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In August 2008 I bought an Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Lens for my Olympus E-510 camera from B&H Photo Video. I already had the standard 14-42mm “kit” lens, but I wanted something better. In particular:

One thing that I wasn't overly interested in was an improvement in picture quality. In this respect I've been quite happy with the 14-42 mm lens. I expect that the new lens is better, but I haven't gone to the trouble to check.

The size of the thing!

First, the bad news. It's enormous! Here a comparison. From left to right, ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 70-300mm, ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 and ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6


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Diary entry for Monday, 8 September 2008 Complete exposure details

 

It weighs more than 3 times the weight of the 14-42 mm lens it's replacing. That's not the end of the world, of course, but it's worth considering that the small size was one of the reasons I bought Olympus rather than something more mainstream such as Canon. To a certain extent, that's gone now. Here a Canon 30D with standard lens on the left, and the Olympus E-510 and 12-60 mm lens on the right:


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It also means that the lens hangs down significantly when held by the strap. This is at least partially a design issue with the E-510, since even the standard lens hangs down a little. Here is the E-510 with each of the lenses, along with a Pentax Spotmatic for comparison:


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Diary entry for Friday, 26 September 2008 Complete exposure details

 
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Here are the lenses again at full telephoto setting:


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The good news

The size is the only down side of the lens. I'm very happy with it. It focusses much faster than the other lenses (that's particularly obvious in comparison with the 70-300 mm lens, which is pretty slow), and the additional focal length range and aperture really do come in handy. Here are some comparative shots of minimum and maximum focal length, first with the 14-42 mm lens, then with the 12-60 mm lens:


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Diary entry for Monday, 8 September 2008 Complete exposure details

 
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Diary entry for Monday, 8 September 2008 Complete exposure details

 
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Click on the photos for up to 3 larger views; the largest is the original size.

Strangenesses

A couple of things about this lens surprise me:


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