Steve Huff reviews the 12-35 2.8

Started Aug 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,597
Re: I do not understand your pricing wish
In reply to Edward Rauschkolb, Aug 11, 2012

Ed, thanks for the well thought through and nicely written reply, I appreciate your perspective on this.

I don't know specifically how to arrive at a fair price for a lens. Performance and build quality, along with the quality of materials used would be prime ingredients. You'd also need to factor in the target market size for production volumes and so forth. None of which are my thing.

So I'm comming at it from what I'd be happy to pay based on my existing experience.

I have 4 Canon L glass, and two of their speciality lenses (TS-E 90mm and MP-E 65mm).

These are all expensive lenses and it shows in the build quality and performance. So I have no problem with spending a lot of money on great glass, but I still need to feel I'm getting good value and not paying over the odds.

So what is holding back this apparently fine lens from being good value for me?

  • 2.8 is not that wide on M.4/3. You get the light gathering, but are essentially starting at f/5.6 for your equivalent DOF.

  • uncorrected performance is currently unknown. Panasonic lenses that rely on software correction for CA performance, perform less well on Olympus bodies. This could prove to be a non issue once I seen the uncorrected performance, but based on several comments in this forum, I think the lens will be a little sub optimal on the OM-D. This is not a fault of the lens, but it does affect the value judgement.

  • Lack of professional lens servicing programme. Canon have a fixed fee lens servicing programme that means servicing is readily available for a very reasonable cost. This makes investment in expensive glass a lot easier because you are virtually guaranteed a long productive service life. This is an unknown for the Panasonic (I've searched but not found an equivalent programme), and makes me hesitant in investing large money into the glass.

Once, while shooting with the 5D2 and the 24-70mm F/2.8, I went to get a coffee and a light shower came so my wife covered the camera with my jacket. I returned with the coffees and went to put my jacket on, the camera and lens went tumbling to the floor. The lens got a nasty dent in the filter thread and became decentered (I think). I got it repaired and serviced for £100 (fixed fee + new filter thread). The performance of the lens was astonishing after the service and I realised I had not previously been getting the best from the lens. Since then, I've been fearless in taking my camera and lenses anywhere, including environments where an occasional serious knock is inevitable. The availability of convenient reasonably priced servicing helps keep me shooting in these circumstances, and in this regard, the reliability and build of the Olympus was a factor in my purchase, having had three previous mirrorless cameras fail with only minor abuse.

I may cave in once I start seeing what people are producing with lens, but it would be an easier call if it were a bit cheaper or if I knew I could get it serviced when needed for £100.


Edward Rauschkolb wrote:


While I certainly;y understand your desire to see this as a sub $900 lens (frankly I would too), I do not understand how you can possibly arrive at that price. Good lenses are expensive to make and they are not sold by the pound of glass used.

To make a good lens small is not cheap. One needs to use special glasses and new designs. Comparable (I did not say equivalent) lenses (in FOV) and aperture from any other "brand" are all at least 50% more. The construction quality, WS, IQ are all as good or better!

If you are judging the lens on it being on the m4/3 system, all the quality lenses here are expensive, sometimes more so than in the FF format, Consider the $900 incredibly slow 75-300 from Olympus.

If it is pure size than the tiny, budget (for Leica) 28f2.8 should cost what? certainly not $2200.

I find that this lens is built as well as any I have owned from virtually any manufacturer. Yes my R Leica 28-90 was built better, but it cost $4500. I feel that it is as well built as my previous Canon 24-70 2.8 (which weighed a kg btw) and the IQ is equal or better, certainly wide open. Yes I know that its DOF is different, but its a different format and one would buy the lens to photograph the same thing.

The Olympus (which I own and love) 12f2 is $700-800 and does not even have a lens hood or case included. Frankly I am not sure the the 12-35 isn't better . . . and has weather sealing.

I am not trying to be offensive here, but if you want quality optics, you have to pay for them. There is a point of diminishing returns (look at the pricing in the C or N line if you do not believe that). Smaller does not mean cheaper. Micro 4/3 is moving into the professional market with these sort of optics and to build that quality simply costs more money. If you do not want to spend it, you do not have to, either use 1-2 primes (3 will cost more than this lens) or use the wide variety of cheaper zooms. I am glad that we now at least have 1 high quality sealed constant aperture zoom available.

just my 0.02


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