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

by Olympus
4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
| 7 answered questions

List Price: $999.00
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  • 12-60 millimeter f2.8-4.0 zoom lens for digital cameras (equivalent to 24-120 millimeter in 35 millimeter photography)
  • Features Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) technology inside to provide quiet, ultra-fast autofocus speed
  • In combination with the Olympus E-3 DLSR, delivers the fastest autofocus speed in the world
  • 100-percent digital design ensures high-definition performance
  • Features special optical glass elements to correct various types of aberrations
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Technical Details


Product Description

Product Description

D1) OLYMPUS 12-60MM F/2.8-4.0

From the Manufacturer

The Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 SWD lens is a high-performance standard zoom lens that covers a zoom range equivalent to 24 to 120mm on a 35mm camera lens. Special optical glass elements are used to correct various types of aberrations, while the 100 percent digital design ensures high-definition performance with clear, crisp images from edge to edge. This lens also boasts impressive close-up shooting capability, allowing users to shoot from as close as 25cm throughout the zoom range.

The lens’ autofocus is powered by Olympus’ breakthrough SWD. Designed to be the world’s fastest AF system, this extraordinary autofocus drive provides both high speed and high precision while operating with lower noise than ever. Optimized for use with the new E-3, this lens enables the camera to demonstrate the full power of its high-speed capability, providing the fastest autofocus available in the world using a standard zoom lens.

About Supersonic Wave Drive Technology Olympus-proprietary SWD technology has enabled an ultra-fast, whisper-quiet, high-precision AF system. Two compact, high-powered Supersonic Wave Drive devices power autofocus at an ultra-high speed by exciting unique elliptical oscillations, while an ultra-compact 5.3mm x 4.3mm optical encoder detects and controls the lens drive position using direct rotation detection without reduction gear. This enables it to achieve a level of precision that’s accurate to 5 microns (5/1000 mm). When used in combination with the new E-3, which offers improved AF computation and lens-body communication rates, the SWD motors provide the fastest focusing speed of approximately 170 ms (0.17 seconds).


Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches ; 1.3 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • ASIN: B000XCQ0LI
  • Item model number: 261014
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service. Click here to make a request to customer service.
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: October 2, 2001

Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras

Customer Reviews

Top Customer 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. It 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 it 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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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.
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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 it 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.
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Okay, apologies, a slight exaggeration...

It 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 it 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 `it's 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.
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Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD Lens for Olympus Digital SLR Cameras
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