Top 3 Problems with Olympus 12-100 mm F4 IS PRO (Review)

By in Lenses

Today I will review the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100 mm F4 IS Pro and tell you why I returned it to the store. Well, tbh, this lens is way better on paper than in the real world, which is why it didn’t cut it for me. However, it wasn’t all bad. 

Before pointing out the three major problems that made me want to return it to the store, I’ll tell you what I liked about the lens. 

Be prepared for a detailed review ahead. To get the gist of it all, you can also watch the video review here:

 

The Olympus 12-100 mm F4 IS PRO Lens

The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm F4 is a professional, small, all-purpose zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. On a full-frame, its range corresponds to 24mm to 200mm, whereas, typically, these zoom lenses do not have the highest optical quality.

Well, you must be wondering that packing a nearly 10-times zoom range into a small lens will only work if the image quality is sacrificed, right? Not really; the Olympus 12-100mm is the exception to the rule.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 Pro Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras
121 Reviews
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 Pro Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras
  • Extensive zoom range of 24 to 200 millimeter (35 millimeter equivalent)
  • 17 elements in 11 groups for outstanding resolution
  • In lens image stabilization for 5 Axis Sync IS (with applicable cameras)
  • Z coating Nano (advanced Zuiko extra low reflection optical coating)

Last update on 2022-11-26 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

The Olympus 12-100mm F4 IS Pro is a tough, pro-level zoom lens with a focal length range that can handle practically any situation.

In addition, its very close focus feature adds to the versatility. In short, it’s the type of one-lens solution that you would want to take to your planned or impromptu trips and capture all those wonderful scenes.

Olympus 12-100 mm F4 IS PRO – Specifications

AttributeSpecifications
Focal Length12-100mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24-200mm)
Lens Construction17 elements in 11 groups (1 DSA lens, 3 Aspherical lenses, 5 ED lenses, 2 Super HR lenses, 1 HR lens)
Splash ProofingIEC Standard publication 60529 IPX1(applies when the lens is used with Olympus splashproof Body) /Dustproof construction
Focusing SystemHigh-Speed Imager AF (MSC)
Angle of View84 degrees (wide) – 12 degrees (tele)
Closest Focusing Distance0.15m (wide) / 0.45m (tele) 
Maximum Image Magnification0.3x (wide) / 0.21 x (tele)
35mm Equivalent Maximum Image Magnification0.6 x (wide) / 0.42x (tele)
Minimum Field Size57.7 x 43.3 mm (wide) / 82.4 x 61.9 mm (tele)
Number of Blades7 (circular aperture diaphragm)
Maximum Aperturef/4
Minimum Aperturef/22
Lens IS MechanismVCM
IS Performance5-axis Sync IS: 6.5 stopsLens IS: 5 stops(When the focal length is set to 100mm)
Filter SizeDiameter: 72 mm
Dimensions Ø77.5 x 116.5 mm
Weight561 g
Box ContentsLH-76B Lens Hood, LC-72C Lens Cap, LR-2 Lens Rear Cap, LSC-0914 Lens Case, instruction manual, warranty card

Two Features That I Liked In The Olympus 12-100mm Lens

Before jumping on to the drawbacks, I would like to delve deep into the two features that pushed me to purchase this one. So here are those two features:

Image Stabilization

After going through multiple reviews online, I was convinced that this lens has perfect image stabilization; I must say I was impressed. Even when it is completely zoomed, the lens gives spectacular stabilization.

When you zoom it into 100mm, it jumps around like crazy, but that makes sense because it’s equal to being on a 200mm lens on a full-frame camera. But even when you are walking around, and you haven’t entirely zoomed it in, it is fairly stable.

After the Zuiko Pro 300mm f/4 IS Pro, the 12-100mm is the second lens with built-in optical image stabilization. When combined with the E-M1 Mark II, the Olympus 12-100mm delivers a stunning 6.5 stops of stability. 

Handling

The zoom range was quite a big thing for me, I must say. You know, taking all the shots with one lens is something all professional cinematographers aspire for. However, of course, it works the same as a 24 to 200mm lens.

But, you know, when I fully zoomed in the lens at 100mm, the image quality was crisp, and I was surprised to see that. You can see the results for yourself.

Moreover, the Olympus lenses are popular for maintaining their image quality throughout the entire field of view. You will be impressed by its image sharpness because it is so good even when fully zoomed in.

Build

The new Olympus 12-100mm lens is made on the same high standards as the previous Zuiko Pro lenses. It has a sleek black metal construction and weather sealing.

The 12-100mm, like its other Pro predecessors, is splashproof, dustproof, and freezeproof down to 14°F (-10°C). However, it is not completely waterproof. It is relatively on the heavier side and is certainly larger than its competitor lenses.

Some Other Features

Since it’s a detailed review of the product, we will touch on the rest of the features of the Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro

Autofocus

The 12-100mm is quite efficient when it comes to autofocus. It focuses swiftly, correctly, and silently on static subjects, regardless of the focal distance or where the subject is placed in the frame. It also focuses on moving subjects at ten frames per second or faster.

The lens functions equally well when it comes to manual focusing. Like Olympus’ other Pro lenses, sliding the focus ring back towards the camera enters manual focus mode.

It then shows a distance scale labeled in feet and meters, with hard end stops to its travel. If you turn the camera body to MF (manual focus) mode, the focus ring will operate in a traditional focus-by-wire mode. This feature can provide finer focus adjustment if needed.

Chromatic Aberration

The degree of chromatic aberration (ca) varies slightly depending on the focal length. Otherwise, the CA is normally very well-controlled in the lens. At f/4, you will notice a small amount of CA between 35 and 70mm; although slowing down, it somewhat reduces the average CA marginally.

CA is quite low at 100mm and remains steady across the aperture range.

Distortion and Vignette

Even though the vignette is limited, it is visible at all focal lengths. The vignette is remarkably minimal (sub-0.25EVs) for most focal lengths over the entire aperture range of the lens, with the exception of 12mm and 100mm.

The Olympus 12-100mm lens reduces distortion well, particularly at longer focal lengths like 18mm and longer. However, on the other hand, the corners at 12mm, have the most barrel distortion, albeit it’s not considerable; it’s still less than 0.5 percent.

Bokeh

Honestly speaking, I don’t think there’s a single kind of bokeh that qualifies to be a good or bad bokeh. Its likeability is something that varies from photographer to photographer.

Now that we have established a notion about bokeh, I feel the Olympus 12-100mm f/4 offers attractive bokeh and represents the backdrop well. It won’t provide the silky smooth backdrops of a fast and long lens, but it can do excellent work at 100mm if you establish some distance between your subject and the background.

The lens has only seven diaphragm blades, but out-of-focus portions are turned into fairly beautiful circles. And I feel that is a super cool feature.

Three Problems With Olympus 12-100mm lens

Here are the three reasons which convinced me to return the lens to the store.

#1 Price Range

In my opinion, no YouTuber speaks about the price range as a determinant of being good or bad because all vloggers have reached a level where it is no longer a concern for them.

Anyway, I’d like to say that this lens is incredibly expensive compared to the other Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lenses that I own.

When I compared it to the price of Panasonic 12 to 32mm kit lens and Meike cinema lineup, I found the Olympus 12 to 100mm lens five times more expensive. Therefore, I cannot defend a lens that delivers the same features but is extremely expensive.

Tbh, this one is so pricey that I would never even use it due to the fear of losing it, so what’s the point of even owning it.

#2 Size and Weight

One can’t tell if a lens is big from its images on the internet, and I fell for that. You must wonder why the lens’s size and weight are a matter of concern for me because most professional users carry around big and heavy gear to events and trips already.

Well, tbh, I’m not one of those people. For me, the size and weight of the gear are of utmost importance. This characteristic is the reason why I switched from Blackmagic 6K to Blackmagic 4K. 

I can’t travel with enormous gear, so this was a turnoff for me.

#3 Speed

Another thing that is lacking in this lens is its speed. The Olympus 12-100mm is just not fast enough. You cannot take good shots with it in low-light or sporty scenes. Its f/4 is not good. It fails during times you need to capture fast-paced moments.

So, if you’re someone like me who wants his lens to be fast, then I totally won’t recommend it to you. 

Conclusion

Overall, the Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens has decent features for photographing picturesque landscapes. 

You can benefit from its 24-200mm equivalent focal length range and constant f/4 aperture. It can even work well as a wildlife lens if you’re patient and lucky (but not as good as something like the lengthier Olympus 300mm f/4 IS Pro lens).

It has a fast, precise focusing system, gives sharp photos at all lens lengths, and has high-end build quality.

The Olympus 12-100mm f/4 is worth considering if you’re searching for a versatile, general-purpose zoom lens for your Micro Four Thirds camera. It’s not cheap, at US$1,300.

However, this is not something that I would like to keep at this price, as I mentioned earlier in the article. 

Recommended Accessories 

Hoya 72mm Digital Filter Kit II

The Hoya 72mm Digital Filter Kit II comes in a handy filter pouch, which comprises a UV (C) HMC filter, a circular polarizer filter, and a 3-stop neutral density filter. This package includes everything you’ll need to start digital camera filtering.

Multi-coated Hoya HMC filters reduce flare, ghosting, and reflections on the filter surface. As a result, you can get over 97 percent light transmission, which gives you more contrast and color fidelity.

The UV (C) filter has a compact mounting ring and is multi-coated. As a result, wide-angle lenses need to avoid vignetting.

In addition, the UV filter is a clear, general-purpose filter that absorbs ultraviolet radiation. There is no additional coloration or contrast, allowing you to mix and match this filter with others.

Moreover, it is a good idea to keep it on your lenses at all times as a general protective filter.

You can find it here:

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Hoya 72 mm Filter Kit II Digital for Lens
3,481 Reviews
Hoya 72 mm Filter Kit II Digital for Lens
  • HOYA Filter Kit: 1x Pol-Cirkular Filter, 1x NDX8 Filter, 1x HMC UV(C) Filter, 1x Filter Case
  • Each Hoya filter is the result of research, know-how and complete precision facilities backed by full quality control
  • Hoya's single layer coating decreases light reflection off the surface from approx. 9% to an average of 4-5%
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2022-11-26 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

Sensei LHR2-T72 3-In-1 Rubber Lens Hood (72mm)

The 72mm Sensei LHR2-T72 3-In-1 Rubber Lens Hood is designed to keep stray light out of the lens and reduce lens flare.

The rubber on the hood is collapsible, and the 3-stage design makes it simple to choose the correct cover for your lens. The ridged interior has a matte surface, which reduces reflections even further.

The hood’s full, anodized aluminum ring threads easily onto the lens, and the ring’s inside threads allow you to screw on a filter or attach a lens cap to protect the lens.

The folding hood allows you to easily store it in your camera bag while still attaching it to your lens.

You can find it here:

Sensei 72mm Collapsible Rubber Lens Hood
  • Minimizes Flare and Glare | Compact, Collapsible Design
  • Protects Lens from Accidental Impact | Screw-In Design
  • Ultra-Thin Internal Aluminum Ring | For Lenses 50mm and Longer (Full Frame)
  • For Lenses 35mm and Longer (APS-C)

Last update on 2022-11-26 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

LensCoat Lens Cover for Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 Pro Lens

LensCoat’s black LensCoat Lens Cover for the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 Pro Lens is a closed-cell neoprene cover protecting the lens from bumps and scratches.

It will be useful to nature and outdoor photographers, as well as sports photographers and photojournalists. It acts as a thermal barrier in colder temperatures, shielding your hands from the icy lens surface.

In addition, the cover is waterproof, so it will keep your lens dry in the rain.

The LensCoat Lens Cover is simple to apply and remove, and it doesn’t leave any residue on the lens.

By shielding the lens from dust, debris, and other impurities, this cover can help preserve its resale value. This version is matte black to fit in better where it’s needed. It can also be used only as a form of protection.

You can find it here:

LensCoat Lens Cover for The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100 f4 Pro
  • Protection from bumps, dings, nicks, and the elements like water, sand, dust etc.
  • Camouflage patterns help conceal by breaking up the shape of the lens
  • Neoprene acts as a thermal barrier protecting hands from hot and cold
  • Slides on like a sleeve

Last update on 2022-11-26 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

Ruggard 11 x 11″ Padded Equipment Wrap

Ruggard’s black 11 x 11″ Padded Equipment Wrap is perfect for wrapping your lens or a small item like an external hard drive, power cord, or charger.

This cushioned nylon accessory fits a wide range of shapes and gear, providing extra protection over long or short distances. The interior of the wrap has a smooth surface made of water-resistant 420-D nylon.

When packed in a bag or set aside for storage, the softer nylon exterior allows any one of the four big touch-fastening corners to attach for an effective layer of protection firmly. 

You can find it here:

Ruggard 11 x 11 Padded Equipment Wrap (Blue)
  • Protects Equipment Within a Bag or Case
  • Conforms to a Variety of Shapes
  • Padded Nylon Wrap with Soft Exterior
  • Touch Fastener at Each Corner

Last update on 2022-11-26 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

My name is Simon, and this is my website. I maainly talk about camera gear, but also other stuff i own.

This website is an extension of my YouTube channel called: Simon's Danglish Reviews.

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