Olympus announced a new lens today. The 12-200mm F/3.5 – 6.3 super zoom. Wow. That is a 24 – 400mm style lens …excellent wide, and great super tele range. You can learn more about it on Olympus’ site here.
A few interesting points. First, it DOES come with a lens hood. Interestingly enough, they are also offering an optional lens hood and lens cap. When I looked them up, it happens to be the lens hood from the 12-100 Pro and the lens cap from the 40-150 Pro. I wonder how different those are from the ones included with the lens.
This lens is fully weather sealed, and apparently very well.
This lens has great close focus ability.
Apparently focusing is very fast and silent.
No focus clutch, as it isn’t designated a pro lens. (though there are a few odd exceptions to that)
72mm front filter.
Super small and light weight.
So here is the deal…super zooms are a love hate kind of lens. Lots of people love them, lots of people hate them. Most people see them as a super version of a cheap kit lens. Do it all with one lens…but at consumer quality.
It doesn’t have to be so polarized. Canon has offered a 28-300mm F/3.5 – 5.6 L lens for over $2,400 for years. And it’s huge. What “pro” would use that. Plenty do. Well, there are lots of scenarios Olympus’ 12-100 is a stellar lens. In fact, despite the f/4 it is excellent quality and very handy. The ultimate nature, documentary, and travel lens in my opinion.
Think of this lens as one step down from that. A small step. Much lighter and smaller with bit of extra range. In fact, I bet the lens is excellent from 12 – 100 as well. Most super zooms suffer on the long end, as usual. Until I try this one, I don’t expect anything different. However, I bet it isn’t that far worse than the 50-150 Pro with the teleconverter. Again, as an all around travel, nature, documentary lens…I think this is going to be a great seller. Even the 40-150 5.6 lens was great stopped down. I think this lens will be fine at F/7.1 or F/8. Weather sealed and light weight, this perfect for traveling.
I would pair this lens with either a 17, 25, or 45mm F/1.8, and have an excellent travel kit. Not everyone needs that last 1/10th perfection, not everyone needs or wants to carry multiple large lenses, or a bigger camera bag. This lens plus a tiny prime and some accessories all fit in a Peak Design Sling 5 for example. And still weighs very little.
My only concern is the price. $900? That is almost the same price as the 12-40mm Pro. Which is arguably one of the best lenses out there period. Do I give up perfection across the board and fixed fast aperture for MUCH greater reach, a bit lets resolution of fine detail, and a slower aperture, but huge convenience? Maybe. When needed. I have often carried the 40-150 F/5.6 lens (yes I know its variable…but I use it stopped down) to photoshoots where I “might” have needed the range, but couldn’t carry another Pro size lens. And it has worked just fine. I think the price is a little steep unless the quality can hold it’s own. It is dangerously close in price to a lot of the pro lenses. I am actually excited to try this lens out and really see what it can do. I love the 12-100 Pro, but I love the 40-150 Pro more. However, there are times where I would love the convenience of one lens. This lens might just be the cost effective option i’ve been looking for. Maybe it will be available on discount. At $700 I think it is a lot more reasonable. What do you think? If this lens can stand up, at least to 150mm… is it worth it? How many super zooms out there are fully weather sealed? Actually…can you see this on an E-PL9 or E-M10? What a feather weight combination. That would be rather interesting, especially if this lens can deliver even 8/10ths the quality of the pro lens. This lens is going to be released this spring.
You know… on second thought… this lens might just replace the 14-150 and the 12-50 lenses in a sense. A lot of people love those and use them regularly. This lens might just top both of them in a package just as small and light…but i’de still love the price a little less close to the 12-40 and 40-150 pro.