The 12-35 mm for landscape.

Started Jan 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
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gollywop
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The 12-35 mm for landscape.
Jan 29, 2013

A previous thread decrying the 12-35 as a landscape lens because of a lack of edge/corner sharpness prompted me to go out with my copy on my E-M5 and take some test shots. With the lens at 12mm, I shot a vista down the hill into the valley so that I could focus near (8 ft), medium (about 60 ft), "a way off" (about 150 yards), and far (essentially at infinity). I took each shot at f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, and f/8.

The scene comprised some foreground bushes and structures, more distant tree trunks and buildings, and bare trees -- whose branches against the sky effectively spanned the entire frame, left to right, near to very far. These gave excellent detail with which to assess sharpness.

I processed all the images identically in ACR (with no sharpening but with CA, which was quite necessary) and then examined various spots using the magnifying glass in Bridge. I looked at a number of elements of the scene in the center, at all four edges, and in the corners. Since the camera was on a tripod, I could simply toggle through the images quickly to compare the same spot in each. The results were quite consistent: at each focal plane f/5.6 and f/4 were sharpest followed by f/8 and then f/2.8. There were a number of spots where f/5.6 and f/4 were indistinguishable, but where there was a difference, it tended in the favor of f/4. Clearly the DoF became greater as the f-ratio increased.

The fall-off in sharpness toward the extremes of the image was of very limited significance - very limited. It was way below any level that would cause problematic notice in a processed image. The shots that showed the best overall sharpness, giving an image that would be best as a landscape, occurred when the focus was at infinity (Merklinger lives!). And, at that focus, f/5.6 was best for overall sharpness. There was nothing about my results that would suggest this lens is not good for landscapes -- indeed, quite the contrary; and I look forward to using it for such during my next travels.

I just got the 12-35 a week ago and haven't had much chance to use it. So, while I was at it, I shot the same sequence of shots with the 12-50mm (at f/4, f/5.6, and f/8) to see how it compared. It didn't. But I will say that, for what it is, the 12-50 is a very serviceable lens, particularly given its added reach and its macro facility.

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gollywop

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