This lens (or my copy) can't be described as Olympus' greatest achievement. I think this was the kit lens with one of the earliest EM models. Forgot which but it doesn't really matter.
Olympus 12-50 f3.5 - 6.3 EZ (24-100 35mm equivalent)
Size: 83mm x 57mm
Aperture: f3.5 - f22
I like the range 24mm - 100mm in FF terms which is a nice walkabout range. The newer Panasonic 12-60 kit lens is even better going out to 120mm in FF terms. I'll be posting something about that lens in a couple of days.
The 12-50 has a nice size and isn't bulky. Fits nice on all the latest Olympus bodies. Of course it is an EZ (Electronic Zoom) lens which I don't really like. You just don't have as much controls as when you manually zoom the lens. I just hope this isn't the direction the manufacturers are going in. It's not my favourite function in a lens at all.
On this occasion I matched it with an Olympus E-M10 II which is a tremendous camera itself. This is my second body as I like taking 2 cameras out with me, one with a wide lens on and the other with a long zoom. I also like to take out 2 cameras which are the same. This doesn't mean I have 2 models of every camera I possess, it just means that the cameras have come down in price so much the I could afford to buy a second body. I've done the same thing with the Olympus original E-M10 and the Panasonic GM5. My cameras aren't the latest and greatest, but they don't have to be for my type of photography. All of the cameras that have come on the market in the last few years are extremely good and produce great files. It's my shortcomings as a photographer that's the decisive factor here .
Olympus recently brought out a new firmware for the lens so after updating I thought I could take it out for a test run. To be honest I haven't used this lens much since it was bought as a kit. After this test run I remembered why I haven't used it much. Because of the slow aperture at the long end, f6.3, it's not recommended for use in anything but the best light (unless you're working off a tripod). One god thing is it's waterproof.
The zoom function isn't very fast and I kept pulling the clutch mechanism back so it was switching to manual focus. I wish it was a little stiffer to pull. The 12-40 f2.8 is much better in this respect. It takes 52mm filters which is about the only positive point I can say about the lens. Contrast is poor and sharpness could be better. If you're only going to post to the web then image quality is ok, but is you're thinking of printing large I would select another lens, and there are much better lenses out there. I could say the only good point about the lens is the macro button on the side. The lens allows you then to take macro shots. The lens is then at 49mm. Images using this function do seem sharper to me, so you can call it a poor mans macro lens. But I wouldn't buy it just for that purpose. The Olympus 60 f2.8 macro lens is a much better buy.
Not much more to add here except to say I could have gotten a lemon. Sample variation could come into play here and some of you may have other opinions regarding this lens. Personally I've relegated this lens to my "not using again box" which is really not full. I think I've been lucky regarding lens purchases, most range from good through very good to excellent.
To finish off a few images I took while testing the lens. Not masterpieces but good enough to see what the lens is capable of. Like I said, quality for web use is good enough. Lens reviews average out to 4/5. I would rate it as a 3, depending what you want to use the lens for.
To finish off, I took some snaps during a cold spell in Frankfurt.