OLYMPUS 12-45MM F4 PRO M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED

The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is the smallest and lightest weather-resistant standard zooms for Micro Four Thirds. Characteristic of Micro Four Thirds is that these small dimensions are accompanied by excellent image quality.

Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED:

PROS

CONS

  • Good sharpness over entire range
  • Weather resistant according to IP-x1 standard
  • Light and small
  • Extra telephoto range
  • Not very bright
  • No Focus Clutch
  • No Fn button

The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is the lightest and smallest PRO zoom.

A standard zoom is a zoom lens that offers some wide-angle on the one hand and some telephoto on the other, with 25mm (50mm equivalent) somewhere in between. Olympus has an extensive selection of standard zoom lenses. If we just look at the weather-resistant versions, there were already three before the arrival of this 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED: the ED 12-40 mm F2.8 Pro, the ED 12-100 mm F4 IS and the ED 12-200 mm F3.6-6.3. Two of the three are Pro lenses, just like the 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED. One is brighter than the 12-45 mm; the other has image stabilization and a longer range. And both are optically excellent. Then why choose the new Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED?

The Olympus 12-45mm F4 PRO M.Zuiko Digital ED, here on the OM-D E-M5 Mark III. Both are very light and small and together form a perfect pair.

One reason to choose the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED over the other Pro zooms is that it is smaller and lighter. Compared to the 12-40mm, it’s a difference of almost 130 grams. For users of full-frame SLR cameras, that might not be much. But if you have opted for a Micro Four Thirds camera such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III of 414 grams, it’s a difference you will really feel. The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is slightly more beautifully in balance on the OM-D cameras than the bigger and heavier 12-40 mm F2.8 Pro and the 12-100 mm F4 Pro I.S. Compared to the 12-40 mm, the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED also has slightly more range. It’s only a difference of five millimeters, 40 mm vs 45 mm.

The range of the Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED runs from 24mm (FF eq.) to 90mm (FF eq). That makes it suitable for both landscape and portrait.

The difference is 10 millimeters in full-frame terms. The 12-40mm ends at 80mm equivalent; the 12-45mm at 90mm equivalent. The 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is also the most weather-resistant Pro zoom Olympus has made so far. Just like the latest E-M1 bodies, the 12-45mm has an IP-x1 rating. If you shoot a lot under extreme conditions, that could be a reason for choosing this lens. One last reason could be the price. The 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is the cheapest of the three Pro zooms. However, the difference from the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is not very big. That is because the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro has been on the market for a long time and has fallen considerably in price in recent years.

BUILD

The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is both shorter and slimmer than the other two standard Pro zooms. The lens has a diameter of almost 64 mm and a length of 70 mm. That is nearly one and a half centimeters shorter than the 12-40 mm and 4.5 cm shorter than the 12-100 mm. The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED weighs just 254 grams. That is nearly 130 grams less than the 12-40mm and almost half the 12-100mm. Of course, the filter size is also smaller at 58mm. The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED looks like a slightly smaller version of the 12-40 mm F2.8 Pro. It feels just as solid, with the same wide zoom ring and slightly narrower focus ring at the front. According to Olympus, the 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is even better sealed than other Pro lenses and therefore has an IP-x1 rating.

What the 12-45 mm f/4 Pro does not have are a focus clutch to quickly change from autofocus to manual focus and a programmable Fn button on the lens. Because the lens does not have a focus clutch, there is also no focus scale on it when you focus manually. The optical design consists of 12 elements in 9 groups, and most of those elements are either aspherical or made of glass with special refractive properties. The number of diaphragm blades is 7. As soon as you stop down one stop, you immediately see that the bokeh balls are no longer completely round.

FOCUS

Focusing with the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is fast and the focus is quite accurate. The autofocus works a fraction slower than with the 12-40mm, but you only notice that if you use both lenses at the same time. The focus is also quiet. Ideal if you want to use this lens for filming or vlogging. Manual focusing is a little less easy than with the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro. This is because the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED has no focus clutch. That means you cannot switch to manual focusing by pulling the focus ring backwards, as you can with many other Pro lenses. You therefore need to go to the menu for manual focusing. 

The shortest setting distance is 12 centimeters, measured from the sensor. At that distance, you have very little space between the lens and your subject. The maximum magnification measure is therefore 0.25x. That doesn’t seem spectacular, but for a full-frame camera that would be 0.5x, or 1:2. So you can really already shoot reasonable macro with it and, especially in the wide-angle setting, this can result in unique photos.

IMAGE QUALITY

The image quality of the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is excellent. The center sharpness is as good as you can probably get on a 20-megapixel sensor, and the gradient to the corners is very small. It is practically the same image that we see with the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro. Stopping down one stop to f/5.6 results in a slight improvement in the corners, but then the maximum quality is achieved. From f/11, the sharpness decreases again due to diffraction, and f/16 should probably be avoided. The only thing to take into account is that the corner sharpness is significantly lower if you focus close up. This will not be noticeable for most close ups, because the depth of field is then small. But if you shoot a flat subject, you’ll see it.

At 12mm, the largest wide-angle setting, there is a little bit of barrel distortion despite the built-in lens corrections. That quickly disappears when you zoom in, and at the longer focal lengths, the lens is quite distortion-free.

The lens certainly has a bit of vignetting in the wide-angle mode at full aperture. The gradient to the corners is very gradual, and the values are not high, so that it is not very visible in practice. Chromatic aberrations are almost completely absent. Only with very strong contrast differences do some purple edges sometimes appear in the corners. But it’s not much, and it’s easy to correct.

Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED SAMPLE IMAGES

Curious about the performance of the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED in practice? Click on the button below and visit our renewed web gallery with sample images. The images can be downloaded in full resolution to be viewed at 100%.

 Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED
 specifications
  
field of view (diag)84° – 27°
sensor formatMicro Four Thirds
min. setting distance12 cm
filter diameter58
diaphragm blades 7
image stabilizerno
dimensions (dxl)64×70 mm
weight254 gr
mount Micro Four Thirds
particulars IP-x1 weather resistance
importerOlympus.nl
list price€ 649,00
  
resolution power9
contrast9
chromatic aberration9
distortion8,5
vignetting9
autofocus9
flare9
build9
  
final score8,9


CONCLUSION: REVIEW OF lens Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED oN camera Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is sharp from corner to corner and fits well with the weather-resistant OM-D cameras.

The Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED is a fine, small standard zoom that is sharp from corner to corner. It is the lightest Olympus Pro zoom and also the most weatherproof. And the price is also lower than that of the other two Pro zooms. With its low weight and compact dimensions, the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro is the ideal standard zoom for, for example, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, which has also lost a few grams compared to the Mark II. With its IP-x1 rating for weather resistance, it is also the ideal lens for both the Olympus OM-D E-M1 X and the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, which are also both IP-x1. The image quality is comparable to that of the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro, although you do give up on stop of light. The weight advantage of the 12-45 mm compared to the 12-40 mm will play a less of a role on the E-M1s.

Compared to the only other Micro Four Thirds zoom, which is nearly as small and light, the Panasonic Lumix 12-35 mm f/2.8, the Olympus 12-45 mm f/4 Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED offers a bigger telephoto range, a slightly higher sharpness in the corners and slightly less chromatic aberration. You give up one stop of brightness for that. The Panasonic also has image stabilization. However, this is not such a big advantage, because almost all the Micro Four Thirds cameras have built-in image stabilization that works very well with short focal lengths.