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Oly/Panny 7-14mm or Oly 12-40mm 2.8?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by FallOutBoy, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. FallOutBoy

    FallOutBoy New to Mu-43

    5
    Aug 24, 2015
    James
    I love my primes but at the moment my widest FL is 25mm. I want something to cover the wider angle shots but I'm wondering which might be more useful, 7-14 or 12-40..

    I love the idea of an ultra wide angle lens, but this would leave a gap in my coverage between 14-25mm.. On the other hand, the 12-40mm would overlap a lot where I might prefer to use my 25mm or 45mm prime, but sometimes having a single zoom lens would probably be more useful than having to swap lenses..

    Any advice much appreciated :)
     
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    12-40 if you're going for convenience (alternative to primes), 7-14 if you're going to be using it with the primes.
     
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  3. FallOutBoy

    FallOutBoy New to Mu-43

    5
    Aug 24, 2015
    James
    Thanks for the advice, I guess I'll have to think about what I'll use more. I can imagine carrying around the 7-14mm with a prime or two. I think I'd rather have the better IQ of 1.8 primes than the 12-40 2.8..

    How big is the 7-14 compared to the 12-40? I know the Panny 7-14 f4 is smaller and lighter than then Oly. Ideally I'd like a cheap second body to take out so I can have something like the 7-14mm on there and a prime on my em5ii.
     
  4. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    I think you might find there is no real difference in IQ.......
     
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  5. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    432
    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Aaron
    About the only differences with the 12-40 vs primes are size and aperture. In reality, a 12mm f2, 25mm f1.8, and 45mm f1.8 (or similar array of primes that cover the zoom range) take up about as much room in a bag as the 12-40. There's certainly a major size difference in use... The aperture issue is so small as to not be worth wasting words on!
     
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  6. FallOutBoy

    FallOutBoy New to Mu-43

    5
    Aug 24, 2015
    James
    So are you guys saying that it's probably better using the 12-40 than primes, for convenience, and that there really isn't any difference in IQ? What about depth of field for subject isolation, does the 2.8 not make much of a difference?

    Does anyone have the 12-40 and 25mm prime who can take some pairs of shots at the same FL at 2.8 and 1.8 and compare the IQ and depth of field?
     
  7. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
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  8. FallOutBoy

    FallOutBoy New to Mu-43

    5
    Aug 24, 2015
    James
    Thank you very much for the example images. Both look great; I do prefer the 25mm 1.8 bokeh, but I suppose the slight difference is outweighed by the fact that the 12-40mm lens covers a whole range of various prime FL's at only a slightly smaller aperture. The 12-40 could be kept on my EM5ii all day when out and about, in place of several primes.. Hmm, definitely something to think about.
     
  9. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    To make it harder for you: 12-40 is NOT a substitute for 7-14 ;) (pst.. there are two Pany 7-14 for $500-$550 in Buy-Sell section)
     
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  10. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    I was going to sell the 25 when I got the 12-40 BUT I've decided to keep it as I do like a slightly narrower DoF on occasion. The 12-40 suits me very well, it's sharp and versatile ( I sold a p20 and o45 ) but as @budeny@budeny says, it's not a substitute for the 7-14
     
  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    A really hard question.

    In many ways the jump from 14mm to 25mm isn't too great. Back in the 60s and 70s when I was shooting 34mm film in the days before zooms, my primes were 24mm, 28mm and 50/55. 28 to 50mm is basically the same jump as 12 to 25mm, basically a doubling and that was what a lot of people recommended as the correct spacing between primes back then. These days I'd rather do 12, 17 and 25mm but I've changed in the intervening time. Still a gap from 14mm to 25 mm isn't to big to bridge with your feet and a bit of cropping plus learning how to compose with a wide angle to either minimise or maximise any perspective "distortion" effects to suit what you're trying to achieve. You're going to have to learn how to compose at wide angles anyway, whichever zoom you pick, so that isn't an unreasonable ask.

    Basically, I think your choice comes down to what you want and that's going to be a very personal thing in this case. I've got the primes I mentioned above plus the Oly 12-40 and 7-14. First, there's a big difference between 7 and 12mm, basically as big a difference in how much gets added into the frame as there is between 14 and 25mm. There's a big difference between wide, which is what you can get with the 12-40, and ultra-wide which is what you get with the 7-14. If you really want ultra-wide you have only one choice and it's obvious. If you don't need or want anything wider than 12mm, then I'd definitely opt for the 12-40 because when there's enough light and f/2.8 is all you need, it really can replace your primes within its range. It's become my "standard lens" in many ways, simply because for the sort of stuff I shoot f/2.8 is fast enough most of the time and the flexibility of a zoom covering that range beats changing lenses or carrying 2 cameras hands down for me.

    I've only had the 7-14 for a short time and I haven't really given it a lot of work as yet. Most of the time I don't want wider than 12mm which is why it spends much less time on the camera but when it's on the camera I think the quality of the results matches the results I get with the 12-40 and damianmkv's comparisons above show you what that means. You won't find yourself complaining about image quality or sharpness from either of the zooms so it really comes down to range and whether you want and can use that range from 7 to 12mm and also whether having that outweighs the advantage of being able to zoom between 12 and 40mm with superb quality results.

    Size wise I think the 7-14 is marginally larger and heavier than the 12-40 but not significantly so. Part of that size, at least in length, is due to the fact that it has a fixed lens hood with a lens cap that fits over the hood. You can't remove the hood to save a bit of space. It also doesn't have a filter thread so if you want to use filters it's going to be a lot harder to do so with the 7-14.

    I could say you can't go wrong with either but you can go wrong. You can go wrong by picking the one that won't give you the most use and benefit. They're very different lenses and they're both superb at what they do, but they do very different things. One will be better than the other for you but which one is better depends on what you want to do with wide angle and how wide you really want to go.

    And there is another alternative for you to consider. If you don't need wider than 12mm, then the Oly 12mm prime gives you great results, f/2 instead of f/2.8, and a considerable saving in cost if you're happy to learn how to work with that gap between 12 and 25mm which can easily be done and was done and done very successfully by many photographers back in the days when using primes was the only way to go.
     
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  12. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    We are so fortunate in the M43 system to have so many great lens choices. I generally don't shoot wide, so for me the 12-40 would be the more used lens. In fact, I could probably be very happy with the P12-35 and the O75 as a two lens solution for almost everything. But, I love my PL25 and I just purchased the P14-140, which I love the versatility of. There are advantages to so many different lenses. To me, some of the primes render a look that is special, even if it isn't technically superior (like the PL25). But the photos I have seen from the 12-40 are great as well. I remember when I used to hang out on Fredmiranda.com there were guys on there with three or four different 50mm lenses because each one rendered a bit different and they chose them based on what they were looking to produce. I can totally relate to that these days. I am wanting three different lenses in the 45mm ball park right now. If I stay with M43 for ten more years, no telling how many lenses I'll have.
     
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  13. FallOutBoy

    FallOutBoy New to Mu-43

    5
    Aug 24, 2015
    James
    Wow thank you so much everyone for your amazing response to my question, your help and guidance is much appreciated.

    The truth is I have never had an ultra wide angle lens before, but it's for that reason and for creative reasons that I want one.. Conversely, I'm worried that if I don't like shooting ultra wide and find myself not using the lens enough, it will be wasted.

    I suppose the most sensible thing for me to do might be to pick up either a used 12-40 pro, or 12mm f2 prime, and see how often I use the wide focal length. Then decide what to keep and whether or not to get the 7-14 at a later date when I can afford to. I'm thinking that since I probably won't be shooting wide angle too often, the 12-40 zoom might be better suited to me, because I can use it as a single walk around lens at various FL's, instead of swapping primes about when I'm out..

    Thanks again everyone for your assistance and words of M4/3 wisdom :)
     
  14. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    if its any help, I added the samyang 7.5mm FE for when I want wider shots
     
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  15. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    Jan 8, 2013
    My $0.02-

    The 12-40 is the best one-lens solution in terms of IQ and range. For sharpness/color/contrast it is on par with the 1.8 primes except the 45. But unlike others I don't think the 1.3 stop difference between it and the primes is trivial. I find it's significant in low light situations and for DOF, considering the smaller sensor size.

    The DOF differences don't seem that significant when shooting near MFD when any lens can throw backgrounds out of focus. But for more interesting photographs when the subject is not dominating the frame, I find f/2.8 does not give sufficient background separation on MFT (vs. say full frame where I think 2.8 is plenty narrow). I think even f/1.8-2 is even marginal when shooting with wides.

    And I find f/2.8 can be marginal in very low light situations when you're in the ISO 3200-6400 range. I personally find that shooting above ISO 1600 on MFT starts to rapidly lose fine detail, perhaps due to baked-in noise reduction. I find that extra 1.3 stop can be significant in those situations.

    For travel and tripod shooting, the 12-40 can't be beat for convenience and IQ. I currently have the 17/25/45 primes but will probably re-add the 12-40 at some point for an upcoming trip. But I don't think it could replace the primes for me.
     
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