The rumored Olympus 12-200mm lens. What do I think?
Olympus has always impressed me with their specs. The issue that Olympus seems to always have is that they come out with some amazing features that are in some respects ahead of their time, but eventually other brands always catch up. For example, for years, Olympus could lay the claim to absolutely amazing in-body stabilization that no one brand could “touch”. However, in recent years, Sony and Panasonic have caught up (I would argue that Panasonic has done a better job)
Olympus then came out with the EM1 Mark 2 which has a feature where it continuously buffers images until you’re ready to press the shutter. THe logic here being that we, as humans, may not be quick enough to press the shutter when the time comes. However, if the camera is continuously recording images, we have access to those images even if we miss it by a second. Again, Panasonic now has this feature.
Why do I mention all of this? I am not overly impressed with the new 12-200 lens. Why? There is no such thing as a free lunch, as the saying goes. What I mean is, the focal length range is impressive (12-200) but of course that comes with a variable aperture, and if any similar lenses (from other brands) are used for reference, there will be shortcomings – for sure. So what would I like to see?
More options. For example, Panasonic has a 50-200mm 2.8-4. Panasonic also has a 100-300. Olympus foes have a 45-150, but that is a constant 2.8. And that brings in a big issue with the options for Olympus. Most non-pro lenses are premium prices. And pro lenses are even MORE premium. To be fair, many brands do this. And to make them less expensive would to decrease their perceived worth. For example, I’ve heard that many shooters love the build and sharpness of the 75mm 1.8, but is still out of reach for some people. Now, that doesn’t mean that Olympus needs to lower their prices to appease those shooters, but when you have brands like Canon that do provide multiple options for various focal lengths, expensive and inexpensive, it’s something that should be considered.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge that yes lenses on Panasonic (micro four thirds mount) can be mounted on Olympus bodies without an adapter, and I am also aware of the Sigma lenses that exists, but from a business perspective I find it interesting that Sigma makes a 56mm 1.4 lens that people may be attracted to, and Olympus chooses to release a “do it all” lens like the 12-200 f/3.5-6.3 instead. I am not saying that the lens doesn’t have a purpose, but I would still love to see Olympus fill some of the price gaps that it has with their lenses.