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Travel lens: Panasonic 12-35 on OMD vs Sony RX-100

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by hankbaskett, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. hankbaskett

    hankbaskett Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    I'm having a bit of a tough time selling myself on the panny 12-35. I generally shoot with primes, but I miss having a zoom for travel. I've been considering the 12-35, but at approximately half the price I'm starting to think that the RX-100 might make more sense. The RX-100 obviously wins on price and pocketability, but do you think I'd see a noticeable difference in image quality between the RX-100 and the OMD with the panny 12-35? Any OMD owners using the RX-100 as a second camera?

  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The RX100 is tempting at the wide end with f/1.8, but the aperture closes up quick, giving m43 quite an advantage at the long end.

    I see the m43 setup having 2 significant advantages - control of DOF and weather sealing
  3. 2ndLight

    2ndLight Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    Laguna Niguel, CA

    I do have both (RX100 and OMD w/ 12-35). That's a tough comparison to make. I use the RX100 as a "snapshot" camera for general outings with the family or friends. I leave it in my backback and can stash it in my pocket when out and about. When out with friends, you can still take good pictures without looking like "the camera guy". I think of it more like an iPhone camera on crack. A great camera to have on you all the time to capture the moment.

    As a result I do leave my OMD at home more often. However, when I'm going somewhere where a primary component of the activity will be to take photos, even if it's just a walk in a very scenic location, I'll take the OMD and generally default to the 12-35 and break out other lenses for specific purposes. With the 12-35 I get a much shallower DOF and speed at 35mm. With the OMD I can use a hotshoe flash. With the OMD I can use touch focus. The RX100 is nice but after using an OMD and G3 before that, the RX100 still just feels like a snapshot camera.

    For me, different purposes but both great pieces of equipment. Probably doesn't answer your question - sorry! I would say your primary criteria (outside of cost) should be "do I need to put it in my pocket". That's where the RX100 shines. If you don't mind carrying a camera bag, I'd pick the OMD w/ 12-35 any day.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    I have an OM-D/RX-100 and have owned the 12-35mm. If you are looking to have a "serious" vacation/travel camera...the 12-35mm is your lens. If you are want "pretty damn good" photos and no be burdened with carrying around a small camera case then the RX100 will work wonders. I ended up using the OM-D with 12mm f2, 20mm f1.7 and an excellent manual focus 85mm f1.8 on a "working" vacation last week in San Francisco quite a bit more than the RX100. IQ is quite nice with the RX100 but there is a noticeable difference in a positive way with the 12-35mm, especially stopped down to f4.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. olboss

    olboss New to Mu-43

    Feb 26, 2012
    You said it yourself - it's half the price!...

    Presumably if you have the OM-D you've already got the 12-55, maybe not the fastest, but it's a nice, light, capable zoom/macro lens. I'd buy the Sony and keep it in my pocket.. then if I was still feeling rich, I'd go shopping for a couple of fun primes, or a fisheye, or another week (or so?) on the beach..

    And (maybe) best of all... I'd have the peace of mind to know that I'm only(?) carrying around a $1000 camera (and there's a backup) instead of a $2000+ system that requires it's own security guard... It's a holiday, it should be relaxing! :redface:
  6. TonyB

    TonyB Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    I can't speak for the RX100 but...

    I have the 12-35mm mounted on the OMD most of the time and it makes an excellent travel and general purpose zoom. The IQ is so consistent across it's range that it's very much like having a set of primes in one lens. I can shoot this lens at any aperture (up to diffraction) and at any focal length and know I am going to get great results. You pay for the constant F2.8 aperture, 12mm at the wide end, excellent build quality and excellent performance through the range. It was worth every penny for me personally.
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I have the RX100 and an OMD, but not the 12-35. It just depends on how light you want to travel. For really light trips or really light days on trips where I might mostly be using the OMD, I might just use the RX100. But if its a trip I plan to do a lot of shooting on (most of them), I'd mostly use the OMD, personally with primes but with the 12-35 or 12-50 or 14-150 if you want the zoom capabilities.

    The image quality of the OMD with a good lens is definitely a step above the RX100 and there's obviously a ton more versatility and far better controls. The RX100 is amazing for what it is, but it still is what it is and that's a pretty limited little camera with handling that probably works better for gerbils than humans...

  8. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    I went around the world with my G1 with just the 14-45 and never felt I was missing out. I also took my little S95 for carrying around when out at night or in places I didn't want to be swinging a big camera about.

    So take both.
  9. richie15

    richie15 Guest

    I think this is a really good question. At the moment I have

    GF3, 14mm and 20mm as travel/family camera
    OM-D 12-50mm, 25mm, Oly 45mm and 45-200mm

    I have sold my 20mm and am in the process o also selling the GF3 and 14mm. As a family combo using a prime is a pain and the 20mm does not work well for video.

    I am going to get the RX100 and the Oly 17mm when it finally appears
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yes. If you said RX100 and OMD with Oly 12-50, the difference would be less, but the Pana 12-35 will give you very sharp edge to edge performance, and the RX100 lens will not.

    The RX100 image quality is very good though, so perhaps it's good enough - that's a personal call. I choose to sacrifice image quality for more telephoto and use the Oly 14-150 as my travel zoom. While it's no match for the Pana 12-35, I like using a megazoom for travel, and the Oly suits me perfectly.
  11. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    I've just got back from a trip where I brought my OM-D (14-150mm and 12-35mm) while my wife used an RX-100. I used the 12-35mm when it rained and on the evenings (when I have a chance to swap lens) and the 14-150mm for the rest 90% of the time.

    I'd say that for the price, size and performance, I'd be very happy with the RX-100 for a family trip. You know, the type where you don't wake up at 4am to catch sunrises and where you don't carry tripods everywhere you go :) 
  12. alans

    alans Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 28, 2010
    Generally for travel photography you get better results after you have done some research into the locations, know some of the history, what's photographic and how it works into your own interests, etc. That will help determine your photographic gear and you will better know/understand where you are.

    Myself I prefer using a finder. Advantage 12-35
    I wander around night shooting. High ISO is important. Advantage 12-35
    I prefer gear that expands my system while keeping things consistent (UI). Advantage 12-35

    YMMV. A friend of mine wears his RX100 daily and shoots with it daily. My 12-35 has rarely left my camera since I got it.
  13. CPWarner

    CPWarner Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2010
    I have both the EM-5 with Panasonic 12-35mm and the RX100. As a couple people said, if my main intention for a trip is photography, I take the EM-5. I mainly bought the RX100 as a dive camera (getting a housing etc as well) and for a camera that I could take with me on business trips etc. It is an amazing little camera, but I would not take it over the EM-5 for photography unless I was doing serious hiking, skiing, etc. For diving, it has advantages in being compact and has less expensive housing options than the EM-5.
  14. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    I have the RX100 and the E-M5 with 12-35. Obviously the 4/3rds setup is superior overall, but the RX100 is still incredibly good for what it is.

    I bought the RX100 specifically to carry on a daily basis in my laptop bag since it is smaller than even the E-M5 + 14f/2.5, and it also is more versatile and has comparable IQ. So far I have been very pleased with it. I have actually been kind of blown away by many of the photos I have taken with it, not because the photos were necessarily great, but because the detail and just overall quality is surprisingly good.

    If it were me I would get the RX100 as my GP camera, AND bring the E-M5 with 20 f/1.7 and 45 f/1.8 (or similar primes). Total size and weight would be pretty small still, and you would have a backup camera either way. You would also then have fast lenses at 35mm equivalents of 28mm, 40mm, and 90mm, which is pretty handy to have.
  15. hankbaskett

    hankbaskett Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    Thanks guys. I went ahead and ordered the 12-35.
  16. marcl

    marcl Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 8, 2012
    I have the OMD and 12-35 lens. I thought it would be nice to have a more pocketable camera so I bought a refurbished E-PM1. By the end of it, it was too similar while making too many compromises so I returned it. I think if I buy another camera to go along the OMD, I will want something that is radically different to put up with the compromises, so maybe so,etching like the Canon S110: truly pocketable and able to generate fairly pleasing images.

    In you case, I would stick with the OMD and 12-35 combo.
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