12-35mm disappointment?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by mftlandscaper, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. mftlandscaper

    mftlandscaper Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 6, 2013
    I purchased a new Panny 12-35mm f/2.8 last week. I had decided to rationalise my growing lens collection down to a set of quality zooms to minimise lens changes.

    However, apart from the nice build quality, I have been sorely disappointed with its optical performance. The first problem I spotted was uneven vignetting, resulting in one dark corner (bottom right) at 12mm, even when stopped down to f/11. To me that's unacceptable on an £850 lens, so it's going back to the retailer tomorrow.

    As well as the uneven vignetting issue, the limited testing I have done so far suggests that the edge performance at f/5.6 is noticeably worse than my excellent Panny 14-45mm lens, at all focal lengths. Again, not what I expect from a lens costing 3x as much.

    I wanted a well-built lens with top optical quality, a useful FL range and fast aperture to use as a staple alongside my 7-14 and 45-200, but I ended up feeling robbed.

    I am expecting the retailer to offer a choice of refund or replacement (based on the vignetting issue, which I regard as a fault). My dilemma is: should I try another sample, or keep the money and stick with my 14-45? My question to you guys is: should I expect better from this lens? Have others found it better than the 14-45, or is it just an OK lens with a fast aperture and fancy build?
  2. gnb40

    gnb40 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 9, 2011
    I don't have that lens, so I may not be the best person to comment... but when I shot with Canon and Nikon I would expect their premium lenses not to vignette. I did notice some edge softness (very little but still there) on a Canon wide angle zoom when wide open. This might just be something that's hard to do on a fast (f2.8) wide angle zoom at any cost.

    I've been trying to justify the 12-35, I would certainly expect it not to vignette and to be sharp across the field when stopped down a couple of stops.
  3. mftlandscaper

    mftlandscaper Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 6, 2013
    I should add that there was no vignetting in the other three corners beyond about f/5.6. Only the bottom right corner affected by the uneven vignetting issue (decentering?) showed persistent vignetting right out to f/11 at 12mm.

    Vignetting wide open at 12mm is pretty severe in all 4 corners.
  4. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    If its a decentered element, then I'd say a least try a replacement before doing a full return--even if just in the store. It's a good lens.
  5. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    A while back I did an informal test of the 12-35 and 14-45. I found the same thing. I shot the same scene from my backyard that had a log fence post with the bark still on it. I believe it was on the left edge of the photo. Same f stop and 14mm on both and the 14-45 was considerably sharper on that post. The sharpness everywhere else was the same. The 14-45 is a great lens, just doesn't have the speed or 12mm of the other, obviously.
  6. mftlandscaper

    mftlandscaper Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 6, 2013
    Unfortunately it's an online retailer, so testing in-store isn't an option. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
  7. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    My copy has minimal vignetting and is sharp wide open and very sharp at f4. It conforms to the reviews I have read. I think you got a dud. I'd try another copy.

  8. ptolemyx

    ptolemyx Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 19, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    I have to agree with flash .. I get excellent results from mine throughout the aperture & FL ranges. I'd also try another.
  9. mistermark

    mistermark Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 16, 2012
    As others have said, the OP's experiences differ from mine. I'd say it's a defective example, and the next one will be as good as most people's are.
  10. mftlandscaper

    mftlandscaper Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 6, 2013
    So it sounds like some people are happy with their 12-35 lenses. Can anyone point me to any comparison images that show a performance advantage for the 12-35 over the 14-45 (apart from the obvious focal length and aperture differences)? That would help my decision.

    At the moment I am leaning towards taking a refund and sticking with the 14-45. The 12mm wide end was a selling point to me, but as I have the 7-14mm as well, it's not a big loss.
  11. Take a look at the reviews on slrgear.com, Panasonic Lens: Zooms - SLRgear.com!. The 14-45 is a pretty good lens but the 12-35 is better and about a stop faster. Is that worth $1,200? Can't answer that for you ;-)
  12. mftlandscaper

    mftlandscaper Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 6, 2013
    Thanks for the link. Yes, the 12-35 does indeed score better in the slrgear tests compared with the 14-45.
  13. scarbrd

    scarbrd Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 1, 2011
    Houston, TX
    weather sealed

    I am very happy with the 12-35. I just ordered the companion 35-100 2.8 as well.

    These lenses are weather sealed. I don't know if the 14-45 is or not, I suspect it isn't.

    You don't mention the camera you're using. Mine is paired with the Olympus OM-D. This makes for a complete weather sealed kit with a fast, sharp zoom.

    May not be a priority for you, but it is a feature of the lens.
  14. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    This thread is rather useless without some example photos.
  15. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I don't have the 14-45, so I can't compare, but I'm very pleased with the performance of the 12-35. Mostly been using it stopped down (landscape type shots), but works very well wide-open as well. I haven't pixel-peeped extensively, but the processed shots (standard LR or DxO settings) have yielded very pleasing results.

    Definitely my go-to travel lens, as I'm very used to (and enamoured with) the 12mm wide end perspective, coming from a 5DII with a 24-105 quasi welded on (when not shooting primes..)
  16. Sela69

    Sela69 Mu-43 Regular

    Quasi ? Are you italian :biggrin: ???

    I'm italian too ... :2thumbs:
  17. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    The Panasonic 12-35 and Olympus EM-5 has allowed me to sell my 5DII with 24-105; which was bought as a set a few years ago.
  18. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Half Italian, but it's a pretty common turn of phrase in English as well ;)
  19. Sela69

    Sela69 Mu-43 Regular

    Wow, nice to know ! :tongue:
  20. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    The 14-45mm was a anomaly as a kit lens in terms of its performance:price. You can't expect miracles because the 14-45 is already a great performer, IQ differences will be subtle at best. It is also (not trying to be isulting) silly to ask for a comparison but say "apart from focal length and aperture differences" as THAT IS THE PRIMARY DIFFERENCE. If you don't feel the need for a zoom range of 12-35 or a 2.8 aperture then stick with the 14-45, if you want those things then the 12-35 is better.

    I own the 14-45 and just bought a 12-35, basically because a good percentage of my shots are in lower light and indoors, the 12-35 will just be better for me. Is it worth the price difference, probably No, but at this time yes because there are no alternatives other than multiple primes.