User Review of Olympus mZD 12-100mm F4 IS PRO


wonglp

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#1
About the lens

The new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO is the first high-magnification 8.3x zoom lens with powerful image stabilization in the M.Zuiko PRO category. This compact, lightweight, high-performance, high-magnification professional zoom lens features a dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (-10°) construction along with an image stabilization mechanism. When combined with a compatible camera body, the in-body 5-axis sync IS is enhanced, enabling the world's most powerful 6.5 shutter speed steps of compensation performance, expanding the range of hand-held shooting scenes.

Concurrently announced with the Olympus mZD 25mm PRO F1.2, which I am covering on the other review thread here. With the addition of these 2 lenses, there are total 7 Pro lenses from Olympus.

Will be covering the following areas in the review, sharpness (across the apertures and at varying focal lengths), 5 axis sync IS with Pen F, handling, starburst, and certainly lots of images (mainly with EPL8).

Here's a few images of the lens.



From the top


And 5-Axis Sync IS


And the specs of it

 

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wonglp

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#2
Handling

At 561g and 72mm diameter, it's considered a pretty large & long lens, somewhere between the weight/size of the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro and 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens. The best handling of this lens would require OMD range and with grip (EM1, EM5+grip/EM10+grip) and mostly it would be front heavy, EM1 will be the optimum balance with it's integrated grip.

Here's a rather odd pairing of the Pen EP5 (also an Olympus Micro 43rd) camera, which is able to use with this lens, not the best ergonomics or features (lack of 5 axis Sync IS) but does it job. Though that's always the good thing about Olympus range of cameras, from the Pen Light, to the Pen F, and to OMD range, there's always a choice from small primes to the largest of lenses, they will all work.

 

wonglp

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#3
One of my first few images taken with this lens and EPL8 combination. I didn't have an EVF on it then and had to admit, it's a struggle but somehow, managed to get this shot with the tilt touch screen of EPL8 at 1/13s (you could see me in the reflection of this shot) on a few attempts. Lens IS priority was Off, so was using 3 axis solely.

Pen EPL8, ISO200, 100mm, F4, 1/13s. Out of camera jpeg.


Another wide open shot.
Pen EPL8, ISO 200, 70mm, F4, 1/80s. Out of camera jpeg
 

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wonglp

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#4
One of the main feature is the inclusion of the Lens Stabilization (Lens IS), which makes it possible to have dual In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) + Lens IS , which Olympus calls it 5 Axis Sync IS. And only available on specific camera models like EM5 Mark II (version 2.x), EM1 (version 4.x), Pen F. Here's a comparison as below.

<EDIT: 12/10/16, 7PM: I found out that if Lens IS switch was turned off, the camera IS will also turn off (S-IS becomes OFF), essentially my initial test below is just between 5 axis sync IS and without any form of IS, so kindly take note of the below mistake, I will have to retest with my EP5 for 5 axis IBIS with the lens. This had been confirmed with Olympus SG as well.>

Left 5 Axis Sync IS, Right NO IS <edited info>. 100mm, 1.3sec, ISO200, F4. Out of camera jpeg, screenshot from Lightroom. Both shots were handheld. This feature is so useful for traveling as sometimes, you just don't want to bring a tripod for an after dinner walk, so just to capture that spontaneous moment.
https://c7.staticflickr.c
[url=https://flic.kr/p/MuuQvd][img]https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8700/29858542750_cd65670448_h.jpg


Zoomed in image of the above
 

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wonglp

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#5
A quick sharpness test at wide open 100mm before sharing detailed one.

Olympus Pen F, 100mm at F4. 1/100s, ISO200. Out of camera jpeg...


And the 100% cropped shot

 

wonglp

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#6
At the start, there was always an element of curiosity, a tinge of cynicism whether a superzoom like this lens will be able to perform well (I wasn't actually expecting it to be honest), even though this lens is categorised as PRO grade. Upon using this lens for 2 weeks, I am really impressed at the image quality, be it at widest end, some middle focal length, or the tele end of it, this lens doesn't dissapoint in it's ability to provide a quick focusing, a sharp image. I will go through the review with some images shots over 2 weeks to give an idea on the sharpness, bokeh, minimum focus distance, flare resistance, starburst etc.
 

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wonglp

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#7
Some wide angle 12mm shot, out of camera jpeg to show centre and corner sharpness.

Original scene. 12mm, 1/640s, ISO200, F8.0, Pen E-PL8


Center Crop


Left Corner Crop (can still read Yamaha, ArtFriend, and McDonalds signboard)
 

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wonglp

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#8
One at the Tele end, 100mm. Again, out of camera

Original scene. 100mm, 1/500s, ISO200, F8.0, Pen E-PL8


Center Crop


Left Corner Crop


One more 100mm shot, if zoomed in, can see the person in yellow is (should be;p) a guy.
 

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wonglp

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#9
One shot at 57mm. Out of camera jpeg

Original scene. 57mm, 1/250s, ISO200, F8.0, Pen E-PL8


Centre Crop


Right Corner Crop
 

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wonglp

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#10
Shooting low light with F4 lens, certainly if the subject is not too fast moving, it's really useable even at night, especially when using a camera that has 5 axis Sync IS with this lens, it's such a breeze.

To capture this scene, had to stand in the middle of the road during at a traffic light crossing, with limited time, a tripod is just not a good idea at all. 5 axis Sync IS is just top notch feature with this lens. Pretty much 1 to 2 shots each round and the hit rate for close 1sec shot is extremely high.
35mm, ISO200, 1/8s, F6.3


Another shot 44mm, ISO200, 1/3s, F7.1.


12mm, ISO200, F9.0, 0.8sec. Hand rested on railing
 

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