Hands-on with the new OM System zoom lenses, the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II and the 40-150mm F4 PRO
posted Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 2:00 AM EDT
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Alongside the OM System OM-1 camera, OM Digital Solutions announced a pair of new lenses for its OM System, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4 PRO. When using both lenses, the kit covers a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-300mm, which is versatile well-suited to many kinds of photographs.
Since the OM System branding is still new, it's worth pointing out that OM System lenses are fully compatible with Olympus cameras and vice versa. OM System lenses look exactly like previous Olympus lenses, save for the OM System name on the barrel and lens caps.
OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II
Let's look at each lens in turn, starting with the wider of the two new zoom lenses. The lens is essentially a '24-70mm F2.8' lens for Micro Four Thirds. Offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-80mm, the lens is well-suited to many shooting applications, including landscapes, portraits and even macro shooting. The 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II is the successor to the original M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens originally released in 2013.
The new version matches the IP53 rating of the new OM-1 camera and adds fluorine coating to the front. The fluorine coating helps repel water, oil and dust and makes the lens easier to clean. The new lens has the same optical construction as the original, featuring 14 elements across 9 groups. Concerning special optics, the lens incorporates a DSA lens, two ED lenses, one HD lens, two HR lenses and four aspherical lenses. The lens also includes ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating to suppress flares and ghosting.
Looking at dimensions, the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II lens is 84mm (3.3") long and has a maximum diameter of 69.9mm (2.75"). These are the same dimensions as the original 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens. Likewise, the weight of the new lens is identical, too, at 382 g (13.5 oz.).
In the hands, the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II lens feels excellent. It features the same robust build quality as we've come to expect from Olympus lenses, albeit with new branding. The zoom ring has a good feel to it during rotation, and it's marked at 12, 14, 18, 25, 35 and 40mm. The lens includes a focus clutch mechanism to switch between autofocus and manual focus by moving the focus ring toward and away from the camera.
Speaking of focus, the lens uses a linear motor to drive its MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) autofocus mechanism. The lens is capable of AF/AE tracking at 50 frames per second when paired with the new OM-1 camera. The lens can focus as close as 20cm (7.87"), resulting in a maximum magnification of 0.6x, similar to a half-macro lens.
As far as image quality is concerned, the lens delivers the same excellent image quality as the original. It is sharp across the frame throughout the focal length range, even when shooting wide open at F2.8, and offers good bokeh performance.
The OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II lens will begin shipping alongside the OM-1 camera in early March. The suggested retail price is $1,000 ($1,300 CAD), which is the same price as the existing 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens.
OM System M.Zuiko 40-150mm F4 PRO
The new M.Zuiko 40-150mm F4 PRO lens is the most compact, lightest telephoto zoom lens with a fixed aperture and 300mm equivalent focal length range. While the qualifier may make the 'most compact, lightest' claim feel a bit cherry-picked, that doesn't take away from the fact that the lens is impressively compact and lightweight given its focal length range and F4 constant aperture.
The lens feels excellent and weighs only 382 g (13.5 oz.), which is the same weight as the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II lens. The dimensions are different, however, as the 40-150mm F4 PRO lens is 99.4mm (3.9") long and its max diameter is 68.9mm (2.7"). Both lenses have a 62mm filter thread, which is convenient when using both in a kit.
While the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II and the 40-150mm F4 PRO both change lengths as you zoom, the 40-150mm features a retracting design that requires the user to rotate the zoom ring from a locked position to 40mm. This extends the lens over an inch. Once you do this, the lens doesn't change length throughout its focal length range. The zoom ring is marked at 40, 50, 70, 100 and 150mm. The focus ring doesn't have a clutch mechanism, so you switch between AF/MF on the camera itself. Further, unlike the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II lens, the 40-150mm F4 lens doesn't include an L-Fn button. In use, the lens feels good. It pairs nicely with the OM-1 camera and offers a good, balanced feel. The lens is also rugged and includes an IP53 weather-sealing rating.
The lens includes 15 elements in 9 groups, including a pair of ED lenses, a single Super ED lens, one HR lens and two ED lenses. The lens also includes ZERO coating. In terms of the autofocus system, the 40-150mm F4 PRO includes a High-speed imager AF (MSC) system, and it can focus as close as 0.7m (2.3'), resulting in a max magnification of 0.13x at the wide end and 0.41x at the telephoto end, in 35mm-equivalent terms.
Image quality is impressive throughout the focal length range. While we have yet to do a full sharpness test series, the lens performed well alongside the OM-1 and delivered sharp images throughout its focal length range. Further, autofocus performance is fast, and the close-focusing capabilities give the lens a bit of additional versatility in the field. Bokeh is pretty good, too, given its F4 maximum aperture.
The OM System M.Zuiko 40-150mm F4 PRO lens will be available in early March, like the OM-1 camera, and will be priced at $900 ($1,150 CAD).