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Which is a great zoom to get?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by slackercruster, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. slackercruster

    slackercruster Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2012
    NE US
    Looking for a high grade zoom for my Olympus. I like street shooting. Don't need a super zoom, moderate is OK.

    Another option is to go for a high grade Leica or Olympus 45mm if they are a lot beter than zooms for IQ. (Prob the Oly 45 unless the Leica is worth the premium for IQ?)

  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    What range? It sounds like by 'high grade' you mean wider-aperture and sharp?

    If so, the only native zoom option currently is the Panasonic 12-35/2.8. The primes (12/2, 20/1.7, 25/1.4, 45/1.8 and 45/2.8) are certainly more economical and are at least as good in terms of quality.

    If aperture isn't a concern, the Panasonic 14-45/3.5-5.6 is probably the sharpest of the zooms after the two mentioned above. And of course if AF speed and size aren't an issue, the 4/3 14-54/2.8-3.5 is an excellent lens, and is available for low prices.

  3. slackercruster

    slackercruster Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2012
    NE US
    Aperture, not so much.

    Sharpness, YES!
  4. capodave

    capodave Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 4, 2010
    Southern Cal
    The Voigtlander 40 1.4 is a good alternative to the Oly 45.
    Very sharp.
    Also has a cool Bokeh effect.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Well, primes are almost always going to be sharper than the zooms with few exceptions. That said, I just received my copy of the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and it is extremely sharp IMO and offers a useful zoom range. I do wish it was a hair longer range (12-45 / 12-60 would be great), even if it meant a bigger, heavier lens. I've been very impressed with the sharpness and capability of the lens so far, and don't feel like I'm losing a lot of IQ compared to my prime lenses.

    What I've been doing the past few days since I got it is carrying the 12-35mm + Oly 45mm for extra reach, and Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 in case f/2.8 still isn't enough light gathering. Based on where I'm going I will throw in another lens or two in my bag to cover UWA or longer tele range, like the 7-14 or 14-140 / 100-300.

    At the complete other end of the price spectrum, the 14-45mm has gotten some surprisingly impressive results, as DH noted. Take a look through the sample image thread for it. It's a fraction of the cost, and I don't think I'd compare it directly to a prime lens like I would the 12-35 but it's very good, doubly so for a kit zoom.
  6. TheBiles

    TheBiles Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    Street shooting? It seems like you'd want a fast "normal" prime like the 25 1.4. Street is much more difficult with a slow zoom.
  7. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    The 14-45mm is a pretty good candidate. Cheap-ish too.
  8. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I like the 14-54 II. Decent AF, fast aperture, incredible optical quality, excellent build. Kinda big though. Maybe look at the 14-45 or 12-50 as other very optically excellent lenses.
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    X2 - the 12-35 is pretty amazing! Looking forward to the 35-100.
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    For a zoom I would look at the Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5II or the Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8. For a prime I would look at the Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux or the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, or one of the many great 50mm legacy lenses like the Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.7, the OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, or the Pen F Zuiko 40mm f/1.4.

    But really there are so many choices. Thise are just some of the first to mind.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    How does the focus speed compare with m4/3 zooms? (In other words, are there practical disadvantages with the 14-54mm zoom compared to m4/3 choices?)
  12. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I don't know the exact answer to your question, but wanted to point out the "II" is a key part here, as it is CDAF optimized.

    I have the Leica 14-50 f/2.8-3.5 (for sale BTW) and the AF is pretty slow, almost unusable on moving subjects.
  13. chasm

    chasm Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    AF speed with legacy lenses

    Of course, no current µ4/3 camera offers AF with legacy lenses - we can pray for focus confirmation on future models, who knows what may happen - BUT...

    On a legacy lens - or all-manual "native" lenses such as the Voigtlanders - you can set focus to wherever you like, and (given a realistic aperture opening) if your luck/judgement are good then you will effectively have instant AF. Not even the fastest AF lenses can match this - my beloved Panasonic 20mm certainly can't... :wink:
  14. slackercruster

    slackercruster Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2012
    NE US

    Looked up the Lumix 12-35....wooeeee that thing is pricey!

    I may go for one down the road if I can get a deal on one near a thousand $$. But it looks like they are hard to find even at their high price. Sounds perfect, but like others, I wished it extended into the mid 45mm range.

    Have you used a 12-35? Is sharpness in line with high IQ primes?

    Also looking at the Zuiko ED 12-60mm

    For serious WA work, would the 12-60 replace my prime 12mm Oly for = IQ?

    (Nice stuff at your site Ned. You didn't use m43 for all that did you?)

  15. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Is auto focus speed an issue for you? The 12-60 focuses much slower than the 12/2.0.
  16. Tom M

    Tom M Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2012
    I got an Olympus 40-150mm as a second lens with my OM-D. I was unsure of the purchase at the time, but got it for 1/2 price when purchased with the camera. Surprisingly, it has quickly become my lens of choice for street shooting.
  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    For landscapes, sure (it's sharper than the 12/2 across the frame). But not for anything that moves.

  18. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Yes and probably.

    If you consider that it replaces the 12/2, 14/2.5, 17/2.8, 20/1.7, 25/1.4, and provides a very high quality 35 option (that is currently not available), it's a helluva bargain (and, yes, I realize nobody would use all those primes at any given time, and saying that it would replace the 20/1.7 and 25/1.4 is a bit of a stretch unless we are talking about good light)
  19. slackercruster

    slackercruster Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2012
    NE US
    AF is not too much an issue. As long as it is nothing like the old mechanical screw drive AF.

    But the 12mm is a gem for fast focus. Very impresive. Is it the benchmark for m43 focus excellence...or is there better?
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