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12-35 v Primes...

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

  1. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    483
    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

    1
    Jul 28, 2013
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Bill
    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
    Dave
    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

    637
    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Dennis
    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

    850
    Jan 28, 2011
    USA
    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

    359
    Aug 28, 2012
    Vancouver
    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
    Dan
    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

    47
    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

    637
    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    Dennis
    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

    435
    Dec 8, 2011
    Virginia
    Joe
    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

    483
    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

    477
    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

    7
    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

    325
    May 21, 2012
    MN
    Tom
    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
    Dan
    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

    312
    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

    842
    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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