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


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Jan 13, 2018
I've owned multiple copies of the PL12-60 and I also had the 12-100. If size and weight are of any concern, the PL12-60 is the way to go. If sharpness and contrast reign supreme, go for the 12-100.

Do be wary of sample variation on the PL12-60. I never had a copy as sharp as my 12-100.


Mu-43 Regular
Jan 25, 2020
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #23
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.
I think the winning idea here is a good one from Glawsder. I'll seek out a 12-60 kit (if anyone has one... don't hate me moderators xD) and see if that meets my needs for an all round travel zoom focal length wise, and if so snatch up a PL 12-60 before I travel next. The idea of never needing a tripod with the 12-100 is nice and all, but I'd still just rather have a light tripod for dawn landscapes, and battery life is important to me.

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. :)
It is always so tough to optimize around something like this. The 12-100 is by far the "better" lens from all accounts but the other issue is I have a PL100-400, so really if I'm gonna need anything beyond 60 on a trip that's probably coming anyway.

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.

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.
True, but I'm of the type (coming from wildlife shooing) that always has the camera one when actively photographing. Since I'm considering the jump to the EM5iii this fall for my second/travel body over my 10.2 now, battery life will become even more important.

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
I've read that post. That said, I have the PL100-400 and haven't had any issues there. It doesn't affect the weathersealing itself, just has the potential to limit the useful life of the o-ring. Plenty of people (including in this post) use P lenses on O bodies without issue in the wet and, more importantly (for me), in the dust.


Mu-43 Regular
Jan 25, 2020
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #24
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.
My solution for that is to just not carry a lock ;) I have an office and just roll my bike into it when I get to work. On long rides my head unit has a tracking/alarm function which works well enough for quick dashes into the bushes for a rest stop.

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:
I'll add a photo of my bike below, it's one of those diminishing ROI bikes.... and I like the heck out of it. It probably weighs around 18 pounds right now, and it's the most comfortable thing I could possibly commute on. Carbon frame for the nasty vibrations from the incredibly incompetent way they add gravel to the roads here (apparently the solution to potholes on a dirt road in Missouri is to just dump 4 inches of 3/4- gravel everywhere on the road), and SRAM AXS wireless shifting is fantastic for muddy commuting days, it just doesn't quit.

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One man’s passion is another man’s folly. Exactly how much money do we mu-43ers spend on camera gear, and what was the reasoning?
Our reasoning will not bear close examination! We be like the bicyclists shaving ounces off their rig. LOL
And yes, cyclists still do shave their legs. I don't, but then I also ride in sandals, even on my centuries (they're special ones with the spots for cleats)
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