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Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD Lens for Olympus Digital SLR Cameras
|Price:||$999.00 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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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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|Aperture Control Design||Aperture controlled by camera|
|Compatible Lens Hood Part Number||LH-75B Petal type|
|Compatible Mountings||Four Thirds|
|Item Dimensions||3.15 x 3.15 x 3.9 inches|
|Item Display Weight||1.3 pounds|
|Item Weight||1.27 pounds|
|Lens Type||Zoom lens|
|Macro Focus Range||0.25 m|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F2.8 - F4.0|
|Maximum Focal Length||60 mm|
|Maximum Format Size||FourThirds|
|Minimum Focal Length||12 mm|
|Minimum Focal Range||9.8 inches|
|Number of Diaphragm Blades||7|
|Number of Elements||14|
|Number of Groups||10|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||72 mm|
|Real Angle Of View||84 Degrees|
|Shipping Weight||1.85 pounds|
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This item Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD Lens for Olympus Digital SLR Cameras
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Cardinal Photo||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Compatible Mountings||Four Thirds||Micro Four Thirds||Micro Four Thirds||Four Thirds||Micro Four Thirds||—|
|Focus Type||Ultrasonic||Stepper motor||manual-and-auto||Automatic, Manual||Stepper motor||manual-and-auto-focus|
|Item Dimensions||3.15 x 3.9 x 3.15 in||2.76 x 3.31 x 2.76 in||2.68 x 2.91 x 2.68 in||3.43 x 6.18 x 3.43 in||2.24 x 3.27 x 2.24 in||1 x 1 x 1 in|
|Item Weight||1.27 lbs||0.84 lb||—||2.19 lbs||7.44 ounces||2 lbs|
|Lens||Zoom lens||Zoom lens||Zoom lens||Telephoto zoom lens||Zoom lens||Zoom lens|
|Maximum Focal Length||60 millimeters||40 millimeters||35 millimeters||200 millimeters||50 millimeters||35 millimeters|
|Minimum Focal Length||12 millimeters||12 millimeters||12 millimeters||50 millimeters||12 millimeters||14 millimeters|
|Thread Size||72 millimeters||62 millimeters||58 millimeters||67 millimeters||52 millimeters||77 millimeters|
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 worlds 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 thats 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).
Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras
Top Customer Reviews
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 it 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 it 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 it's 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. :-)
I used this lens for a few months before recently switching to Micro Four Thirds, but have just been going through a couple of sets from this lens and feel compelled to write about it.
Here's what's good about it:
- It goes all the way out to 12mm
- It's weather sealed
- It can be razor-sharp, sharper than the 14-54mm
- It focuses almost instantly on a capable Four Thirds body
Here's what's not so good about it:
- It's significantly heavier than the 14-54mm, reminiscent of the APS-C pro standard zooms
- It's got uglier bokeh
- It's about half a stop slower throughout the overlapping portion of the range
- It appears to be more fragile (went through four copies to get a *mechanically* sound one, have never seen a damaged 14-54mm)
- It costs 2-3x more than the 14-54mm
- More susceptible to flare, even under non-extreme conditions, than the 14-54mm due to complexity
- (AND NOW THE BIGGIE) It's far less predictable than the 14-54mm
For me the last item was what really put a dent in my use of this lens, and one of the things that ultimately led me to decide to go to Micro Four Thirds (where I could get the 12-40mm f/2.8 at a fraction of the weight).
The 14-54mm never let me down across many tens of thousands of photos taken around the country and the world. It was slow, maybe a little bit unsexy by the time it was an old product, but you *always* knew what you were going to get. It was just reliable. You knew whether or not you got the shot, and you knew whether or not it was focused and exposed correctly.
The additional complexity and speed of this lens lead to a trade-off. It has generally better handling and more flexible range, BUT: due to flare or element interactions at particular focal lenghts and apertures, exposure is less predictable; focus "misses" are far more common; worse bokeh and more complex design mean some images that would have been lovely with a 14-54mm fall flat in microcontrast, color reproduction, and subject isolation on the 12-60mm. And of course you've got to lug around all that extra weight and size.
In other words, with the 14-54mm, for years my experience was like this:
Shooting: Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Oops, my bad. Nailed it!
Review/Post: Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Oops, my bad. Nailed it!
While shooting with the 12-60mm was like this:
Shooting: Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it! Nailed it!
Review/Post: Nailed it! Pretty good. Nailed it! Not what I expected. Woah, what happened?! Nailed it! Ahh, dammit!
The lens *feels* very confident in the hand, and the fast focus and weight certainly add to that effect. But on balance, though there were stunning outcomes, there were also times (usually during review/post production) when this lens made me feel like a total amateur, something that hasn't happened in a very long time.
I guess the best way to put it is that this lens feels very uncharacteristic of Olympus, whose glass is usually just solid and reliable and completely workmanlike. I think it's the only Olympus lens I've owned that I felt this way about. This lens feels more like some of the glass in the Canon/Nikon world—law of averages, compromises, shots either fabulous or total misses, etc.
So now I've moved to M.Zuiko and some fast primes and the 12-40mm f/2.8 for zoom work and I have that "Olympus feeling" again about all of my daily drivers (and in fact, all of my gear in total).
As for the 12-60mm? If you shoot Olympus because it's so surefooted and the results are predictably as excellent as the handling (and directly correlated to it), this lens is different. It can produce fabulous results. But it doesn't feel like an Olympus lens in the same way.
My experience with this lens has been great it does almost everything I want with only a little bit of distortion at the wide end and it's easily correctable in post processing. The range both of focus and focal range will cover 90+ percent of what I want to shoot. If I only have room to take one lens this is it.
This is also amazingly sharp for a zoom lens. I really love the results. Olympus lenses are great in one other aspect: color consistency. All my Olympus lenses give me consistent color. This is really good if I use more than one lens on a project.
That said, it's not a small light lens. The speed and flexibility comes at a cost of size and weight. Glass is heavy and that is just a fact. But it is still well balanced on my E-30 body and handles very very well.
With 34 years of Olympus SLR experience the legend of excellence lives on with this lens.
I hope this helps someone.
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. It 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 it and think it was $780 well spent.