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Pany 12-32 vs Oly 12-50

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by GnedTheGnome, May 1, 2015.

  1. GnedTheGnome

    GnedTheGnome Mu-43 Regular

    I just picked up a used em5, and have $150 - $200 to get a lens that will get me started and keep me going for the next year or so until I graduate and get a better paying job. I'm looking at the following 2 lenses:

    Oly 12-50 - I like the focal range, the macro capability, and the fact that it's weather sealed.

    Pany 12-32 - Love the size, and from what I've seen, it seems to have better IQ.

    I keep bouncing back and forth between them, so I thought I'd get your opinions. Which would you choose and why? For those who have used both, was there a major IQ difference? Is there another choice that's better, and why? Or should I take the plunge, sell off my Canon equipment (such as it is), forget about the kit lens, and buy something in the $400 - $500 range?
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I have the 12-32 and think it's a great lens. It's small, has great IQ for its price point and fits with the spirit of u43. The 12-50 OTOH has so-so IQ, is slow and huge (for its range). Unless its pseudo macro function or weather sealing is important for you, I'd go for the 12-32.

    As for selling your Canon gear... Well, I sold my 5dii and a bunch of L lenses to move to u43 and have no regrets. However, to get a std zoom that's significantly better than the 12-32, you'll be looking at the Oly 12-40 or the Panasonic 12-35 - both of which will set you back more than $400-500.
    Last edited: May 1, 2015
  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    The 12-50 is not slow when you compare the same focal range:


    I think they are just the same. Then you have the 33-50 range where the Oly is slower (1/2 stop) but at least you have it.

    The 12-50 on the wide end is not bad but there is "a lot" of CA so here the Pana wins. Around 25 I think they are on par. So again on the same range they look similar (all based on several reviews around and comparisons). The Panasonic in most reviews looks sligthly better but I wonder if the difference is something that is noticeable in practice (except maybe at 12mm with tree branches or similar). The 12-32 should be better in the corners.

    To get something definitely better you need to go to the 12-40 or 12-35 or primes. With m43 there is not yet the middle price range so with 400-500$ you won't find any better zoom, even used.

    My opinion: I find the 12-32 range too tight if this is your main lens. You give up the portrait range and the near sports/wildlife too.
    It's bad to loose the weather sealing of the E-M5 if you shoot outdoor. There is always going to be a lens with better IQ, so the point is IF a lens IQ is enough for you or not.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/p_schmal/17040201952/in/pool-1870876@N24 (12mm)

    If the Canon camera is not a post 2012 model or a full-frame there is probably no reason to keep it around now that you have the E-M5 (with a few exception regarding AF). Which camera and lenses do you have? What do you shoot most?
  5. kadamnation

    kadamnation Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2013
    Boston, MA
    My partner uses the 12-32mm as her primary lens on her E-M5, and it's practically glued there... between that and the Olympus I would vote for the Panasonic hands-down! Don't underestimate the size: you're not just getting a sharper piece of glass, you're getting the smallest zoom made for the system, small enough that (for us) it makes the E-M5 significantly more portable. More portable means available when you need it. (and yes, it's not the best length for portraits -- but if portraits are the priority, I'd actually suggest forgoing both zooms for the Olympus 45mm prime.) can't recommend the 12-32mm highly enough :) 
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