12mm vs 12mm vs 12mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tonyturley, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2014
    I recently purchased a mint condition E-M5 + 17mm 1.8. Lots of things I like about that combination. I have been considering buying a 12mm lens for those times I want a wider perspective and can't take a few steps backward. I've viewed many samples from the MFT 12mm options, and all have a lot to offer. The rundown as I see it: 12-40 Pro - great IQ, but large, heavy, and expensive. Weather sealing a plus. 12mm f/2 - small, excellent build, great IQ, snap focus a plus, very expensive, no weather sealing. Rokinon 12mm f/2 - great IQ, no weather sealing, much heavier than the Olympus 12mm f/2 but less than 1/2 the cost. Olympus 12-50 - great IQ from what I have seen, although slower. Excellent macro mode, weather sealed, very reasonable cost if bought used, considerably longer than either 12mm f/2, but very lightweight for its size. I've not looked into any of the Panasonic options.

    I'm hesitant on the zooms, because I've owned several of the ZD HG zooms in the past, and while their IQ was excellent, I just didn't get along with their size and weight. On the other hand, numerous people say the 12-50 is much better than some reviews have claimed. I'm thinking I'm going to start by renting a 12-50 for evaluation. Anyone else have any thoughts/experiences to share on those lenses?
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Also consider the Panasonic 12-32. $200 or less used at some places, pancake, gives you the 12mm you are looking for.

    I got rid of the 12-50mm when I had it with the EM5. The IQ was just not there, the macro mode, lackluster as well. If it were available used for $100, then it might be a bit more compelling, but not at the prices they are asking for it. The weather sealing is nice, but not really worth the money, IMHO.

    Another option for getting the 12mm you are looking for is the Oly 9-18/4-5.6. While not a fast aperture lens, the IQ is quite good and it is a nice, small and light lens. I actually got it because I wanted something wider than 12mm and not a fisheye.
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  3. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2014
    Thanks for the reply, Andrew. I'll go check out the Panasonic 12-32 and Oly 9-18. I hadn't really considered those, and I do prefer smaller lenses.
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  4. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    A second vote for the Panasonic 12-32.

    There's also the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 which is smaller and lighter than the Olympus zoom.

    There's the new Panasonic 12-60.

    And of course the various 7-14s.
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  5. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    I am happy with the 12-32. I was in a similar boat: I had the Panasonic 20mm, a prime lens I wanted on my camera most of the time, but I wanted to be able to go wider occasionally. I didn't want to spend a lot of money or carry something heavy for just occasional use. The 12-32 isn't an amazing lens, but it's cheap and I can just keep it in my bag at all times without even noticing the weight.

    Now, if 12mm were a priority focal length for me, I might have bought a different lens. Likewise, if I planned to keep a zoom on my camera most of the time, I might have ponied up for a good one.
  6. Austin

    Austin New to Mu-43

    Jun 8, 2016
    Another vote for the Panasonic 12-32.

    I was in a similar debate a couple months ago, and found a new (although shipped from korea) 12-32 on ebay for $120. It's been a great lens. I'm still debating about picking up one of the other 12mm lenses for some astrophotography, but even if I did get one of those I am really happy I have the 12-32 for its cheap price, small size, and versatility.

    Image quality- Mine is fairly sharp and has produced some really good images. I do occasionally get some fringing on my em-5 II, but it's always really minimal and easy to fix in post.
  7. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Consider the Panasonic G 14mm f/2.5 ASPH. It's not quite as wide but it gets great images. Resolution is nearly identical to the 12mm Olympus, except at the borders - which aren't important to me. But the P14 is a really good, small lens. I considered the Oly 12 but the cost is high. For 95% of my needs the P14 is just as good - and smaller and cheaper.
    I imagine I'll draw some fire.
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  8. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    One thing I will bring up which may or may not be true with this lens (I have no first hand experience with it) is if shooting at 12mm is important to you, being a prime lens this one may be much better controlled as far as things like barrel distortion and other wide angle distortions as well as things like corner sharpness. This would be compared to a zoom which may have design compromises on the wide end in order to work well through out the zoom range, something a prime design doesn't need to worry about.
  9. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    I like the 9-18. Covers a good range and is tiny. And I don't find the 12-50 to be lacking for its size. Weather resistant and good for videos.
  10. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2014
    Thanks for all the replies. Lots of votes for the Pan. 12-32. I looked up some image samples, and they do look good. Lack of MF ability is a big minus for me, though. I guess I'm old school in some ways.

    I have considered that. My concern with the 12mm f/2 is the law of diminishing returns . . . is the lens that much better to justify the high price? Some say yes, some say no. I do scratch my head as to why the black version is about $250 more than the silver version on the used market, since it is no longer a "Limited" edition.
  11. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    Alternatively there is the Panasonic 14f2.5 with the GWC-1 adapter, this equates to a bit more width and is light weight. When not needing the extra width it easily removes leaving the 14mm pancake in place
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  12. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2014
    Nah, we all have our own preferences and work flows. I have considered the 14mm f/2.5. I just don't know if the FOV difference between 17mm & 14mm is all that much. It may behoove me to rent one to try and compare.
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  13. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    I have the Oly 12mm f2, the Oly 12-50, the Oly 9-18, as well as the P 14mm f2.5.

    I like them all. The 12-50 on my GH4 for inclement weather, the Oly 12mm f2 for anything requiring wide and "fast", and the 9-18 for general "ultrawide" and some walkabout.

    Got them all used (the 12 and 9-18 on this site's "Buy Sell" forum) so got fair bargain prices. Of course not all at once either, I "accumulated" my collection over about 4 years.
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  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Trust me, you are far from alone in that concern.
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  15. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    The 14/2.5 is a great prime lens. I have it, but am going to sell it to fund the purchase of the 12-32. Why? I wanted a small wider option for an everyday carry kit. At the time I thought the prime was what I wanted, but I find for the street shooting I do, the zoom would be a better option, especially when I do not want to bring the oly 12-40 with me.

    So, I would not say you'll get any flack, just not sure that the 14mm focal length is what Tony is looking for at the moment.
  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
  17. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2014
  18. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Some more food for the thought regarding the Olympus 12mm f2 - The build quality is great, the snap focus very well implemented however, the way it renders doesn't, for me, set it apart.
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  19. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    I also shoot an E-M5 and have the 17/1.8, which I love. I have not used the Olympus 12mm, but I do question the characterization of it being cheap. It's $800 from B&H and $500 used off eBay, whereas the 12-40 can be had for $800 new and $600 used. I had and sold the 12-50, which was always hit or miss for me. Some days I was happy with the IQ, other days not so much -- not sure how much of that is photographer vs. the gear.

    I now have the 12-40 and like it a lot. It's a bit large for a "always on me" lens, but I never hesitate to take it with me if I know I'm going to be shooting (whereas the E-M5 + 17mm I'll just stick in my bag "just in case"). In general, you can't really beat the image quality of the 12-40, but it does exhibit a ton of barrel distortion at 12mm. This distortion is corrected automatically in software by most RAW converters, but some (e.g. Affinity) don't apply m43 RAW corrections and you'll see it there in spades.

    So, for about the same prices, you can have smaller/lighter, a stop of light and the same filter size as your 17mm. On the other hand you get a full normal zoom range, probably sharper images, weather sealing, psuedo-macro. For me, this was an easy choice, but we all have different priorities.
  20. tonyturley

    tonyturley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2014
    I didn't see where anyone characterized the 12mm as cheap. I've always read that it is well built. The lowest I've seen it is $575 used. The 12-40 is by all accounts excellent, but huge (in my eyes). I once had the ZD 11-22, 14-54 Mk II, and 50-200 ED. Great IQ, but big. I'm going to give this all more thought before chosing. Thanks all who offered your viewpoint.
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