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Any experience with Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 as a travel lens?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ooheadsoo, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Pan 12-60 f/3.5-5.6

  2. Pan Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4

  3. Pan 12-35 f/2.8

  4. Olympus 12-40 f/2.8

  5. Other

  1. ooheadsoo

    ooheadsoo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2018
    First post.

    I essentially only have the time and inspiration to shoot when I'm on vacation. The last few years shooting full frame have been fun, but I'm starting to get tired. Time to give m43 a shot. Actually, before switching to full frame, I first shot apsc/dx, then one of those premium fuji fixed zooms, back to apsc/dx, and finally the panasonic lx100. All left me wanting in either response speed or high iso noise. Full frame fixed those, but alas. I'm tired of the bulk and weight.

    So far, I've picked up the Olympus e-m5 mkI, pan 20mm 1.7, and the pan 12-60 f/3.5-5.6. I have an oly 40-140 R and an oly 45 1.8 in the mail. Was trying to keep the budget small, but I lost control.

    My question du jour is about this Pan 12-60. Anyone have experience shooting handheld with it at night? On full frame, my 24-120 f4 vr was fine in pinch. Not ideal, but acceptable for my non-professional purposes. However, with m43's slightly inferior high iso performance and the lens's smaller aperture at most focal lengths, I'm a little worried if I made the right choice. Would it be worth it to step up to either the PL 12-60, the P12-35 f/2.8, or the Oly 12-40 f/2.8?

    Other than personal enjoyment, I do like to entertain the idea of making very large prints, say 40-50" on the long dimension. Admittedly, if I know I'm going to take a shot that I might enlarge, I will probably pull out the tripod. But you never know, right?

    Any experience or sample images would be appreciated.
  2. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    Feb 25, 2017
    Hi, sounds like it'd be good to work through the cost, size, weight, range, and resolution tradeoffs relative to your use of the 24-120. That's not something someone else can do as we don't have the data and it's not something which should be difficult since you've the lens. Similar for the prints as it depends on viewing distance and ultimate quality required.

    That said, I selected the Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 as range and light weight are most useful to me. My large prints are low ISO but I do very few of them so haven't run one from the lens. Based on experience differences will probably become visible around a viewing distance of 1.5 metres, maybe 2 if one's looking particularly carefully.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  3. Saledolce

    Saledolce Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2017
    I think it will be a great travel lens. 12-40 is great, but for travel I find it a bit short. I use O14-150 and I have no issues with speed. Just add a fast prime for shooting indoor, I see you have two of the smallest, either will do.
  4. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    If you really like the lower light photos than F2.8 zooms would be nice to have, unless you would feel limited by that zoom range.
  5. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Previously I used the oly 12-40 2.8 as my travel lens. I really liked it especially the 2.8 that I used a lot. But missed a bit of extra length.

    For my next trip I am going to take the Panasonic 14-140 and a 25mm 1.8 for low light.
    I will miss the sharpness and 2.8 of the 12-40 but I hope the extra versatility of the 14-140 will work out OK. I am a bit worried as the IQ of the 12-40 is better especially in low light.

    I will also take the Panasonic 100-300.

    If I chicken out with the 14-140 I will take the 12-40 and the 100-300 and leave the 25mm 1.8 at home.

    If I had the 12-60 I probably would take that with the 100-300 and 25mm and leave the 14-140 at home. So I am thinking of getting the 12-60 [2.4 - 4] at some time in the future.

    Fixed an error where I indicated leaving he 100-300 at home, should have been 14-140
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  6. ooheadsoo

    ooheadsoo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2018
    Appreciate all the replies, so far.

    One thing I've discovered through camerasize.com is that the PanaLeica 12-60 2.8-4 is significantly larger than the Oly 12-40. In my book, this is a pretty big strike against it and it has made me reconsider that one on my shortlist.
  7. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I don't have any exerience with the 12-60mm lenses, though I have lusted after the 12-60 PanaLeica for a while, but objectively, the advantage over the 12-40mm plus Sigma 60mm is negligible, and since I have (and love) both of these lenses (which I combine with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for even more low light capability and all-out goodness), I have overcome the call of the PanaLeica. The kit zoom gets mixed reviews - very mixed indeed. Not a safe bet, I would say.

    That said, I travel with a superzoom on my GX80 - the Olympus 14-150mm II; it has none of the issues that are known for the otherwise very nice Panasonic 14-140mm II (shutter shock with O.I.S. is the most prominently mentioned). It's optically not that much worse than the Panasonic, either. I pair it with a fast prime (the 25mm f/1.8, as someone else has already mentioned - great lens!) and also take a (super-)wide. On that count, I'll actually add the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 soon - it'll replace both the Olympus 12mm f/2 (very good, but expensive and not that "special") *and* the Samying 7.5mm f/3.5 fish-eye for travel (I usually took one of those, rarely both - but neither has seen much use).

    So, superzoom, fast prime, maybe some extra fun (wide for me), period.

  8. abry

    abry Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2012
    I would doublecheck that, I thought they were about the same size
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Have you tried the 14-140II on your GX80? From what I have read and seen on my G85 shutter shock on these newer cameras has been eliminated due to the new shutters.

    The super zoom I would like one day is the OLY 12-100, or hopefully one day Panasonic will make a pro version of the 14-140
    • Funny Funny x 1
  10. Saledolce

    Saledolce Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2017
    They are. The panny zoom is 60gr lighter, 2mm longer and 1mm narrower.
  11. Mattyh

    Mattyh Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 14, 2013
    Stoke on Trent
    My G80 and Pan 12-60mm and travelled most of the world together and many times I’ve thought about replacing it with the Panny Leica version and each time the cost compared to the gains I would get in performance just don’t add up.

    In fact I actually sold this lens and weeks later ended up buying another, it’s a lens I just can’t not have in my bag.
  12. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011

    I have owned both. If size and weight are a concern, the PanaLeica 12-60 is your option. It is lighter than the 12-40 and essentially the same length.

    If size and weight are a big factor in your decision, go with the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. speedy

    speedy Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 27, 2015
    If it were me, I'd grab the PL 8-18, & a couple of primes. Which I did incidentally. I love shooting wide though. Chuck in the 20 pancake, or PL 25, & maybe the 42.5, & you're set. I've found that I don't really use my PL 15 & 20 pancake now when I'm travelling, the 8-18 fills that range beautifully.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  14. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I already own a P12-35 and have used it on a few travel trips. I like it very much. However, I have often wished I had more reach. So I recently bought the P12-60 2.8-4.

    I haven't used the 12-60 yet for travel, but to me it seems like a good trade-off vs the 12-35 - i.e. somewhat larger, but essentially the same weight - the 12-60 is only .5 oz more.

    If you are concerned about shooting in low light and want to use f2.8, you should chose the 12-35 because it holds that f2.8 throughout its zoom range. The 12-60 goes immediately to a smaller max aperture at any zoom length other than 12mm, gradually getting to f4 as you zoom in. Again, I consider this a reasonable trade-off.

    Note that the Olympus 12-40 is the heaviest of these 3 lenses, 2 oz more than the 12-60. Also, as others have said, the 12-60 is a little narrower (but somewhat longer) than the 12-40.

    I do not have the 12-40, so I cannot directly compare, but it seems to me that the 12-40 and 12-60 are similar enough in size that the difference is negligible. And I can say that 12-60's increase in size over the 12-35 is noticable, but a good trade-off. The 12-40's increase of 5mm has never seemed to me like a good trade-off vs the 12-35 (given the extra size and weight).
  15. bremner

    bremner Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 27, 2016
    I'd second the reommendation of a 25mm 1.8 or (or the P25mm 1.7) as a low light walking around lens. Of course it's not as flexible as a zoom, so it depends on you. The Panasonic version seems to be available very cheap, at least in the US.
  16. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    No, I haven't tried the 14-140mm II on the GX80 - but I know how good the optics are; even so, I'm quite happy with the performance of the 14-150mm II - and the I.B.I.S. of the GX80 is competent enough to not make me miss the O.I.S./Dual I.S. I'd get from the Panasonic.

    I think there's noone who hasn't lusted after the 12-100mm at some time or other; I might still get it if (and that's some "if" there ...) I upgrade my OM-D ... (I have the E-M10 and really like it - but maybe the E-M5 III will finally make me want to replace it).

  17. rumplestiltskin

    rumplestiltskin Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2017
    El Paso, TX
    The 12-60mm Panny was my first lens for my GX85. The range is perfect relative to its size and it's quite sharp. Focus is very fast. I haven't done much night shooting with it except on tripod. Well, I guess I did a few handheld moon shots in the neighborhood but my Samsung S7 phone's camera does a better job for a spur of the moment pic in that situation. I recently bought the Panny 45-175mm for a companion to the 12-60mm; these will be my travel lenses (the pair). I own a number of sort-of fast adapted lenses but, as they are manually adjusted, I don't see using them at night except on tripod. I may bring the smallest of them along with me on my next trip simply because one or two of them will fit in a spare pocket of my camera bag that might be empty otherwise and they weigh next to nothing.

    I used to travel with a Pentax K5IIs and my one lens - a Sigma 18-250 f3.5-5.6. Yes, large and heavy, but (at 27-375mm effective) it encompassed almost the entire range of what I would probably encounter in my travels. I did have a very shallow, way oversized wide-angle adapter so I could get about 21mm (effective but with some distortion at the edges). Prior to the Pentax I traveled with a Fuji bridge camera (S9100 and then an S100fs) so the Pentax was sort-of a massive step up from the Fujis but still being a bridge camera.

    But when I go out at night, I take the Samsung phone and get my street shots. I leave the "flash" off, of course.

    I'm not sure if I was able to provide any clarity for the OP but that's my 2 cents and I'm sticking with it. :026:
  18. ooheadsoo

    ooheadsoo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 13, 2018
    Let's see if we can get these specs lined up

    Pan 12-60
    length 71
    width 66
    weight 210

    Pan Leica 12-60
    length 86
    width 68
    weight 320

    Oly 12-40
    length 84
    width 70
    weight 382

    Pan 12-35
    length 74
    width 68
    weight 305

    So if this is correct, then the PL 12-60 is indeed about the same size as the Oly 12-40. When looking on camerasize, though, the PL's length seems more imposing than the olympus. Could just be my own bias in perception. What I can't tell from the numbers, I guess, is how they handle. Honestly, I continue to be astonished by the P12-60's diminutive size. Looks like a toy, and is so small, I often grab the focus ring instead of the zoom ring by mistake.

    One of the reasons why I started this thread was because my personal testing with the em5 and p12-60 have been a bit disappointing, so far. However, shots I've seen online look amazing. Is it the lens, the body, or is it just me?
  19. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    Feb 25, 2017
    Assuming there's a typo for leaving the 14-140 at home, that's close to the 12-60, 45 2.8, and 100-300 arrangement I use. There's a lot of flexibility in two zooms and a prime so, if you know your priorities and they're suitably aligned, it shouldn't be hard to select satisfying kit among the various 12-*, 14-*, 35-*, and 45-* zooms plus primes m43 has. So it oughtn't be a surprise I'm happy with the arrangement.

    As an aside, I'm a little curious why the Panasonic long zooms are 3x. At 4x, the Olympus 75-300 are fairly typical of the space. Had Panasonic chosen two 5x zooms, similar to Nikon's 24-120 and 80-400, presumably the result would be 12-60 and 60-300. The thinking may have been Panasonic 12-60 + 45-* but the Panasonic-Leica lineup is 8-18, 12-60, 100-400 and the 100-300 presumably competes with the 75-300. I've yet to mind the gap and it's easily filled with a number of options (such as the diminutive 35-100), it's just intriguing by why the design tradeoffs landed that way.
    Perhaps it'd be good to start by considering how we'd figure that out without looking at the images in question? Usually the answer is it's you, though.
  20. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I fixed that typo regarding the lens I would leave at home, and I agree 12-60 and 60-300 would be a good two lenses. but that may make the 60-300 a bit too slow.
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