I’ve had the 12-200mm for five days now and shot about 600 shots on my EM5II. I like the ergonomics (handling, size, weight).
The zoom ring has a little bit of resistance and requires a bit more force to get the last bit of the zoom lens out. Zoom and focus rings feel like metal – very nice feel.
I have been on a learning curve re this lens’s sharpness. Let’s review this.
Is it Sharp?
Having being spoilt by the primes and the excellent 12-40 f2.8 and 40-150 f2.8 zooms, I know the 12-200 isn’t going to match those – and it doesn’t. Wide open at 12mm I reckon it does – super sharp. For the rest of the focal range, you need to stop down, but not too much of course because of diffraction stealing sharpness. My current results are as follows
12mm - f3.5, advice: wide open ok - do not go over f8 26mm - f4.7, advice: stop down to 6 - do not go over f9 50mm - f5.7, advice: stop down to 7 - do not go over f9 100mm - f6.2, advice: stop down to 8 - do not go over f10 150mm - f6.3, advice: stop down to 8 - do not go over f10 200mm - f6.3, advice: stop down to 9 or 10 - do not go over f13
The above is only a rough guide re maximum central sharpness, and its rules can probably be bent slightly. Happy to compare with other numbers people might have – its also a bit hard to remember!
Unless wide open at 12mm, this lens rarely gives me that micro-contrasty 3D feeling of satisfaction that I get with the other Olympus lenses. Yes, yes, I know – that is to be expected for this insane zoom range form factor. I probably would have been happier with the 12-100mm f4 which I don’t own – as I am a bit of proud pixel peeper. Still the results are very good as long as I remember to stop down. If I forget, I can get soft photos. Below is a brick wall shot that I stopped down correctly for – thus its decently sharp.