LX100 or 12-40 for my EM5

lakemcd

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Looking for input on getting the LX100 or 12-40 for my EM5.

I shoot a variety of subjects that include; still life, events, urban, landscape, travel, and some portraits. Current lenses for the OMD include; 14, 20, 45, 75, 9-18, 12-50 and 40-150. In my film days it was the Pentax LX and MX with the 24, 50 and 100mm trio.

I originally thought about the LX100 for a semi compact camera that I could use in the backcountry and that I could throw in a small case while I ski or bike.

I have a long term climate change project coming up in the next couple of years that will stretch me into areas of photojournalism for which I thought the 12-40 might be suitable addition to the quiver.

Will probably say goodbye to the 14 as I find the 9-18 superb.

Thoughts?
 
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Very tough call! I own both, but I'd say the 12-40mm f/2.8 clearly beats the LX100 for versatility and usability, especially when paired with the E-M5. On the other hand, if size is an issue, the LX100 is hard to beat as a complete package.

The 12-40mm, being weather sealed, is a much tougher lens than the LX100 - that's not to say that the latter was flimsy, because it isn't, but it's still quite a difference. Shooting with the 12-40 feels very positive - "affirmative" could be a word to describe it: very competent in all regards, and very solid. IQ is great (it'll handily beat the 14mm, and it almost reaches the 20mm and 45mm, albeit not quite - but I think you won't notice that in most cases).

The LX100 is a totally different beast altogether. It's not a slow camera, but it lends itself better to a more contemplative way of shooting - there is a short lag when deploying the camera that you won't experience with the E-M5 and 12-40mm. The IQ, while good, is no match for the E-M5 and 12-40mm - the lens is quite a gem if you look at the whole package, and it's fantastically bright, but it does have its weaknesses (like corner softness and a ever so slight reducation of overall sharpness by comparison - nothing wrong with it in most cases, it's just not *the* best lens out there). The LX100 isn't aimed at the professional - no harm in that, actually. It's a shooter's camera, but not a workhorse. I love shooting with the LX100 - but I doubt it holds up as a pro tool.

So, if I was in your shoes, the only consideration keeping me from choosing the lens (first!) is size. Convenience might come a distant second - for me, the OM-D cameras simply tick almost every box, so I wouldn't say the LX100 is better than them in that regard, but it *is* significantly different, and the direct handling is very pleasing.

M.
 

verbatimium

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As a pure investment point of view, in 3-4 years we will be on an LX100 m3 or m4 and your original LX100 will be a fraction of what you payed for it (similar to what has happened with the original RX100). The 12-40 most likely will still be a high-end piece of glass that will work wonders on any future sensor that you will mount it with, thus maintaining its value. In my option and with my limited budget, it is a no brainer for me to get the 12-40. For you, you should heavily base your choice on whether you absolutely need to compactness of the LX100 or not.
 

tosvus

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As a pure investment point of view, in 3-4 years we will be on an LX100 m3 or m4 and your original LX100 will be a fraction of what you payed for it (similar to what has happened with the original RX100). The 12-40 most likely will still be a high-end piece of glass that will work wonders on any future sensor that you will mount it with, thus maintaining its value. In my option and with my limited budget, it is a no brainer for me to get the 12-40. For you, you should heavily base your choice on whether you absolutely need to compactness of the LX100 or not.
I don't think Panasonic will update the camera that often, and while there I something to be said for lenses keeping their value better, I buy equipment with the intent of using it now. Panasonic also came up with son fairly revolutionary tech to make the lx100 so small. I expect those benefits will come in future lenses as well, so for my purposes, I prioritized getting an lx100 now, and then get a dedicated zoom later once there are better/smaller options. Keep in mind with all the electronics in lenses these days, they can't quite be compared to the lenses of the old days, that work fine 50 years later.
 

lakemcd

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tosuvus, thanks for the reply. Do you see yourself ever using the LX100 as a second body with an attached zoom?

Part of me thinks if I can have the relative compactness of the LX for outdoor pursuits and still use it as a second body for more serious shooting. I'd get the best of both worlds. Maybe too much to ask for.
 

lakemcd

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Very tough call! I own both, but I'd say the 12-40mm f/2.8 clearly beats the LX100 for versatility and usability, especially when paired with the E-M5. On the other hand, if size is an issue, the LX100 is hard to beat as a complete package.

The 12-40mm, being weather sealed, is a much tougher lens than the LX100 - that's not to say that the latter was flimsy, because it isn't, but it's still quite a difference. Shooting with the 12-40 feels very positive - "affirmative" could be a word to describe it: very competent in all regards, and very solid. IQ is great (it'll handily beat the 14mm, and it almost reaches the 20mm and 45mm, albeit not quite - but I think you won't notice that in most cases).

The LX100 is a totally different beast altogether. It's not a slow camera, but it lends itself better to a more contemplative way of shooting - there is a short lag when deploying the camera that you won't experience with the E-M5 and 12-40mm. The IQ, while good, is no match for the E-M5 and 12-40mm - the lens is quite a gem if you look at the whole package, and it's fantastically bright, but it does have its weaknesses (like corner softness and a ever so slight reducation of overall sharpness by comparison - nothing wrong with it in most cases, it's just not *the* best lens out there). The LX100 isn't aimed at the professional - no harm in that, actually. It's a shooter's camera, but not a workhorse. I love shooting with the LX100 - but I doubt it holds up as a pro tool.

So, if I was in your shoes, the only consideration keeping me from choosing the lens (first!) is size. Convenience might come a distant second - for me, the OM-D cameras simply tick almost every box, so I wouldn't say the LX100 is better than them in that regard, but it *is* significantly different, and the direct handling is very pleasing.

M.
Thanks for the response. Can you be more specific on what you mean by a "short lag when deploying the camera".

Size is a consideration as the OMD with 12-40 has quite a bit more mass when hiking, skiing and biking.
 

joesilver

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...Size is a consideration...
Indeed it is. I acquired a refurbished 12-40 not long ago, and find it a fantastic lens for indoor music performances, where zooming with my feet is not always an option. However, for day-to-day walkaround shooting, the size and weight of the E-M5 with the 12-40 are a liability. I've previously owned the Panasonic 14-45 (twice) and 12-32, and found those lenses much easier to lug around, although of course they are mainly suitable for daylight photography.

I'm finding myself now in the position of considering buying another 12-32 and owning two zoom lenses that cover similar ranges. I do have primes as well, but none that are quite as small and light as the 12-32.
 

lakemcd

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I'm finding myself now in the position of considering buying another 12-32 and owning two zoom lenses that cover similar ranges. I do have primes as well, but none that are quite as small and light as the 12-32.
Yes, I've also thought about GM5 and 12-32 just for size, and IQ but know I would be loosing out on lens speed and isolation.

It's all about compromises, eh?
 

tosvus

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tosuvus, thanks for the reply. Do you see yourself ever using the LX100 as a second body with an attached zoom?

Part of me thinks if I can have the relative compactness of the LX for outdoor pursuits and still use it as a second body for more serious shooting. I'd get the best of both worlds. Maybe too much to ask for.
Yes absolutely, I will use this as a secondary body both for times when I take pictures, and when I shoot video. The LX100 will take care of the "normal" range, and my other body will either be used for macro, ultra-wide or tele lens. Until I get a better main body, the LX100 will actually be my primary video camera in a 2 cam setup.
 
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Thanks for the response. Can you be more specific on what you mean by a "short lag when deploying the camera".

Size is a consideration as the OMD with 12-40 has quite a bit more mass when hiking, skiing and biking.
Well, it takes a short time for the zoom to extend, and as with the 12-40mm, you have to get the lens cap off. But it takes just over a second for the EVF to become visible. The E-M10 (and, as I know from experience, the E-M5) is much more fluid in that respect; once I switch it on and lift it to my eye, the EVF is live and the camera's ready to shoot. Mind you, it's not a nuisance on the LX100 - it's just a noticeable fraction of a second more wait. I don't know if you've ever shot with a GR, but the E-M10 and GR are both cameras you switch on and just use, almost like a film camera. That doesn't quite hold for the LX100. But we're not talking sluggish here - just a little laggy. And once the LX100 is ready, it's a very responsive camera indeed.

EDIT: On a different note, the GM5 and 12-32mm is certainly a very capable setup, and if we're talking convenience and size, I think it actually beats the LX100. But as you said, you lose brightness, the better EVF, the controls ... I played around with a GM5 last week, and while I was impressed by its diminuitive size and know the 12-32mm to be a surprisingly good lens, especially for its size, it just didn't convince me the way the LX100 does.

M.
 

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