[Experience wanted] No serious comparisons between 12-100 and 14-140?

ibd

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I wonder, why is it impossible to find serious comparisons between the Olympus 12-100mm and the Panasonic 14-140mm (II)? I know they're generally considered to be in different leagues for price and image quality (IQ). However I would argue that both can be considered "all in one" or "travel superzoom" lenses.

I am looking for anyone who has experience with both lenses.
I currently have a Panasonic camera and the 14-140.

The following are obvious:
  • The 14-140 is cheaper, lighter, has slightly longer reach, is faster at the wide end
  • The 12-100 is better built, weatherproof, has better IQ, is faster at the long end
The experience I am looking for is if these advantages somehow favor one of the lenses.
For example, does the 12-100's IQ make its large size and weight worthwhile?

I am also interested in just how much better the 12-100mm's image quality is -- in terms of pictures, not just MTF curves or number of chromatic aberration pixels. :p

Please share your insights.
 

Ranger Rick

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I have both, having bought the 14-140ii for travel. I kept it after getting the 12-100 because of the advantages you mention (plus being more compact). It's horses for courses. I find the 12-100 outstanding- I was amazed when I saw the first images from it. No denying it is the better lens. OTOH, the 14-104ii is no slouch, and I would have merrily proceeded with just that. If I had not had the 14-140ii, I probably would not have bought it after getting the 12-100. As it is, I just decide which factors dictate which lens goes out for the day.

So if you want one lens, the decision comes down to balancing absolute image quality, cost, the 12mm factor/greater reach and build/weather-resistance of the 12-100 vs. the advantages of the 14-140ii. As I said, I could have easily lived with the 14-140ii (assuming not printing at 30x40 or larger). Ignorance could have been bliss :)
 

ac12

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I was surprised at how much I could crop into a pic shot with the 12-100. The lens makes the most out of the 16MP sensor.
Just like in the DX world. My Nikon 70-200/4 made me realize what my D7200 could do, that the 18-140 was not letting me do . . . crop deeper into the image.
But there is also the discussion that greater lens magnification with a consumer lens (at 150mm) and deeper cropping with a pro lens (at 100mm) gets you to the same place, with a similar end quality.

BUT, from a logistical PoV of being a senior citizen, I would not take the 12-100 on a trip as my GP lens. It is just too heavy, compared to my smaller and lighter Panasonic-Lumix 12-60. When I was younger, the weight of the 12-100 would not have bothered me at all. As you get old, you have to make compromises that you would not have made when younger.

I do as Rick does, I look at the requirements and conditions for a shoot, then pick the equipment that best matches the need; sometimes it is a pro lens, sometimes a consumer lens.
 

ibd

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ac12, that's an interesting point. So you're implying that cropping an image taken with the 12-100@100mm to be the same field-of-view as the 14-140@140 would give similar results, just because of its superior optical quality?
Do you have any shots to share that would illustrate this?

Personally, I am not so interested in the 12-60. It seems to be a good lens, but I find it a bit short on the tele end still. Yes, I am super spoiled by the m43 system's small teles! :D

Another thing I'm thinking about is that I need to go to about f/8 on my 14-140ii at the long end if I want the best in terms of (center) sharpness, and minimize chromatic aberration. At the same time, people are saying the 12-100 is as good wide open (=f/4) as stopped down.
That's a two stop advantage for all the usual things (low-light, stabilization, noise...)!

Of course my thought process is just thinly veiled and rationalized GAS, so I'm happy to hear people tell me the 14-140ii is very much sufficient. ;)
 

arjubx

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I don’t have both lenses but a couple of other things to think. 1) Loss of Sync IS using the 12-100 on a Panasonic body. Your stabilization performance is likely slightly worse since most newer Panasonic bodies support dual IS with the 14-140ii. 2) No DFD autofocus, not sure if this is quantifiable or even matters to you but theoretically slower AF.

Separately I really like my 12-100 and love the Focus Cluth on Oly lenses.
 

Wisertime

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100-150 not losing that much reach IMO. Frame something at 100 & 150 with your current lens and ask yourself if you can live without that little extra. You can crop if necessary and probably have as good or better resolution w/ 12-100 (+wider aperture/better IS). It's such a stellar lens and as others have mentioned has Dual IS and 12-14mm is a bigger difference than 100-150mm IMO. I've yet to see anyone disappointed in the 12-100, unless they find it big/heavy. If you like pro lenses it's not THAT much bigger than the 12-40, which is already a little bit of a size compromise, but if you want the pro optics, that's the cost. Worst case, it's an easy resell.
 

Turbofrog

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ac12, that's an interesting point. So you're implying that cropping an image taken with the 12-100@100mm to be the same field-of-view as the 14-140@140 would give similar results, just because of its superior optical quality?
Do you have any shots to share that would illustrate this?
For what it's worth, I don't have direct experience, but highly doubt it on the basis of simple optics. Cropping to 140mm from 100mm, is a crop factor of 1.4x, which means you're reducing your resolution by almost exactly half (1.4^2=2). So 8MP instead of 16MP, or 10MP instead of 20MP.

Cropping also amplifies visible noise, so you're completely eliminating the benefit of the PRO lens's larger aperture at the long end if you intend to crop (f/4 * 1.4 = f/5.6).

I know the 12-100mm is an excellent lens, but all the tests show that it is (somewhat) better on the short end than the long end, and while that is of course also true of the 14-140mm, working with just half the pixels is a really huge deficit to make up in terms of optical quality. It's not as if the 14-140mm, especially version II, is a bad lens optically.

As the old saying goes, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Ever...
 

Mack

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Go to Imaging Resources website for a comparison between those two lenses. Click on their Lab Test Results in the upper right to open a window where you can move the focal length and f/stop sliders around and compare. The 12-100mm f/4 beats the 14-140mm Panny by a lot.

Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO HD Review

Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Review

In my own purchasing preferences, I'll pass on lenses when they go above 2 on their Lab Test Results as you can see it when held against a lens that shows a 1 or less. The bowl-shaped ones can get really soft in the corners. I got some soft Nikon Gold Ring lenses and the current Olympus 12-100 f/4 and 45mm f/1.2 smashes them in lp/mm and I can see it even though the Nikon has twice the MP. Sort of annoying, but the Nikon glass is maybe seven years old too.
 

ibd

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I don’t have both lenses but a couple of other things to think. 1) Loss of Sync IS using the 12-100 on a Panasonic body. Your stabilization performance is likely slightly worse since most newer Panasonic bodies support dual IS with the 14-140ii. 2) No DFD autofocus, not sure if this is quantifiable or even matters to you but theoretically slower AF.

Separately I really like my 12-100 and love the Focus Cluth on Oly lenses.
Thanks for getting into some of these finer points. However I doubt they would make much of a difference in my use cases and are pretty much non-issues for me.
1) From what I've read, the 12-100 has excellent OIS even on panasonic bodies, even if it doesn't quite reach the legendary stabilization it can get on something like the E-M1ii.
2) The DfD system is not that spectacular anyway for moving subjects. For single-shot AF, I expect the 12-100 to perform fine even on Panasonic bodies.

Go to Imaging Resources website for a comparison between those two lenses. Click on their Lab Test Results in the upper right to open a window where you can move the focal length and f/stop sliders around and compare. The 12-100mm f/4 beats the 14-140mm Panny by a lot.

In my own purchasing preferences, I'll pass on lenses when they go above 2 on their Lab Test Results as you can see it when held against a lens that shows a 1 or less. The bowl-shaped ones can get really soft in the corners. I got some soft Nikon Gold Ring lenses and the current Olympus 12-100 f/4 and 45mm f/1.2 smashes them in lp/mm and I can see it even though the Nikon has twice the MP. Sort of annoying, but the Nikon glass is maybe seven years old too.
Thanks, but as I stated in my OP, I don't particularly care for these tests. I find it hard to argue their validity for direct comparisons. And I much prefer to see actual side-by-side photos so I can see if the (measured) defects translate to something that is visibly distracting, or if they don't.

I find it radical to pass on a lens just because some website reports some number that is above an arbitrary threshold. However I understand it's sometimes not possible to test the lens yourself, and that's all you can base a decision on.
 

Ranger Rick

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Go to Imaging Resources website for a comparison between those two lenses. Click on their Lab Test Results in the upper right to open a window where you can move the focal length and f/stop sliders around and compare. The 12-100mm f/4 beats the 14-140mm Panny by a lot.

Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO HD Review

Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Review

In my own purchasing preferences, I'll pass on lenses when they go above 2 on their Lab Test Results as you can see it when held against a lens that shows a 1 or less. The bowl-shaped ones can get really soft in the corners. I got some soft Nikon Gold Ring lenses and the current Olympus 12-100 f/4 and 45mm f/1.2 smashes them in lp/mm and I can see it even though the Nikon has twice the MP. Sort of annoying, but the Nikon glass is maybe seven years old too.
That I-R test is for the old V1 14-140. Other tests I have seen say the V2 is considerably better, mirroring my experience. V2 is also smaller and lighter and faster. It is not the equal of the 12-100, but quite good. Sufficient for the day. OTOH, I know if you want the best available IQ, it would be the 12-100. No free lunch :)
 

Mike Wingate

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Go to Imaging Resources website for a comparison between those two lenses. Click on their Lab Test Results in the upper right to open a window where you can move the focal length and f/stop sliders around and compare. The 12-100mm f/4 beats the 14-140mm Panny by a lot.

Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO HD Review

Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Review

In my own purchasing preferences, I'll pass on lenses when they go above 2 on their Lab Test Results as you can see it when held against a lens that shows a 1 or less. The bowl-shaped ones can get really soft in the corners. I got some soft Nikon Gold Ring lenses and the current Olympus 12-100 f/4 and 45mm f/1.2 smashes them in lp/mm and I can see it even though the Nikon has twice the MP. Sort of annoying, but the Nikon glass is maybe seven years old too.
Yes, but that is the old P14-140. The new one has been improved.
 

davidzvi

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What body are you using? From your reply I'm guessing a Panasonic? Dual IS vs Sync IS and DFD with the 14-140 on a Panasonic body do have a difference, it may not be a BIG difference, but it is something I would consider. I found the 14-140 II did seem to perform a little better on mt Panasonic bodies than on my Olympus bodies. It wasn't something I can directly put my finger on, just a feeling.

And while I didn't own them at the same time I can tell you I'm happier with the 12-100 than I was with the 14-140.
 

Turbofrog

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Go to Imaging Resources website for a comparison between those two lenses. Click on their Lab Test Results in the upper right to open a window where you can move the focal length and f/stop sliders around and compare. The 12-100mm f/4 beats the 14-140mm Panny by a lot.

Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS LUMIX G VARIO HD Review

Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Review

In my own purchasing preferences, I'll pass on lenses when they go above 2 on their Lab Test Results as you can see it when held against a lens that shows a 1 or less. The bowl-shaped ones can get really soft in the corners. I got some soft Nikon Gold Ring lenses and the current Olympus 12-100 f/4 and 45mm f/1.2 smashes them in lp/mm and I can see it even though the Nikon has twice the MP. Sort of annoying, but the Nikon glass is maybe seven years old too.
I don't want to go off the deep end of test comparisons, since the OP specifically wants test pictures (which would be by far the best way to evaluate this) but it's easy to use other test sites that report quantitative values to disprove your thesis:

On Photozone.de / OpticalLimits:

The old (worse, optically) 14-140mm scores 2043 lw/ph @ 140mm on the old (only 12MP, AA-filtered) GH1.
Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH. O.I.S. - Review / Test Report - Analysis

The 12-100mm scores 2694 lw/ph @ 100mm on the newer 16MP, AA-filterless E-M5 II.
Olympus M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO - review / test report - Analysis

Since those are linear measurements, you can use the linear crop factor to compare: 2694 lw/ph / 1.4x crop = 1924 lw/ph when cropped to 140mm.

Now obviously 2043 vs. 1924 is not a huge difference, but that's of course neglecting the very substantial difference in sensor resolution used for the test, and the improvements in quality made in the 2nd version of the 14-140mm.

Even given every possible advantage in this comparison, you still are not going to see the 12-100mm match the 14-140mm when cropped to match the long end.

Tl;dr - from an optical quality point of view, if the long end is most important to you, the 14-140mm will give better results. If you aren't generally planning to crop, the wide range is more important, and you want consistently slightly better optical quality across the available range, get the 12-100mm.
 

ac12

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ac12, that's an interesting point. So you're implying that cropping an image taken with the 12-100@100mm to be the same field-of-view as the 14-140@140 would give similar results, just because of its superior optical quality?
Do you have any shots to share that would illustrate this?
That is the idea, but it is not validated with those lenses.

The reason that I bring this up is that I use a Nikon 70-200/4 to shoot high school field sports. And I noticed that I am able to see the eyes of the players much better than I could with my 18-140. And I could crop in deeper into the 70-200 image than I could with the 18-140 images, at similar focal lengths. But then, what if I did not have to crop into the image shot with a longer consumer lens, say a 100-400? I would not loose IQ from cropping, and the IQ difference would be less.
But I don't have a 100-400 because it is too big and heavy, which is one reason why I switched to m4/3.
 

Holoholo55

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Let me ask @ibd this question. You currently have the 14-140 and a Panasonic body. Why are you considering the 12-100? Are you in any way dissatisfied with the 14-140? It's kinda implied that you must be to be asking this question. So, you are looking for a change? :)

I don't have the 14-140, but it seems to me that if you already have a 14-140 I, changing to a 14-140 II probably isn't going to give you much especially if you don't have a Panasonic body with IBIS and can't get Dual-IS. It will just be an incremental improvement. If you're looking for a leap forward, then I think you'd have to consider the 12-100 or something similar.

I had a 12-50 for my EM5, and when I switched to an EM1 w/12-40 Pro, the IQ took a big leap. It was a Wow moment. It was mostly the lens. I hardly ever used the 12-50 again, although it's not a bad lens at all. The 12-40 was just too big a leap to ignore. I suspect you would find the same with the 12-100.
 
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ibd

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Let me ask @ibd this question. You currently have the 14-140 and a Panasonic body. Why are you considering the 12-100? Are you in any way dissatisfied with the 14-140? It's kinda implied that you must be to be asking this question. So, you are looking for a change? :)
My minor nitpicks with the 14-140ii are:
- 12mm at the wide end would be preferred in some situations, to make it truly "one fits all"
- Images are soft at 140mm unless I stop down to f/7.1 or slower, which is quite slow

So I investigated and found absolutely zero direct comparisons between the two aforementioned lenses. And I wondered why. I guess they were released too much apart in time, across a large price and "target buyer marketing" gap, and across camera brands.

The just released Olympus 12-200mm is another interesting lens in a similar category. However there the loss of "manufacturer native" OIS would be a bigger drawback than with the 12-100 -- that is, I guess it would perform significantly worse on a Panasonic body.
I expect more people to compare it to the 14-140 though.
 

Holoholo55

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My minor nitpicks with the 14-140ii are:
- 12mm at the wide end would be preferred in some situations, to make it truly "one fits all"
- Images are soft at 140mm unless I stop down to f/7.1 or slower, which is quite slow

....

The just released Olympus 12-200mm is another interesting lens in a similar category. However there the loss of "manufacturer native" OIS would be a bigger drawback than with the 12-100 -- that is, I guess it would perform significantly worse on a Panasonic body.
I expect more people to compare it to the 14-140 though.
I agree with both points. I like having 12 at the wide end. Makes a big difference. And, most of these kit zooms tend to have somewhat soft long ends. That seems to be inherent with the compromises that have to be made to get such a wide range into a reasonably compact and affordably priced lens. The 12-100 isn't such a compromise optically, but it's big and priced considerably higher.

I imagine that mirrorlesscomparison.com would probably be a good place to look for a comparison when one is written. Hmm... I don't see previous 14-140 or 14-150 comparisons. They haven't compared superzooms. Maybe they will when the 12-200 gets reviewed.
 

SkiHound

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One thing I like to do when looking at lenses is to go to the native m43 lens example forum on this site. While it doesn't offer a direct comparison and it probably doesn't give a feel for how much difference there would be if printed at very large sizes, I do find that it gives me a good sense of what a lens is capable of in typical use. FWIW, I've never touched a 12-100 though it has interested me as a very versatile landscape lens. I have the 12-140ii and have really liked it as a travel lens. The difference between 12 and 14 at the wide end is pretty significant and I would much prefer 12 at the wide end.
 

ibd

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Well, I cracked today after exactly two weeks (and after seeing mediocre 12-200mm test photos), and ordered a 12-100mm for about USD 970! :D
I don't plan to make extensive comparisons, but if people are interested, I will make a few comparison shots according to the initial question this thread asked.
 
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