Olympus 12-40 f2.8 PRO vs prime lens and kit

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by HazyOmega, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. HazyOmega

    HazyOmega Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 25, 2013
    Montreal, Canada

    I currently have a E-PL5 with the kit lens (14-42 f3.5-5.6) and a 45mm f1.8. I really like the 45mm f1.8 but I found it to be too zoom in a couple of occasion (outdoor show and indoor). The 14-42mm is way more useful but lack the quality, DOF and aperture of the 45mm.

    So I'm thinking about either wait a couple of week for the 12-40 PRO or buy a good prime (17mm f1.8 or PL25mm f1.4 or ??). I could always sell the 45mm if I get the PRO lens. I don't really consider the cost a big issue if the quality is there and there's less hassle (I hate changing lens while standing in a crowd).

    I will be using the lens for general use ... outdoor landscape to indoor portrait

    What you guys think?
  2. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    you should try it on at a store first. it's a lot bigger than the 14-42 and the primes.

    I tried it on my Em5 and liked it a lot. it definitely beats changing lenses and missing shots when it's busy.

    but for landscapes and portraits, you might value sharpness over convenience. I would stick with primes for those
    • Like Like x 1
  3. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    If you value DOF control, you better off with a Panny 25 f1.4 or Nokton 25 f0.95. 1.4 and 2.8 is a huge difference
  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    +1 on adding the PL25 for your indoor candids and portraits. You may end up using this most of the time... a bit more flexible, I think, than the O45.
  5. HazyOmega

    HazyOmega Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 25, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    For outdoor, does the PL25 f1.4 any good?
    I don't mind walking and moving around (I actually enjoy moving to find a good spot) but I don't think I'll be able to take overall picture with a 25mm (vs a 12mm).

    FYI I'm new to the photography world ... bought my E-PL5 mid-august.
  6. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    If you want fullbody portrait to have shallow dof, the only choices you have is the 42.5 .95 or 75 1.8, even 25 1.4 wouldn't cut it, unless you have a background very far away to begin with, let alone a 2.8 zoom.
  7. masberg24

    masberg24 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 20, 2013
    +1 - voigtlanders!

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
  8. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I use 40-50mm equiv. quite a bit for landscapes as well. Have you seen tanngrisnir3's landscapes with both the 20mm f1.7 and 25mm f1.4? Following is a link for the 20mm stuff and check more recent posts and flickr for 25mm.


    If you are not going to get the advantage of the weather-sealing on your body, you could pick up 2-3 lenses for the same price. 20mm or 25mm plus Ebay Panasonic 14mm for ~$150-170 (new, pulled from kits).
  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I think that you may want to reconcile your want of shallow DOF with your desire to not change lenses. Short of carrying two bodies, you are not going to easily get both of these. You may want to spend some time looking at DOF tables to see if a f/2.8 zoom meets your needs.

    Good luck,

    • Like Like x 1
  10. HazyOmega

    HazyOmega Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 25, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    The PL25mm f1.4 seems like a really good lens. You are making a good point in saying that I could get the 25mm plus a O12mm or P14mm for the same price ... I could even add some filter for the same price.

    Also the 20mm is getting cheaper since the 20mm II is out. I can get a new V1 for $350 ($275 used) or a PL25mm for 650 ... I only fear the purple color fringing and focus hunting of the 20mm. There's also the O17mm but people seems to give it mixed review.

    I think I go in a photo store and try them.
  11. HazyOmega

    HazyOmega Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 25, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    So I went to a store today and tried the O17mm, the P20 and the Nokton 17.5mm

    I like the high quality feel of the Nokton and the IQ but it's way too heavy for the E-PL5.

    Both 17mm and 20mm gaved me almost the same result. In some condition, the 20mm gave me some blue-ish color friging (difficult to see). But weirdly, the 17mm gave me some greenish color friging. For the "same" picture, no CF for the 20mm and green CF for the 17mm.

    They didn't had the PL25mm in stock. I wonder if the IQ will be as good as the Nokton.
    Anyone has tried both?
  12. Microman

    Microman Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    The zoom lens obviously is more convenient because you don’t have to switch lenses. Also, it’s weather sealed, freeze, dust, shake and atom bomb proof. Optically the Olympus 12-40mm seems to be an excellent performer. However, nice as it is, it just can’t replace a set of good primes. A prime lens is smaller, it can be sharper and it’s faster of course. Save a little more and get both the zoom and a set of three or four good primes.
  13. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I, for one, like both zooms and primes. They serve different functions; one for walking around and the others for low light and when you know where you will be shooting. The 12 - 40 will be replacing my two small kit lenses.
  14. Dsidote

    Dsidote Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 22, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I purchased the 12-40 and then returned it about a week later. I really tried to love the lens for all of the reasons already discussed, but in the end the 1 1/3 stop difference between the 1.8 primes and the zoom, and the weight of the 12-40 were, to me, not worth the convenience of the zoom. I have the EM-1, pana-leica 25, and the oly45, and I feel that the m4/3 system is best with the fast primes. For me, the ability to keep the iso low trumps the convenience of the zoom.
  15. JeanLucX

    JeanLucX Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2013
    You know there is an easy solution. Just carry two cameras:) 
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    One vote for the Olympus 25mm f1.8, and excellent lens. But no one but you, really, can answer whether the 12-40 will take the place adequately for the primes - for you. I've been trying to answer the same question for me, and I think the size of the size with the primes, as well as the extra f stops in low light have me resisting the 12-40, which I'd have to finance by selling my primes (the oly 25 and 45). I just don't think I can go there, especially as my Fuji X-Pro is already a pretty large and heavy package.
  17. Privatedoc

    Privatedoc New to Mu-43

    Sep 25, 2015
    Primes are faster and better iq...fact....zoom is convenient...fact.......bottom line, you need both....sorry, not much help!
  18. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    I have the o25 and the 12-40. I love love love the 12-40 as its awesome and so so sharp but there are times when f2.8 doesn't cut it and I go for the o25 instead.

    I know that some will vote p25 instead for 1.4 instead of 1.8 but there's the little things like size and non reversible hood that also could be a factor for you
  19. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    There are probably a dozen threads on the debate between prime lenses and zoom lenses, usually the 12-40 Pro as the zoom in question because it is so good that for many it can replace several primes. The threads have a widely diverse range of opinions, so you won't find an easy answer, but they have all the relevant information.

    Normally I would suggest the 12-40, but for your camera I think a few primes might be better. The 12-40 is a big lens and you may not like the way it will dwarf the E-PL5. Plus, you seem to not mind zooming with your feet. The only factor left is whether you mind changing lenses. If you don't, primes would work great.

    The PL 24 f/1.4 is an excellent option because it is at a very versatile focal range. It's still small enough for the E-PL5. It is very sharp. It's wide enough for many landscape shots, although you would have to step back to get really wide. It is long enough for full body portraits, and fast enough for some good background separation even at that focal length.

    Or, you could get two: the 12 (or 17), and one of the 42.5s or 45. That would give you a dedicated landscape lens and a dedicated portrait lens.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  20. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    Yes, it's fantastic for outdoors, landscape & architecture.
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