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Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm 1:2.8-4 Gordon Laing, September 2008

More Results : Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting

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Olympus 12-60mm lens

Olympus ZD 12-60mm vs 14-45mm outdoor resolution comparisons with E-3

  To compare the real-life performance of the Olympus 12-60mm lens we shot the same scene with it and the original Olympus 14-45mm kit lens within moments of each other using an Olympus E-3; the newer 14-42mm lens was not available for this test, but we have an additional comparison below against the 25mm pancake. Each lens in this first comparison was set to 20mm f8 using the E-3 in Aperture Priority mode.

The E-3 recording mode was set to Large Fine with its default settings for tone and noise reduction. The crops are taken from the originals and presented here at 100%.

The image left was taken with the Olympus E-3 using the 12-60mm at 20mm f8; the original JPEG measured 4.72MB.

The crops are taken from the upper left, middle, lower right and lower left portions of the image. Compare the second row of crops taken from the middle of each image and both lenses deliver essentially the same result. But as you explore the edges and corners of each image, the superiority of the 12-60mm becomes clear.

This is particularly apparent in the first and third row of crops, where the 14-45mm kit zoom exhibits noticeable softening. It's actually not that bad viewed in isolation, but compare it against the 12-60mm and it's obvious the premium Olympus zoom is delivering far better performance. It's impressively sharp across the entire frame.

This example may have been taken at 20mm, but the same applies with the 12-60mm whether it's zoomed-in or completely out. The entire image is consistently sharp right into the corners, and in this respect it's one of the best lenses we've tested. To see how it compares against a rival system, take a look at our Olympus E-3 review where you'll see results next to the Nikkor DX 17-55mm f2.8 mounted on a D300 body. But do also scroll down further on this page to see how the 12-60mm compares against the fixed focal length 25mm pancake, this time when both lenses are mounted on an E-420 body.

Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm
with Olympus E-3
Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-45mm
with Olympus E-3
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Olympus ZD 12-60mm vs 25mm pancake outdoor resolution comparisons with E-420

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Olympus 25mm pancake lens
Olympus E-410 with 7-14mm at 14mm f8   Our second real-life comparison is against a fixed focal length lens - the Olympus 25mm pancake. Once again we shot the same scene with both lenses within moments of each other, although this time using an Olympus E-420 body. The 12-60mm was adjusted to match the field of view of the 25mm, and both lenses were set to f8 in Aperture Priority mode.

The E-420 recording mode was set to Large Fine with its default settings for tone and noise reduction. The crops are taken from the originals and presented here at 100%.

The image left was taken with the Olympus 25mm pancake lens at f8 using the Olympus E-420 body; the original JPEG measured 4.74MB.

Here the Olympus 25m pancake delivers a good sharp result that's packed with detail - impressive for an optic that's physically so compact. Indeed there's essentially no difference between it and the 12-60mm when you're comparing the middle portions of each image, as seen in the second row of crops.

Move out towards the edges where many lenses become noticeably softer, and the 25mm pancake still holds it together pretty well. The main difference between it and the 12-60mm though concerns coloured fringing. Most obviously in the first row of crops, taken from the top left corner, there's some coloured fringing on the 25mm crop which isn't visible on the 12-60mm sample.

A little coloured fringing is also visible on the edges of objects and buildings in the third and fourth row of crops. Again this is absent on the 12-60mm, and allows its details to look better defined.

So the Zuiko Digital 12-60mm is optically superior in this respect, but it is of course a premium model that's bigger, heavier and more expensive. Now let's see how it performs in terms of studio resolution.

Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm
with Olympus E-420
Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm
with Olympus E-420
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Olympus ZD 12-60mm results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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