I have always been sceptical of lenses with a large focal length range. There is a misconception (which I also believed) that a lens which goes from wide angle to telephoto does not have the image quality of more dedicated lenses such as primes or standard zooms. To a certain extent this is true. Primes are primes for a reason, their sharpness and image quality Is superb. In a similar way wide/standard lenses such as the Mzuiko 12-40 F2.8 or the 7-14 F2.8 have superb image quality. So where does the 12-100 F4 fit in?
That was the question I debated over and over before I bought it. The primary reason I picked up this lens was because of its video capabilities. With such a versatile focal length of 12-100 (24-200 in FF terms) it was the ideal video lens for shooting weddings. Not to mention the extra stabilisation it adds with the built in IS which gives me 6.5 stops of stabilisation when shooting with my EM1 Mark II- no gimbal needed there! However as an avid landscape photographer I wanted to see how this lens would hold up in landscape photography. Let me tell you it did not disappoint.
The ability to go from wide angle to telephoto without changing lens has become a blessing in disguise. Not to mention the super sharp images at both ends. I have found myself using the longer focal length a lot more now in landscape photography. It is very satisfying to pick out those intimate compositions in the landscape and the finer details which are often lost at the wider end.
On the wider side, the lens performs equally as well and at 12mm it is adequate for majority of my wider scenes captured as a landscape photographer. There is slight distortion which I only really noticed when shooting seascapes where I could see the curve in the horizon, but this is easily corrected in post processing.
At 561g it is on the heavier side of the M43 lenses but on the Em1 Mark II it feels well balanced and comfortable to use. I almost prefer a heavier lens, it gives more control and stability when shooting and I don’t notice the extra weight in the camera bag. I have found myself using the 12-100 F4 more and more for my landscape work, replacing my trusty workhorse the 12-40 F2.8. I love that lens, I shot for a whole year with just that lens and with it captured some of my favourite images to date. But now I love having that extra 60mm, it has opened up another avenue of creativity in my landscape workflow. Is it a full time replacement for my 12-40 F2.8? No. I love shooting astrophotography and the F2.8 aperture is essential for that. Also when shooting video in darker conditions I will use the 12-40 F2.8 rather than cranking up my ISO. But if I was travelling and I could only bring one lens with me I think it would be the 12-100 F4. Please see a few more images captured with this lens below,
Thanks for reading and happy shooting!