Olympus 12mm f/2 - Review and user experience - Part 1 - First Impressions

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2

This summer sees the release of three fast primes for the m4/3 system. The Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 are scheduled for later, but the Olympus 12mm f/2 is out, and mine arrived this morning.

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2

So:-
FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Its a very small lens. Looks and feels well-made, though this isn't a metal m-mount lens.
Looks good - great combination with the E-P3.

Sharp. Well it should be, it costs a LOT of money.

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2

What's it like at f/2?

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2

Well it's very good indeed. No softness wide open here. Beautifully crisp with nice bokeh.

Pièce de résistance

Slide down the focusing ring and up comes an infinity mark, and three aperture marks set at f/5.6, f/11 and f/22. As its an autofocus lens it goes beyond infinity in order to avoid problems when the lens is focusing. However move the infinity mark to the centre and you have exact, precise infinity focus. So moving the centre of this mark to match up with the aperture markings gives you the maximum depth of field for that particular aperture. This is the hyperfocal distance or zone focusing

On the lens I have this works PERFECTLY. I took lots of shots with the lens set at the f/11 mark to get the maximum amount of depth of field while keeping infinity in focus.

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2

I'll go into this more in a later post.

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2

I'm no "street photographer" and this is a somewhat lacklustre attempt but again the lens was set at the f/11 hyperfocal distance, I had the E-P3 set to touchscreen release. Since using this form of focusing is manual (The AF is disengaged automatically) just touching the screen anywhere fires the shutter. Olympus call this "Snapshot mode". Proper street photographers might call it something different. Possibly "Just what I've always wanted".

Just what I've always wanted might describe how I feel about the 12mm. This is a VERY useful lens for me, and a short initial session with it suggests it has the quality to go with this usefulness.

A very welcome addition to the m4/3 range.

More over the next few days.

Olympus E-P3 12mm f/2