Micro 4/3 Olympus 12-100/4 Pro: Flexibility vs Portability

What’s your experience with the Olympus 12-100?

  • Never Owned It/Not Interested

    Votes: 7 21.2%
  • Never Owned It/Interested

    Votes: 9 27.3%
  • Owned It/Sold It

    Votes: 4 12.1%
  • Own It/Rarely Use It

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Own It/Use It Often

    Votes: 10 30.3%
  • Own It/Never Leaves My Camera

    Votes: 3 9.1%

  • Total voters
    33
The 12-100 seems to have universally beloved status among reviewers and professional adventure photographers for its versatility and overall IQ. That said, the response in the community seems to be overall a bit more cultish and less of a mainstream best seller (at least based on the searches I could drag up). I’ve got one on the way to try, but I figured I’d see who here has used it and what their thoughts were/what they enjoyed using it for.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
AFAIK the 12-100 Pro is the one and only superzoom from ANY manufacturer that has no optical, design or mechanical flaws.

Superb optically at all FLs, close focus is excellent, ILIS and sync-IS is obscenely good, weather/dust sealing is second to none.

With my E-M1 MkII, it is almost identical in weight to my E-30 + 14-54 MkII (about 30 grams lighter), and has better ergonomics and IQ.

What's not to like?
 
I have a 12 - 40- f/2.8, and thought that was my most amazing lens. The 12 - 100 f/4 was recommended to me, and I looked through several metres of images taken with it. Somewhat against my better judgement, because I had the dollars at the time, I ordered it.

It is fantastic! Like having a bagful of primes someone described it, and I can only agree. It only leaves my M1Mk11 when I use the 100 - 400 for birds, or very occasionally when I want to challenge myself with a legacy or prime lens .... though I often use the M5 Mk11 for that.
 

Knikki

Regular
I have seen how many like/love the 12-100 zoom and I can see many advantages to it.

However I have a 17mm f1.2, 25mm f1.8 and 7-14 Pro and with all that I really dont feel the need or want to get rid of some primes to get a 12-100mm

Yes, I might be the oddball, but each to their own, plus I really like using primes and will happily go all day with one prime on the machine. :)
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
I have seen how many like/love the 12-100 zoom and I can see many advantages to it.
Don't ever use one ...
However I have a 17mm f1.2, 25mm f1.8 and 7-14 Pro and with all that I really dont feel the need or want to get rid of some primes to get a 12-100mm
Wouldn't suggest that for an instant.
Yes, I might be the oddball, but each to their own, plus I really like using primes and will happily go all day with one prime on the machine. :)
I have 3x mFTs bodies. They each have their 'own' default lens.

Then I have quite a collection of other FTs/mFTs lenses that I use with whichever body is suitable for the occasion. I take everything when travelling by car somewhere.

It's not either/or mostly. It's what suits the purpose.
 

Simonix

Rookie
I had one, but I actually chose to sell in the end. It was a great GP lens, however, I found that I preferred the extra stop in the 12-40 pro, and I found the IQ was better in my 40-150 f4 pro on anything above around 60mm.

For me, I decided that I would prefer to use those two lenses, instead of just the 12-100.

With both of those lenses, my EM1.3 was easier to handle as they are both lighter and smaller than the 12-100. WIth the other in my bag, it felt better overall.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Name
Andrew
Is the 12-100 the best lens? Well yes and no, but let’s wrap some context around it.

It Is a lens with very few optical flaws for sure. The f/4 aperture is a deal breaker for some as they want max DOF or need to gather more light.

For me, being this is not my primary system, the walk around aspect of the lens focal range means I rarely need to swap out the lens for something else. In good light, it is a great street lens that covers a lot of range. It focus fast and accurate.

It is a rather substantial lens, so if you are wanting as small a package as possible, then this could be an issue as it will never be as small as a P20/1.7.

It rarely leaves the mount on my EM1.2
 
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Mrs B

Regular
I currently have the PL 12-60 f2.8/4.0 which is the lense mostly in use. I also have a Lumix 35-100 ii f2.8. Do you think that it would be a better trade in for the 12-100... The 35-100 has only ever been on the camera once or twice around the house/garden as I try to find a 'use' for it
 

wee-pics

Legend
Location
Germany
Name
Walter
Since I have bought this lens the 2.8/12-40 is on the shelf. I've used it much less than before.
I think comments and evaluations of this lens should come from people who use it and have come to know its strengths and limitations. Just let me give a few very personal comments. Of course it's big and heavy compared to other lenses (but not as heavy and cumbersome as three primes). On the E-M5 it gives me the perfect balance, my left hand around it and the right making the manual adjustments on the camera. With the camera on the wrist-strap I find this just good working conditions.

Some commentators in the web criticize its qualities on the long end. Basically because they are interpreting test articles and pixel charts. What counts for me are the photos taken. And there I can only say I was thoroughly surprised. And if you want to know why just have a look at my posts. Most of those taken in the last four months were taken with this lens, and looking at the exif data almost two thirds on the long end.

Coming to the question if it can replace other lenses. I certainly would not get rid of my primes, especially the 2.8/60 macro and the 1.8/75 pro. Yes, there is a big difference between them, but we're not going to compare apples with pears. If I need best quality it's the primes, if I want to take one lens only with me and at the same time an all-round lens for almost every motive, the 4/12-100 is definitely my choice. And if your prints for the wall do not exceed the format of 90x60 cm (of which I have several in my home) what you get is good enough (though we will never succeed in satisfying pixel counters). I'm speaking from the point-of-view of an amateur. Judging it from the viewpoint of a professional is again comparing apples with pears.

So my conclusion: it's perfect as an egg-laying wooly pig as we call a thing that covers almost all fields you want to use it for.
 
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Mrs B

Regular
I want to take one lens only with me and at the same time an all-round lens for almost every motive, the 4/12-100 is definitely my choice. And if your prints for the wall do not exceed the format of 90x60 cm (of which I have several in my home) what you get is good enough (though we will never succeed in satisfying pixel counters). I'm speaking from the point-of-view of an amateur. Judging it from the view-point of a professional is again comparing apples with pears.

So my conclusion: it's perfect as an egg-laying wooly pig as we call a thing that covers almost all fields you want to use it for.
Thank you for your input (egg-laying wooly pig :-D ). I also have a few primes (60mm macro 25mm 45mm, but they are not relevent for this comparison ( :) ). The only other area I would like some input on is anyone using the G9 - and would you miss the dual IS
 

Mrs B

Regular
I have the Oly 12-40 & 40-150 f2.8 pro lenses, but also ended up getting the 12-100 because i did not want the change lenses while away and end hp with a dirty sensor

The f2.8 pair dont get much use any more, but far what i could get for them not worth selling

Very happy with the 12-100
I also have the 40-150 + x1.4tc. But I use that on a second body if I need it. Definitely leaning towards switching the 12-60 and 35-100 out for one lens
 

MountainMan79

Sakna Íslands
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
I sold mine, but only because I’ve consolidated my m4/3 kit to essentially just a pen f, and decided the 12-45 pro was more appropriate on that body. Otherwise, it’s one of the best lenses I’ve ever used from any maker. I would say the new Canon RF 24-105 L f4 is probably the second best zoom I’ve used, very close to the Oly in performance, but it obviously lacks the same reach. It’s really impressive what Olympus pulled off on this one. I’d certainly highly recommend it to anyone interested.
 
Location
Vancouver BC
Name
Graham
I have the 12-40 f2.8 (my first Pro lens), the 40-150 f2.8 and the 12-100 f4. The 12-100 is very sharp and is the default lens that I haul around on the E-M1 II for travels that aren't photography-centric. The 12-40 gets little use these days but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I also have a 17 f1.8 and 45 f1.8 for low light indoor use.
This is a stitched pano shot hand held with the 12-100:
51788684578_5747fbfb09_c.jpg

Vancouver Downtown Panorama 2021 by Graham Moore, on Flickr

This is a deliberately underexposed shot with an OOF person's head cloned out of the background:
48406486146_e3b9e5b6e8_c.jpg

Big Trouble Ahead Edit 2 by Graham Moore, on Flickr
 

RAH

Rookie
Location
Hampton, NH
Name
Rich
With my E-M1 MkII, it is almost identical in weight to my E-30 + 14-54 MkII (about 30 grams lighter), and has better ergonomics and IQ.

What's not to like?
This is not to say it's not a great lens, IQ and other-wise, but the big argument against it (and mine) is that it is too large and heavy. I have considered it many times in the past and everytime have decided against it. It just doesn't seem worth it to me to lug that thing around for the extra reach over a PL 12-60:

o12-100vs-o75-300-vs-pl12-60.jpg


Note the 75-300 on the other side - it's almost the same size and the 75-300 weighs 423g vs 561g for the 12-100. Yes, I know that one is a constant f4 and the other is a variable slow lens. But again, it's just more than I would ever want to carry. I have a Canon 15-85 lens in DSLR APS-C lens (12-136mm equivalent). That's about the same weight as the 12-100, but not as long. That's larger than I want to carry too, but at least it has more reach. I do want to like that 12-100, but I'm not the only one who thinks it's too large; it's a common complaint. :)
 
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JensM

Top Veteran
Being a lumix user, I tend to stay within that brand and I am down to one Oly lens in my line-up now, the 60mm Macro. But both this and the 12-45 f:4 I would consider, if I ever branched out into Olympus.

A OMD 5 mkII/III with the latter has some appeal, and some "much" needed weather resistance I can make a somewhat reasonable argument for.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
This is not to say it's not a great lens, IQ and other-wise, but the big argument against it (and mine) is that it is too large and heavy. I have considered it many times in the past and everytime have decided against it. It just doesn't seem worth it to me to lug that thing around for the extra reach over a PL 12-60:

View attachment 310180

Note the 75-300 on the other side - it's almost the same size and the 75-300 weighs 423g vs 561g for the 12-100. Yes, I know that one is a constant f4 and the other is a variable slow lens. But again, it's just more than I would ever want to carry. I have a Canon 15-85 lens in DSLR APS-C lens (12-136mm equivalent). That's about the same weight as the 12-100, but not as long. That's larger than I want to carry too, but at least it has more reach. I do want to like that 12-100, but I'm not the only one who thinks it's too large; it's a common complaint. :)
Rich, even at f/8, the 15-85 is nothing like as good optically as the 12-100 wide open.

[Edit] As for the bolded statement, I've only ever heard that from people who have never used the 12-100 ... [end edit]



The Canon lens is also heavier than the Olympus, albeit by a small amount. There appears to be no weather/dust sealing either.

You are comparing apples and lemons ...
 
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IMoL

Rookie
I had this lens and sold it. It is a fantastic lens from an IQ, stabilisation and versatility perspective, optically great from wide open.

There are two downsides to this lens:
1. It's a bit big and heavy.
2. Only f/4, so not the best lens for subject separation.

And it was #1 above that made me think of selling it in the end. I used it for a year or so as a travel lens (on an Em-1 mkii) and while it performed brilliantly, I got tired of carrying it. The thing that pushed me over the edge to sell it was wanting the funds to buy film cameras :)

#2 above is easily mitigated by a small prime, of course.

Steve
 

JensM

Top Veteran
Just because I got curious about the 60mm vs the 100mm reach, I snapped one on each of the two, first is 60mm, second one 100mm:

60mm.jpg 100mm-2.jpg

There is an obvious difference, but I am not entirely convinced that the difference is as groundbreaking, as it is hyped up to be?

Pictures straight from the camera and what was at hand covering the reaches (G6/45-175) with a push on the auto button in LR upon import, for both of them.
 
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