Primes or zoom?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by FMJunkie, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. FMJunkie

    FMJunkie Mu-43 Regular

    May 29, 2014
    I know this is most likely an age old argument, but I am at a crossroad.

    Less than a week ago I was happy with the idea of buying some nice quick oly primes.
    Now I have seen this oly 12-40mm pro zoom and love it.

    So I can't decide if I should continue buying primes or spend a lot more initially and buy this zoom lens.

    Weighing up the pros and con's to me size and weight stand out the most. Then there is the larger apreture .

    The zoom lens is expensive but covers a great focal range with the sharpness I thought you couldn't get from a zoom lens.

    I am after some opinions to help me decide which way to go.

    Your feedback is most appreciated.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Mu-43 mobile app
  2. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Real Name:
    Modern zoom lenses are very good and are better than some prime lenses. I recently purchased the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 zooms and have been very pleased with both of them. I still use my prime lenses quite a bit, but when I want to travel with less gear the zooms are the ticket. I do not think you will be disappointed with the 12-40.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Real Name:
    Reza Travilla
    Prime lenses! :smile:

    The reason is simple, the size. Love the primes because they are so small. Zoom lenses make you lazy too.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. PMCC

    PMCC Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 18, 2013
    It goes back to the question: how are you going to use your lens(es)?
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Actually, being a prime lover, and having gotten the 12-40 as part of the EM-1 package... The 12-40 is pretty darn good.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. neofx19

    neofx19 Mu-43 Regular

    May 16, 2012
    For myself I use primes mostly for static subjects. Portraits, landscape and street photography. The prime lenses for micro four thirds are so small and compact its easy to carry a few of them in a small camera bag. For event stuff like news and sports most of the time zooms are the way to go. Although I will use a longer tele prime lens like the 150mm f2 and teleconverters to get close to action but I use this exclusively only for sports. I personally would recommended primes if you like fast glass, do low light shooting often and want a small light overall system. If you want convenience, have no regard for weight, or don't have any issues shooting in any ISO zoom lenses are it.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    Carrying around three or four primes vs one zoom, is just a more complex zoom setup.:biggrin:
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  8. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    The 12-40mm is weather sealed, almost none of the primes are.


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
    • Like Like x 1
  9. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    Have never completely swallowed the size argument. Taking three or four primes out with you is probably going to take up as much room in a camera bag as a universal zoom. It's what you're comfortable with and how it fits in with the shooting subjects you prefer. Regarding optical qualities, whereas there are significantly superior Fuji XF prime lenses to zooms, I'm not convinced that's equally true for micro four thirds unless you're a portrait specialist or shoot predominantly indoors. It has to be acknowledged also that you are considering one of the best system zoom lenses out there and I know I'd buy one if I wasn't already fully equipped (partially with some inferior stuff).
    • Like Like x 1
  10. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    Real Name:
    get the 12-40mm and then primes for the focal lengths that you want the extra F stop.

    my current set up is 12-35mm and 25mm f1.4. haven't found a reason for a wider prime yet.
    • Like Like x 3
  11. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    zoom for travel AND weather sealing.

    add onn primes later
    • Like Like x 1
  12. sw08023jp

    sw08023jp New to Mu-43

    Oct 7, 2013
    I use the 20mm prime when I don't want to intrude. otherwise the zooms. the latest zooms don't disappoint

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
    • Like Like x 1
  13. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    Personally I think it's body-dependent. If using an E-M1 or gripped E-M5, the 12-40 makes sense. I use an E-P5 and find the 75 to be somewhat unwieldy on it, and it's lighter and smaller than the 12-40. I find the 17 and 45 primes to be perfect for the E-P5.

    I'm considering buying the E-M1 and 12-40 for a future trip, but part of me thinks it's not worth 2x the price of the D5100/Tamron 17-50mm I used to carry for travel.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    It's largely a matter of personal preference and finances. I prefer fast primes. Buying them one at a time over a period of time allows me to afford quality lenses. The cost of high quality, fast zooms is prohibitive for me. Also, primes force me to zoom with my feet. I believe this helps me to find new angles and perspectives that I might miss if I stand in one place and zoom with a lens. I often carry two bodies, each with a prime attached. I clip one to the strap of my bag with the capture system and hold the other. I can switch back and forth as the need arises. This helps when zooming with my feet is impractical or limited by some sort of barrier.
    Again, it's a matter of personal preference.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  16. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    I prefer shooting primes but theres a time and place for zooms. It also depends a lot on the type of photography that one prefers to shoot.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. mario23

    mario23 Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2014
    I think they both serve a purpose...I say get both!

    Sent from my SM-T520 using Tapatalk
    • Like Like x 1
  18. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've always prefered primes but I do use both.
  19. jrsilva

    jrsilva Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 1, 2012
    Real Name:
    This is exactly my case.
    I do have several zooms, but since I've purchased the primes (one by one) most of the time I use two bodies with one prime attached to each.
    Sometimes I do birding or landscape and then I use my telephoto zooms. But for portraits I use the primes, because of better IQ, DOF and colors.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:
    I decided to go all primes early on in m4/3 because they produced better results than the kit zooms. In some situations, I found switching lenses to be a pain in the ...., crowds, moving, bad weather, etc... So I bought the 12-35mm. Wow. It had better IQ than my 12 and 17mm and essentially matches my 25mm.

    I still like primes and they make sense size wise but I am sold on the zoom.

    For travel now I take the 12-35mm to handle most shots, the 20 or 25 to be small, the 75 (because I hate to not have it), and a longer zoom. 90% of my shots end up coming from the 12-35mm.
    • Like Like x 1