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12-40 PRO as well as Primes!?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by T N Args, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Budget nuts -- what a waste of money!

    7 vote(s)
    9.3%
  2. Premium nuts -- get a superzoom and stop whimpering about quality!

    5 vote(s)
    6.7%
  3. Mixed nuts -- now you'll have one *more* lens to change!

    19 vote(s)
    25.3%
  4. Bulk nuts -- you didn't even mention that you have a 14-42 kit zoom!!!

    7 vote(s)
    9.3%
  5. Skinned nuts -- when your wife finds out!

    14 vote(s)
    18.7%
  6. Latent nuts -- we would all be doing it if we could, so you not nuts!

    41 vote(s)
    54.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Does anybody own the 12-40 PRO lens and also own primes that cover a similar range? How's that working for you?

    I have primes in 14(P), 25(PL), 45(O). Tempted by the 12-40 but also think I'm insane to be even considering it. Would like to hear from anybody who is making it work -- and in what way do you make them all co-exist.

    Reasons I am considering it:
    • 12-40 is not as bad at close focus / semi-macro as the primes.
    • I don't do video but want to get into it, casually, but maybe the primes are too inflexible? Tell me your experience.
    • the front-and-rear-cap-fandango to change lenses tends to mean that I don't change FL when I should and I miss shots, especially when playing tourist. The 12-40 is obviously no all-in-one lens, but is half a solution, without going 2 notches down in IQ for a superzoom. Or is there a quick/easy/painless way to handle several primes in the field? Tell me what works for you.
    Thanks in advance.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I own both, see my recent bag thread about carrying both. I have the O12-40, O12, O17, V17.5, O25, V25, O45. For the record, my wife also shoots and there are two of us using these lenses. I like the O12-40 but it is big. I was at church event on Sunday evening and I had the O12-40, O25 & O45. The O17 is most often on my camera. The Voigtlanders when I am in a very serious shooting frame of mind.

    As to handling primes in the field, it is easiest if you limit the primes to 1 - 3. I like the 17 & 45 combo. If I had to choose between the primes and the O12 - 40 I would take the primes. The O12 - 40 is a nice compliment to the primes. IMHO.
     
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  3. m43happy

    m43happy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Feb 18, 2012
    I have the 12-40 and the PL25 and PL42.5. I recently just picked up the PL15. Each of those lenses serve different purposes in different situations in my opinion, which is why I have all of them. When shooting an event/party and need versatility, I use the 12-40. When the lighting isn't good I switch over to primes. Also, primes give a much different look than the 12-40. To me the 12-40 is more of a work horse, utility lens (especially since it's weather sealed), whereas the primes allow me to get more creative with more control over depth of field and better light gathering capability. That's not to say that the 12-40 isn't capable of getting some awesome shots. None of those primes can touch the macro capability of the 12-40. Just my 2 cents. :)

    Edit: When I for sure want to go with multiple primes I'll do it on two camera bodies so I don't have to switch lenses as frequently. The weight of carrying around 2 m4/3 cameras is nothing compared to my old Nikon D700+24-70mm.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
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  4. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    7 lenses from 12 to 45. I feel much better after reading that, David! It's true -- frame of mind can be the deciding factor.

    Is there any situation when the 12-40 is the default lens on your camera?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Yes of course, both of you mention events, an obvious good fit for the 12-40.

    What about tourism in cities?
     
  6. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser

    Yes, visits or events where I do not know what to expect.
     
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  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, to tourism as well. Although, I will also have 2 - 3 primes as well for museums, evenings, etc.
     
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  8. m43happy

    m43happy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Feb 18, 2012
    You can use it for tourism. The lens is more versatile so if you want to walk around with the least amount of gear, but have the option to go wide or have some reach, the 12-40 is perfect. A lot of times I'll throw on primes and force myself to just think outside the box and be more creative with shooting, even though whatever particular prime I'm using isn't ideal for certain situations. Time plays a factor as well. If I'm out with friends and I don't want to waste time stopping down to change lenses I go with the 12-40. If you know you'll have more time to spare/explore then go with primes. Go with 2 camera bodies w/ primes and you'll worry less about being "limited" by primes. One big plus with the 12-40 is that if I'm ever having trouble focusing on something (ie someone or something is backlit brightly), it is so easy to pop it into manual focus and use magnify/peaking.
     
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  9. Boneyard

    Boneyard Mu-43 Regular

    186
    Oct 5, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    I am in pretty much the same position as this, substituting 12-35 for 12-40. Also added the 45 macro, though that gets split about evenly between me & the Mrs. (she loves the macro)

    I feel they all have their place.
     
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  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I think that both m43happy and I are saying is that the 12-40 and some primes in your preferred focal length complement each other well. You kit will be versatile with both the 12-40 and some primes than it will be with only one or the other.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Veteran

    449
    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    I have the 12-40, plus the O 17 f/1.8, Panasonic 20, Nokton 25, O45 and O75. I also used to have the P14 and O60 macro (and I'm only counting what's roughly in the focal range...)
    The O12-40 is great and unless the lights dim or you need to fit it in your pocket there is little reason to take this lens off.
    I have barely used the O45 since I got the zoom even though the zoom is weakest at the long end.
    I usually carry the zoom and the O75. The Nokton comes out when it gets dark or at restaurants and the like.
    When I don't want to bring a camera bag I sometimes carry an E-M5 with the P20 in a small belt pouch or a Ricoh GR III, which is the camera that made me sell the P14.
    If someone forced me to sell off my lenses the order in which they would go is O17, O45, P20. After that it would be hard to decide if I would want to keep the Nokton 25 and the O75 or the O12-40, but I would likely keep the primes if it came down to it.
    Rudy
     
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  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I always found them a bit redundant. I mean if I'm in low light, then I want the fastest aperture. That means my prime lenses. If I am not in low light, then why not carry the lighter f3.5-5.6 zoom? Stopped down to f5.6-8 there is not much quality advantage to the f2.8 zooms either. So the f2.8 ends up being for those rare situations where I only want to bring one lens and I might find some low light, but probably not, but maybe? I did find longer f2.8 zooms great for portrait shoots because people get annoyed waiting for you to swap lenses 50x a session. (this experience is with my DSLR, but I'm sure it's comparable)

    Also, you gear signature says GX7 and you mention video, so you'll probably want the 12-35mm f2.8 for the OIS if you buy one. 12-40 will not be stablized by the IBIS on a GX7 during video recording.

    Another camera body might be another option to minimize lens swaps. A second GX7 is cheaper than a 12-35 or 12-40.
     
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  13. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Forgot* to mention I am thinking of picking up an IBIS body -- hence 12-40 is target. However, the better half has her beady eye on the GX7 under this scenario, so having 2 bodies in my bag is unlikely.

    *...actually kind of deliberately, because I wanted to talk about running the zoom and primes concurrently, and how to make that work, rather than my specific lens kit and body options.
     
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  14. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I'm mixed nuts..
    What do you shoot?
    I often have no chance to "zoom with legs", so I got even two zooms in 12-35mm range.
    Still, 20mm/f1.7 is my out and about lens for low light. May be I'll switch it to 15mm/f1.7..
     
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  15. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I generally use the 12-40mm for normal lighting and sigma 30mm f1.4 via speedbooster for low light (assuming I need fast shutter speeds, if not I'm generally happy to hand hold up to half a second given the focal lengths in question), I use the 35-100mm f2.0 as my longer lens for both low and normal lighting. I also own the 25mm f1.8 and 45mm f1.8 and various other lenses I can adapt if so desired (50/85mm etc), I use the primes as part of a small kit as that way I can have something for everything in a very small package.

    I generally don't switch lenses, if I'm using something I stick with it unless a situation demands it (presumably I plan ahead and don't do it at the last second).
     
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  16. MassimoFoti

    MassimoFoti Mu-43 Regular

    127
    Mar 27, 2014
    Lugano (Switzerland)
    I have both the 12-40 and Oly 12mm and 17mm primes. Personally, I don't mind the overlapping focal length, even if the zoom image quality is "prime like".
    I especially value the extra aperture here, since I don't like pushing the EM-1 above ISO 1600.

    There is also a factor that is hard to describe, whenever I use zooms, I tend to have a more casual approach, while I am more deliberate and take extra time to consider each shot whenever I use primes. I see this happenings on my Canon gear too, and I have primes overlapping zooms there too. I often use the zooms for travel/family, and just primes for dedicated photo trips.

    The beauty of Micro 4/3, unlike my Canon system, is that carrying some extra primes takes just a minimal amount of space and weight, so I don't have to restrict the gear I take with me.
     
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  17. sprocket87

    sprocket87 Mu-43 Veteran

    306
    Jun 29, 2011
    Well, I just bought a raft of Olympus primes to complement my 12-40, so you already know where I stand on this ;)

    This is pretty much exactly what I came here to say. I have the 12-40 and I'll never sell it as long as I'm in m43, it's just a perfect all-around zoom lens. No optical compromises, good constant aperture, and trustworthy -- this is the lens I grab when I'm heading into an unknown or variable shooting situation and I don't want to take a whole kit.

    But for me, I also can't be without primes, just because they render differently and have a certain unique characteristic. I usually keep a single prime on camera while it rides in my laptop bag during the work week. I'll use it when I find photographic opportunities while I'm out and about, and forces me to think in terms of that specific focal length. Although the 12-40 is the most prime-like zoom I've ever used, I don't really want to carry it everywhere I go :)

    On the other hand, the lens swap thing definitely can get old... So if you are in a high-pace shooting situation when you literally don't have even 30 seconds to waste swapping out lenses, then the 12-40 is your baby. I just did a couple's engagement shoot last weekend in the freezing snow, and while I brought my primes, I only used my 12-40. It was just too cold to waste a moment farting with lens caps, plus my fingers were so stiff that I didn't want to risk dropping a lens on accident. The 12-40's weather sealing gave me some additional peace of mind, too.

    But honestly, while swapping primes can be a pain in situations like that, 90% of the time it's just the mental annoyance more than anything. If you remind yourself that good photography is a deliberate process, it's not hard to slow down and take just a few seconds to carefully swap lenses before moving on. One thing that helps is mentally preparing your shot list so you can effectively get all the shots you need at each focal length in order, so you aren't switching back and forth over and over again. And of course having a good bag setup so you can quickly and safely move your lenses in and out is a huge help. If I am doing a lot of quick changes I usually don't even cap them, I just place them into their own padded section for protection.

    Your current primes are certainly justifiable in conjunction with the 12-40. If I had your exact lineup, here's how I would view it:

    • O12-40 - All around workhorse to be used whenever you need a single lens for the day, or know that you don't want to fiddle with lens swaps.
    • P14 - Lightweight walkaround pancake lens that stays on the body for daily use unless something else is needed. The 12-40 is just as good at 14mm, if not better, and pretty much equivalently fast, but is like 10x the physical size and weight. Both are justified.
    • PL25 - The low light bokeh machine. When you need f/1.4, you need f/1.4. Your 12-40 simply can't produce this look. Both are justified.
    • O45 - Reaches an extra 10mm (equivalent) past the 12-40 and is a stop faster. Probably sharper, especially stopped down. You could do without this one, but it's not worth a whole lot to sell and it has definite use cases alongside the 12-40, so it's justifiable IMO. But I would consider trading this out for a Sigma 60mm 2.8 or Olympus 60mm 2.8 macro. Those would complement your 12-40's focal length better and get you some new photographic possibilities. Although I just noticed you have the O75 in your gear list so those might be redundant too.
    So no, I don't think it's nuts, assuming your finances allow for it.
     
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  18. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Well said.
     
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  19. While collectively a few prime lenses might weigh as much or even more than a good zoom, they come in to their own for their small size and weight when mounted on the camera. It seems to funny to say this given that I was once happy to use much larger lenses on my Canons, but the 12-40mm is a relatively large lens which at times can feel oversized on a small mirrorless camera body.
     
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  20. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Do you do a lot of low light shooting that requires high shutter speeds like live music ? Do you do portraits? Do you value compactness ?
    If you answer No to these then I think you can easily abandon your primes for the 2.8 zoom
     
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