Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ED SWD Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2009


The Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ED SWD is surely a hot spot lens in the classic four-thirds lens lineup. It combines a highly attractive focal length range (equivalent to 24-120mm on full format (35mm) DSLRs) with a comparatively fast speed although it stays short of the prestigious constant max. f-stop throughout the rage. It belongs to the Olympus "pro" segment which is distinguished to the "standard" class by incorporating a superior build quality and dust & moisture sealing - aside from better optical performance of course. At around 900-1000€/US$ it's not exactly a cheap offer but it remains roughly comparable to direct competitors from other manufacturers.

The build quality of the lens is exceptional. It is based on a combination of metal and high quality plastic parts. Typical for its lens class the Olympus lens extends when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range. As expected the lens suffers an only very marginal wobbling of inner lens tube. The zoom and focus control rings operate smooth and precise. Unlike many other 4/3 lenses it does not rely on a focus-by-wire mechanism but on a conventional mechanical coupling of the focus ring.

The SWD ("Supersonic Wave Drive") AF motor of the 12-60mm is supposed to deliver the fastest AF performance in the industry (when mounted to a E-3) and it's certainly blazingly fast. Full-time manual focusing is possible in single-AF mode. The contrast AF performance is less impressive although that's largely a matter of the specific base camera. The AF jitters quite a bit on the Olympus E-P1 for instance. FWIW, contrast AF is not supported on the Panasonic G series at this stage.

Equiv. focal length24-120 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.6-f/8 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction14 elements in 10 groups inc. 3x aspherical, 1x SED and 2x ED elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.25 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.6)
Dimensions80 x 99 mm
Weight575 g
Filter size72 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, snap-on, supplied
Other featuresdust & moisture sealing

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