12-100mm f/4 Pro vs 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Jonathan F/2, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. 12-100mm f/4

    33 vote(s)
  2. 40-150mm f/2.8

    20 vote(s)
  3. Neither, get the 14-150mm II

    4 vote(s)
  1. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I just got back from a quick day trip and found lens juggling between my primes to be a PITA. I currently have the 8mm f/1.8 FE, 12mm f/2, 17mm f/2.8 (an exceptionally sharp copy) and the 75mm f/1.8 lenses. I prefer the primes for street shooting, but not so much for vacation snaps. I've been debating picking up the 12-100 f/4 Pro, but for about the same price or even cheaper I can find a new or clean used 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro.

    With the 8mm f/1.8 and 40-150mm f/2.8 lenses I can cover the extreme FLs and the 40-150mm can double as a portrait lens, though I'd still have the dilemma of lens swapping. If I go for the 12-100mm f/4, I'm wondering if I'm already covered with the 12mm f/2 and 75mm 1.8 which are both significantly sharper and faster.

    I still like the 17mm f/2.8, because I have a killer copy of the lens and it makes a nice one lens solution for street shooting especially since it's a pancake.

    My other option is save some cash and get the 14-150mm II for those family snaps. Brand new grey market copies are selling for $299 on ebay right now from The Games Arena. I tried a copy in-store that seemed quite sharp, but I'm not sure if I'd be happy with build quality of the lens since it seems to be quite plasticky.

    What do you guys think? Thanks for any opinions!
  2. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I would not assume that this is the case:


    This is the [email protected], the [email protected] and the [email protected] wide open.
  3. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    For me my "travel kit" is the 8f1.8Pro, the 17f1.8 and the 12-100f4.
  4. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Are you sure that the 12mm/f2 is significantly sharper than the 12-100/f4? I wouldn't necessarily bet on that, given the quality of the 12-40/2.8 at the wide end, which the new 12-100 is said to match. Definitely faster, though.

    The 40-150/2.8 is definitely too much lens for me, I just would never use it. Might come out of the bag every now and then for very specific, short uses. But the size, weight, and niche applicability means it would never come with me on a trip, and probably not even on day outings with the family. Especially since I'd need to be swapping lenses, which is just not something I am going to do when I'm hiking with my girlfriend or walking the dog.

    I would say that the 14-150 II is a great cheap option, and the weather-sealing is a real nice-to-have on a vacation lens. If you think that you'd be compromising too much, the 12-100/f4 would be a clear step up, with a clear price tag.
  5. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    The 40-150/2.8 is quite a sizable lens when comparing it against the primes. It is great optically and one of my favorite zooms of all time, but you are still going to need to swap.

    If lens swapping is the true issue, then the 12-100/4 is the solution. I had the 14-150II (reviewed here) and I would not recommend it. You will not be happy with it in general and especially on the long end. I find that the 40-150/4-5.6R lens performs better in equivalent focal ranges.

    Just my 2 cents, but I would either get the 12-100/4 or get a second body and run 2 kits at the same time. I do this frequently, pro kit 12-40/2.8 and 40-150/2.8 on EM1.1 and EM1.2 or I'll run a smaller street/good light kit of the Panasonic 12-32 on the PEN-F and then the 40-150/4-5.6R or 75-300/4.8-6.7 on the EM1.1
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. wimg

    wimg Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 10, 2016

    I think you need to add another lens for vacation snaps, namely the Panny 14-140 OIS, which is sharper than the Oly, even if not weathersealed. It is the lens I use for snaps, if needed, and I shot everything with that wrt vaction snaps, from beach volleyball to landscapes, street, candid and portraits - works well enough. Considering its price, I am not worried about slight abuse or damage either, and in addition it is a great lens for those occasional vacation videos as well.

    As to your ow 3 lens choice, personally I'd go for the 12-100 - great lens, relatively compact, and good IQ throughout the zoom range. It goes beyond vacation snap lens IQ as well, and has a slightly larger aperture too.

    The 40-150 Pro really is just another lens in your personal shooter's profile, rather than a vacation snap lens, because of its size and weight, and still requiring to change lenses when shooting wider than 40 mm, which already is tele to start off with.

    If you are really looking for that one and only vacation snap lens, the 14-150 II is probably the way to go, although as mentioned, you may want to look at the Panny 14-140 as well, basically because it is optically a little better.

    With any vacation snap lens, you are always limited by the relatively small aperture, so probably worthwhile to also carry one, two or even three small but relatively fast primes, like your 12 F/2, and possiby a 25 F/1.8 or the Panny 25 F/1/7, and maybe also the 45 F/1.8 or the Panny 42.5 F/1.7 - just in case; these help when it gets too dark for the long range vacation zoom.

    HTH, kind regards, Wim
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    With these choices, I would say the 12-100. But for my own purposes, I'd pick the 12-40/2.8 plus 75/1.8 over any of these.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  8. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I have used this combo very successfully (well 12-35 and 75 but effectively the same). The 12-100f4 is just as sharp, and simply more convenient.
    • Winner Winner x 1
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I use that combo as well.
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    Happy new year to you

    On my way back to Belgium after a New year with some photo friends... Got a chance to try out the 12-100 on an E-M1 mk2.

    got to count me as impressed with both. the body is on my list for next time in LA, and had been considering the 12-100 but was concerned with the slower aperture... but these are indoors on grey and overcast naturally lit mid winter european pubs/restaurants

    No idea what contribution the body made, but the lens seemed great, and well built and surprisingly small... felt shorter and slimmer than the old 4/3 12-60


    31275606773_bf15f3e82d_b.jpg OM020161 by kevinparis, on Flickr


    31275605233_1239db3ffb_b.jpg OM020098 by kevinparis, on Flickr


    31275604173_cda0b21e69_b.jpg OM020092 by kevinparis, on Flickr


    32086031705_78a7b919e7_b.jpg OM010083 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    all at f/4 all I think ISO 4000

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  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Thanks for these samples Kevin! I think I'll need to go to Samy's Fairfax and try one out in person. ;)
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser

    I am really impressed with the second picture at f/4 at 100mm in a restaurant.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  13. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Do you go out at night? I'm similar in that the primes don't get much use during the day during travel but they get used exclusively at night.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  14. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    Why not 12-40mm 2.8, as Amin suggested? I got a brief chance to test E-M1 mk2 and 12-100 f4 yesterday. I felt the 12-100 was just a little too long and heavy to carry around, even with the new E-M1. But that is just my personal feeling, because I find the 12-40mm is already pushing my limits size wise.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Well my normal carry lens is actually the 40-150Pro, I have the 12-100Pro on order and will swap to that for normal carry around.
    My two lens bag will be the 12-100/40-150 pro's. The 12-100 will replace the 4/3 12-60 swd

    So my vote goes to buying both.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I comes down to how much you care/obsess about image quality. I have the 14-42 EZ and the 12-40 and I keep moving back and forth. Because the pancake zoom is good enough, and it won't make much difference on most shots, but the 12-40 is better and for landscapes, tree branches, etc. it's a different thing. But the difference is mostly "in my mind" is that little extra "something". I'm sure it's 90% non-sense for how I use the images, still I cannot dismiss it completely.

    I think you may get a good normal zoom (12-35/40/60 2.8-4) and use it much more than the 14-150, even more than the primes, for travel and everyday shots because these are small enough zooms. Add a 40-150 R for tele shots. The 12-100 is great but is big and "slow". I would see more a TZ-100 for real travel snaps.

    Would you pick the 14-150 over the primes for your next travel? Even when I'm really weight constrained I never picked the 14-42 over the 12-40 if I know I'm going to take pictures. Do you care about the tele end? Do you often shoot at 12mm?
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I didn't like the 12-40mm Pro when I owned it. I found the lens kind of bland for my taste. My copy of the Oly 17mm 2.8 is sharper wide open with more contrast and warmer colors. Also I found the 12-40mm tends to hunt in low light. I was disappointed that for the price it didn't exceed the cheap 17mm pancake. Also I want something longer than 75mm. Sometimes I feel it's a tad short.
  18. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    A fourth option, which is my favorite, is a second body. Considering the cost and weight of the zooms you're looking at, a used body would be cheaper and possibly lighter.

    One body with the 12 and one with the 75 and a couple of less used lenses in the bottom of the bag.

    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. bbarnett51

    bbarnett51 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 23, 2015
    I could never be happy with the 40-150pro on a vacation except for a few specific circumstances.
    I use my 12-60swd almost exclusively on vacation. I'll break out the 45 1.8 for a few portrait shots of the kids on the beach and my 50-200swd for wildlife. But 90% is 12-60. That's one of the reasons I haven't been able to bring myself to trade it in for the 12-40. I use that long end a lot on vacation. However the AF is sluggish enough to make me want to trade it in for the 12-40 or more likely the 12-100.
  20. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    If you like the 12-60/2.8-4 and need faster AF, there's also the new Panasonic-Leica with that exact spec. $300 cheaper than the 12-100, and half the weight. And of course, faster on the wide end if you need that.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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