Skip to main content

Hands on: OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II review

The OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II is a 24-80mm equivalent with unrivaled IP53 weather sealing

OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II
(Image: © James Artaius)

Early Verdict

In almost every respect, the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II is identical to the original Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro. The key difference is that it boasts incredible IP53-rated weather sealing (up from the standard IPX1), and obviously features the new OM System branding. Otherwise, this is the same fantastic 24-80mm f/2.8 equivalent lens that's bright enough to shoot almost anything and light enough to shoot almost anywhere.

Pros

  • +

    Extremely compact

  • +

    Weather sealed to IP53

  • +

    Manual focus clutch

Cons

  • -

    Same formula as 12-40mm I

If it ain't broke, don't fix it? The OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II begs to differ. This fantastic standard zoom lens, with a 35mm equivalent 24-80mm field of view, takes everything that was great about the original Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro and makes a massive new improvement.

The OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II is one of two lenses boasting IP53-rated weather sealing to complement the new Olympus OM-1 (opens in new tab) (the other being the new OM System M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4 Pro). 

• Read more: Olympus OM-1 review (opens in new tab)

This standard of weather proofing is a first in the industry, enabling professional shooters to take the 12-40mm f/2.8 II (with the OM-1) into more challenging conditions than ever before. 

More than just a feat of engineering, though, the new lens retains the same tried, true and terrific optical formula as its predecessor.

OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II: Specifications

Mount: Micro Four Thirds
Lens construction: 14 elements in 9 groups
Aperture blades: 9
Weather sealed: Yes (IP53)
Maximum magnification: 0.3x (0.6x 35mm equivalent)
Minimum focusing distance: 0.2m
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 69.9 x 84mm

Olympus OM-1 + OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II (1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II: Key features

This is a pro-grade optic that's one of the "holy trinity" lenses, offering a fast, fixed f/2.8 aperture and full weather sealing. (Indeed, as noted, it offers the best weather sealing in the business.) 

Its IP53-rated seal protects against ingress of dust and water, and the lens is freezeproof down to 14°F / -10°C. This enables you to shoot in the most inhospitable environments, whether that's dust, rain or snow. 

A new fluorine coating also repels water, oil and dust, while also reducing friction, making it easier to keep the lens clean with a blower or cloth. Meanwhile, the same anti-reflective ZERO coating as the original resists backlighting.

The optical formula is the same as that of the original Olympus-branded 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro, with 14 elements including 4 aspherical lenses for aberration correction, flare reduction and coast-to-coast sharpness – making it an excellent choice for the 50MP or 80MP High Res Shot mode offered on select Olympus cameras.

Olympus OM-1 + OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II (1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II: Build and handling

This standard zoom is smaller than a soda can, giving you a professional-caliber 24-80mm equivalent zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture in a ludicrously compact form factor. 

The all-metal construction is sturdy, solid and resistant to being banged around in your bag or bashed about on your shoots – it really is made to withstand the rigors of pro working environments. 

If you want to shoot macro or old school, the focus ring features a clutch that snaps back to reveal a focus scale and enable manual mode. And unlike most modern fly-by-wire focus rings, it has hard stops at each end of the scale for instinctive control.

Olympus OM-1 + OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II (1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II: Performance

While we haven't had the chance to conduct our full lab tests, our experience thus far reveals a lens that performs every bit as admirably as its predecessor. Images are sharp even wide open at f/2.8, and even when shooting at 50MP or 80MP resolution – making this an excellent option for high resolution stills and video. 

In fact this is a great lens for all-purpose video, thanks to the quick and quiet autofocus, the honest and fine-tuned manual focus, and particularly the near total absence of focus breathing.

The AF was able to keep up with both fast-moving subjects and the rapid-fire pace of the new Olympus OM-1, which can reel off bursts of up to 120fps. So if you need to keep up with the action, the 12-40mm f/2.8 II won't let you down.

Olympus OM-1 + OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II (1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO200) (Image credit: James Artaius)

OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II: Early verdict

In almost every respect, the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II is identical to the original Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro. The key difference is that it boasts incredible IP53-rated weather sealing (up from the standard IPX1), and obviously features the new OM System branding. Otherwise, this is the same fantastic 24-80mm f/2.8 equivalent lens that's bright enough to shoot almost anything and light enough to shoot almost anywhere. 

Pre-order the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II at Adorama (US) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II at B&H (US)
(opens in new tab)Pre-order the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II at Park Cameras (UK)
(opens in new tab)Pre-order the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II at Wex (UK)
(opens in new tab)Pre-order the OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II at Ted's Cameras (AU) (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Best Olympus lenses
(opens in new tab)Best Micro Four Thirds lenses
(opens in new tab)Best Olympus cameras (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1