Rated 5 out of
An upgrade from the Panasonic 12-35"I upgraded to this lens from the Panasonic 12-35mm lens. I say ?upgraded? because for my needs, the Olympus lens is better. I love the snap manual focus ring. The lens is sharp across the frame, especially at wide angles and in the corners where I found the Panasonic not quite as good. I don?t need the image stabilization of the Panasonic because I?m using the lens on an Olympus body. And I find myself using the extra 5 mm of focal length often enough that I am willing to carry around a slightly larger and heavier lens.
I am using this lens on an E-PL5, and it?s fine. It?s not too big or too heavy, and the camera is not unbalanced. The Olympus lens is only slightly larger than the Panasonic lens, and it weighs only 77g (3 oz.) more. I noticed the extra weight at first, but after a couple of days I don't notice it.
Unlike the Panasonic 12-35, the Olympus lens is slightly extended at 12mm, and it fully retracts around 16?17mm. I don?t know if it?s best to store the lens fully retracted, so just in case I try to, and to help I might put an orange dot on the focal length scale at the 16?17 mm mark, as it?s sometimes difficult to see the silver-on-silver focal length numbers in bright light.
Compared to the Panasonic 12-35 lens, the zoom ring on the Olympus lens is stiffer. It?s not better, it?s not worse, it?s just different. The thing that threw me at first is that the zoom lens turns in the opposite direction to the Panasonic.
Pulling back the focus ring at the front of the lens is a sort of a ""snap focus,? where the focus will be snapped to whatever distance the lens is set at on the manual focus scale. Of course, focus can then be adjusted manually by turning the focus ring. At first I was disappointed that pulling back the ring doesn?t switch the camera to MF mode as I had thought it would, but after using it I really like the way it works. I can preset the focus at a specific distance, and quickly snap the focus to that setting by pulling back the ring. I find that at wider angles, a focus distance of 2.5 m to 3.0 m yields a large range that is in-focus.
For some reason, my E-PL5 will not automatically zoom the display (what Olympus calls the ?MF Assist? feature) when I manually focus with the focus ring, even though I?ve turned that feature on in the camera settings. So I end up using the magnifying glass button, which is pretty quick, but it would be even quicker if the camera zoomed the display automatically (maybe newer models do this, I don?t know).
The L-Fn button on the lens is initially set for autofocus stop, but you have to hold the button down to disable the autofocus, which I find awkward, so I changed the setting (Menu > Custom Menu > B*Button/Dial > Button Function). Many people assign DOF preview to the button, but I have also been playing with assigning MF mode to the L-Fn button so I can easily switch to MF mode, as I have programmed the movie button for the AFL function in MF mode so I can use it as a ""back focus? button. As I noted above, pulling back the manual focus ring is not the same as switching the camera to MF mode, and as a result any features available in MF mode are not available when using the manual focus ring, so I still have a use for MF mode.
The lens holds focus throughout the zoom range, which means I can set the focus manually, adjust the zoom and I don?t need to refocus.
All-in-all, this is a really nice lens. I doubt I will ever remove it from the camera. If anything, I?ll likely upgrade the camera!"