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12-35 2.8 or 14-45 3.5- 5.6. Which is better?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by juangrande, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    I just got a 12-35 panny today to try out. First thing I did was compare to a 14-45 at the widest angle and aperture. I am posting 2 photos both handheld and shot with OMD at the same time from the 2 lenses (cropped). What do you think? Sorry about the thumbnails. Not sure how to get full size from LR to this forum.

    Attached Files:

  2. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Well, you have LR so you can compare them in a lot more detail than we can . . . what is your conclusion? I have the 14-45mm which I've always considered to be a gem.

    I also think there's a bit of an apples/oranges problem with your comparison, since the focal length and aperture are different. The specifications alone tell us the 12-35mm can do some things the 14-45mm can't, so comparing it at 12mm vs. the 14-45mm at 14mm seems to be unfair.

    How about a test at 14mm f/3.5 for both? I'd hope the 12-35mm is better, but I wonder by how much?
  3. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    That would be more fair and I'll try tomorrow. But at $800 difference in price, the comparison I did has merit. Which one seems better to you? 1 or 2. From what I see, the 12-35 is not as sharp closer in the field of view (the post approx 8 ft. away from camera). It has a cooler rendering overall. The mountains in the distance show more light, but not sharper. The 12-35 @ 2.8 had SS of 1/2000. The 14-45 @ f3.5 had 1/1000. Not likely problems w/camera shake. Other photos compared were the same results. Is the 12-35 not sharp at 12mm/2.8 or do I have a bad copy?
  4. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    very hard to judge by the size of the file. I think the 14-45 is one of the best kit lenses out there, dpreview made a comparison with the 14-42, and the 14-45 was way better optically! would be interested how it fares against the 12-35! thanks for sharing.
  5. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    They are both good lenses. Having said that, sharpness doesn't matter a jot at 35mm and f5.6 if you are shooting moving objects at shutter speeds of 1/50th when you really need 1/200th, or you need the better IS system of the 12-35 to give you handheld down to ~1/15th at f2.8 @ 35mm.

    The problem is you can't pick one thing (lens sharpness wide open in bright light) as a measure of whether one lens is better than another. The 14-45 is known to be sharp, but it is also designed to a price. If your picture taking falls into the envelope of that lens' capabilities, it is a bargain. If you regularly go outside those parameters, suddenly it's pretty poor value....
    • Like Like x 4
  6. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Good points! I know that the faster lens will have advantages but I don't want a bad copy. I was just thinking it should match the 14-45 for sharpness wide open. I really want this lens for both speed and the 12mm FOV.
  7. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Hard to tell from your 2 samples because the shot on the left, which I assume is the one shot with the 12-35 is focused on the fence behind the center pole, so everything seemed unsharp, when in fact, the most prominent feature of the shot is just a bit out of focus! Take a look at the tree branch to the right of the fence. It looks to be sharp, with better micro contrast than the one in the photo on the right...
  8. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    To compare the lenses fairly I'd shoot a small fine outdoor landscape jpeg (1024x768) on a sunny day with each lens at 20mm focal length with the camera in Vivid or Natural picture mode. Then post the unedited jpegs here on the forum. I'm sure ALOT of folks on the forum would like to see if the $800 extra cost of the 12-35 produces results that are worth that very hefty price tag.
  9. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    The one on the left is the 14-45. At 12mm/ 2.8 and 8' of distance wouldn't the depth of focus be uniform. I don't know, maybe somebody else does.
  10. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Pretty good analysis above. May I add that, for some people, 2 stops of ISO, with low light, may be what's standing between getting a paid job or not. For others, build quality and weather sealing will be unquestionable properties.

    There is a number of primes out there, even cheaper ones, that can outperform the 12-35 for sharpness and rendering. You could possibly have 3-4 of them for the price of it. But sharpness and IQ in general is just one of the deciding factors in choosing a lens for a job.
  11. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    The 12-35 is a $1200 lens. The 14-45 is a $300 (new) lens. Of course the 12-35 will have a more versatile use. But shouldn't it be as sharp (among other things) as the cheaper lens. I really want to know if MY copy is lacking or the lens in general. Not to be rude, but I don't need more defenses for the lens. I need an answer, if possible. Or my real world test isn't adequate?
  12. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Like we said before, we really can't tell anything from the 2 samples that you posted in the opening thread. If you want to know if the lens is sharp, you can take a look at the 12-35 image thread to decide for yourself. IMHO, I think the lens is plenty sharp even when used wide open, but I tend to stop down to f/4.0 for maximum corner-to-corner sharpness. As for whether you got a bad copy of the lens or not, we cannot tell from the shot you posted.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Eliminate the variables... tripod same exposures on a flat surface with a print from center to the edge of frame.

    * Keep in mind that most optics don't perform optimally wide open or stopped beyond f/16 or so.
    * Keep in mind that most zooms don't perform optimally at the far edges of the focal range.

    Judging from the quality of the images posted... I think there is some serious lossy compression or something wrong with the workflow used to post. Even with that solved... sized samples are often difficult to compare or make a conclusion.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I would also suggest that you not confuse DOF with lack of sharpness.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    One of the value justifications of the 12-35 as compared to the 14-45 is found when comparing both at the long end in dim light. This is where you'll be comparing one lens maxed out at f/5.6 against one lens that is f/2.8.
  16. Brian G

    Brian G Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    Victoria, BC
    If you want to do a realistic head-to-head comparison, you HAVE to start with the camera on a tripod, determine your intended exposure, aperture, etc. Knowing those settings, set the camera to manual, including manual focus, having checked it in a magnified view.

    For these two lenses, IMO a good focal length to test would be 14mm. Aperture has to be one that can be achieved on both lenses, to avoid unintentionally mixing depth of field differences into the equation.

    What I'd be interested in, and what I'd choose for comparisons, is 14mm, and perhaps at f5.6 if you're attempting to evaluate best potential image quality. I'd also do the same comparison at something like 25mm, but that's me. You might prefer 35mm, if you want a comparison at the 12-35's longest focal length.

    Having done the above, if you also shoot the 12-35 at 12mm at f5.6, you'd have an interesting comparison between it's performance at its' widest, compared to 14mm. It'll be a bit subjective due to the difference in angle of view, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

    Given your expressed interests, you could also shoot 12mm wide open, and then have a comparison to the same thing shot at, say, f5.6. Looking at a centered subject for sharpness differences would tell you whether the lens is reasonably sharp wide open, but you can't evaluate this at the edges & corners due to the depth of field differences.

    If I were doing this, I'd shoot both RAW & fine jpeg's, and be very careful to have consistent workflow in processing to keep the results directly comparable, at least within reason. With the RAW developing, be careful not to use a preset that may change parameters that you may not want changed, e.g. curves, or anything that alters tone.

    Thanks for the efforts so far, and for sharing the results, by the way! :smile:

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