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Lens Reviews

Date: 28/09/2016 | By: Mathieu

M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO, 12-100mm f/4 PRO and 30mm f/3.5 macro – The new Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses


M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO, 12-100mm f/4 PRO and 30mm f/3.5 macro – The new Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses

Nope, we haven’t forgotten to talk about the new Olympus lenses introduced at Photokina. Though we had the chance to see them at the same time as the OM-D E-M1 II (hands-on articles here and here), we decided to share our findings in a separate article that I admit, has arrived a little later than I’d hoped!

Olympus introduced one affordable macro prime lens (the M.Zuiko 30mm f/3.5) and two new Pro lenses: the 25mm f/1.2 PRO and the 12-100mm f/4 PRO. As usual, you can find our hands-on Photokina video below followed by some thoughts.


M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 30mm f/3.5 Macro

This new lens is part of the Premium series and is very similar to the M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 and the M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 in terms of the build quality with its plastic barrel and metal mount. The lens is really tiny, just slightly smaller than the Lumix G 30mm f/2.8 Macro (the latter also has optical stabilisation).

olympus 30mm f3.5 macro

The lens focuses fast with the E-M5 II that I used it on and the sharpness already seems excellent from f/3.5. Interestingly the lens has a higher magnification factor than the well-loved M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro (1.25x vs 1). You can focus as close as 9.5cm which means that you can capture the details on a ring for example. The only thing to be aware of is that when you get really close, the lens inevitably casts a shadow on your subject, so a ring flash or similar accessory will be useful to have on hand.

I like the lens because it reminds us once again how small and light a Micro Four Thirds lens can be. The $300 price tag makes it an excellent choice for someone who wants to start experimenting with macro photography without investing too much.

olympus 30mm f3.5 macro sample image
E-M5 II, 1/10, f/3.5, ISO 200
olympus 30mm f3.5 macro sample image
E-M5 II, 1/60, f/3.5, ISO 800



There are plenty of valid zoom lenses for the system but more than any other, Micro Four Thirds excels at making high quality fast primes. I realised that myself when I started to use the M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 more than the Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 for my work back in Italy when I was an event photographer. So naturally the newly announced 25mm f/1.2 PRO is excellent news and I hope it’s the beginning of a new f/1.2 series from Olympus.

olympus 25mm f1.2

The new 25mm fits into the Pro series and receives the same treatment as the other lenses (and feels as great as the other lenses too): an all-metal body with a dust, splash and freeze proof design, L-FN button and clutching focus ring. There is also a hyperfocal scale on the barrel.

The lens is definitely a large prime lens for the system but I don’t find it too heavy and I am sure it can be comfortable to use on a Pen F or E-M5 II as well.

The lens seemed really fast on the E-M1 mark II but performed admirably on the original E-M1 as well. A few shots taken in a rush during a big photo show like Photokina certainly won’t do justice to the lens but what I saw is very encouraging: sharp at f/1.2, creamy bokeh and the separation capabilities seem good as well. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 30cm.

The price is not cheap at all at $1200 but I am curious to find out how much the optical quality is deserving of it. I also wonder how big the difference will be between it and the Pana/Leica 25mm f/1.4. One thing I am already sure of is that the Olympus lens has a superior build quality!

olympus 25mm f1.2 sample image
E-M1, 1/15, f/1.2, ISO 200
olympus 25mm f1.2 sample image
E-M1, 1/15, f/1.2, ISO 200
olympus 25mm f1.2 sample image
E-M1, 1/15, f/1.4, ISO 500
olympus 25mm f1.2 sample image
E-M1, 1/15, f/1.8, ISO 200


The third lens was the charm, or if you prefer, the lens that surprised me the most. It is larger and heavier than the 12-40mm f/2.8 on paper but in the real world it doesn’t feel much bigger. I find it comfortable to use on the E-M1 and E-M5 II.

olympus 12-100mm f4

It has an equivalent 24-200mm field of view if we refer to the 35mm format and the constant aperture of f/4 is very welcome, though it will prove a little challenging in low-light conditions if you can’t use very slow shutter speeds. Otherwise the built-in optical stabilisation should work wonders combined with the sensor stabilisation of the E-M1, E-M1 II, Pen F and E-M5 II. Olympus claims 6.5 EV of compensation with the E-M1 II which has the most recent sensor shift hardware. I am also curious to test the optical stabilisation performance alone as the lens can be interesting for Panasonic users too.

The build quality is once again the same: it has a robust metal construction, weather proofing, a function button and a clutched focus ring. The zoom mechanism is not internal, so the lens extends by around 5cm. The minimum focus distance is 15cm at 12mm and 45cm at 100mm so the lens should prove a great companion for close-up shots.


I have yet to test its optical quality to see its full potential but I am pretty sure the lens won’t disappoint. The price is $1300 which is not cheap once again.

Additional reads:

The M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 sounds like a great high-quality all-purpose lens for travel photography, one of those lenses you’d never unmount from your camera unless you needed something faster like… the M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2! Now that I think about it, these two could complement each other really well. (But our bank accounts might say otherwise!)

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Joe Turic

    Great info Mathieu, thanks. As a landscape photographer, I think the 12-100 f/4 sounds very appealing. I love my 12-40 f/2.8, but if I’m shooting landscapes don’t use it anywhere below f/4 anyway. If the optical quality is anywhere near the 12-40, which I assume it is, the extra range should make it a winner.

  • Mathieu

    The Olympus lenses were definitely the most interesting as well as some third party manual focus like the Laowa lenses.

  • Marco Colombo

    The 12-100 f1.2 and 25 are very, very interesting. Only two things are disappointing: the size (that seem too large for the system) and the price, which I consider a bit crazy.

  • Mathieu

    OIS should work fine on Panasonic bodies but it won’t be compatible with Dual IS (and Sync IS is not compatible with Pana lenses).

    I am sure the 25mm 1.2 is superior to the 45mm 1.8 but they also are different focal lengths. The 25mm can be great for environmental portraits and the 45mm better for close-ups.

    The 60mm macro having a longer focal length is more helpful to not get too close.

  • Mathieu

    On the list 😉

  • big

    Very interesting lens lineup. Anyways, could you please make a comparison in future between Pana 30 f2.8 macro and Oly 30 f3.5 macro?

  • Michael

    Definitely for me the highlight of Photokina , the new pro lenses!! No doubt more in depth testing must follow !!!

  • Alex

    Great work as usual – thanks a lot. :-)
    Does the OIS really works on Panasonic? (But not in combination with the IBIS & vs verca?)
    What would be the difference of the 25mm to the 45mm? (except the price, is it worth?)
    Do one not have to go too close to the subject with the 30mm, e.g. insects. In this case the 60mm macro would benefit more?

    to me the 12-100mm is almost given as an allround & for portraits: the 45mm or the NOCTURNUS 50 F0.95 (release this year)

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