12-35 v Primes...

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by chrism_scotland, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Would anyone recommend the 12-35 over a set of primes (12, 17, 25) from an IQ perspective?
  2. urbang

    urbang New to Mu-43

    Jul 28, 2013
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Real Name:
    I would recommend it. I actually bought the Oly 12mm, and the sample I got was not very good, so I returned it and bought the 12-35. It was good enough at all focal lengths that I don't much use my Pan 20, and am not planning to but any other primes in that range. You may want to hold, however, and give the Oly 12-40 a look. I did not have that option.

    Good luck with your choice.
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  3. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    From a purely IQ perspective - I would go for the primes. But having said that, the 12-35 can hold its own as with regards to IQ. And I will almost always grab the 12-35 over a set of primes. YMMV.
  4. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I sold my 12mm when I got the 12-35, but I kept my 25mm (and my 45mm).
  5. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Real Name:
    I replaced my 12mm + 17mm with the 12-35 zoom. I kept the 25mm Nokton because it's more a specialty lens, and kept the 45mm as it has a little more reach and with that much reach having some speed it quite nice.

    As far as IQ as sharpness and rendering go- I'd say it's just as good as the primes. It's 2.8 vs 2 + 1.8, but renders bokeh well although it's not a lens for shallow depth of field, it's for flexibility. I use the 12-35 WAY more than the 12mm + 17mm combined, I got tired of changing lenses (or really- not being able to do it) in non-ideal locations. So I love the lens- and I've never been one for zoom lenses.
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  6. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:
    I have had the 12, 14, 17, 20, and 25 in that range and bought the 12-35 for its versatility in less than ideal weather conditions.

    I do some basic testing and found the IQ of the 12-35 easily better than the kit zoom but not quite up to the primes (very close in some cases).

    If I was after the absolute IQ, I would stick with the primes. With that said, I don't have any issues with IQ from the 12-35 like I have noticed (when looking for it) with the kit zooms.
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  7. m43man

    m43man Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    How often do you guys shoot wide open on the f1.8 lenses?

    I've noticed that the 17mm is quite soft wide open, only when it's at f/2.8 then the iQ improves. Maybe I have a bad copy, but if one shoots at f2.8 all the time then 12-35mm or the next oly 12-40 is perhaps a better way to go.

    But 12-35mm needs to go up to f4.0 for iQ to improve, so I hope the 12-40 will be good right at 2.8!
  8. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    I shoot whatever lens I have wide open almost all the time, be it zoom or prime, unless I specifically want more DOF, which is pretty rare for me. I guess I'm not enough of a pixel peeper to worry about the slight differences in quality.
  9. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    At one point last year I had two 12/2s and two 12-35/2.8s. Both of the zooms were better than either of the 12/2s at f/2.8 up. At f/2, of course, the 12/2s were invincible. :D The 12/2s I had may have been on the lower end of the sample variation distribution but at any rate I would say they're close enough that IQ is not the reason to pick the prime.
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  10. Foster2380

    Foster2380 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    I started off with the 12 and the 25. I purchased the 12-35 just to see how good it was. After getting it, I immediately sold the 12 and the 25 hasn't been on my camera since. Ok maybe once. From my non pixel peeping actual photograph taking in the real world experience I find the 12-35 as sharp or better than the 12, and a whole lot more convenient than the 25. I do wish it could stop down lower than 2.8, but beggars can't be choosers.

    I will more than likely be selling the 25 soon and am taking a serious look at the 35-100.
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  11. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Real Name:
    I used to never be much for zooms, then I realized the reason for it was because I had never used a good one before.
  12. emptysensor

    emptysensor Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2011
    Real Name:
    Though I think the 45 has an edge in IQ over the 12-35, I don't feel that the 25 does. What the 25 has is a magic that can't be measured and it's really a different animal than the 12-35. For me the best part about the 12-35 is the versatility. I never had a quality standard zoom, even for my Nikon, that could do reasonable bokeh. Yeah the fast primes can blur more, but they're more one trick ponies than the 12-35. I love that I can carry a quality zoom that has really close to prime IQ, but with some spinning of the dial (aperture) on my EM5, I can go from near infinite depth of field to some reasonable, if restrained, bokeh. The 12-35 is probably my favorite lens right now. I sold my 14-45 and have not missed it one bit.
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  13. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks everyone.

    I've never been a fan of zooms before be it on my previous EM5, X-Pro 1 or D600 I've always used a fairly similar set of primes (tend to be 24, 35, 50, 85) however I've been on 2 trips this year, Paris with a D7000 and Italy with a D600.. in Paris I had a 24mm 35mm and 17-50, the zoom was a revelation for me, it was great to have both fairly wide and some zoom in one lens with a fixed f2.8, the Sigma was however quite bulky and so the 24mm got most use.

    However when I was in Italy I found myself switching between primes on my D600 a lot (24mm and the heavy Sigma 35mm f1.4) frankly it was a hassle (and I know my partner was fed up with it too!), thats partly why I made the move back to M4/3 size for travel and lens choice.

    I really wanted to go back to a prime setup of the 12 f2, 17 f1.8 and 25mm f1.4 but I've now had 2 12mms and was left unimpressed, particularly bearing in mind the cost!

    The 17mm f1.8 is lovely and regardless of a zoom will be getting kept as I love the 35mm (effective) field of view, and sometimes the size of a small prime is very handy.

    Very tempted by the 12-35 and perhaps a 45 or 75 to go with it particularly as I can get a used 12-35 for not a lot more than a 12mm (and certainly cheaper than a 12 & 25).

    Meant to add, the Olympus 12-40 f2.8 is a consideration, it looks very good if a little larger than the Panasonic, however I have always preferred Olympus lenses on my Olympus M4/3 body - however on its own its likely to be quite dear (especially new) and seems like it would only really be a good value buy if I bought it with the EM1 as a kit.....
  14. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    I have 12-35 plus the 14, 25 and 45. I haven't used the primes since getting the 12-35... (well, I used the 25 when I wanted 1.4, but that is all).
  15. Bacio

    Bacio New to Mu-43

    Nov 25, 2012
    I have 12-35 and Oly primes - 17, 25, 45, 60, 75.

    I use all primes max. wide open. I love blurred bacground. But for Travel photography I like zoom and it works well.

    I do not really care about IQ - I watch photos on computer and not prints 50x60" ;)
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  16. noohoggin1

    noohoggin1 Instagram: @tomnguyenstudio

    May 21, 2012
    Real Name:
    I have (primes) P14, P20, P25. I also have the 12-35mm zoom. Although I haven't done any extensive, pixel-peeping comparisons, I haven't noticed any significant difference in image quality to matter in my work. For what it does, its compactness, and image stabilization built-in, it's a remarkable lens.
  17. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    Ok, I went back and reviewed some of my O45 shots and discovered that it is of course sharper stepped down a stop or two. I never noticed it before, but when looking for it, it is quite clearly sharper at 3.2 than at 1.8. No real surprise there I suppose, but the funny thing is I have been completely satisfied with the lens at 1.8 and now I'm bummed I didn't up the ISO on some of the shots and closed the lens down just a bit. I guess I'm just a thin DOF junkie and the main reason I've wanted fast lenses is to get whatever DOF control I can out of u4/3. Anyway, I still think the 45 is fine at 1.8, just not as good as it is at 2.8 or higher.
  18. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I have 12-35mm and other primes, for me 12-35mm is really useful for travel or event work since there is no time to change lens. I only use primes if I have a clear intention of what I am going to shoot. (Except 17mm which is on my Oly body most of the time)
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  19. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Yea - the 12-35 is great. No doubt about that. If you want a high quality standard-range zoom there's no better in u43 land right now (but of course that may change once the 12-40 arrives... but it may not).

    IQ is as near to the primes as makes no practical difference. DOF will be narrower with the primes of course.
  20. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    IMO the 12-35 can eliminate the following primes:

    12/2 - 1 point for speed. IMO it's not significantly sharper, smaller, or cheaper than the 12-35.
    14/2.5 - 3 points for price, size, and sharpness, but is no faster (and some copies aren't sharp)
    17/2 - 3 points for speed, price, and size, but not significantly sharper.
    25/1.4 - 3 points for speed, price, and sharpness, but not significantly smaller.
    30/2.8 - 2 points for price and size. Sharper? Not faster.

    The 12-35, can't, however, eliminate the 20/1.7. The 20 is significantly smaller, sharper, cheaper, and faster than the 12-35, so it gets 4 points.

    The 45 is not a pancake, but it gets 4 points too: price, speed, sharpness, longer FL (personally I'd recommend a $30 nifty fifty!). It shouldn't be mentioned because of the FL but then again I think the 35-100 is not on par with the 12-35 popularity-wise so I thought I'd mention it as a longer option.
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