Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ ED - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Sebastian Milczanowski, published June 2013

Introduction

On paper the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ looks like a rather conventional standard zoom lens but it is somewhat unusual in a couple of aspects. You may have noticed the "EZ" in the lens name - this refers to an Elektro-magnetic Zoom mechanism, usually also referred to as power zoom. The EZ is optimized for smooth zooming during movie sessions - the photographer can control the variable zooming speed by turning the barrel. You can also use a L-Fn (Lens Function) button that suspends the AF temporarily to avoid unintended focusing on objects that may appear in your scene. Additionally you can also select between two further modes via a zoom clutch mechanism. The macro mode is activated by pressing a corresponding button in conjunction with the clutch mechanism - it can give you a max. magnification of 1:2.78 at a fixed 43mm setting. The third mode provides a "conventional" zooming style. The focal length range is quite interesting covering everything from a moderate ultra-wide angle to a moderate tele setting. In full format terms this is equivalent to a 24-100mm (4.2x zoom ratio) range.

Given the rather slow max. aperture, it is somewhat surprising that the lens is comparatively long - 83mm vs e.g. 49mm for the Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II. However, unlike on most standard zoom lenses, the physical length stays the same during zoom and focus actions. The lens body is made of good quality plastics based on a metal mount. Interestingly it is also splash-proof which is certainly unusual in this lens class.

The M.Zuiko features Olympus' MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) AF drive which is both very fast and silent. Manual focusing works 'by wire' thus you actually drive the AF motor when turning the focus ring - this is typical for micro-four-thirds lenses.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length24-100 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/7-f/12.6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction10 elements in 9 groups inc. 2x aspherical, 1xHR &1xED element
Number of aperture blades5 (circular)
min. focus distance0.2 m (max. magnification 1:2.78)
Dimensions57 x 83 mm
Weight211 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNo
Other featuresMSC AF, Elektro-magnetic Zoom (EZ) mechanism, AF-Lock button




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