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EM-5 kit zoom 12-50mm - whither the 12mm prime?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Gyroscope, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    OK so I've just bought the OM-D.

    After about a day of "jeezo this is complicated" I've come to the conclusion that it's a really nice camera (like, duh) and the 12-50mm kit zoom is a very versatile piece of kit that will cover an awful lot of situations.

    I also recently bought (on complete impulse) the Olympus 12mm 2.0 prime, and I'm beginning to wonder, particularly in light of the kit zoom, what purpose it might serve.

    Hey, it looks and feels nice, but other than performance in low lighting, what does it win me over the kit zoom pulled right in (I'm sure that's not the correctly terminology, but tough :tongue: )

    Opinions, suggestions please.

    Thanks

    /g
     
  2. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    693
    Jul 8, 2011
    It's smaller, has a clutch manual focus for zone focusing, silver color, f2 gives you a shallower dof, square lens hood, might be sharper at 3.5 than the 12-50 at 3.5.

    This is just a guess, but I imagine the 12 will get you better battery life than the 12-50.
     
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  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Well, I expect the 12 will be a little sharper than the zoombut, since I'm still waiting for my E-M5 and 12-50 zoom, I haven't been able to compare them personally.

    Probably more important to me, however, is the fact that the 12 prime is smaller and lighter than the zoom which means that it's a bit easier to carry around in a bag like my shoulder bag when I don't want to carry my camera bag. That can make a difference for me at times when I only want to be carrying a camera with just the lens mounted on it. That may not matter to you but it does to me.

    We all have different views on what lenses best suit us and the best reasons are those which relate to our own tastes and the way we shoot. What I prefer doesn't have to suit you and what suits you doesn't have to suit me. It doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks, what matters is whether the lens works for you. I'm happy to use the 12 prime when I want a wide angle and I ordered the 12-50 zoom with my E-M5 for its macro capabilities and to have a weather sealed lens to go with the weather sealed body for any times when I need that.
     
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  4. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    Thanks very much for the perspective songs2001 and David.

    On reflection I think you've probably hit the nail on the head. The kit zoom is a lovely thing (and yes, the macro capability came as a great surprise - took a minute to figure out, but very cool), but it's not small. I've already found that the body + zoom don't sit well in the small Crumpler bag I usually carry, and a lot of the time I like to travel as light as possible. So for now the 12mm doesn't get the bum's rush - I'll see how I get on with uses, sizes and weights - and I suspect it will be staying for good.
     
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Well, it's certainly sharper. Whether that difference is worth buying and carrying an extra lens is up to you. I see 3 potential categories of users for the 12/2:
    1. Street photographers who like the manual-focus abilities
    2. People who want the absolute smallest kit for traveling and are want/need max. sharpness
    3. People who dislike zooms

    No question that the 12/2 is a nice lens, but it's definitely not as generally useful as the kit 12-50.

    DH
     
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  6. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    LOL - definitely not me! The area I work in is plagued with street photographers regularly sticking their cameras in my face (not just me - anyone here on a regular basis) and then trotting off. I don't want to start a flame war but I'm not a fan of street photography or street photographers.
     
  7. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    The 12mm prime is a nice lens but, according to all the tests and reviews, it's good, not great, which to my mind makes it pretty poor value for money considering the price.

    It may be faster, smaller and made of metal, but none of these attributes have any effect on the image quality, and you pay plenty for them.... if you find yourself not using the prime, there's no point in having a lens that price sitting in the bottom of a bag!
     
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  8. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Gasp! U must be interesting looking or something ;)

    - Eliot
     
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  9. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    I reckon it's my big ol' fat bald head that attracts the street photographers :smile: I don't think it's my movie star looks!
     
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  10. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    I have to disagree with this. The 12mm is phenomenal. While I agree that it is expensive, I don't recall seeing a single review that gave it anything less than "very good" and the vast majority seemed to indicate it is, in fact, great. It's tiny, fast to focus, and it's fun to use. It's lived on my camera since I bought it, and of the four native lenses I own it's by far my favorite. Of course, different strokes for different folks, but here are the first couple of reviews I could find on the googles (and a quote from Steve Huff's article that was part of what convinced me to buy it). Anyway, sorry to be a fan boy, but I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!

    "Excellent sharpness – sharp right from f/2, and sharp corner to corner from f/2.8. Outstanding color and contrast at all apertures."
    -http://admiringlight.com/blog/olympus-m-zuiko-12mm-f2-review/2/

    "There isn't much to add here that the tests don't already say for themselves - the Olympus 12mm ƒ/2 M.Zuiko offers excellent results for sharpness in a quality package. The price might be prohibitive for some, but if you can afford it, you won't be disappointed."
    -http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1444/cat/14

    "Upon first contact you will fall immediately in love with the Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 ED...The optical quality of the M.Zuiko is impressive."
    -http://www.photozone.de/olympus--four-thirds-lens-tests/673-oly12f2?start=2

    "At $799 it is a bit much BUT, it is IMO the best lens made for Micro 4/3 to date"
    -http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/08/04/the-olympus-e-p3-review-the-new-mirror-less-flagship-is-a-winner/
     
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  11. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I would say that if you end up liking the 24mm equiv. field of view and think you would use it a lot, then the Oly 12mm is a great lens. If you end up thinking that it is a bit wider than you normally want to use, something like the 20/1.7 could be a better all-around lens for you (and more compact also).

    I really like the 24mm FoV for the stuff I shoot... small landscapes and city architecture stuff (some street). I think the Oly 12 is great because it is very compact for how wide it is, and the snap focus ring can come in handy, especially just to drop down to infinity for a low light landscape, for example. For me, I can use 24mm for most of an outing and not feel like I am missing anything.

    One thing on the Oly 12 I found, is that it really excels when stopped down. Even with a really tricky background (landscapes with trees, long grasses, etc.) it looks great corner to corner at f5.8 (obviously helped by the ginormous DoF).
     
  12. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    693
    Jul 8, 2011
  13. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    If none of those things matched my priorities I'd probably save some cash and go with the Panny 14/2.5 instead of the 12mm, if I wanted to have a wide-ish angle option with the smallest footprint possible.
     
  14. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    Well, you should hear what the 12 says about Ctein! :wink:

    Like I said, to each his own, but I love this lens (and even Ctein decided to keep it rather than give it up...)
     
  15. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    We had a thread going here about that review at the time Ctein wrote it and he posted some responses in that thread.

    His problem with the lens is that he prints large and the 12 has some chromatic aberration which makes it harder for him to print shots taken with it at his normal size. He didn't argue with the views of others who found no problems with it for their purposes, his point was that it didn't satisfy his standards which were particularly high because of the fact that he was printing large. I suspect all of the other reviewers who didn't have any reservations weren't doing that.

    If the best camera is the one that's with you, then the best lens may be the one that does the job you want it to do. Ctein wants the 12 to do a different job than most people and that makes a difference. I'm happy to accept his view, but that simply means that the lens has a limitation that isn't an issue for me because so far I'm not printing and if I do start printing (I keep thinking of giving it a go), I'm not likely to be printing at the size he prints at.
     
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  16. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    636
    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    If you don't like the lens then sell it. If you want an amazing lens thats visibly sharper then any zoom then keep it. You're shooting on a EM5 it needs sharp glass. Get the lens hood too if you're going to keep it and get a good polarizer too.

    I love my 12mm and the kit lens is great too. Just because the kit has the same focal length at the wide end does not mean its going to resolve the same image as the kit lens.

    I also have the 45mm Olympus and that too is awesome. When Olympus makes good glass they make really good glass. Do your own tests and see for your self.
     
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  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Makes sense. That said, I think for the price they could have managed to match the optics of the old 4/3 11-22 or 12-60. Primes are a lot easier to design than zooms, and $800 isn't chump change!

    DH
     
  18. Gyroscope

    Gyroscope Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Apr 20, 2012
    SE London
    So many helpful responses - thanks one and all for taking the time to reply. :th_salute:
     
  19. Stubb

    Stubb Mu-43 Regular

    41
    Apr 23, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Andreas
    I'm planning to get one for photographing auroras later this year.

    —Andreas
     
  20. LVL8hacker

    LVL8hacker Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Jan 4, 2012
    Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Larry Anderson
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