YongNuo 12–‍35mm microFourThirds lens finally gets released
YongNuo 12–‍35mm microFourThirds lens finally gets released

YongNuo 12–‍35mm microFourThirds lens finally gets released

After a few months of rumours and guesswork, the first alternative microFourThirds fast zoom lens has finally arrived –‍ YN12–‍35mm F2.8–‍4M, as it is called by the manufacturer.

Is it any good, it remains to be seen, but judging by the size and weight, the lens is surprisingly chunky for the focal length range it is covering. Price also is on the high side –‍ according to the official webshop, it is priced slightly below 400€.

YN12-25 F2.8-4M side view.

Without testing the lens, there isn’t that much to say, but the main idea of this site is to rant and speculate, so let’s start with the positives about this lens –‍ the basics. It is an ƒ/2.8–‍4 lens, it covers the usual 24–‍70mm (equivalent) focal range, and it has all the bells and whistles one would expect from a modern-day lens –‍ both autofocus and aperture control are available.

Negatives are more about the details. It is a fairly big and heavy lens, it does look somewhat strange, and the biggest issue is the price. Ungainly size is expected from the lens that uses internal zooming and focusing – the lens keeps the same size, no matter where it is focused, or how much is it zoomed in, or out. So the size and balance are predictable, but that means it doesn’t have a compact, travel mode –‍ there is nothing to collapse to. On the other hand, it is always ready to be used, there is no need to unlock and extend it into a working position. You lose something (size), but you get some (always ready).

The comparison

To get the feeling of the lens, let’s make a few comparisons with existing lenses in the system. Only the lenses with the same, 12mm wide angle are listed, 14mm would introduce a whole bunch of lenses out of the same class.

Lens Length Width Weight Filter
Panasonic Lumix 12–‍32mm F3.5–‍5.6 24 mm 55 mm 70 g 37 mm
Panasonic Lumix 12–‍35mm F2.8 74 mm 68 mm 305 g 58 mm
YongNuo 12–‍35mm F2.8–‍4 94 mm 72 mm 318 g 67 mm
Olympus M.Zuiko 12–‍40mm F2.8 84 mm 70 mm 382 g 62 mm
YI Xiayoi 12–‍40mm F3.5–‍5.6 63 mm 58 mm 185 g 49 mm
Olympus M.Zuiko 12–‍45mm F4 63 mm 70 mm 254 g 58 mm
Olympus M.Zuiko 12–‍50mm F3.5–‍6.3 83 mm 57 mm 211 g 52 mm
Leica DG 12–‍60mm F2.8–‍4 86 mm 68 mm 320 g 62 mm
Panasonic Lumix 12-60mm F3.5–‍5.6 71 mm 66 mm 210 g 58 mm
Olympus M.Zuiko 12–‍100mm F4 116 mm 77 mm 561 g 72 mm
Comparison table

Evidently, the new YongNuo is a really hefty lens –‍ it is slightly bigger than the Olympus 12–‍40mm F2.8 Pro lens, but it is a bit lighter – less weight is expected from a variable aperture lens. It is significantly bigger, and as heavy as Leica DG 12–‍60mm F2.8–‍4 lens –‍ the variable aperture is the same, but Leica has significantly more reach. The filter thread is also big, not many lenses in the system use 67mm filters, which is even bigger than many constant-aperture ƒ/2.8 pro-grade lenses.

The look of the new lens is rather strange, it is a comparatively long lens, but that feature is expected from the lens with constant size, with the internal focusing mechanism. A slightly wider front part of the lens makes the lens look like a trumpet, not appreciated by many. But at least, there’s a big chunk of glass hiding in there, so at least there is some explanation. It reminds me of a medium format Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 50mm F4 wide-angle lens for the Pentacon Six system.


Finally, there’s the price. 400€ is a lot of money for a lens with no pedigree. If the tests confirm the lens is a good one –‍ sharp, with not many flaws –‍ then, and only then, the price could be considered acceptable. The stiffest competition this lens will have to face are used-market lenses, mostly Olympuses 12–‍40mm F2.8, available from the sellers from USA and Japan for approximately 200-250€ more. Although that’s 50% more, Olympus 12–‍40mm is a proven stellar lens, with a constant ƒ/2.8 aperture, and a full set of weather sealings – it commands a premium price. When that premium is “just” 200€ more, it might become a problem for the new contender.

On the other hand, if your budget reaches 400€, but no more, options are significantly more restricted. If you are lucky, you can get Panasonic 12–‍35mm F2.8, or Olympus 12–‍45mm F4, but the main competition in this price class are Panasonic 12–‍60mm F3.5–‍5.6 lenses –‍ with more reach, but darker aperture. If the YoungNuo 12–‍35mm lens can keep up the (untold) promise, it would become a great alternative lens for all wanting a fast zoom, despite the size, weight and odd design.


In the end, the popularity of this lens depends on its optical qualities. If it turns out it is a good, sharp lens, it has great potential to become a sales success. If not, even if it turns out it is just a mediocre lens, it will sink into obscurity, just like Xiayoi 12–‍40mm, and become a lost potential of the system and its manufacturer. So let’s hope that big front element and hefty size and weight won’t be wasted on just a mediocre lens!

YN12-35 F2.8-4M with its hood mounted.