Olympus 12-100 f/4 PRO vs Panasonic-Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4

11GTCS

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I hope all of you are doing well in these strange times we live in! I'm starting to think long range about travel again, and I'm starting to eye some zooms. Normally I'm a prime guy for everything but wildlife, but for traveling zooms are super convenient. I currently shoot Olympus bodies, but I don't buy for a second the people who just say "shoot the brand of lenses that matches you bodies", I love my PL100-400 on my EM1ii. I've had the O12-40 2.8 in the past, but found for travel it was just a bit short on the long end for an everyday travel lens. That pointed me at the 12-100, but that's a much bigger lens than I'd like to carry for some situations (I do a lot of cycle touring when I travel). Partially because of the cycle touring and partially because of where I travel, weather-sealing is a big deal, which is why I'm looking at these two lenses. Does anyone have experience with both on an Olympus body? Not sure if I'd really miss the 60-100 range or the sync-IS abilities with the f/4 or if that is partially made up by the fact that I wouldn't need to carry a 12mm f/2 prime to cover interior shots with the faster wide end on the PL. Thanks in advance!
 

PakkyT

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I am very pleased with the 12-100 PRO, however I don't carry it on a bike. But here's my take based on my own experiences. When I first got my E-M1.1 I used my old 4/3 12-60 SWD for a good year (so not the Panny but experience with the focal length you are discussing). I then picked up the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 (so I also agree with you about nor being beholden to only using same brand lens with camera) and it took very nice photos. I used it for some years but always kind of missed the longer 5x optical zoom of the old SWD. A couple years ago we went to Iceland and before going I debated what to bring, maybe renting a new to me lens such as the Panny 8-18mm. I was concerned that even though I would be bringing a longer focal length lens as well, that shooting the Panny 12-35 most of the time I would find the range too limiting. In the end I went totally old school and brought the 4/3rds 12-60 SWD and the 4/3rds 50-200mm and during the trip and in hind sight I was very glad to have the range of the 12-60mm over the 12-35mm. There were many times when shooting something you want to quickly get very different views but either don't want to or didn't have the time to switch up lenses. Being able to jump from 12 to 60 was essential for that trip.

So, I get back home and start to rethink my lenses. Like you I tend to lean towards my small primes for most day to day shooting (I brought my O25/1.8 to Iceland as well for when out at night around town or other times when carrying the big lens or a backpack wasn't really appropriate) and figured when I wanted to shoot a zoom, I did prefer to have more versatility of focal range. But unlike other models of "super zooms" I was not willing to compromise image quality just for that (so lenses like the 14-150s didn't really appeal to me nor the 12-200). I sold the Panny 12-35 and used the money towards the 12-100 PRO and so far have been thrilled with it.

Now the one big disconnect between my experience and your wish list is I have been carrying the 12-60 SWD or the 50-200mm around on camera bodies for years, so the size and weight isn't really one of my main concerns. The 12-100 PRO is actually a tiny bit smaller than the 12-60 SWD + MMF-3 adapter. So if the size and weight of the lens is a concern for you, then you might have more to think about and decide. But if your other concerns matches my thoughts above, the 12-100 PRO is a really great lens that offers an insane 8+ optical zoom range but with PRO level optics and image quality. The dual IS is exceptional. And of course weather sealing. And for when the f4 is not enough, as mentioned, pocketing a small prime to take with you often solves that.
 
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I have the PL 12-60 and e-M1ii and I love it. This lens changed my approach to photography and lured me into this expensive hobby.

For travel I usually carry L7.5, PL15, PL12-60 and O40-150 5.6.
If I need longer I take the O75-300 or, for Zoo's Safaris etc, the PL100-400 instead of the 40-150.

Often when travelling, the rest of the lenses stay in the hotel safe and I just take the 12-60 and it is more than adequate.

As for weather sealing the em1 PL12-60 combo got pretty wet at Victoria Falls last year, with no adverse affects.

I seem to be constantly worrying whether to trade it in for a 12-100 or not (I can't justify keeping both).
  • The 12-60/40-150 combo is lighter (510g) than the 12-100 (561g).
  • If I need the length it is usually outside with enough light for the 40-150.
  • I am the limiting factor in taking photos, not the lenses and the IQ of the 12-60 is plenty good enough.
  • The 12-60 fits my e-m5ii, whereas the 12-100 feels lovely on the em1 it is a bit cumbersome on the em5.
  • The 12-100 is nearly twice the price
  • If I had the 12-100 I would want the kit 12-60 as a lighter travel lens
  • The 12-60 zooms the same way as the 100-400, I find the 75-300 confusing here.

At the time I bought the 12-60, I was expecting to buy the 12-35/35-100 2.8 combo.
I bought the 12-32 35-100 kit lens pair second hand as a trial and quickly realised I spent too much time swapping lenses rather than taking photos.

The PL12-60 gave me
  • an improvement in quality (over the kit lenses)
  • less lens swapping
  • Light and comfortable on my then e-m10
  • A renewed interest in taking photos again.

As a suggestion why don't you buy the Panasonic kit 12-60 second hand, and go on a simulated travel day? it may tell you whether you really do need the 60-100 range. It may even be good enough to keep and if not you can sell it for what you bought it for and buy the PL or Oly. or even keep it as a lighter travel lens.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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My PL12-60 is a bit underused, but when I do use it, I love the results. It was the first premium lens I bought, and it was well worth it. I picked mine up gray market for a decent savings. It’s not exactly small, but it’s still pretty light, but I think it could cover a pretty wide range of situations. I think once you get closer to 100, you’re just better off grabbing the long lens. I don’t shoot mine on an Olympus body, but I know there are some here that do.
 

Holoholo55

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I hope all of you are doing well in these strange times we live in! I'm starting to think long range about travel again, and I'm starting to eye some zooms. Normally I'm a prime guy for everything but wildlife, but for traveling zooms are super convenient. I currently shoot Olympus bodies, but I don't buy for a second the people who just say "shoot the brand of lenses that matches you bodies", I love my PL100-400 on my EM1ii. I've had the O12-40 2.8 in the past, but found for travel it was just a bit short on the long end for an everyday travel lens. That pointed me at the 12-100, but that's a much bigger lens than I'd like to carry for some situations (I do a lot of cycle touring when I travel). Partially because of the cycle touring and partially because of where I travel, weather-sealing is a big deal, which is why I'm looking at these two lenses. Does anyone have experience with both on an Olympus body? Not sure if I'd really miss the 60-100 range or the sync-IS abilities with the f/4 or if that is partially made up by the fact that I wouldn't need to carry a 12mm f/2 prime to cover interior shots with the faster wide end on the PL. Thanks in advance!
I agree with you about the 12-40 being a bit short for a walk-around travel lens. I used it on a trip with my son to the East Coast with his 5th grade class. It was hugely useful and I used it for 95% of the shots. BUT... there were some times I wish it were longer. At times, I couldn't change lenses because of weather or because I didn't bring my 40-150 R with me. And as we were on a guided tour that moved along quickly, there was no time for stopping and taking my time changing lenses. I had to shoot with what I had on me at the time. Hence, I usually ended up using just one lens. I started looking around for a wider range lens that gave high IQ and was weather-sealed.

I tried a friend's PL 12-60 and it is about the same size as the 12-40, but had that extra 20mm. Very tempting. But, I didn't want to spend another $1,000. Instead, I bought a used ZD 12-60 SWD (4/3rd) and really liked the images I was getting out of it. On my EM1.2, it focused and performed beautifully, but it was also big and heavy. But, I would have taken it for travel vs the 12-40 because of the extra reach. Then when I realized that the ZD 12-60+MMF-3 was bigger and heavier than the mZD 12-100 f4, I sold the 12-40 and 12-60 to buy a 12-100. That is now my default walk-around lens. I love the reach out to 100 and it also works well for close-ups. The IQ is outstanding and the weather-sealing makes it perfect for travel. Yes, it's definitely bigger and heavier than the PL 12-60, but it has 40 mm longer reach and a constant aperture.

With the reach out to 100, I can leave my 40-150 R at home, and with adequate close-up capabilities, I can leave my 60 macro at home too. Killed a couple of birds with one stone, so to speak. I was able to reduce the total weight and size of my travel kit, even though the camera/lens combo is bigger and heavier than it would have been with the 12-40. I could reduce it even more if I used my EM5 III with an accessory grip with the 12-100. And with Sync-IS, I probably don't need a tripod either. The lack of Sync-IS with the PL 12-60 was also a significant factor.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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In terms of size/weight, in order, it’s the 12-45 4.0, PL12-60, 12-40 2.8, and then 12-100. The 12-100 really is in a different league for size—75% heavier than the PL12-60 and 30mm longer. The other 3 lenses seem much closer in specs to make the decision harder. Honestly, the 12-45 F4 is the dark horse here, a little bit more range, and cost, size, and weight are the lowest at the expense of no 2.8. Early opinions say it’s quite a good lens, too.

If you are willing to concede a bit more, the P12-60 3.5-5.6 is the lightest and is cheaper still, though you lose the pro rating.
 

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I don't have the P-Leica 12-60, but I have the P-Lumix 12-60, and the Olym 12-100.

Being a senior citizen with a few injuries, kit weight is an issue for me that it isn't for you youngsters.
When I travel, my lens of choice is the P-Lumix 12-60, for small size and light weight.
And as was mentioned, the extra 20mm out to 60, makes it a good GP lens. While I have the 12-40, I often feel that I don't have enough reach with the 40mm end, so I find myself grabbing the P-Lumix 12-60 more than the 12-40.

I have and use the 12-100, but not as a GP lens. For ME, the 12-100 is just a bit too heavy and big, to lug around all day. So it has become a task lens, I grab it for specific shoots based on the needs of that shoot.
That lens is also a power hog.
On my EM1-mk1, continuous ON battery life is 2-1/2 hours (on the mk2 it runs 3-1/2 hours).​
By comparison, the P-Lumix 12-60 on my mk1 will run 4 hours.​
With the 12-100, I use a wider Peak Design, Slide Lite strap to make the weight easier to carry, and I moved the right strap to the lower plate, to keep the right deck clear of the strap.
 

PakkyT

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Honestly, the 12-45 F4 is the dark horse here, a little bit more range, and cost, size, and weight are the lowest at the expense of no 2.8.
Keep in mind that the original poster did specifically say the 12-40 was "a bit short" when traveling and the point of his post was to consider two longer lenses. I don't think the +5mm of the "45" really helps there.


That lens [12-100 PRO] is also a power hog.
On my EM1-mk1, continuous ON battery life is 2-1/2 hours (on the mk2 it runs 3-1/2 hours).
Yes but that is easily managed a couple ways. First, as you said battery life is a matter of on-time, I have got into the habit of simply turning it off after I get my shots. Unlike the old dSLR days where waking from sleep was much faster than powering up, I find that my E-M1.1 is about the same to wake from sleep as it is to turn on from off. Second, the 12-100 PRO has a nice IS switch on the side of it. A lot of the time if you are shooting outside in good light and your shutter is 1/200 or faster (for the long end of the lens), IS is more an option than a true need. On long outings if one is concerned about running out of battery, simply take advantage of that handy switch when IS is more "optional" will help a lot.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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Keep in mind that the original poster did specifically say the 12-40 was "a bit short" when traveling and the point of his post was to consider two longer lenses. I don't think the +5mm of the "45" really helps there.
Maybe I focused in on his comment on cycling too much. I had a buddy that spared no expense on his bikes, and he was mindful of every extra ounce!
 

Holoholo55

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Maybe I focused in on his comment on cycling too much. I had a buddy that spared no expense on his bikes, and he was mindful of every extra ounce!
OT, but it reminds me of a saying we used to have when I rode a lot, that all bikes weighed the same, no matter how much they cost. There was an inverse relationship between the weight of a bike and the weight of the security cable and lock (before Kryptonite) we had to carry to protect it. The lighter and more expensive the bike, the heavier the lock and cable had to be. If you had a cheap Schwinn, no need lock because nobody would steal it (back then they weighed 35 lb). My light Nishiki Pro (25 lb) needed a cable that was so long and heavy I had to wrap it twice around my waist and secure the 1.5 lb lock to it. In the end, the whole package weighed about the same as the Schwinn. LOL.
 
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PakkyT

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OT, but it reminds me of a saying we used to have when I rode a lot, that all bikes weighed the same, no matter how much they cost. There was an inverse relationship between the weight (and cost) of a bike and the size and weight of the security cable and lock (before Kryptonite) we had to carry to protect it. The lighter the bike, the heavier the lock and cable had to be. If you had a cheap Schwinn, no need lock because nobody would steal it (back then they weighed 35 lb). My light Nishiki Pro (25 lb) needed a cable that was so long and heavy I had to wrap it twice around my waist and secure the 1.5 lb lock to it. In the end, the whole package weighed about the same as the Schwinn. LOL.
You beat me to it kind of. I was going to say those people crack me up. The diminishing return on investment for those cyclists I think becomes more of a personal challenge to see just how light they can go rather than any sort of real benefit from dropping their bike from 18 pounds to 17. They just want to be able to tell their fellow bike-nerds the number as they all do a giant loop to nowhere. :rofl:
 

retiredfromlife

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If weather sealing is a concern I would not use Panasonic on an Olympus body, as the O rings are not in the same place and from memory one brands O rings went across the mounting screws of the body. The thread is on this forum but cant remember the thread name
 

Holoholo55

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In terms of size/weight, in order, it’s the 12-45 4.0, PL12-60, 12-40 2.8, and then 12-100. The 12-100 really is in a different league for size—75% heavier than the PL12-60 and 30mm longer. The other 3 lenses seem much closer in specs to make the decision harder. Honestly, the 12-45 F4 is the dark horse here, a little bit more range, and cost, size, and weight are the lowest at the expense of no 2.8. Early opinions say it’s quite a good lens, too.

If you are willing to concede a bit more, the P12-60 3.5-5.6 is the lightest and is cheaper still, though you lose the pro rating.
Hmm... here's an interesting comparison. From smallest to largest (excluding the 12-100), it's the Oly 12-45 f4 Pro, Pana Lumix 12-60 f3.5-5.6, Oly 12-40 Pro, and Pana Leica 12-60 f2.8-4. https://camerasize.com/compact/#835.852,835.569,835.412,835.625,ha,t

When I played a bit with my friend's Pana Lumix 12-60, it felt very compact and light to me. Yet, the 12-45 Pro is even smaller (albeit heavier due to more metal). The Pana Leica 12-60 felt about the same size as the 12-40 Pro, which surprised me considering it's 20 mm longer reach. I would consider the 12-45 f4 Pro to match up with my EM5 III, but since I already have the 12-100, I'm trying to think of ways to marry it and the 5.3 harmoniously. Methinks an accessory grip will help.
 

Holoholo55

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@Holoholo55 Do be warned, Walter - the camerasize dimensions displayed are not always particularly accurate.

Still a useful site, but better to rely on the judgement/s of those who have experience using various items being compared IMHO.
I find it useful, but in addition, I have used three of the four lenses in that comparison. It jives with my experience. If we include the ZD 12-60 SWD and 12-100 Pro, I have used five of six lenses in this range. I think I have a dog in this fight. :)
 
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