Upgrade Olympus 12-42 kit lens

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by soliony, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. soliony

    soliony Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 5, 2014
    Howdy. I have an OMD EM-5 and am looking to upgrade the oly 12-42 kit lens to a faster version. Which is the better 2.8 zoom-- Panasonic 12-35 or the Olympus 12-40? Or is there something else out there that's even better than both? Thanks for any advice you can give me.
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    No other zoom options (discounting 4/3 adapted and manual focus options).

    The Panasonic is a little smaller and lighter, a little. And while I haven't checked prices it wouldn't surprise me to find out it is cheaper on the used market given the extra range of the Olympus.
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  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Well, Olympus version is 25% more heavy, and to make it worse - front end heavy and longer by 10mm, so handling on small bodies can be less comfortable than Panasonic's one.
    Another complaint about Olympus is that 40mm end is underperforming in terms of sharpness, while Panasonic provides very good sharpness at 35mm.
    Having OIS switch right on lens is convenient thing and OIS is deal breaker for those who use them for video.
    Panasonic lens also keeps focus point unchanged when zooming - again more important for video.
    There were some complaints about Olympus lens to wobble a little when zoomed to 40mm, but I haven't seen any evidence if this degrades image quality.
    Personally, I also like that Panasonic shares 58mm filters with my 75mm and 40-150mm lenses.

    PS: still, Olympus is a great lens and many people are happy with it. And it's a good bit cheaper on used market. So pick carefully.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. DL Photo

    DL Photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 15, 2012
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    Hmmm...my 12-40 at 40mm is just as sharp as my 45 prime.....so perhaps I lucked out?

    Also, no wobble with my lens at all.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Carrera_C

    Carrera_C Mu-43 Rookie

    May 8, 2011
    I can't praise the 12-40 high enough. It's as sharp as any lens I've ever owned including my Nikon F2.8 zooms. I don't see any issue with sharpness at the 40mm range, no wobble either.

    It does unbalance the EM5 a little with its weight, but not terribly. If you have the extra grip attached to the body then it's no issue at all and can shoot all day quite happily.

    Also, it's all metal so IMO looks better than the plastic on the P12-35.

    At the end of the day I don't think you'll be disappointed with either lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I'll offer a few counter points, take them all with a grain of salt.

    Handling depends entirely on the size of your hands, I personally find it a very comfortable size to use, I don't think I could even notice 10mm longer or shorter handling wise, the difference in weight is the bigger one here.

    Sharpness on test charts isn't even an argument, I personally don't know any award winning pictures of test charts yet can think of dozens taken with soft lenses and weird field curvature. It's nice to have good test scores however in real world use... it's plenty sharp.

    The Olympus keeps the same focus point if you have the clutch engaged, I'm unsure about without (I would hazard a guess and say it still does). You mentioned video, the manual focus clutch is hands down the winner here for video. Being able to preset a focus point and pull the clutch to focus pull from far to close (or the other way around) with perfect accuracy every time is pretty damn useful, although that might not what you're thinking of... either way the manual focus clutch is fantastic.

    By applying a decent amount of force on my copy I can get it to wobble almost 1mm at 40mm, that's a pretty damn good tolerance level compared to other telescoping zoom lenses(the only I have in front of me currently is the 75-300 which has about 3mm of movement with far less force needed).

    The 62mm filter is a bit annoying, depends entirely what lenses you own and if you use CPL/etc filters for this to matter. I generally just use a step up ring to 77mm and use the filters I carry for other glass anyway.

    Go for whatever you can get at a good price, they're both absolutely fantastic lenses. There's been a few bonus offers of body+lens lately for Olympus which included the 12-40mm, I suspect that a few people bought them to resell the lens as it basically gave them a body for a very low price - might be worth looking out for something like that.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    I had nothing better to do (like sleeping) so I decided to go out and take some pictures of a completely realistic real world scenario at 40mm.*

    We have the following street scene*, I politely asked everyone to stand still and they complied for the duration of my test.

    These are 100% crops from the centre portion of the image at fstops 2.8, 4, 5.6, and 8.
    As we can see from the above if you take a picture at f2.8 it's slightly blurred and improves if you stop down.

    Now lets look at the corner which is very likely out of focus as I doubt the subject was at the same distance as the center focus point and I'm equally doubtful that the subject itself was flat, however since this is a REAL WORLD SCENARIO that people do every day and is in no way completely unrealistic lets continue.*
    Basically the same improvement as the center, the entire image shows roughly this same behavior. I'm pretty sure almost every lens ever made follows roughly this same behavior...

    As you can see in real world use* the lens can take pictures worthy of internet debate very well indeed**.

    *May or may not be a complete fabrication that in no way reflects real world use.
    **Depends entirely on the brand(s) being debated.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    I love my 12-40 on the E-M10 and have no problem with the handling.

    It's a fantastic package.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    On rereading my above post... well... it's not my finest hour and it's full of sarcasm however the pictures are accurate for how my copy performs when focused on a negative at a distance of about 2 inches from the front element (I would suggest this is not a distance that it is perfectly optimized to focus at).

    Personally its performance at 40mm is not something that keeps me awake at night, it's a fantastic lens with the exception of the lens hood.

    As for the subject, it was the last shot on a roll and I needed to load different film, rather than completely waste it I took a snap of a scene with lots of activity so I had a decent frame to judge others in terms of sharpness/exposure (shadow/highlight/contrasts)/etc.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Something else to consider - The 12-40 does close up very well, the 12-35 not really.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Transalp01

    Transalp01 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    Täby, Sweden
    Together with the grip ECG-1 it is no problem handling E-M10 and 12-40/2,8. I always use the grip, even with Pana 14/2,5.
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