First day

Sporting the new 12-100, the testing has begun.

All of the images were taken this morning on my walk with the Pen F in JPEG/RAW. The images are a mix of JPEG and RAW images, edited as stated, otherwise nothing done to them.

The lens is big, but tight and solid feeling. It is not for me going to be a walk around lens, but rather a lens to cover everything my preferred primes cannot do.

I know I have trust issues, so bear with me.

First up a shot that shows the highlight retention the lens has a good reputation for. This extends your effective shooting range as you do not have to allow for so much highlight blow out. The Pen F sensor is good here to, but the lens adds a level of highlight detail retention that allowed in turn, some shadow recovery. First the original JPEG, then processed and finally the RAW file with slightly better mid to highlight tones and detail.

This time the sun is just off access to the top of the frame. To my eye, the white flowers at the top are mostly glare and flare, but the lens controlled them well. A little recovery brush work in the second image gave me full recovery of any lost detail.

This means I can control not only the magnification and perspective of an image, but also use nearly any angle to the sun.

Most reviews give the lens very consistent results through the range except some drop off in the corners/edges at 100mm f4. I must admit to being a little concerned that my copy was a little off on the right side also so I have obsessed a little when testing. After a couple of missed focus and out of DOF heart flutters, it looks to be fine, even better than many.

Bokeh has been rated as good to excellent, but like all zoom lenses, especially wide range ones, there will be good and bad combinations. Bokeh is such a subjective thing and it has many variables. Adding the variable of a zoom makes trying to come to grips with it nearly impossible.

Above is a simple front/back focus bokeh test.

 The more traditional “Bokeh ball” test. 100mm f4

The more traditional “Bokeh ball” test. 100mm f4

 A bit nervous here, but not a realistic application. I love near-far semi macro landscapes. Realistically more DOF would be applied.

A bit nervous here, but not a realistic application. I love near-far semi macro landscapes. Realistically more DOF would be applied.

 A more logical use of Bokeh in a composition and perfectly adequate for the job.

A more logical use of Bokeh in a composition and perfectly adequate for the job.

 More than useful macro. This is an un-cropped image of a thumb sized flower. It has a more powerful and comfortable to use macro range than either the 12-40 or 25mm which is all I need.

More than useful macro. This is an un-cropped image of a thumb sized flower. It has a more powerful and comfortable to use macro range than either the 12-40 or 25mm which is all I need.

The image quality os close enough to the feeling I get from my primes, on par with the two pro zooms I had previously. The handling is good (nothing I notice when using it), but I am concerned my tripod stocks may need a more substantial option as the lens is (front)heavy enough on the camera to feel possibly less steady than my previous setups.

Do I have what I wanted?

A better macro option? Yes. Stronger magnification and better working distance.

A better landscape option? Yes. The lens has the handling characteristics I was after and is optically sound and shows the right “characteristics” for landscape work.

A better mid range telephoto AF option? Yes. It is possibly in the same league as my 40-150 pro.

A better (state of the art) OIF option? Potentially, but I need to do a firmware upgrade first.