Dilemma - 12-40 or 12-60 and 50 macro?


Mu-43 Regular
May 20, 2013
Hey, so I just received the 12-40 zoom to see if I like it more than the 12-60 I've been playing around with (I have an E-M1). Price is somewhat an issue; for the price of the 12-40 I can hang on to both the 12-60 AND my 50 f/2 macro, which is a BIT long but yields great results.

Upsides to the 12-40:
1) Balances slightly better on the E-M1 than the 12-60
2) Focuses a bit closer than the 12-60 (1:3 vs 1:3.6)
3) Almost exactly one stop faster at 40mm
4) Manual focus clutch whereas 12-60 has to rely on full time manual focus override

Downsides to the 12-40:
1) Price. I got a great deal but it still works out to about twice what I paid for the 12-60
2) The zoom doesn't seem as smooth at the wide end as the 12-60

Upsides to the 12-60:
1) Goes to 60mm, which is handy
2) Uses 72mm filters, same as the 4/3 9-18
2.5) Since I'm mainly using the 4/3 9-18, 50mm f2, and occasionally the 4/3 70-300, using the 12-60 would be nice because then I leave the MMF-3 on

If I were to keep the 12-40 I'd probably sell the 50mm f2; I really like the bokeh of the 50mm and feel that for a lot of objects even f2.8 doesn't yield enough blur. I don't even do THAT much macro but it's a fun lens and I'll probably regret selling it.

What do you guys think? Any thoughts would be appreciated. And I'll just put it out there: I spent something like $385 on the 12-60 and $325 on the 50mm f2. I got a great deal on the 12-40, but it still comes out to a bit more than those two lenses combined.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Aug 6, 2013
Real Name
I have the opposite dilemma. I kinda want the 12-40, but agree on price....had a chance to snap one up for a steal on refurb, but hesitated and lost it...so waiting for that to happen again. I had long sold my 12-60, but picked up another for the E1 I still own, but frankly haven't used it since I got it. I did reluctantly sell my 50mm F2. I love that lens, but figured I could always buy another one if I changed my mind (so far I haven't missed it much). The 60mm & 45 mm do as well though. The 12-60 is big and heavy..more so than I remember. I don't have an adapter, so I haven't tried it w/ the EM5, but I know it would be too top heavy for daily use....for the EM1 it would be better, but still large.

I have the nice primes (25 F1.4, 45 f1.8, 60mm, 75mm)+12-50 if I need wide and like the smaller lenses now, so not sure I "need" the 12-40..just lusting for it. I sold both my 17mm's feeling they were redundant. I have to decide which of the 60mm & 75mm to keep...don't really need both.

The 12-60 was once my go to lens, with the 50mm getting the balance of use....but I can't see having it on the EM5. I've also been gradually migrating to longer focal lengths and shooting closer/tighter too.

I guess if I had the EM1, I wouldn't mind holding onto the 12-60...maybe the 12-40 will come down in price someday and you can snatch one up.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Aug 6, 2010
San Jose, CA
Real Name
One concern I'd have about the 12-60 is durability. I've had bad luck with the SWD motor dying several times, with different copies of the lens (both with m4/3 and non-m4/3 bodies). Out of warranty, it cost $170 last time, and took about 2 weeks for them to repair.

As to bokeh, the 50/2 macro is indeed a nice lens, but the slow focusing really killed my enjoyment of it (again, on 4/3). I'd much rather have the 45/1.8 and an adapted manual focus macro. The 45/1.8 small, fast focusing and quite sharp, and with macro, adapting makes focusing much more pleasant (no focus by wire slop).

Unless I was really strapped for cash, I'd sell the 4/3 lenses. Yes, they're well-made and well-priced, but they just require too many compromises.
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