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Now you have the 12-40, which primes do you use and why?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by manju69, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    Hi. I know there is no single answer to this question but I wanted see what your experience has been. I have recently acquired the 12-40 (my most expensive lens!) and really like it. It's as a sharp as I want and love the close focusing and constant 2.8 aperture. I also have the Oly 25mm and am wondering do I need this now? I can re create the shallow DOF with the 12-40 at longer focal length and it's only a stop and half less light. I bought a prime for its sharpness primarily...

    My possible reasons for keeping a prime

    Low light use
    Compact size
    Shallower depth of field (depending on other factors of course)

    So my question is this - now you have the 12-40 (or 12-35) do you use your native primes less or not at all or what have you done with them, why do you use them....I am just curious.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  2. MassimoFoti

    MassimoFoti Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 27, 2014
    Lugano (Switzerland)
    I have both the 12-40 and Oly 12mm and 17mm primes. Personally, I don't mind the overlapping focal length, even if the zoom image quality is "prime like".
    You already mentioned low-light usage, I especially value the extra aperture here, since I don't like pushing the EM-1 above ISO 1600.

    There is also a factor that is hard to describe, whenever I use zooms, I tend to have a more casual approach, while I am more deliberate and take extra time to consider each shot whenever I use primes. I see this happenings on my Canon gear too, and I have primes overlapping zooms there too. I often use the zooms for travel/family, and just primes for dedicated photo trips.

    The beauty of Micro 4/3 is that carrying some extra primes takes just a minimal amount of space and weight, so I don't have to restrict the gear I take with me.
  3. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    I have the Oly 12-40mm, the 12mm and a bunch of other primes. The reason I keep the 12mm is mainly for a compact setup and let you mentioned, the extra light plays a part too.

    The rest of my primes bring something different so does not really "overlaps" with the zoom.
  4. vbi

    vbi Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 15, 2014
    Cape Town
    I will keep my O12 and O25 for low light and compact size and the O45 for both the low light and greater degree of separation between the subject and the background. But if I need to travel light I only take the 12-40.
  5. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    Size, weight, and the additional aperture speed are, IMO, the reasons to keep a prime or two. The 12-40 is a lovely general use lens but with an E-M5 I much prefer the handling with the horizontal grip. It's small and light compared to most SLRs but it's not insubstantial. With a lens like the 17 and sans grip, it's much lighter and much less intrusive in many situations. And the additional speed can be useful in many situations. I do think that 12-40 makes having a comprehensive kit of primes pretty redundant, and I may sell off a couple of lenses I'm not using much, but I do enjoy going out with a small/light prime.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    I am in the same position as you (recent 12-40 purchase) so I will be reading this thread with interest. My prime trio is 25/45/60 so I don't have too much overlap. Since I sold my kit zoom, the 25 is my fast/small walk around option, the 45 is much better than the 40 end of the zoom and better indoors, so that doesn't feel redundant, either, and the 60 has extra reach. I certainly don't feel the need to pick up any more overlapping primes, which is good. The bank account needs to recover.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    There are those times when I simply need the versatility of a "wide to normal" zoom and haven't the room for much else, this is what the Pana12-35 is for. Then there are those days when I again I can't take much gear so take just a single prime instead...because that too is so much fun, especially when your eye begins to adjust to the focal length and 'see' in that FOV. Then there are those occasions when I need the the fastest and brightest...and for that I have the f1.4 Summilux.

    I guess the answer is..."it just depends" !

    But on those days when I have a kit bag then all bets are off!!!....multiple bodies, multiple lenses...ultra wides, tele, zooms, primes, filters...and the kitchen sink :) 

    It just depends !
    • Like Like x 1
  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    In low light situations, you will be begging for that extra stop and a half of light that the primes provide, trust me. I shoot a lot of low light events and being able to keep the ISO low and the shutter speed up is a great thing.

    Size and weigh are also a consideration. Nothing like having a small compact prime on the camera to make it lighter, less conspicuous and a smaller overall footprint.
  9. delerdelarosa

    delerdelarosa New to Mu-43

    Jun 18, 2014
    Montreal, Quebec
    I have a range of primes (25, 42.5, 75) and the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 and I would say the same thing as everyone: the primes take in more light, are smaller and you can mix and match depending on the situation.

    When shooting events, I bring my bag and will switch between primes and the zoom.

    When going outdoors (hiking, camping, climbing) I'll take either the zoom or 2 primes (25/75 or 25/42.5).

    When walking around the city, I'll keep either the 25 or the 42.5 on the camera.

    It's all about having choice, but depends what you shoot and how much.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Stefan_SS

    Stefan_SS Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 9, 2013

    I just shot a friends wedding and I had the 12-40, the 45 1.8, a Voigtländer 17,5 f0.95 and the 75 mm f1.8 with me. As I looked through my absurd amount of pictures from the wedding it occured to me that I should take stock of how much each lense was used. Being a happy amateur I had to use what I got. No full frame cameras here!
    In essence the weddingday was planned like this:

    Arrived 1 hour before the ceremony, shot enviroment and arriving guests.
    I brought a friend for the wedding that was to take place at 16:00 PM and outside the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Not an easy situation lightwise.
    The ceremony took an hour.
    After the church had emptied, the couple walked out into the sunshine and into a cloud of soapbubbles. I got to hate soapbubbles as they really can spoil a portrait... here 50 people blowed bubbles at the couple at the same time. Thank god for a zoom and a large memorycard.
    The guest departed to the partyhouse, I hanged back for an hour shooting the newly wed couple on different locations around the church. And beside the rented old veteran car, a Morris I belive it was.
    Arriving before the couple at the party I walked around shooting pictures of people mingling.
    The couple arrived and the party started and so on...

    Before the ceremony I used the Voigtländer 17,5 for some dreamy enviromental shots.
    I shot arriving guests with the 12-40 at around 40 mm most of the time.
    In the cramped, 900 years old church, I only used the 12-40 zoom shooting in natural light at 1250 iso.
    Outside the church in a cloud of bubbles, I only used the 12-40 zoom shooting in natural light at 400 iso. My friend was a lifesaver running around with a large reflectorscreen to block the sun from shining directly on the couple.

    Pictures of the couple after everyone had left for the party:

    12-40 on full opening for 65% of the shots.
    45mm on full opening for 3% of the shots.
    75mm fully open for 30% of the shots.
    Voigtländer 17,5 for 2% of the shots.

    When I arrived at the party it was another story.

    12-40 on full opening for 30% of the shots.
    45mm on full opening for 0% of the shots.
    75mm fully open for 30% of the shots.
    Voigtländer 17,5 for 40% of the shots. Here the 0.95 voigtländer really was awsome. I set the image stabilizer to 18mm manually in my EM-1 and shot all evening in the party never needing more than 1000 iso. Amazing!

    My conclusion was that I could have left the 45 mm at home and fact is, I never really use it. I could have shot nearly eveything with the 12-40 2.8 and the amazing 75 mm 1.8. They are that good.

    Based on this experience I plan to bring just these two lenses when I go to Great Britain later this summer. Or perhaps I switch the 75 mm for my macro 60 for more options...

    I´m actually thinking of selling the 45 mm lens but since it´s already so cheap I don´t know if I will get anything for it.

    Make no mistake, the 12-40 2.8 is a marvellous lens! I really don´t see any difference in sharpnes from the files that lens give me compared to primes. Since I´m no addict for boché 2.8 is fine with me. The only thing I can comment on regarding this lens is that it is a wee bit on the heavy side for a small m43 camera. Otherwise, it´s golden!

    I attach some samples, they may not be the best pictures from that day but they are all shot with the 12-40 mm zoom. I just want to show how versatile it is!

    • Like Like x 12
  11. condo39

    condo39 Mu-43 Regular

    Since purchasing the 12-40mm zoom, it has replaced my PL 25 f1.4 which now rarely sees any use. But I like the smaller prime and have no plans to sell it. Even with the new zoom, the 75mm f1.8 remains my most used lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. polarpix

    polarpix Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2014
    Elliot Lake, Ontario Canada
    I've been using the 12-40 PRO on my EM-1 as a "special occasion" combo and the 25, 45 and 75 f1.8 primes on my EM-5 as my go anywhere, anytime, walking, bicycling whatever kit. Now that I think about it my EM-5 and primes get more use then the EM-1 and PRO. There might be something askew with this arrangement but I can't put my finger on it. :hmmm:
  13. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    The 12-40 proved better than my 17 1.8, so it went soon after. I have an X100, which is roughly equivalent in FOV to the 17 and it's f2, it gets used when I want a minimalistic kit. The other overlap was with the 9-18, but I use that mostly as a 9mm (slow) prime. The comparison with the 45 1.8 was very close, but selling the 45 wouldn'have brought much, so I kept it.

    However, after a while I realised that I got into m43 because my Nikon D7000 kit was too large and too heavy. I did a check on which lenses I used the most and decided to sell both the 12-40 and my 75. Bought a 25 1.8 with some of the money. Now I'm back to small and light: 9-18, 25, 45, 40-150. I did buy a Sigma 60 2.8 to see if it was as good as the reviews say, but haven't yet shot enough to decide if 45 or 60 or both.

    But if someone wanted a flexible travel setup, I think I would recommend the 12-40. It is a stellar lens.

    Sent from my SM-P605 using Mu-43 mobile app
  14. laser8

    laser8 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 29, 2013
    Mare nostrum, Istria
    It may sound a bit snobbish, but the 2.8 zoom (imho) is just a better zoom than the kit one, with the benefit of an extra stop or two(which is already something!). I could not part from my macro which get its fair use, and the 25 1.4 for low light (you can't always use a flash). But as a good everyday lens, the 2.8s are hard to beat. Horses for courses, of course...
    • Like Like x 1
  15. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California

    For travel to Europe, I'll be taking my
    9mm BCL, for when 12mm isn't wide enough
    and probably the 17mm for indoor / night shots.

    I've also got the 45mm which I'd probably use for occasional night events / concerts, etc.
    I might eventually get the Oly 60mm or 75mm also.

    I also use the 40-150mm m.ZD & 70-300 ZD for animals, high school sports, lunar eclipses, etc. (might get a faster / longer tele later).
    And the 8mm ZD & 7-14mm ZD for Real Estate interiors.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    12 - IMO this money is a waste of money if you have the 12-40 (or the 12-32, for that matter)
    14 - Obvious waste except for size
    17 - Over a stop faster and smaller
    19 - (and 30) Both Sigmas are a touch smaller, probably a touch sharper, but that's it.
    20 - Over a stop faster, much smaller, notably sharper, $350. Get it!
    25 - The 1.8 is faster and probably a bit sharper.
    25 - The 1.4 is like 2 stops faster so worth a look.
    45 - Bit faster, bit sharper, bit longer.
    60 - Both are 2.8s but longer and both probably sharper than the 12-40.
    75 - An obvious companion to the 12-40. Get it!
    Voigtlander 17, 25, 42 - These are 3 stops faster and really good lenses.
    • Like Like x 3
  17. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I took the P20/1.7 as a companion for the 12-40: smaller, faster.
  18. Sahib7

    Sahib7 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 25, 2013
    The 12-40 F2.8 ist an awesome lens.
    One has to think hard which primes are worth having beside it and this depends heavily on your camera body size.

    I have an E-M1, so even with pancakes this setup won't be pocketable.

    So I prefer primes that bring a clear speed advantage towards that zoom.

    These are naturally the Voigtländers.

    But also speciality lenses like the Rokinon/Samyang Fisheye or the 60mm Macro are different enough to stay beside the zoom.
    As is the 75 f1.8 for it's sheer quality.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Yes, I find the Pany 12-35/f/2.8 to be such a stellar lens that my primes only come out for special/particular applications where they are clearly more suited. For the vast majority of my shooting, the 12-35 totally rocks and certainly simplifies a once cluttered and complicated kit. My primes are not nearly as needed as before this lens became available, though I will keep most of them just for those various special occasions where they are preferred.

    The 12-35 is a godsend for our format - relatively small and lightweight for it's speed, range, and remarkable sharpness and capability. The 12-40, though larger and heavier, could be also be considered a stand-in for the role, if one doesn't mind the larger size and heavier weight. Aside from size and weight, either lens is capable of providing outstanding image quality for the m4/3 shooter. Either one, bolstered by two or three great primes, covers a great deal of imaging situations.

    I happen to prefer the 12-35 over the 12-40, mostly because of smaller size and less weight, but I know that my imaging needs would be perfectly well served by either one.

    Some say zooms make photographers lazy. I say lazy photographers choose to be so and that's that. Nothing to do with lens type. A zoom gives the photographer a greater ability to choose the best vantage point available for the desired visual effect, then adjust the focal length to compose. With a prime, you typically need to choose the vantage point required by the focal length, or rely on sometimes severe cropping, stitching, etc. Neither lens type is superior to the other, they each offer different benefits... so choose the lenses that serve the purpose best for your particular needs and imaging intent.
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2014
    I've toyed with the idea of getting the 20. It is really 'notably' sharper? I'm not doubting, it's just that the 12-40 is so good . . .?
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