Saturday, February 8, 2014

Olympus 12-40mm drops below $900

We're getting there! The Olympus 12-40mm has dropped below $900 in advertised prices. The advertised part is important, since camera companies operate on the desirability principle. By that I mean that a company advertises a very high price to make a product seem desirable and exclusive, even if the product never sells for that price. Cameras, watches, stereo equipment... now that I think about, really anything that an upwardly mobile bachelor would own... all of these things are well known for advertising a price that is far higher than for what they are actually selling.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I knew that the Oly 12-40mm, just as the Panny 12-35mm before it, was almost never selling for full price. Panasonic pulled stunts where they would sell it at discount for very short periods of time before raising its price again. Olympus didn't do that and are instead allowing resellers to advertise prices more in line with demand. That means that with a motivated reseller, you could nab one of these lenses for $850, or maybe even less. At that price, I still wouldn't, but if you do, I at least won't make fun of you.

I'm sounding a bit like a broken record on this, but the Sigma 18-35mm has changed things. If the 12-40mm had been released eighteen months ago, it would have been praise-worthy. But coming as it does after the significantly better, significantly faster, and significantly cheaper 18-35mm, it is a non-starter. Every product should be a reason to buy into a system. The 12-40mm is a product only for people already dedicated to Micro 4/3 and with no other options.

That said, the 12-40mm is a good lens. Once it drops below $800, which I consider an inevitability, it will be an adequate deal. It would need to drop to $500-$600 to be truly impressive, and while Oly would be smart to do that, they won't. Until that time, if you're desperate for a Micro 4/3 zoom, you could do a lot worse than this.

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