I have read from many Olympus photographers that the 12-40 F/2.8 zoom lens is the one lens people say they can’t live without. When I saw it refurbished for a great price I jumped on it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, as it is much bigger than my kit zoom, but while it is awkwardly large, it’s not nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. Lens flare is well controlled even when shooting into the sun.
Each lens from Olympus has its own unique profile and so far I’m enjoying the look of my new zoom. So far my favorite lens has been my 25mm F/1.8 prime, but the Olympus 12-40 is incredibly versatile and performs even better in low light somehow. The 25mm prime technically opens wider, but because it struggles to focus in low light I actually prefer either my 12mm F/2 lens or the new Olympus zoom if it’s dark out.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to upgrade to this lens I would only do it if you either find a good deal like I did or if zoom capability in low light is a must have for your photos. Otherwise the Olympus 12-50 takes aesthetically pleasing photos in all light conditions (albeit with some focusing difficulty at night). I don’t own the 14-42 lens anymore because I had one break on me a few years back, but I also really enjoy the photos I took with that lens and it’s delightfully lightweight. In short, with Olympus optics you are always in good hands and with the 12-40 lens you can travel fairly light with a capable tool that “does it all” with ease.