The need to move forward with M43

Peadingle

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I'm nearly 70, not in the best of health, and living on a state pension that doesn't allow for extravagance I came to M43 a couple of years back, and currently shoot with a Panasonic G80/85. To be totally honest, although I love my M43 stuff, I have been wanting for image quality. That's probably due to using budget glass, and recently I purchased a used Sigma 60mm f2.8, and got the image quality that I felt was lacking previously.

So I now have these lenses.

Zooms 12-32, 12-60 (Panasonic), 45-175.

Primes Panasonic 20mm f1.7, Olympus 12mm f2.0, Sigma 60mm f2.8.

Partly due to my physical condition (I tire easily) I find myself preferring the convenience of a zoom. So my question is: if I get a better quality zoom, say the Panasonic 12-35, Leica 12-60, or Olympus 12-40, part-funded by selling the Olympus 12mm prime, will I loose much in image quality? Again, being honest, I don't find myself using the 12mm prime much anyway.

The alternative of course is to buy more primes, but I suspect that I wouldn't use them enough to justify the cost.

All advice will be most welcome.
 

Hypilein

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I think the Olympus 12-40 is considered sharper than the Olympus 12mm at 12mm. Not sure how the 12-60 compares.
 

retiredfromlife

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I would get the Olympus 12-40 f2.8 pro.
For a smaller size the new 12-45 f4.0 may also be an option, but depending on where you are it is more expensive than the 12-40

Unless you pay for the pro primes i think it would be very hard to spot better IQ with the primes verses pro zooms.

Edit
For a do it all zoom the Panasonic 14-140 is hard to beat. Not quiet as sharp as the pro zooms but for value and the reach you get is hard to beat
 
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PeeBee

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I feel the answer depends on how you are using the camera and your priorities. Generally a prime will give you the best IQ, but in some scenarios, the flexibility of a zoom may be a higher priority. Zooms will typically be slower, heavier and more expensive, which is why I like to have a mix.
 

rezatravilla

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Partly due to my physical condition (I tire easily) I find myself preferring the convenience of a zoom. So my question is: if I get a better quality zoom, say the Panasonic 12-35, Leica 12-60, or Olympus 12-40, part-funded by selling the Olympus 12mm prime, will I loose much in image quality? Again, being honest, I don't find myself using the 12mm prime much anyway.
I have both the 12-40mm pro and 12mm f2. I find 12mm f2 file is more cleaner and i love it's flare resistance compare to the 12-40mm pro.

But if we talk about functionality 12-40mm pro is no doubt. It can also focus on close distance too. If you want a 1 lens to go, this lens is the answer.
 

Peadingle

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Thanks for the replies. It looks like the 12-40 would be the one to go for (I will have to buy used so the 12-45 is not an option at present). But rezatravella has got me wondering about keeping the 12mm prime. I have got some hi-fi to sell off so I'll see what I can get for that before listing the 12mm.

PeeBee, I can see myself ending with a mix similar to yours.
 

pdk42

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I've had two 12-40s. Both were excellent, but the one I have now is just spectacular. I can't tell the difference anywhere in the frame between f2.8 and f8. It's sharp corner to corner at all focal lengths with fantastic contrast. A marvel of optical engineering. Unless you need the larger aperture of a prime in that range, that would be my choice.
 

JensM

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The comparisons seems to put the Oly a hairs breath above the 12-35. I shoot on Panasonic houses, so wanted the Dual IS offered in pairing Pana/Pana and went for the 12-35. In retrospect I think the PL 12-60 would have been a better choice for general use, and I can see myself getting one of those somewhere down the road.

The lenses I fancy getting for myself in due time is a odd, overlapping set consisting of the PL 12-60, P35-100 and PL 50-200. I can very well see myself carrying the classic 12-35 and 35-100 for day to day stuff, weighting in at less than 1200 gram.

That said, I think the MKI versions of the P12-35 and P35-100, would be a worthy economical "investment". 2nd hand pricings on those are low and the value in use is high. The MkIIs are the same optically, but has added frost protection, and have upgraded af drives and stabilization.
 

Levster

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Is the 12-40 'that' much ahead of the Panasonic 12-35?
No, it sounds like only Olympus users have replied so far! Unfortunately you do benefit from matching camera bodies to lenses of the same manufacturer. Personally I’d go for the 12-60 f/2.8-4.0 but it would depend on if you planned on using the lens in dim light. For a general walk about daytime lens, I loved the 12-60. Here are a few samples:

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Bidkev

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You mention "justify cost" so my answer may ramble a bit as I'm in a similar situation. Im a 71 yr old on flat rate basic pension without superann so I count every penny/cent. Also you say "wanting for image quality." If your thing is to enlarge to 100% you will always "want". Nothing that I've shot on m43 compares to what I shot previously on a canon 7dmkll or 5dmkll at 100% full res but who needs those kind of (enlarged) images anyway? The only wall art that sells for me are my fish images.............most images sold nowadays are for social or paper media so if you look at your own images on a puter screen (equivalent to book cover or 1/4 page newspaper) and they look ok, why enlarge above that and give yourself self doubts about your gear or your abilities?

To your lens question: I don't know if I've been unlucky but none of my primes (that I've had) other than the 75mm 1.8 (which I sold only for financial reasons at the time), gave me the images that I "saw through the viewfinder" or "in my minds eye" if you will, better than the olly 12-40 or the lenses that I currently own.

It's hard to explain but the lenses currently in my signature give me all that I need from m43 and I've had far more expensive "pro" glass and other m43 lenses that I tried, that didn't stay in my sig for long. The Olly 45mm is one that I sold and bought again after thinking the 12-40 came close (in reach and sharpness) but rendering is entirely different so it's another I will hang on to. My only regret I have in parting with the other lenses is the 75mm as I said previously, and the panny 100-400, and the latter isn't a prime so therein lies a story.......................A lens isn't about sharpness (IMHO) it's about how it represents what you envisaged through the viewfinder or in your "mind's eye" or it's reach or how it "renders"........................how it "realises your dream" (without sounding too arty farty). A lens can offer much more than sharpness. Eg I love the images I got from an old helios before I parted with it due to an inability to use MF due to cataracts and although the lens wasn't exactly "sharp" the fact that I couldn't focus it to it's sharpest point, didn't do it justice, even though sharpness wasn't it's prime quality............it's "appeal"" suffered because I didn't get the best from it.

All that said, I'm not a pro ( although I make a few bob/dollars from old FF and APSC stock and now more recently from m43) although I currently shoot only for my own satisfaction. If I had to make a living, likely I would look into fast primes but this is irrelevant in the context of your post and even in the context of the images that I seek or my budget...................I aim to get the best from what I can afford at the time as GAS guilt (IMPC Personal circumstance) diminishes/inhibits artistic thinking. I shoot at all times im AV or manual mode and yet I have to pay for all these "bells and whistles" that have folk's "basic artistic instincts" subjugated to technology because they fell that because they have a financial investment in them they must use them.

What do I mean by the latter? I personally think that many in the pursuit of the best gear (in the hope that it may "realise their artistic dream") may perhaps focus on getting the best (in their opinion) from what that gear offers as opposed to actually "capturing what they feel". This consequently may stifle their "free expression" ie a need to "get the best" from the expense that they have laid out on that gear. Personally, the more that I am financially invested in gear, the more I feel obliged to use it, which is why I have divulged myself of so much recently...........and the reader can draw their own conclusions from that
 
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WT21

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I would like to understand better what you mean by lacking for image quality. Can you specify the issues? For example, if it’s sharpness, then there are some better lenses than the ones you have. If it’s image noise, then maybe a faster zoom helps (or primes). If it’s color, it could be camera settings. Do you shoot jpg or raw?

Lastly, since you already have the panasonic 20mm 1.7, what do you think of the image quality you get from that lens when you shoot at f/2.8? Unless you have a dud sample, you should be getting good quality from that at 2.8, and the results there can help inform your other choices.

Edit - I just reread and realized your experience with the excellent Sigma might have answered my last question. Try the Sigma at 4.0 and if you like that, the the panleica 12-60 2.8-4.0 bought used could be the everything lens you are looking for, albeit a bit pricey.
 

Peadingle

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I would like to understand better what you mean by lacking for image quality. Can you specify the issues? For example, if it’s sharpness, then there are some better lenses than the ones you have. If it’s image noise, then maybe a faster zoom helps (or primes). If it’s color, it could be camera settings. Do you shoot jpg or raw?

Lastly, since you already have the panasonic 20mm 1.7, what do you think of the image quality you get from that lens when you shoot at f/2.8? Unless you have a dud sample, you should be getting good quality from that at 2.8, and the results there can help inform your other choices.

Edit - I just reread and realized your experience with the excellent Sigma might have answered my last question. Try the Sigma at 4.0 and if you like that, the the panleica 12-60 2.8-4.0 bought used could be the everything lens you are looking for, albeit a bit pricey.
Many of my images look slightly 'painterly' for want of a better word. Or like they are printed on a rough matte paper instead of a smoother glossy paper. The ones taken with the primes are more realistic (or to my liking). I'm not just after sharpness. Some of my favourite shots were taken on legacy glass (including the Helios 44M (Bidkev).

I don't get the sort of quality that I see in in Levester's pictures above, even with the primes.

In fairness, I should add that I do a lot of my shooting in poor light. You can see my pictures on my Flickr photostream .

I shoot RAW, and being retired, can spend a lot of time on PP. So colour isn't too much of an issue

Having spent the whole morning researching (storms have some use) I am leaning toward the 12-35 or 12-60 (PanLeica). Ideally I need to find somewhere to try before I buy.
 

kinlau

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Cheapest option with the biggest bang for the buck, get a tripod. One of the cheaper carbon fibre ones will be fine.
 

Peadingle

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Cheapest option with the biggest bang for the buck, get a tripod. One of the cheaper carbon fibre ones will be fine.
I've got one, but again my health is a factor in how much I use it. I mainly use it in low light. I agree that they do make an improvement.
 

Bidkev

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In fairness, I should add that I do a lot of my shooting in poor light. You can see my pictures on my Flickr photostream .
I dread to imagine how many folk have dismissed a lens or invested in what they thought was a "better lens" based on the images taken without a thought for the light quality at the time those images were taken. I've recently invested in a Samyang 7.5mm and many of the images from it are crap. They looked good through the viewfinder and IRL but those neurotransmitters in the old noggin cancelled out what was actually there...............after fires and floods, lots of crap in the air.............the camera saw it, I didn't! The only way to test a lens is in ideal conditions. I know it's a good lens in all respects because a shot taken indoors was beyond what I expected for the price.

I've looked at your flickr and tbh I can't see a problem. Many of your images are, as you say, poor light, although I wouldn't class it as "poor" light just as how light is at that time of day and you seem to have made the most of it. Don't expect sharp images at those times of day. All you can expect is to "capture the mood" and you seem to have done that OK IMHO
 

JensM

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Having browsed your Flickr site, I understand what you mean by painterly. There is some sort of general softness going on there. Not having pondered it before, perhaps "lack of crispness" is a better expression for it? I haven't much of solution to suggest on it though, but its not in tune with what I have come to expect from the system, as such.
 

Peadingle

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I've looked at your flickr and tbh I can't see a problem. Many of your images are, as you say, poor light, although I wouldn't class it as "poor" light just as how light is at that time of day and you seem to have made the most of it. Don't expect sharp images at those times of day. All you can expect is to "capture the mood" and you seem to have done that OK IMHO
Thanks. But I do see better quality from the few early morning shots taken with the Sigma 60mm than the 12-60 zoom. But perhaps the lesson there is to use primes for those lower light locations.
 

Peadingle

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Having browsed your Flickr site, I understand what you mean by painterly. There is some sort of general softness going on there. Not having pondered it before, perhaps "lack of crispness" is a better expression for it? I haven't much of solution to suggest on it though, but its not in tune with what I have come to expect from the system, as such.
Thanks JensM. Yes, lack of crispness is also what I would describe with many of my images (and the opposite of what I see in Levster's examples).
 

Darmok N Jalad

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The PL12-60 is a great multi use lens. I have one, and I love the quality feel and certainly the results. Be advised that it is bigger (longer) than the P12-60, but it will probably feel right at home on the G80/85. It’s hard not to recommend it based on your OP. It would probably lighten your load when you go out, since it can cover most situations pretty well.
 
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