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Lens review

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD

3 November 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • very solid barrel,
  • sensible dimensions when you take into account its wide focal lengths range, good fastness, weather-sealing and the presence of an SWD motor,
  • outstanding or very good image quality in the frame centre at all focal lengths and aperture values,
  • very good image quality at the frame edge on slight stopping down,
  • chromatic aberration well-corrected,
  • good distortion results, when compared to those of competitors,
  • slight coma,
  • very low astigmatism,
  • very good work against bright light,
  • silent and efficient autofocus,

Cons:

  • too high vignetting at the shortest focal length,
  • a better performance at maximum relative aperture would be needed to make the lens really perfect.

Like in the case of hardly any lens, I had a lot of problems with thinking up the cons content. The point about maximum aperture performance, which worsens significantly the image quality at longer focal lengths and especially in the frame corner, was added at a push. A bit improvement in that category and we would deal with a perfect lens indeed. On the other hand the lens doesn’t truly lack much anyway. The vignetting problem, also mentioned in the cons, although visible it is still lower than in the case of the competitors with the same angle of view and often lower fastness to boot.

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I don’t envy Olympus reflex cameras owners. The company, introducing an original Four Thirds format and deciding to use small sensors, should stay original to the very end and didn’t enter the megapixels race because it results only in image noise and small tonal range. The Four Thirds system lenses, though, are something I do envy its users and handling such devices as the ZD 12-60 SWD irrefutably contributes to this feeling.


Sample shots:

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 12 mm, f/2.8, exp. 1/3200 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.7 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 12 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.8 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 21 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.8 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 60 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.3 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 60 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 400
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.8 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 35 mm, f/3.7, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 800
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.4 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 24 mm, f/3.4, exp. 1/200 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.7 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 33 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.6 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 60 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/160 sec., ISO 250
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 3.7 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 32 mm, f/3.6, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.8 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 60 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.9 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 60 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.3 MB
Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60 mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD - Summary
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 42 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.4 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 12 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/400 sec., ISO 100
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.2 MB
Camera: Olympus E-3
Parameters: 17 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 200
File: JPG, 3648x2736 pix, 4.6 MB



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