Wanted: IQ comparison between Panasonic 12-35mm and Oly 14-54 Mark II

Started Dec 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
Ejvaccaro
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Re: Wanted: IQ comparison between Panasonic 12-35mm and Oly 14-54 Mark II
In reply to Hans-Helmut, Jan 2, 2013

This by no means comprehensive or scientific.  It is just my experience.

I own the 14-54 MkII and have rented a 12-35 for a week.  I have used both on my OM-D. Here's what I learned.

The Panasonic 12-35 is a high quality lens with excellent image and build quality.  It is a native micro 4/3 lens with onboard image stabilization. The Olympus 14-54 MkII is also a high quality lens with excellent image and build quality.  It is a 4 year old design for the four thirds system and requires an adapter to use on m43.  It does not have image stabilization relying on Olympus in-body image stabilization.

The auto-focus on the 12-35 is as fast as any lens available for the OM-D.  It is on a par with the 12-50mm kit lens. That being said, the 14-54 MkII is acceptably fast (about a half second or less) in all shooting conditions I have tried except fast motion tracking.  This is a problem with CDAF in general so this was no surprise.  There was no condition where one lens would lock and the other would not.  It seems to be more of a factor of available lighting and aperture than anything else.  At the same focal length the 14-54 locks on to anything that that the 12-35 can.  In summary the 12-35 is faster to focus but the 14-54 is still pretty good.

The 14-54 is more versatile for my needs as it has a longer focal length.  In practice I found that I felt limited with the 12-35 in that I was missing some  good shots.

As for image quality, my experience shows little difference in practical use.  I am very pleased with the shots from the 14-54.  They are sharp with very good contrast.  I hardly post process the jpegs for most shots.  I shoot both RAW and JPEG.  I find that I fall back to the RAW images mainly when shooting high ISO or trying to pull additional detail in. Distortion is very well controlled optically and CA is minimal across the range.

With the 12-35, I found more wide angle distortion and slightly more CA.  None of this is significant but just what I noticed.

At the end of the day, both lenses are fairly equal in performance save for AF where the Panasonic is faster   The Oly gets more range but is a lot larger and heavier.  For me, this is not a big enough reason to spend $1100 for the Panny. I have the 14-54 on the camera as my regular lens.  I am very pleased with it.

If I were out shopping today and didn't care about cost, I would probably buy the Panasonic lens simply because it is a native m4/3 lens with faster AF and has a definite size advantage.

I'm sure that someone will take issue with some of my comments but as I said at the beginning, it's just my experience.

 Ejvaccaro's gear list:Ejvaccaro's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +11 more
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