Just Received the new Olympus 12-100mm F4 PRO zoom

Three days before Christmas my BH Photo pre-order was filled, and I received the lens via UPS the very next day! 

If you own any of the Olympus PRO lenses you’ll will know just how gorgeous this lens is.  It’s solid, though perhaps a bit heavy if you are used to something lighter.  But with the RRS base plate that adds 10mm in body height to my E-M1, the balance feels reasonable.  This is because the RRS base plate creates enough extra height to provide a gripping place for my pinky finger, thereby engaging my full hand in holding the camera body. 

The metal focus and zoom rings with metal ridges and the wonderful clutch style manual focus ring just ooze old-style classiness.  [My wish list: I’m am so waiting for the day that Olympus produces a PRO macro lens with this same clutch (snap-back) focus ring.  If I had my way, they’d start building a 90mm PRO macro right away (180mm fffl !]

I have just tested this lens for sharpness against my Olympus 12-40 F2.8 PRO and my Panasonic 35-100 F2.8.  It was a "brick wall test" described further below.

Minimal length.  Interestingly the 12-40 is at minimum length at 18mm.

Maximum length.  Note: the Panasonic 35-100 has internal zooming. 

I am quite pleased with the image quality of the 12-100 compared with these two other lenses. Check out my follow up posts. The first comparisons were performed while standing 50 feet from a brick wall.  Obviously not a real world situation.  After all,  how often do we make photographs where we only care about one single focal plane?


I try to do a brick wall test with every new lens, during the 30-day return period provided by high quality vendors like BH Photo and Adorama.  Had I done this with the first Olympus lens I bought in about 2009, the 14-54 v.2, I would have had time to switch it for a better sample before I went on a two week vacation to the American southwest.  As it turned out, as I recall, at about F4 at a couple of focal lengths the right one-third of my images were blurred.  As a result, some of my best images cannot be printed large. That would upset any serious photographer. The brick wall test would have shown me this beforehand!

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