15mm 1.7 + 12-32 vs 12-35 2.8

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tkbslc, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I've got more money than time to shoot this winter, I guess, so forgive me for this "what lens" thread.

    I have decided I need a wider stabilized lens in my kit. Half for video, half for landscapes, etc. I am quite fond of my 15mm f1.7, but I will admit I use my 25mm f1.8 more for low light stuff and kid pics. I have taken some great pics with it, though, and would be sad to see it go. However, I tire of 15mm being my widest regular lens, I wish it had stabilization for video, and sometimes I just want to use a standard zoom instead of swap primes.

    So I could easily add the 12-32mm to my kit, and have almost bought one a couple of times. Or I could go with the higher end 12-35mm f2.8, but I'd probably have to sell my 15mm to cover the full cost. And they just seem like they would be redundant, even if I got a good deal on a 12-35.

    Would love to hear opinions on which route you'd go with.
  2. Starfleet

    Starfleet Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 14, 2015
    Michigan, USA
    12-32 is not a bad lens at all, but does not have focus ring and requires to be opened to shoot. If you do not care about those aspects, then you are good. 12-35 mm is certainly better and more useful in low light, especially at longer focal lengths, but considerably larger. If you are used to shooting with fast primes, you will certainly be disappointed with the 12-32 - you won't get much subject separation and will be forced to higher ISO. At that point it is probably just best to get the 12mm f/2.0 or go with the 12-35mm.
    Personally, I think that the 15mm is a wonderful lens, and I always carry that with me. Try rent the other lenses to see if you really want to invest in them.
  3. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    12-32 with a GM5 on the back of it is $439 at Adorama.
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I have considered a 12mm f2.0, but that doesn't give me an option for video stabilization on my Panasonic camera. It also doesn't give me a standard zoom for walk-around/travel which I would like. Primes are great, but sometimes I hate prime swapping.

    GM5 could be an interesting option. I guess a second body would help with the prime swapping, cover 12mm and video IS, and give me a compact alternative to my GX7.

    Thanks for the replies.
  5. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I really like the 12-35. Nice rendering, fast AF, cold resistant, weather sealed, etc. Generally sharper in the center than the 12-40, personally I think it is the best of the m43 "normal" zooms.

    my take on this - Native and Adapted Normal Zooms - a contrarian review

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  6. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    I really think it depends on how much you want the wider aperture of the primes. I use my 20mm all the time (often at f/1.7), meaning that even if I had the 12-35mm, it wouldn't live on my camera. So, I think of my camera (most of the time) as fixed lens 20mm, but I've got the 12-32mm in reserve when I want other focal lengths.

    If you are fine with f/2.8, the 12-35 is a compelling alternative.
  7. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Another option is to shoot with a mono pod and stabilize in post. The mono pod will help eliminate the larger movements, and post can eliminate the more subtle movement.
  8. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    I would prefer 15 mm + 12-32 to the 12-35 only.
    To me, the 12-35 won't replace prime lenses anyway...

    The 12-32 is a wonderful lens because it's optically very correct, it's very tiny, and it's not very expensive.
    The 12-35 is a better lens (image quality, aperture, construction, everything), but is a lot more bulky and heavy, so it all depends on what you want to do and what you like.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    I'll make it simple... buy the 12-35mm :) 

    In life we will always make money so sell the 15mm to fund the 12-35mm. Down the road buy the 15mm again if you choose.

    I use my Canon 5d2 and 5d3 alot with the my L primes and zooms. I'll have to admit the M43 panny lens on my gh3 or e-m5 is a good replacement to most canon crop dslr sensor bodies . I have zero regrets buying the 12-35mm as far as "maximizing" IQ in the M43 world with the versatility of a zoom.

    The 12-35mm image quality is very impressive and in good light (even bad) I'm quite content. I'm no longer a bokeh junkie for every single photo I take (been there, done that). I do enjoy the dof of the zoom because it documents environmental backgrounds and is versatile. No limitations of a prime if your wanting thicker dof anyways. I'm a prime and zoom user for my Canon gear so I use what is necessary...I choose the tools I need to document my style and the conditions I am in.

    In low light primes are great and it sounds like you have preference to a "50mm" focal length using your m43 25mm prime.

    I use my GH3 alot for my family documentation. The image stabilization is a treat to use for running and gunning.
  10. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I have both 12-32 and 12-35 and have no plans to sell either one. 12-35 goes with EM1 and 12-32 with GM5.

    - great IQ
    - easy to work with (zooming, CPL adjusting)
    - weather sealing
    - OIS

    - compact size on GM1(5). I really do not hesitate to take it "just in case".
    - good IQ, though less than 12-35
    - OIS

    I once had GAS for 15mm/1.7 but couldn't justify it over 20mm/1.7 - my oldest lens, and TBH I don't use it much.
    IMO, 15mm is still too pricey and 12-35mm is great value now.
  11. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 25, 2012
    how often do you use the 15mm? How often do you use it F2.0 or wider? How much do you value a small sized kit.

    If you find you gravitate to the 25mm and don't use the 15mm much the 12-35mm is a better option. Use the 25mm for you small prime/low light lens. 12-35 all round zoom in most conditions.

    If you find you often need something wider than 25mm and faster than f2.8, keep the 15mm. Get the 12-32mm for your zoom in 'good light', and for when you need 12mm.

    If you like to keep you kit small and light as possible, get the 12-32mm. When you head out bring the 12-32mm + fast prime of choice.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I wouldn't say I "gravitate" toward the 25mm. I just think if I had to pick one to keep, it would be the 25mm (plus it's my wife's favorite). I use the 15mm quite a bit, but that is because it is my widest lens. I also use it near wide open most of the time, but that doesn't mean I have to. Most of my favorite shots with the lens are landscapes at f4-5.6. I have some nice portraits with the lens, but I'm not sure I'd call it a portrait prime. It's a phenomonal lens, I just keep wondering if it is flexible enough (hence wanting a zoom, too)

    I do value a small kit, but I always bring a bag, too. So small is relative. Taking 2-3 primes (or tiny zooms) on vacation isn't a smaller kit than one medium sized zoom, is it?
  13. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    If budget allows 99.99% of the time I will not buy a variable aperture zoom. I'll admit I bought a Panny 12-45mm lens since I gave my 6 & 9 yrs old daughters my Olympus e-m5. The 12-45mm works quite well considering it's not an expensive lens with image stabilization.

    Constant aperture zooms do not take any creative control away from the photog. The highly regarded "kit lens" panny 12-45mm is a decent sharp lens. 12-35mm f/2.8 will very likely satisfy a prime m43 shooter as far as IQ is concerned.

    Tkbslc, you already have premium primes. Having a medium f/2.8 zoom is a no brainer ;)  Looking at your primes I'm surprised you don't already own a 12-35mm and 35-100 f/2.8 to compliment your large prime set.

    I seem to have more dynamic photo experience using the 12-35mm since I have virtually infinite perspective vs the somewhat "fixed" perspective you get with primes. Fantastic versatility if found in zooms when family documentation is concerned.

    I will foot zoom .....shuffle my feet :)  equally as much with zooms. Prime lenses I foot zoom obviously but I am not a lazy zoom user like many photographers. You will see different a different perspective if you work the lens (zoom).

    This is why with my canon I'll use either a 16-35mm f/2.8mk2 or 24-70Lmk2 and a wide prime for tighter intimate events photography. blow out the background in cream and thicker dof shots for documentation of the entire event/venue.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  14. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    I think it's certainly possible to replace a 12-32 and a 15/1.7 with a 12/35(or 12-40) 2.8, though it depends on your shooting style. I've owned many of the primes in the M43 system, and since getting my 12-40(and later replacing it with my 12-32/2.8), I've gotten rid of all of my primes below 25mm, including the 12/2, 14/2.5, 17/1.8 and 20/1.7, the lone exception being the 7.5/3.5 fisheye, but that's a special case lens anyway.

    For me, a big reason I want fast primes is because of DOF control, I tend to gravitate towards fast primes so I can isolate the subject more so than for sports or freezing motion. The 25/1.4 is the widest AF lens in the system that I feel gives an adequate amount of DOF control. Of course, you can get very close with wider lenses and still isolate (small) subjects, but in that case a 2.8 can isolate subjects as well. The primes I stick to these days are the 25/1.4, 42.5/1.2 and 75/1.8, all of which give excellent control over DOF.

    When I'm shooting with wider lenses, I tend to use an entirely different shooting style, and tend have most things in focus most of the time, so a fast aperture isn't very important to me. Frequently, when I'm shooting wide I don't care about freezing motion, and often prefer (in the case of cityscapes) to purposely blur moving subjects. So, for me, my 7-14/4 and 12-35/2.8 do very well even in low light with my EM1.
  15. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 25, 2012
    Do you use the 15mm wide open most the time, because you need it wide open for low light situations. Or do you do it for shallow DOF?
  16. danelkins

    danelkins Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    Norhtern Illinois
    I went thru a similar mind bend. I was using a 14-140 and primes on a G6 and decided it was time for a camera upgade – wanted IBIS. I settled on a PL15 and 35-100/2.8, and offed my 14-140, PL25 and O75. This was based on buying a GX8, plus I have a few old adapted lenses. I don't shoot much video but wouldn't hesitate with my setup. IF you need wider than 15mm then get a 12-32 (GM5 pkg) as it is hard to beat the price.
  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Because I can!

    The DOF is only shallow if you get too close. So I don't see much point in stopping down.
  18. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 25, 2012
    I guess this means there's less of a need for you to be at f1.8. Might as well get the 12-35 and be at f2.8 then.

    But personally, in you shoes I would go with the 12-32. But that's because I like a small camera and small kit. These days my camera bag has 12-32 + 17mm 1.8, on a panasonic GM5. I sometimes throw in 42.5 f1.7 or 75mm depending on what I'm doing.

    I do have a 12-40 as well, but I only pull that out when I need to. For those times when I feel the need for a high quality zoom... events and sometimes holidays.
  19. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I'll throw in a vote for the 12-35/2.8. Nice lens.

    One main point for the 12-35mm with it's f2.8 through out the zoom range is it makes it a much more useful general use lens that allows reasonably fast aperture to allow that extra almost full stop to two full stops of extra light gathering you otherwise would have to make up in ISO (with its added noise) over the 12-32.

    The 12-35 is bigger and more expensive, but in my mind a stop or two of extra light gathering for roughly the same zoom range is significant. After all, with photography it is all about the light.
  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I'm really leaning 12-35mm, but then I spent $500 in car repairs since starting this thread! Might not be able to swing the more expensive lens this month.
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