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Olympus mZD 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro weatherproof lens


  • announced in 2013
  • a very useful 24-80mm field of view in 35mm full frame terms
  • users should consider the pros and cons of a zoom lens such as this excellent versatile lens or using 2 or 3 primes instead which will have better low light and shallower depth of field (DOF) capabilities such as the Olympus m.ZD 12mm f/2.0 lens, Olympus mZD 17mm f/1.8 lens, and Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lenses or Olympus m.ZD 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens
  • that said, optical performance is comparable to these primes and for many this one lens could replace them for most purposes
  • similar optical performance to the f/2.8 lenses for APS-C dSLRs and whilst you give up 1 stop shallow depth of field (DOF) capability, the lens is around half the weight which makes for far more portability, plus you get very fast CD-AF and it is almost waterproof, while filters are smaller and thus less expensive.
  • in Feb 2022. a version II was announced with:
    • improved weathersealing
    • improved coatings


  • MF clutch mechanism as with the Olympus m.ZD 12mm f/2.0 lens but with a neat new trick:
    • if you put the ring in the MF position, set your distance, then push it back to AF and focus, it remembers the MF position. This means you can pull focus instantly between any two distances simply by pulling the ring backwards! Better still, the distance is held regardless of the zoom setting.
    • this is very useful for focus pulling in video mode!
  • image stabiliser is on the Olympus and the newer Panasonic cameras
  • internal focus
  • “ZERO” lens coating
  • linear CD-AF motor
  • MSC silent AF mechanism
  • 7 circular diaphragm blades
  • 62mm filter thread
  • L-Fn button on lens
  • close focus 0.20m from sensor plane
    • = 4cm working distance from front of lens giving maximum frame coverage is 48x36mm or 1:3 macro
  • weatherproof
  • 382g
  • 84mm long
  • similar MTF curves as the Olympus ZD 12-60mm but better at the edges at 40mm f/2.8 than the 12-60mm at 60mm at f/4

comparisons with other camera systems

  • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM for cropped sensor Canon dSLRs:
    • 27-88mm fov; twice as heavy at 645g; 111mm long; expensive 77mm filters;
    • IS is not as effective
    • more expensive lens but you do get 1 stop shallower depth of field (DOF)
    • optical performance is similar
    • much slower CD-AF
    • not as “waterproof”
  • Sigma 17-60mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM for APS-C dSLRs:
    • 27-96mm fov on a Canon; almost twice as heavy at 565g; 92mm long; expensive 77mm filters;
    • aperture blades are not rounded
    • IS is not as effective
    • but you do get 1 stop shallower depth of field (DOF)
    • optical performance is similar
    • much slower CD-AF
    • not as “waterproof”
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II:
    • no IS
    • close focus not as good
    • not as sharp in the edges?
    • more than twice the price and 2.5x as heavy at 805g, and a massive, expensive 82mm filter
    • much slower CD-AF
    • not as “waterproof”
    • but you do get 2 stops more shallow depth of field (DOF) - but if you really need this level of DOF control on Micro Four Thirds system, you can resort to fast aperture primes such as a 42mm f/1.2 which will give even more shallow DOF
    • this is the better lens for wedding photographers and outdoor fashion work but for most other uses, the Olympus lens will suffice, especially when complimented with a fast prime or two.
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS:
    • IS not quite as effective
    • not as sharp
    • more expensive
    • close focus not as good
    • almost twice as heavy at 640g
    • 77mm filter
    • not weather resistant
    • lots of distortion
    • much slower CD-AF
    • not as “waterproof”
    • but you do get 1 stop more DOF control


photo/olympusmzd12-40pro.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/15 19:56 by gary1

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