12-40 v 12-35 on the E-M1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by robbie36, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    As I have both lenses at the moment I thought I would do a quick and dirty compare. I took a number of shots with both lenses.

    My choice of shot was mostly decided by the fact that I was most interested in the differences in C/A between the two lenses. Comparing both lenses at 100% I couldnt really make out much difference. One lens would look better than another with the same shot then I would take it again and the other lens would look better. Admittedly my shooting was pretty rough and read.

    The 12-40 isnt completely without C/A. In this shot, the 12-40 actually shows more C/A than the 12-35. It is at 35mm viewed at 100% with the 12-40 on the left.


    This shot - a 100% view of 12mm - seems to show the 12-40 is sharper but once again I suspect it is as much focusing error as anything else as there wasnt a consistency over the results.

    • Like Like x 3
  2. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    Odd. First image shows smoother bokeh with the 12-35 which is contrary to the report by MingThein (I think it was his review) and less CA. I hate it when everyone gets picky about people that post shots for comparisons but could I ask you to check that the 12-40 is indeed on the left and not the right?
    Second set of images shows greater DOF for the 12-40, were they on the same settings? (Hard to understand this without seeing the whole image.

    I am about to order the EM1 with the 12-40mm lens but I want it to be a worthwhile swap (will be selling the 12-35 before the new lens arrives so I will not be able to perform any side by side tests).
    Want to make sure I don't regret it.

    * Extra 5mm on the long end
    * Manual clutch for focus
    * Designed to work in unison with the OMD body for lens corrections

    * Has OIS if I ever decide to swap to Panasonic (not seeing this happen but you never know - especially if video becomes important down the track)
    * 58mm thread (have Polariser and ND filter for this and then all step up rings so they can be used on all lenses - Oly is 62mm Sheesh)
    * Have its big brother - 35-100 f2.8 which I love and is much smaller than the announced 40-150 f2.8 from oly (yes, oly is longer but sometimes size does matter)

    Would love some more comparison shots if you could manage it. Same setting for both, same focus point, etc. Crop and full image
  3. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Yes, I understand why you might think that I had got the lenses in the wrong order - I thought that too. I went back and checked and it is correct. In the first image that shows the 12-40 with more C/A is definitely correct. However I would stress that I took a number of shots and in other shots the 12-35 showed more C/A. I really posted that one from the selection of images to show that the 12-40 can produce C/A and that it can sometimes be more than the 12-35.

    As for the settings I had them both wide open on AP and took shots when the settings were the same, to even out any light difference.

    Here are 6 full size images - 12-40 first followed by the 12-35....


    This last pic is a 100% close up but this time the 12-40 is on the 'right hand side'....
    • Like Like x 10
  4. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    Thanks for checking Rob

    What are your overall thoughts on both lenses?
    Is it worth swapping to the 12-40 if you currently have the 12-35? If yes why? If no why?

    When you zoom into these shot which retains better detail in the foliage (important for landscape shots)?

    Your thoughts much appreciated.

  5. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Thanks, Rob, for posting the comparisons. I did some testing of my own between the two lenses on my E-M1 over lunch today, but I need to go home before I can organize them and share them here. Mine were just some quick and dirty comparison as well. Nothing too scientific. From my initial observation of the JPEGs (don't have access to RAW conversion now), there's negligible differences between the two lenses in terms of sharpness. I still feel the 12-40 has better contrast, which makes it feel sharper, but have yet to confirm this. I will try to post some RAW conversions from LR5 without any additional PP as I believe the E-M1 have performed more corrections on the 12-40 than the 12-35 in SOOC JPEGs... The biggest advantage of the 12-40 over the 12-35, IMHO, is definitely the close focus capability. I will try to post some of those comparisons as well...

    Just couple questions for you, Rob. What were the settings of the two initial shots you posted? As Maria pointed out, they seem to have different DOF. Also, are these SOOC JPEGs or RAW conversions?
  6. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    Thanks Patrick, would love to see your results also.

    Also interested in the macro capability of this lens and the bokeh. 12-35 has been said to be jittery, would be interesting to see them side by side in regard to this
    Distortion as 12 mm with people near the side of the frame is also an interesting one (their heads get a bit elongated) would be interesting to see how the 12-40 handles this.

    Your overall thoughts on both lenses would also be greatly appreciated.

    You guys rock
    Thanks heaps.
  7. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    For the first 4 shots (2x2) the settings were 1/320, 2.8 @ 12 and @ 35. Looking at them I am not 100% convinced the camera focused on exactly the same spots and this might account for the different DOF. The shots I posted were all 'default' 'LR' conversions. I did play around in Photo Ninja to see if I could tell the difference in distortion but didnt notice any.

    My overall conclusion on the lenses. The 12-40 just seems to edge out the 12-35 - it has noticeably better build quality (although the 12-35 is pretty decent.) The 12-35 is noticeably smaller (a plus) - the 12-40 is bigger than I imagined. I think the 12-40 (over the shots I took) just about won on sharpness and C/A. I am not going to swap my 12-35 2.8 for the 12-40 though. It would end up costing me and the 12-35 fits extremely well with my 35-100.

    This seems a great lens by Oly though at a very nice price. You are only really missing out if you dont own either of these two lenses.

    • Like Like x 6
  8. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    FWIW, I think this has been fixed with the latest firmware.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Finally received my 12-40 earlier today and shot some images within minutes of walking out the store... With regards to CA, Rob's right -- the lens definitely exhibited cyan / magenta CA on several of the initial images I shot (via an E-M1). Not a deal breaker as I've seen CA exhibited in movie shots where I'm sure the cine lenses used cost tens of thousands of bucks... Its simply a matter of light and physics! Bottom line for me is that based on my initial experience shooting with the 12-40, its among the sharpest lenses I've yet photographed with. That said, the lens is a genuine bargain in my book!
    • Like Like x 2
  10. akhyar

    akhyar Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 16, 2012
    If I also own the 35-100, most probably I would stick with 12-35 rather than selling it just to buy the 12-40.
  11. Baimei

    Baimei Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 15, 2011
    The 12-40 also has the L-Fn button on the lens. When you push it, you get a magnified view of the focus point when using the E-M1.
  12. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Thanks for posting this Robbie/ It's really the first 1:1 comparison I've seen. I think it shows that some of the hype and assumptions about the 12-40 being 'obviously' the better of the 12-35 just aren't true. I'm happy that it's a great lens and I really hope Oly sell a ton of them, but hopefully the 12-35 bashing will stop.
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for sharing these. Any chance to see how close each will let you focus, side-by-side?
  14. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Dara, you're in luck. I did some side-by-side comparisons between the two lenses earlier today, and the first thing I did was close focus. All these were RAW files converted to JPEG by LR using its default conversion settings. No modification were added except for the crops.

    1. Olympus 12-40/2.8 @ 40mm

    2. 100% crop of the above

    3. Panasonic 12-35/2.8 @ 35mm

    4. 100% crop of the above

    5. Olympus 12-40/2.8 @ 12mm

    6. 100% crop of the above

    7. Panasonic 12-35/2.8 @ 12mm

    8. 100% crop of the above
  15. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    When I first got my 12-35/2.8, I remembered raving about the close focus ability of the zoom lens. The 12-40 just blew the 12-35 away in this regard, IMHO. Not only can the 12-40 focus much closer (I mean the hood literally millimeters away from touching the target), but the resolving power at this distance is just amazing. Besides, the 12-35 has some pretty nasty purple fringing at 35mm. It also hunts before locking focus at this distance, especially at 12mm. There were several times the camera confirmed focus, but everything was blurred. The 12-40, on the other hand, locked focus almost instantly unless you get past its closest focus distance...
  16. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I do think the hype over the Oly 12-40 is fully justified - an outstanding lens (plus great hood and lens cover) and a great price. The 12-35 tends to be rather under appreciated but then if you price it at US$1400 at launch it isnt a great surprise.

    Perhaps my biggest complaint about the lens is that it doesnt (or doesnt successfully) correct the C/A in the jpegs. Given that the type of C/A it creates is very simple to get rid of in post (rather like the 12-35) you would have thought this something that Oly would have managed.

    Here is the earlier shot I posted at 100% on the left (basically the unprocessed RAW from Lightroom) with the jpeg on the right.

  17. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    The hype is justified? When I look at side by side compared I don't see why... Both are giants in their field, and getting any of them is just a matter of taste. YMMV.
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks a bunch! That really does put things in perspective. Seems like I will definitely not be needing a macro in the future.

    Have you tried using ACR to remove the CA? Past a certain point even simple lateral CA gets tricky to correct without significant resolution loss.

    I guess the other thing to bear in mind is the E-M1 is the first Olympus camera to do any sort of CA correction at all, so I wouldn't necessarily be that surprised if it's a bit rough. One annoying thing about their implementation is that it's profile-based, so it won't work on non-Olympus lenses. It's clearly possible to correct lateral CA without needing to know anything about the lens, but apparently Nikon is the only one so far to implement it that way.
  19. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 25, 2013

    You can get the Olympus 12-40 2.8, AND an E-M1 for the price of the Canon 24-70 2.8. Value is relative I guess, but having just switched from Canon, this lens for $800 feels like a steal. It's still $500 cheaper than the Panasonic 12-35 (considering you're getting the 12-40 with an E-M1).

    For me it was between the 12mm F/2, or the 12-40 2.8, as they were both the same price and I knew I wanted a 12mm. Even if I get other primes in that range later I don't feel like I wasted money, but bonus, I don't need them right now because of the 12-40, so I went with the 75 1.8 instead. :2thumbs:
  20. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Which lens??? :confused: :smile:
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