Hands on with the Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro

Alongside the new OM-D E-M1 Mark III, Olympus has announced a tiny but solid addition to its ‘Pro’ line of zoom and prime lenses. The 12-45mm F4 Pro is incredibly compact, but promises image quality and build in line with Olympus’ other Pro lenses. Let’s take a closer look at some of the characteristics of this new 24-90mm equivalent zoom.

Weather sealing

As with all of Olympus’ Pro lenses, the 12-45mm F4 comes weather-sealed, with a rubber gasket around the mount and the words ‘Splash Proof’ stamped near the serial number. Like Olympus’ most recent camera bodies, the 12-45mm is officially rated to IPX1 standards, as well as being advertised as ‘freeze-proof’ down to -10° C (14° F). The IPX1 rating is admittedly not all that strenuous a test, but Olympus is among the only manufacturers to rate their cameras and lenses at all, so we’d expect the lens to stand up to a reasonable amount of unpleasant inclement weather.

Filter threads, hood, close-focus

Around the front of the lens are filter threads for 58mm filters as well as protrusions for the included LH-61G bayonet-mount hood seen in the first slide. You’ll also be able to get that front element reasonably close to your subjects, with close-focus distances of 0.12m (4.72″) and 0.23m (9.05″) at wide-angle and telephoto settings, respectively. That equals a maximum equivalent magnification of 0.5x at both ends of the zoom, which should add to this lens’ flexibility for general use.

Dimensions, handling, (lack of) image stabilization

At wide-angle, the 12-45mm F4 Pro is only 70mm (2.75″) long, and there’s not much in the way of handling features; there’s no L-Fn button, no focus clutch, and no IS switch. It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no IS switch because there’s no image stabilization built into this lens.

While some may groan about this, it’s likely that omitting this feature contributes to the lens’ compactness, and honestly it’s unlikely to be a problem with most users. All Olympus interchangeable lens cameras come with excellent built-in stabilizers, with the latest models getting up to 7 stops of stabilization just by shifting their sensors.

Dimensions, handling continued

The lens extends somewhat when zoomed in to 45mm, and when mounted on a camera you don’t notice the shifting of weight too much. The zoom and focus rings are both metal, are smooth to operate and are very nicely damped.

Construction inside and out

The 12-45mm F4 Pro is comprised of 12 elements in nine groups, and there are seven rounded aperture blades. The minimum aperture is F22, and the lens uses a lot of metal (along with some plastic) in its construction. Despite weighing only 254g (just under 9oz), the lens feels nice and solid.

Hands on with the Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro

And there you have it, the full tour of Olympus’ new 12-45mm F4 Pro. It may not be the most exciting lens for high-end users, but for those looking for a weather-sealed optical upgrade from their cheaper kit zooms that won’t weigh them down, it’ll be a great option – paired with the E-M5 Mark III, you have a fully-sealed combo that weighs in at 670g (23.6oz). It’s worth mentioning that it also joins one of the most fully fleshed-out lens lineups in the business, so we applaud Olympus for thinking a little differently and bringing this lens to market.

Check out our Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro sample gallery

The 12-45mm F4 Pro will be available on April 7, 2020, at a price of $649.99 USD ($849.99 CAD). What do you make of the new 12-45mm F4 Pro? Let us know in the comments.

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