12-40 Pro or 40-150 Pro? Which would you choose?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dlhomesolutions, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Olympus 12-40 2.8 Pro

  2. Olympus 40-150 2.8 Pro

  1. dlhomesolutions

    dlhomesolutions Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 30, 2013
    Peoria, IL
    If you had to choose one of these two lenses which would it be?

    I am trying to decide which to invest in. I am beginning to do more portrait and wedding photography and I think the 2.8 would work nicely. Just not sure which focal range to invest in. I have a 45-200 panasonic that works well for zoom in good light.
  2. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    12-40mm to me is a much more useful focal length. Longer focal lengths do limit what you can shoot especially indoors where you may not be able to back up enough. If you are a guest at a wedding and have to shoot from your seat, then the longer one would be better. But since you are going to be the wedding photographer, I believe you are allowed to get closer. ;)
  3. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    Out of these two the 12-40 for sure. But there is a lot choice out there.
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    Depends on what you have already and what kind of weddings you shoot.

    I've yet to be at a church that had good enough light to use anything slower than and f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens. In my case, I have both the lenses you mentioned above.

    While the 12-40 is going to be more useful in general, I couldn't say that about weddings during the ceremony. Most of the time, I cannot get close enough to get a nice, tight shot without the longer lens (ceremony/venue restrictions).
  5. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Real Name:
    I have both lenses and love both for what they can do. That said, the 12-40 is such a flexible lens that I can't imagine not having it in my bag. It gives you everything from .5x magnification to 1.7x, plus close focus for wedding band shots. Add the excellent sharpness and it's a pretty indispensible lens for a pro using m43 gear.
  6. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I shoot at our church, although not weddings, and I would suggest the following:

    • Primes, at least a 25mm.
    • O12-40
    • Fast 42/42.5mm
    • O75
  7. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Hmm - your question is a bit like asking for advice on whether you should buy a spoon or a tin opener. They both do different things. Do you want to open tins, or eat cornflakes in milk? The 40-150 has a much narrower FOV and is significantly bigger and heavier than the 12-40. There's so little overlap it's really not a sensible A vs B question. If you don't know which you want, then the answer is probably the 12-40 since the FOV range is much more versatile (depending on what you want to shoot of course).

    Also - you use the word "invest". Lenses are only an investment in the way that buying beer is an investment!
    • Agree Agree x 3
  8. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    For portraits and weddings, I'd go with the 40-150. 12-40 is limiting and there are inexpensive, excellent primes which isn't really the case at the longer end.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  9. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    For the price of the 40-150/2.8, you're almost all the way to a 12-40/2.8 + 75/1.8. I see that as a far more versatile combination. It's difficult for me to imagine needing much longer than 75mm as a wedding photographer, and the f1.8 aperture lets you shoot in lower light and achieve even shallower DoF with a much more reasonable working distance compared to the 40-150. The 75mm is also just a straight up dream lens. It's hard to find a better performing lens in any system.

    The 40-150 is also a bazooka of a lens. If I were willing to regularly shoot with 900g lenses, I'm not sure I'd be buying M4/3 in the first place. Probably a Samsung NX1 and the 50-150/2.8. Just my personal opinion, though.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  10. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    I've done hundreds of weddings - but thankfully don't do them any more.

    The 12-40 will serve you very well for the vast majority of the wedding - except if shooting from the back of the church or shooting speeches from the back of the room (I often had little choice in either).

    Frankly, you really need both if you're ever in the situation of not being close enough to "talk to them".

    If I could only choose one then perhaps I'd look at other alternatives to stretch the budget, e.g. the 35-100 f2.8 which is substantially cheaper than the 40-150.

    I know several pro wedding shooters who changed to M43 and initially started with all primes but every one of them migrated to the 12-40 once they tried it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    I would echo this strongly. If you need more reach indoors the 75 1.8 is fantastic.
  12. Exposed

    Exposed Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2011
    Central Washington State
    Real Name:
    Randy dawson
    Get the 12-40. Last wedding I shot with my EM-5 the 12-40 was the only lens I used. It was an indoor/out door wedding and I was able to get everything needed. I also had the 40-150 non pro lens but never used it.
  13. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Real Name:
    I've done a few weddings, and have used the 12-40 almost exclusively. The 7-14 Pro can be interesting too, but I've not run into much need for the 40-150, even in pretty big venues. Some of it depends on the kind of photos you and your client want...
  14. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    If you're beginning to do more, what are you using now? Which of these two lenses will replace what you're using?

    Lenses aren't investments, they're expenses that may have a residual value after full depreciation.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2015
    very true
  16. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    I have both and use them for very different types of scenes and subjects. Indeed lenses, like most photo equipment are expenses which will almost always have a loss in the end. The ROI is not so good.
  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    You make me nostalgic for New England.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  18. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    For a pro wedding shooter the answer is obviously both, one each on 2 bodies. But since you asked either/or, then I'd also suggest the 12-40. For the posed shots with or without flash and the reception, the 12-40 range is pretty good. The longer lens would come in handy for some set-ups but would be very limiting if it was your only zoom. Even if you can't afford both right now, a longer prime, like the 75mm f/1.8, or even the 60mm f/2.8, would really come in handy for portraits.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  19. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    For me the 40-150 works much better, when i want wider lenses i have the primes that are faster.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I answered the poll, but it really depends. For a wedding you need the focal length coverage of both these lenses so it really depends on how do you plan to fill the missing part. If you have the kit zoom you are covered on the wide-normal part and you could add the 40-150.
    But probably you'll shoot 90% of your shots in the 12-40 range, so...

    Even for portraits the longer zoom could be better for headshots, but could be too long for indoor full person shots.

    With the 12-40 you can crop, with the 40-150 you don't.

    If you are in doubt maybe you should take some time to shoot with your current equipment noticing what focal length you use. You can use the Digital TC to simulate a lens longer then the one you have. You can try this at any public event, festival, etc.