Oly 12-100/4 vs 8-18 + 35-100/2.8

theswanlogo

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What would be your take on a lens combo like Laowa 7.5/2 + Oly 12-100/4 vs PL8-18/2.8-4 + P35-100/2.8?

I do have the first three of those 4 lenses, and I had and loved the Pana 35-100/2.8 (first version). My only concern with 12-100/4 is its size & weight (not really m43 friendly). So I have this itch as to replace it with the P35-100/2.8, but then again, the Oly is such an "universal/all arounder" lens. When I bought it my main reason was to avoid lens swapping, so to have one lens to "rule them all". But if I want to shoot really wide I need to swap to Laowa, hence I'm back to a 2 lens kit.

For the 12-100/4 lens, besides its excellent IQ, it is the only lens I own that could take advantage of the EM1.3 "cool" features like Dual IS, Focus Stacking (anything else I am missing?)

Then the next thought is that when the Oly8-25/4 would come out the "uncovered" FL gap will reduce - not that I am too concerned about the 18-35mm gap anyway (I just sold my P25/1.7 - not my cup of tea of a FL).

And, as a side note, since the above combo would be an "all arounder", I do have the same restraint for my planned "mountaineering" combo, consisting of PL 8-18 and 50-200, so again trying to avoid carrying those 561 grams of outstanding optics when camping on tent. For that "mountaineering" combo, in order to close the gap, I could consider taking the S 30/1.4 prime, or the standard 14-42 II R kit zoom. So, somehow, the Oly 12-100/4 seem not to find a spot in my photo bag (or this I seem to think of now), but I can't just part with it like that given its qualities....🤔
 

ac12

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Frankly "it depends."
I have and use the 12-100, but not as a GP lens. As you said, it is somewhat bit and heavy. And you are carrying that bulk and weight "all the time."
I use it when I want/need that 12-100 range, so that I don't have to change lenses in the middle of a shoot, and loose shots. So not all the time, but for specific shoots, where it's zoom range is desired.

My personal favorite GP lens is the Panasonic-Lumix 12-60.
Relatively small and light, and an adequate zoom range for me.
 

theswanlogo

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35-100 f2.8 is only 200g lighter than the 12-100.

Could you carry just one lens and stitch panos together for anything wider than 12mm?
I guess I could, but still, it is not the same "perspective" on 8mm vs 12mm. Especially when shooting close things, or upwards (like the "converging trees" in a forest.
Since I have also a GX9 camera I calculated the weight of GX9 + 8-18 + 35-100 and compared with EM1.3 + 12-100. The Pana combo is lighter, let alone if adding the Laowa to the Oly to get the same coverage. And assuming I use Pana body on Pana lenses, and Oly body on Oly lenses.

I think my struggle now is to justify my GAS (buying the Panasonic), but I am not prepared to give up the Olympus zoom. Maybe just live with both for some time and observe their usage....
 

theswanlogo

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Frankly "it depends."
I have and use the 12-100, but not as a GP lens. As you said, it is somewhat bit and heavy. And you are carrying that bulk and weight "all the time."
I use it when I want/need that 12-100 range, so that I don't have to change lenses in the middle of a shoot, and loose shots. So not all the time, but for specific shoots, where it's zoom range is desired.

My personal favorite GP lens is the Panasonic-Lumix 12-60.
Relatively small and light, and an adequate zoom range for me.
I know from when I had the 35-100/2.8 that I shot a lot at 100mm when walking around, so the 100mm is a must for me.
Also the 35-100/2.8 is a very good portrait lens, the f/2.8 gives enough DoF and a very nice blur/bokeh. F/4 of the Oly will not give that "pleasant" blur effect (aka bokeh).
 
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This is how I think too. The PL8-18/2.8-4 + P35-100/2.8 plus PL 25mm/1.4 splitting the difference would be an amazing combo for travel and city use. As a 12-100 owner, it is large and I regularly feel the need to change lenses to get wider anyhow. Maybe I just like changing lenses? I use the Rokinon fisheye as the 12-100mm counterpart, and lust for the Oly 8mm fish to replace it.

My original "outdoors" combo was the Oly 4/3 9-18mm + 70-300mm + 35mm macro splitting the middle and that was an amazing trio until the tele became inoperable in a sand dune. Regarding your outdoors set up I recommend also looking at the 30mm macro lenses, as they are smaller and you might find that in sunlight macro is more useful than aperture.

So I guess my vote is 8-18 + 35-100, but same difference really. Maybe "yes to all of them."

"Until you have them all, you won't be free ... and you can't do that"
-Eddie Vedder
 

Generationfourth

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I backpack, climb, mountain bike, hike, etc so I imagine our needs on weight/focal lengths are pretty similar. I shot primarily with 12-35, 35-100 for years. I suggest analyzing your catalog and looking at your focal lengths you commonly use. On my 12-35 the vast majority of it's usage was pinned at 12mm indicating to me that there was opportunity to benefit from wider focal lengths. I got the 8-18 as an alternative and 8-11 has added a whole other dimension.

Surprisingly the other thing that happened is I finally clicked with the 35-100 after having it for years. I typically only used it maxed out at 100mm but now it is the lens I grab most often, especially for landscapes and outdoor action. Especially when the light is bad and there isn't a perfect sweeping vista (which is the majority of the day IME). It is the sharpest lens I own and also versatile- I don't shoot portraits or shoot professionally but I had a client ask to do headshots and the 35-100 knocked it outta the park. It's so stinking light and small and doesn't trombone out. I've had a few FF friends give me crap but you should see their faces when I say "hey this is my 70-200 2.8" then put the camera in my camelback and have no troubles keeping up with them downhill on technical mountain bike trails.

I have some trips planned this summer and in a roundabout way my setup will be 8-18, and 35-100. Maybe I shot 'standard' focal lengths so long but currently I find 20-50 the least useful and boring when shooting action/landscape/outdoors. On YT there are a bunch of videos suggesting narrowing it down to 16-36 and 70-200/100-400 equivalents for landscapes for this reason.
 

dwkdnvr

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I guess I could, but still, it is not the same "perspective" on 8mm vs 12mm. Especially when shooting close things, or upwards (like the "converging trees" in a forest.
Yes - I used the 12-100 for 95% of my shots on a trip to NZ a few years ago, but managed to shoot stitched panos for cases where 12mm wasn't wide enough. A great technique, but not really a substitute for a true wide lens in all cases.
Since I have also a GX9 camera I calculated the weight of GX9 + 8-18 + 35-100 and compared with EM1.3 + 12-100. The Pana combo is lighter, let alone if adding the Laowa to the Oly to get the same coverage. And assuming I use Pana body on Pana lenses, and Oly body on Oly lenses.
Well, my quick numbers say that those 2 setups are within 20g of each other, and the Laowa 7.5 is only ~170g. So, you'll have to decide whether 200g is 'significant enough' to drive your setup. And, a GX9 isn't exactly comparable to an E-M1.3 in terms of build, handling or features - replacing it with say an E-M5II would level the tables and still give you weather sealing and Sync IS.

Realistically, a lot of this comes down to how you travel and what you shoot since that will determine how frequently you're going to switch lenses. For me, 8-18 + 35-100 would result in switching lenses pretty frequently I think, whereas 7.5 + 12-100 would mean only switching rarely. Particularly since the 12-100 is so good as a close-focus lens too. Video might also be a factor - 8-18+35-100 gives you a wider aperture across most of the range for video, and I suspect the lens switching question is different between stills and video.

Having said that, thinking about doing more video prompted my post in the UW zoom topic about potentially augmenting my lens selection. Having thought about the L-mount 20-60, I realized that a similar range for M43 might take care of 'enough' of my uses, with the telephoto range covered by the 40-150R for now with an acceptable amount of switching. Unfortunately, there isn't a 10-30 for M43, and the closest match is the 10-25 which is huge and expensive. Plus, 10mm may not really be 'wide enough' either. The 8-18 doesn't have the reach to get up into the Normal range and would likely result in a fair bit of lens switching. The Olympus 8-25 is still a rumor, and is expected to be f/4 which is less than ideal for video.
I do think that for a video-oriented outing a UW prime + 12-35/2.8 would be a better answer than the 12-100, particularly on a Panny body, though. Include the 40-150R if you need the reach (or the Panny 45-175 I guess, which is reported to be similar)

I think my struggle now is to justify my GAS (buying the Panasonic), but I am not prepared to give up the Olympus zoom. Maybe just live with both for some time and observe their usage....
GAS is always a problem,and we each have our individual tolerance levels. I've spent some time mulling over switching systems but I've tentatively come to the conclusion that the 12-100 might literally be what is keeping me in the M43 system. I've gotten used to it, and it's something that doesn't seem to have an equal in other systems (although the Nikon 24-200 + Z6 might do it). Whenever I start to look at changing my lens lineup, my eyes wander and I realize that I can recreate most other setups in another system, and maybe it makes more sense to consider that instead. Then I get a look at the price tag, and I'm back to my 12-100.....lather/rinse/repeat
 

ac12

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One more point. I do not know how the 12-100 works on the Panasonic, but on my EM1 mk1 and mk2, it draws quite a bit of power.
  • On the EM1-mk1, the battery lasts about 2-1/2 hours continuous. Compared to 4 hours continuous, with the P-Lumix 12-60.
  • On the mk2, the battery lasts about 3-3/4 hours continuous.
That means MORE spare batteries needed for a full day of shooting. And more charging at the end of the day.
 
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I have the 12-100 and the little Oly 9-18, but not the PL8-18 or P X 35-100 II. I tried the Laowa 7.5 once and didn't find it to my liking. The 9-18+12-100 combo is 716 g, and the 8-18+35-100 is 672 g. Pretty darn close. The first two lenses are part of my travel kit, and based on past experience, I know the 12-100 would get 95% of the shots and there would be no gap from 19-34 mm. And, less lens changing needed. The 9-18 would come out when occasional UWA shots are needed. Sure, the PL8-18 would have better IQ, but the 9-18 is pretty good, and it's so small and light. And, I know that weather sealing of the 12-100 and my EM1 III is dependable. So, my choice is easy - stick with what I got.

However, for the OP, taking the 12-100 mountaineering seems like too much weight and size, and the higher battery drainage might be a problem. The OP doesn't say what camera he's using, but for compatibility for weathersealing and dual-sync, using Panasonic lenses with a Panasonic body would be a better match-up. I would think a PL12-60 would be a good choice and at 320 g, considerably lighter than the 12-100.

Kinda depends on how much the OP needs the range out to 100. I know I use the 100 length quite often. I used to have a 12-40 f2.8 and a 4/3rd 12-60 SWD, and while I loved the extra 20 mm range and images from the latter, the 12-100 was actually lighter when you add on the adapter needed for the 12-60 SWD. It was a no-brainer to switch to the 12-100. :)
 

Hypilein

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I use the 8-18 and 35-100 f2.8 (also first version) as my general purpose/hiking kit. I've thought about the 12-100 but as you discovered I would still need a wide lens. I don't mind the gap between 18 and 35. In my opinion it's negligible. I have considered adding the slow 35-100 for size and weight reasons, but can't justify the additional cost of a lens. I still keep the 35-100f2.8 for concerts and the occasional portrait but I have to admit that I use it less and less. I've also considered replacing it with a PL50-200 (still in a double lens kit with the 8-18), but that would make the size/weight situation even worse and I would need a new concert/portrait lens. (75 f1.8 possibly).

In a world of limited funds and bagspace there is no perfect option. In the end only you can decide what is best for you, but the 8-18 + 35-100 f2.8 combination is certainly one of the most versatile options out there and still fairly compact.
 

theswanlogo

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Well, the cameras I own at this moment are EM1.3, GX9 and EM5. The EM1.3 is planned for hiking/mountaineering since it is weather sealed.

Good point on battery drainage of the 12-100/4. I currently own 3 Olympus batteries for the EM1.3 and up in the mountains I can't charge them. So, most probably, my 12-100/4 will not be carried up in the mountains. As for the 18-50mm gap, I only have P20/1.7, S30/1.4 and the 14-42 II R as options to split this gap. So the Siggy was mentioned not for its wide aperture, as I won't need that, but for its availability - don't really want to add another (macro) lens to my wishlist.

As for the casual shooting (around the town or during holidays), the 12-100/4's weight would not count that much into the equation (for me) but the 35-100/2.8 versatility (good for portraits, for instance, and also a viable alternative to 75/1.8 - which I also plan to sell - for isolating subjects on street shots) is a strong point.

Probably I will end up buying the 35-100/2.8 and see then how much usage will the 12-100/4 get. For the city wandering and shooting "therapy" I could also carry 2 cameras and 2 lenses, so maybe I'll try both variants, like Laowa+GX9 & Oly 12-100+EM1.3 then 8-18 + GX9 & 35-100 + EM1.3 and see how it goes.

Anyhow, I guess this discussion still makes sense and is still open to different usage scenarios.

And as a side note, even given the fact that I love my Oly EM1.3, I find myself choosing more and more Pana (or PanaLeica) lenses as opposite to the Oly ones. They just seem to fit my needs better.
 
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theswanlogo

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I use the 8-18 and 35-100 f2.8 (also first version) as my general purpose/hiking kit. I've thought about the 12-100 but as you discovered I would still need a wide lens. I don't mind the gap between 18 and 35. In my opinion it's negligible. I have considered adding the slow 35-100 for size and weight reasons, but can't justify the additional cost of a lens. I still keep the 35-100f2.8 for concerts and the occasional portrait but I have to admit that I use it less and less. I've also considered replacing it with a PL50-200 (still in a double lens kit with the 8-18), but that would make the size/weight situation even worse and I would need a new concert/portrait lens. (75 f1.8 possibly).

In a world of limited funds and bagspace there is no perfect option. In the end only you can decide what is best for you, but the 8-18 + 35-100 f2.8 combination is certainly one of the most versatile options out there and still fairly compact.
Yes, I think the 8-18 stays in my bag, as for the 35-100 vs 50-200, for me I would take the 50-200 when hiking as I like shooting landscapes on long tele end (actually I have also the Pana 1.4x TC for it). Then the 35-100 for city, holiday, concerts, portraits. Quite versatile lens I would say. What about 12-100 then 🤔
 

Hypilein

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Obviously, having both is always the best, except for my wallet which says no.
 

Joe_G

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I went this route I have a Oly EM1.2 with the 8-18 and had the Oly 12-40 & Oly 17/1.8, I also was looking for a 35-100/f2.8 but when I was looking could not find that many used. Now I am not hiking or climbing mountains but do visit many large parks so I when with this setup. I still have the 8-18 but traded in the 12-40 & the 17/1.8 for a used 12-100 & 17/1.2, and so far very happy. All 3 lenses are weather sealed, and I know these are not the smallest of micro 4/3 lenses but all great glass that covers a good range. I switched from FF at the end of 2019 so the little larger micro 4/3 lenses are not an issue for me, but I did switch over because it got to be hassle taking the larger FF equipment out for walks in the park.
 

doady

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I am a 12-100mm user in need for ultra-wide too, but a big lens like 12-100mm F4 not really suited to be carried with another lens and constantly switched with another lens, and of course it wasn't designed for that purpose anyways. So another big lens like 7-14mm F2.8 is probably not practical. 8-25mm F4 will likely be smaller, easier to carry together with 12-100mm, but also make it easier to leave the 12-100mm at home too.

That said, I think the weight disadvantage of 12-100mm F4 might also be exaggerated, if the extra stop of stabilization from Sync IS with my E-M1 II means I don't have to carry a tripod as much.
 
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