Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 or G5

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by allan, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. allan

    allan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2009
    I have a Panasonic G1 with the original 14-45 kit zoom lens and I shoot RAW and use LR 4.2. For the most part I am happy with this combo but the low light performance is not that great. ISO 400 and above shots exhibit a bit too much noise for my tastes. I was looking to finally upgrade my body to a G5 for better low light performance. I want to get relatively clean shots up to at least ISO 1600.

    I do have the 20mm f1.7, but it gets little use because I just prefer the convenience of zoom lenses, so I was also considering upgrading my kit zoom lens from the 14-45 to the new 12-35 f2.8 zoom lens. I like the fact that it's a constant aperture since a lot of my shots are in the 25 to 35 mm focal range.

    So for slightly better low light performance in the ISO 400 to 1600 range, what would be the best short term upgrade: the G5 or the 12-25 f2.8? Ideally I'd like to get both, but I can only afford one right now. I would consider one of the new Oly bodies but I just prefer Panasonic's ergonomics and UI for some reason (plus I prefer having a built-in flash). The new GH3 looks too big for my use--the G5 is about as big as I'd like to go.
  2. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    What if you got a G3 and the 12-35?

    I would go for the lens usually.
  3. allan

    allan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2009
    I tried the G3 last year and didn't like the grip. Plus, I'm intrigued by the silent electronic shutter option of the G5.

  4. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I would think the aperture bump going from the kit to the 2.8 would be more substantial than the boost you'd get from updating sensors, especially since you favor the mid range. Also, if you get the new lens now, an even better body may be out by the time you have more $ to upgrade your body; it's unlikely that we'll see a similar improvement in zooms any time soon.
  5. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Real Name:
    If we just look at low light performance we see that both solution will give you the same result. the increase in ISO and increase in lens speed are both of 2 stops. The lens you own the P14-45 is a good lens while your body is outdated.
    I would go with the cheaper option of body upgrade for two major advantages.
    The added video feature and the silent electronic shutter.
    Another option you might consider is getting the GX1 body and using it as second low light body with the P20. In this case you get additional one stop at a lower price.
  6. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I would probably get the 12-35mm and wait on the G5. Having recently bought this lens I can vouch that it is of high quality. The price has reduced from the original retail of $1299 ( I paid $950). The 7-14 mm is still priced around $900 so I don't believe the 12-35 will drop too much more.
    The g5 will no doubt continue to reduce in price and you could pick it up in a few months for less than what you would pay now.
    The 12-35mm also gets you wider than the 14-45mm which I think is very handy.
    It is a tough decision but I don't think you can ever go wrong getting better lenses, bodies will come and go.
  7. gsk3

    gsk3 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 29, 2012
    Investing in good glass is just that--an investment. Buying a new body is a consumption decision. When I was shooting Nikon on a semi-pro basis, the 80-200/2.8 ran a little over a grand. Now its modern equivalent runs almost 2 grand. The Nikon D1H that cost $5k then now sells for $150.

    Plus good glass is a wonderful thing to use.
  8. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    The G5 will definitely get you to ISO 1600 (I would even argue it's plenty usable at ISO 3200 personally). Silent shutter is also nice for candids, but just be aware it can introduce distortion on moving subjects and limits the max ISO and shutter speed, IIRC.

    I have the G5 (selling mine now that my GH3 has arrived) and the 12-35mm lens and both are excellent. The G5 will depreciate where the lens will hold its value, but then again you can probably find a G5 used in like new shape for about half the cost of the lens.

    My suggestions would be either:

    1) Upgrade the lens, eventually upgrade to the G5 later; the body will only drop in value the longer you wait.

    2) Buy a gently used G5, save back up some cash, and spring for the 12-35mm later if you still feel you need it after using the G5 + 14-45mm a while.

    If you've gone this long with just the kit lens and you're only wishing for a couple extra stops of ISO performance, I think either upgrade would work just fine for you. Some things I'd be looking at to help break the tie would be:

    * how important is the extra 2mm wide end (this is a big difference between the two zooms)
    * electronic shutter - how useful is this for the way you shoot?
    * other enhancements: the G5 also will offer things like better EVF/LCD resolution, better sensor overall, and so on which may be more useful to you in the short term than the lens improvements
  9. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    12-35mm gives you a significant amount of IQ improvement on every photo you shoot, day and night, with the benefit of wider angle option plus lower ISO on each photo.

    G5 on the other hand gives you better high ISO performance at night and the photos won't be any sharper. I'd say it is an easy choice
  10. ggibson

    ggibson Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 9, 2011
    You could get significant improvement from a used G3 for probably <$300. I agree with others though, lens>body for spending $$.
  11. allan

    allan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 24, 2009
    I think I might be able to swing both. When I first looked, the G5 body was $699 and the lens was $1299, which was a bit more than I wanted to spend (my total budget was about $1500 CDN). But I have since found the body for $599 and the lens for about $1069 (both brand new). Even though this will put me slightly over what I wanted to spend, I haven't spent anything on ยต43 camera gear since 2009* so I might splurge a bit this time. :tongue:

    I agree that the lens is a more important investment than a new body, but I also shoot a lot in museums, so the silent shutter option of the G5 would be very nice to experiment with since most places don't allow flash or tripods, and loud, clacking cameras are usually discouraged as well.

    *Edit: I just remembered I bought an E-PL1 in last 2010, so it hasn't been as long as I initially remembered, lol.