens Images

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD lens Reviews
Rating 9.4
48 Reviews

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Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD lens Reviews

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD lens Reviews

I bought this lens to reduce the number of lenses I carry when traveling. I left three lenses home and used this lens exclusively on a recent trip.

The wide end let me take more photos in confined areas and the long end was long enough to get decent magnification on short telephoto shots. Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 also did a nice job on closeups, although I didn't really spend a lot of time thinking about that use.

I use an E-510 camera body and found that focusing was much faster and more precise with this lens than the the kit lenses. That was a major improvement.

I won't try to add to prior reviews that discuss more technical aspects of this lens, but I love Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 and think it was $780 well spent.

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 User Reviews

There are four zoom lenses in the Olympus 4/3 line up that covers the standard zoom range. Standard Grade (SG) Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, High Grade (HG) Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II, HG Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD, and Super High Grade (SHG) Olympus Zuiko 14-35mm f/2.0 Digital ED SWD. There is no doubt the SHG offering is the best Olympus has to offer in this group, but its price tag is often prohibitive to amateurs and even serious amateurs.

For most consumers who desire the image quality without breaking the bank, the choice is between Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 MK II and Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4 SWD. For most people I highly recommend Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 MK II and Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD combo for the best bang for the money, and they both use 67mm filter thread so you can share filters together. This is a major cost saving as a high quality Circular Polarizer filter that won't deteriorate your HG Olympus lens can cost you and average between $80-120.

Let me give you a little of my credential. I have used all the mentioned lenses from Olympus listed above, except for the SG 14-42mm, so I am offering my advice as a real world user, rather than a specs researcher. I have used my Olympus E-620 DSLR for two years now, so my experience with Olympus 4/3 camera is very extensive. I would describe myself as a serious amateur, who fine tune his LCD monitor in order to get the best enlargement prints possible.

The objective of this review is to provide some insight whether you should invest in Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4 SWD over Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 MK II, which costs almost $300 more.

Sharpness: Zuiko 12-60mm wins here. The major difference would be corner performance. Under good lighting, both would perform admirably. In poor light, Zuiko 12-60mm wins. As with most 4/3 lenses, both lenses are sharp wide-open. There is no need to stop down two stops to get to the first "usable" aperture, unlike competitors' lenses. However, when you do stop down by two stops, that's where 4/3 sensor's optimal range range (f/4-8), and you will get exceptionally sharp photos.

Geometric Distortion: Zuiko 12-60mm wins hand down. Many reports shows at 12mm, Zuiko 12-60mm has a weird "mustache shape" distortion, which is true. However, unless you shoot for absolute straight line, and stand at a very close distance to your subject, this is largely ignorable. For architecture photos where straight lines are crucial, I recommend using software provided by Olympus (Olympus Viewer or Olympus Master) to process your RAW images, as there is a very easy option to automatically correct geometric distortion using built-in lens data (click on RAW button on Olympus Viewer tool bar, then select Gear tab -> Distortion Correction -> Auto -> Apply). Geometric distortion is not a problem for both lenses after 18mm (around 36mm in FF term).

Vignette: Zuiko 12-60mm also wins here. Vignette is visible at 14mm for Zuiko 14-54mm MK II. Zuiko 12-60mm for most part, does not have noticeable vignette, but they do exist upon close inspection. Be sure to use filter with thinner mount, as that can decrease the chance of vignetting. If vignette performance is absolutely crucial for you, I recommend SHG 14-35mm SWD, if you're willing to pay for its premium price tag (though Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is still a bargain compared with the competitors' offerings at same performance level).

Chromatic Aberration: "The purple fringe" is usually a problem with wide angle lenses. Zuiko 12-60mm SWD performs admirably here even at 12mm. I rarely see any CA in my photos, and when they do exist, the line is very clean. Same for Zuiko 14-54mm MK II. Since both lenses' CA are very clean and not bleeding type, the purple fringe can be easily removed with software such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (Select Lens Correction -> Defringe) without using very complicated procedure.

Color/Contrast: Again, Zuiko 12-60mm SWD wins here. For best contrast, color and saturation, I recommend using Olympus Viewer (or Olympus Master) for developing your own RAW photos to retain the eye-pleasing Olympus color. Color/contrast level is highly subjective to each person's taste, so please judge Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 accordingly to your own preference. Exposure and lighting condition will also affect color saturation and contrast quite a bit, so keep that in mind. 4/3 sensor is smaller than full frame sensor, so it prefers a little brighter lighting than usual and ALWAYS use a lens hood, even when you're indoor, for best color/contrast out of your photos (lens hood is used to cut down stray light, which will affect color and contrast, as well as sharpness, most apparent when you use smaller apertures such as f/11-f/22).

Bokeh Quality: For people who like to shoot close up photos with shallow Depth of Field (DoF), bokeh (out of focus area) quality is just as important as in-focus area. Generally speaking, you want to have smooth bokeh pattern so it does NOT take attention away from focus area. Bokeh quality for both lenses being compared, are exceptional in their understated manner. The circular 7-blade aperture diaphragm design will give you those perfect round light spheres in the background, instead of geometric or even..., the highly undesirable cat-eye shape light spheres that are usually found in with large aperture lenses (bokeh quality is often sacrificed in large aperture lenses because they're more difficult to design). Both lenses are exceptionally good bokeh performers.

Size: This is where Zuiko 14-54mm MK II wins. According to official data, Zuiko 12-60mm SWD is 135g (4.8 oz) heavier. While it is only 0.4" (10mm) longer, 12-60mm SWD lens barrel extends much longer when you zoom in. Keep in mind 12-60mm also is thicker and uses a 72mm filter rather than 67mm filter. If portability is your greatest concern, I recommend using Zuiko 14-54mm MK II, as not only Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lighter and smaller, you also only need to carry one set of filters if you also carry Zuiko 50-200mm SWD, as both lenses share the same 67mm filter thread. Both have very reassuring heft in hand, though I believe 14-54mm MK II matches better with smaller cameras while Zuiko 12-60mm SWD matches better with E-30 and E-5 DSLRs. I use my Zuiko 12-60mm SWD with E-620, while it is a little heavier, but it is still doable. You should always hold your camera by the barrel, rather than holding it by the grip (use grip as support, rather than holding the entire camera with it).

Build Quality: Olympus 4/3 lenses HG and up are built like tanks, no exception here. As with all other HG and up lenses, they're both weather sealed and both have focus meters on the barrels. Both lenses' mounts are made of metal (not cheap plastic), and so is the barrel construction. The outer shells of the lenses are covered with fibre glass reinforced plastic, the same material used in Olympus DSLRs for high quality feel as well as consistency of cosmetics. There is no Frankenstein feel with your Olympus 4/3 set up, no matter which lens you choose. Both lenses (as well as Zuiko 14-35mm SWD) are made in Japan. I have never had an Olympus product failed on me in the two years I have used my DSLR and lenses.

Overall Image Quality (IQ): This is subjective. If you are a casual shooter who values IQ, then I would say start with Zuiko 14-54mm MK II and see if it would satisfy your needs. If you mostly post photos on Flickr, down sample your photos to 3MP, I also recommend using Zuiko 14-54mm MK II, as the incremental IQ will not be noticed. If you are a pixel peeper who scrutinizes every detail of the photos, and can tell the IQ deterioration caused by using a cheap filter, then Zuiko 12-60mm SWD is your lens (and possibly you may even consider the SHG Zuiko 14-35mm SWD).

AF Speed: If you use LiveView (LCD screen) for composition most of the time, which uses CDAF (contrast detect auto focus), the cheaper Zuiko 14-54mm MK II actually can AF faster. While SWD (Sonic Wave Drive) is an AF technology, similar to Canon's Ultrasonic Wave drive, what it also brings is mechanical coupled manual focus helicord. What this means when you want full time manual focus over ride (you can manual focus even when you're on AF mode, and can do pre-focus using focus meter on lens barrel, without turn on the camera first, useful if you're a professional who prefer Zone Focusing for fast moving subjects), you want to use a SWD lens, such as Zuiko 12-60mm SWD. SWD enabled focus ring is stiffer to turn due to their mechanical nature, which provides some feedback to your focus experience. The focus ring does NOT stop at each end of focus range, but you will feel them as they become tighter to turn. For fastest focus experience, I recommend you read your Olympus DSLR's manual and see how you can switch the AFL button for focus lock (rather than half-press the shutter button for the job), and pre-select AF point (the dots button) before you focus. This will increase your AF speed significantly by closing down the range the camera needs to focus on. 12-60mm SWD's AF is generally very fast and most importantly, accurate.

Value: Let's put it this way. Zuiko 14-54mm MK II is for people who want to spend least amount of money and get the best IQ, whereas Zuiko 12-60mm SWD is for people who want the best IQ without spending too much. The value depends on your priority: budget over IQ or IQ over budget.

I hope this review is helpful to you. :-)

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Reviews

I bought this lens based on reviews seen here and my overall satisfaction with the Olympus brand. Out of the box revealed a high quality made in Japan (not China)lens. The zoom ring is a little tighter than I prefer but still perfectly acceptable.
My heart sank when my E300 wouldn't start after attaching the lens. After some frantic phone calls I learned that I had to update the camera's firmware. The Olympus website is very clear on the procedure and the whole process took less than 15 minutes. The first thing I noticed that this lens is one heavy hunk of glass. At 21.2 ounces compared to 10.9 ounces for the 14-45 kit lens, the extra weight does tend to unbalance the camera. The second thing I noticed was Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 focused noticably faster than the 14-45. Even in dim light I was surprised how quickly the lens popped into focus. The 12-60 zoom range is the ideal range for me and I truly appreciate the 12mm setting for those cramped quarters situations. Performance is exemplary. No noticeable linear or color distortion nor dark corners at any setting. This is the perfect lens to leave on your camera. One final bit of nitpicking; the velvet "sock" supplied as a lens case provides minimal, if any, protection. A soft leather pouch would be more appropriate for a $900 lens.

Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens Reviews

Click to watch this video Click to watch this video Length:: 1:31 Mins

Hi, I hope you enjoy my video of my new 12-60 SWD lens I just purchased from Amazon. I've taken dozens of photos with Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 on my E-300 and the lens has performed admirably. The photos are crisp. I love the wide angle shots. This lens range is very convenient, replacing my 14-45. I'm so glad I didn't buy the 14-54! Can't wait to use this with my E-3 Body, which is due to arrive at my doorstep *any day now!* :)

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD lens

I got this lens with my E-3, at 1st the focuse was inaccurate in low light, but after firmware update, the lens exploded with life.
image quality at highest among all zoom lenses in the market. distortion is minimal. CA and vagnaiting almost not excessed. extremely fast, top notch build quality, of course weather sealed.
with range equal 24-120mm on 35mm its the perfect zoom lens. as with all pro lenses its in the heavy side though.
Highly recommended with Olympus E-3
on the downside i found the distorsion and flaring claims to be true but its not a big issue, however Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 must be mention for complaition

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0

I own the Olympus 11-22mm and the 18 to 180 mm and found this to be an great addition. Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is quick to focus, a bit more responsive than my former carry aound lens (18-180) and not too bulky to keep on for most of the day. A bit pricey but the results in my photos have been noticeable. Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is now my everyday lens. I also have the Olympus 50 to 200mm so have most of my needs covered in the two lenses. Will probably sell the 11-22mm but it is a real quality lens as well

Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Cameras lens Reviews

Okay, apologies, a slight exaggeration...

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is simply the best general zoom on this planet! :) Enough to make users of other brands with bigger market share give envious looks across their shoulder to see what the fuss is all about.

Olympus' expertise in optics shines through with this lens and has been commended from all corners from professionals to users to reviewers -- and rightly so. I have had this lens for over 3 months now and Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is probably more popular on my E-420 than with the 25mm Pancake! If I don't need extreme portability, then this lens takes priority for good reasons.

Colour capture is stunning, detail is sharp, chromatic aberration is almost non-existent, AF speed is nippy and the 12mm to 60mm (24mm to 120mm) range is extremely useful. My favourite is using it at wide-angle but this lens is consistently great at all ranges. Macro shooting is great as well with nice bokeh at tele' end.

For negatives -- and I am nit-picking here -- there is slight complex distortion at 12mm but nothing that concerns me too much (and I shoot mostly in wide), it is a bit weighty on my E-420 to make it front heavy which might concern some people if they have a smaller body, but I quite like it like this, and, lastly, I cannot shoot with pop-up flash, but I tend to avoid using flash as much as possible as I like having natural light in my photos.

All in all, whether you are a current Olympus user or not, it is definitely recommended for all who are interested in an `all purpose lens', who are passionate about photography and value `Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 the glass' philosophy that some people swear by. My photography has certainly come leaps and bounds from using `quality glass' and, in this Zuiko, it has certainly marked a standard that others still have to reach.

Happy lens hunting.

See comments for more info.

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Cameras Lenses

After 55 years of praticing photography, my photographs are now an order of magnitude beter since buying this lens. (8 contest awards in the last two months) Nothing else comes close. If you don't have a camera that will take this lens get one! You will thank me later.

Check out Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0's mate the Zuiko 50-200mm SWD. Also excellent.

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD Lens for Olympus Digital SLR Cameras

I use this lens on my E-3. I'm somewhere between and intermediate and advanced amateur. The 12-60mm lens has become my primary lens. I leave Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 attached for walk around photography. This lens has noticeably better image quality over the kit lenses I purchased with my E-500. This lens along with the 7-14mm and the 50-200mm provides the complete focal length range I was looking for.

I would have liked a more substantial lens hood. The plastic one is satisfactory. I'm very careful with this equipment.

I'm very brand loyal to Olympus. I've shot with Olympus cameras for 35 years. My one gripe with Olympus is the organization of their web site. Its very difficult to find accessories or the lens chart but this is nothing compared to the exceptional image quality from the E-3/12-60mm lens combination.

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD Lens for Olympus Digital SLR Cameras Reviews

This is an impressive lens, fast, wide, fairly long, and close focus abilities. I also own the 14-54mm F2.8-3.5, which had been my walk around lens until this one arrived. The 12-60mm is even sharper than then 14-54mm, which is not slouch.
The 2mm (4mm equivalent) difference on the wide end is VERY noticeable, especially if you are photographing indoors. The 6mm (12mm equivalent) is also noticeable and useful but not as extreme.
If you are used to the 14-54mm you find the 12-60mm very easy to get used to. Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is a little bit larger, and slightly heavier but not noticeable after 30 minutes. Personally I rarely had my lens hood on when using the 14-54mm, with the 12-60mm Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 is on most of the time. This is due to the larger wide end which makes it easier to catch reflections and light flares.
The focus rings on the 12-60mm SWD and any new SWD lenses will feel strange compared to non SWD lenses. This is due to the other lenses being focus by wire, the SWD's have a mechanical connection. This means two things.
1. The focus ring is stiffer than the electronic versions.
2. Also with SWD lenses there is full time focus override. This IMHO makes it easier. If you happen to have the camera on the wrong setting with non SWD lenses at a critical moment, you can miss the shot.
The extra width, length, maximum magnification (.56X 35mm equivalent), weather sealing and VERY fast focusing speed make this an outstanding lens. I find myself changing lenses much less often due to this lenses versatility. I am being able to leave two other lenses (11-22mm & 50mm Macro) at home while hiking, which more than makes up for the slight weight and size increase from the 14-54mm. Also for those who don't have those lenses yet, it is cheaper as well.

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Buy Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Specs

  • Item Display Diameter: 80 millimeters
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Maximum Aperature Range: F/2.8-4.0
  • Minimum Focal Range: 9.8 inches
  • Lens System Special Functions: Zoom
  • Real Angle Of View: 84
  • Brand Name: Olympus
  • Lens Type: Zoom lens
  • Camera Magnify Power: 1:3.5
  • Features Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) technology inside to provide quiet, ultra-fast autofocus speed
  • 100-percent digital design ensures high-definition performance
  • 12-60 millimeter f2.8-4.0 zoom lens for digital cameras (equivalent to 24-120 millimeter in 35 millimeter photography)
  • Model: 261014
  • Maximum focal length: 60 millimeters
  • In combination with the Olympus E-3 DLSR, delivers the fastest autofocus speed in the world
  • Focus Type: Manual, Automatic
  • Features special optical glass elements to correct various types of aberrations
  • Minimum focal length: 12 millimeters
  • Length: 3.9 inches
  • Mounting Type: Olympus Digital SLR

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