Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro Field Test: Olympus’ tiniest Pro zoom packs performance without the bulk


posted Monday, April 6, 2020 at 2:00 PM EST

Click here to read our Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro Field Test


One of the major selling points of the Micro Four Thirds system is its compact form-factor. Both cameras and lenses can, and often are, much smaller and lighter than competing systems that use larger sensors. For lenses though, when you start to factor in qualities like constant aperture zooms, weather-sealing and metal construction, the size and weight tends to increase. For Olympus' Zuiko Pro line of high-end lenses, while they are still much smaller and lighter than their counterparts for other larger-sensor systems, they are still fairly hefty for most smaller, lighter Micro Four Thirds cameras.

E-M1 III: 12mm, f/4, 1/160s, ISO 200

That is until the new Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro lens came around. Seemingly tailor-made for the equally compact E-M5 Mark III, this new 24-90mm-eq. zoom lens is, admittedly, very similar to the earlier 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro (and in some ways, also similar to the 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro), but it's a much smaller, lighter yet still weather-sealed lens for those looking for a versatile zoom that's also ultra-compact. Plus, it's much more affordable than Olympus' other Zuiko Pro zoom lenses, with a retail price around just $650.


Similar to other Olympus Zuiko Pro lenses, the new 12-45mm f/4 lens offers excellent performance, with sharp image quality across the zoom range, well-controlled vignetting and CA, and fast AF speeds. Of course, the f/4 aperture is a drawback for those wanting a bit more subject isolation or low-light performance, and the focal length range has a lot of overlap with existing Olympus lenses. If you already own a 12-40mm or 12-100mm and are fine with the size and weight of these zooms, the 12-45mm might be less appealing. However, if you want a versatile, high-quality and still weather-sealed zoom lens that's very compact, the Olympus 12-45mm looks quite nice.

E-M1 III: 30mm, f/4, 1/800s, ISO 200

For all the details on how the lens handles out in the real world, check out our just-published Olympus 12-45m f/4 Pro Field Test!

Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro Field TestGallery