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Anyone have any experience with the Olympus 12-40 yet?

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by jd950, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
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    I am giving some thought to getting the Olympus 12-40 and Zen 170mm and the 20 or 30mm extender, or perhaps the Nauticam 7”. Anyone had any experiences with these yet? The relatively close focusing ability of the lens looks interesting.
     
    Kritta likes this.
  2. Kritta

    Kritta Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Australia
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    I'm also interested in this. I am (still) in the market for a new camera and am unsure whether the 12-40 package would be better than the 12-50. Obviously it would be better on land, but what would be the best choice considering UW use?
     
  3. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

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    Kritta:

    In my case I have the 12-50 and was surprised at how often I used it in macro mode on my last dive trip. But I also know I will get either the Panasonic 12-35 or Oly 12-40 for land use and the 12-40 looks like it could work quite well underwater. The Zen dome for it could also be used with my 7-14.


    If I am correct, the 12-40 should provide about 75% of the macro capability of the 12-50 while providing a wider view due to the dome port. By all reports the 12-40 is a better lens optically. The 12-50 will allow one to focus down to about 4" from the lens in macro mode (43mm) while the 12-40 will let you get about 8 inches. The 12-50 in its flat port will accept a diopter which significantly increases its macro function.

    It might be hard to choose between them. Perhaps another way to look at it is that the 12-50 can stand in for a 45 or 60 macro in some situations and the 12-40 could replace a 12mm fixed lens?

    I am looking forward to hearing more about the 12-40 from others.
     
  4. PHIL RUDIN

    PHIL RUDIN Scuba Media & Publications

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    I did some port extension tests with the 12-40 and ZEN 170mm optical glass port. It appears that about 25 mm of extension is needed and that should work well with both 12-40 and 7-14. I am on my way to the Philippines and will be testing the extension when it is complete. This is a great lens and should work well underwater.
     
    Kritta likes this.
  5. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

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    Have fun in the Philippines, Phil. I suspect you won't have time to respond to this soon, but whenever you do, are you saying that Nauticam is working on a new extension of 25mm to supplement the 20 and 30 they now have?
     
  6. EskilJ

    EskilJ Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
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    It's true that you can focus very close with the 12-50 in macro mode, but if you want a bit wider picture, so you go into non-macro mode, min focusing distance is long.
    I don't get significant extra macro from a +6 diopter on the 12-50, and I believe that is what Phil reported also.
     
  7. PHIL RUDIN

    PHIL RUDIN Scuba Media & Publications

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    jd950,

    Notes from the road, don't have the finished product for use while I am in the Philippines.

    Nauticam's port recommendation for the 12-40 is the 7" dome port also for the Sony 10-15zoom on NEX.

    I own the ZEN optical glass 170mm dome port for Nauticam Mini (mirror less) housings. I tested both the 20mm and 30mm Nauticam extensions with the 12-40 and 7-14mm zooms with a test chart in a pool. I hate these tests and deal more with real world results. I think the corner sharpness issue is given way to much press and that results in the field matter most. After using both extensions and conferring with ZEN a ZEN 25mm extension is going to be offered soon which I think will work well for me with both lenses. I also use the 170mm port without an extension for lenses like the excellent Olympus 12 and 17mm lenses. This port can be used with a verity of other lenses from both Panasonic and Olympus. The One lens it DOES NOT work with is the Panasonic 8mm fisheye.

    So for travel one port and one extension. The 12-40 gear from Nauticam has not yet arrived in many areas and this is the gear I will be using for the 12-40 zoom. I have been shooting the 7-14 for quite some time now behind both Nauticam and ZEN ports. I like the ZEN port because of the verity of lenses its supports and because it is an excellent piece of glass.

    Phil Rudin
     
  8. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    I think these two lenses serve different purposes despite their overlapping focal lengths. The 12-50 in the Nauti dedicated port is more of an "all around" lens. It is a very capable macro lens in its own right without any attachments when placed into macro mode. With the new super-macro diopter combined with macro mode it is really something. It is also a good semi-wide to moderate zoom in normal mode. But, in normal mode, it is not as versatile at the 12-40 for wide angle work because the Nauti port is flat, optimized for macro.

    The 12-40 is faster, and, behind a dome, wider. It offers more versatility for big animals at a distance, and also for scenics and the fast aperture gives more exposure flexibility in those arenas. But, behind the dome, its close focusing distance is going to be impaired even for its only semi-macro close focus, due to the dome sticking out and cutting off most of the working distance and, of course diopters are not really viable.

    Thus, if your dive will put you on tiny macro critters, beautiful reefs, larger fish portraits, and everything except really big animals all on the same dive (the 12-50 is just fine for turles, dolphins, most sharks but not huge things), the 12-50 is the best bet as it will be very useful for all of those subjects. Also, if you don't know what to expect, the 12-50 covers more potential subjects.

    If you dive is dedicated to semi-wide scenics, larger fish or animals at a distance, or shooting models, the 12-40 behind a dome would be a better choice.

    The ideal set: a dome for the 7-14 and 12-40 lenses, and the 12-50 dedicated port for the 12-50 and 60mm macro. There is nothing you couldn't cover with those two ports.
     
    Kritta likes this.
  9. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

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    I agree for the most part but I think there is a good chance the 12-40 would also work well for smaller subjects but perhaps not really tiny ones. I am not sure, and look forward to finding out. I also tend to think that for really large subjects like whale sharks, mantas, some wreck photos and so on, one might be better served by the 7-14 or fisheye lens. But overall, yes, if the main subject is likely to be macro then the 12-50 would likely be preferable to the 12-40. At least that it is how it appears to me, but I have not even held the 12-40, let alone used it yet. I wasn't too concerned about finding a two-port solution or anything, and already have the 12-50, just looking for input on the 12-40 itself.
     
  10. guyharrisonphoto

    guyharrisonphoto ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    It depends on what you mean by "smaller" I can give a concrete example if that would help. With the 12-50 in macro mode, you can fill the frame with an SD card. With the 12-40, you can fill the frame with something the size of 3 SD cards at closest focus. But remember, your dome is going to be sticking out there quite a bit, so it is questionable as to whether you can approach most macro subjects close enough to even hit the closest focus point. So, "smaller" subjects, yes, but not approaching true macro.

    To me, the 12-40 is a good, more specialized, supplement to the 12-50, but not a replacement. To have both, you need two different ports. If you only want one of these lenses, stick with the 12-50.
     
    Kritta likes this.

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