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OM-D E-M5 vs E-5 (build quality)

Started May 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
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boggis the cat
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Bit of an oranges to lemons comparison, isn't it?
In reply to Sergey_Green, May 28, 2013

Sergey_Green wrote:

philosomatographer wrote:

Sergey_Green wrote:

philosomatographer wrote:

The Tamron is a C-grade optic that needs stopping down to f/5.6 to even approach the resolution of the ZD 14-35 at f/2.0, and simply never reaches the contrast or colour fidelity, that's how. LOL - comparing the two is quite a funny proposition Thanks for the laugh.

It is not what the testers say

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD on Canon EOS 5D Mark II

It is also known that different makers do intentionally produce different color renderings, and so there is no one better than the other. As far as the tamron goes, I saw them produce brighter and more vibrant tones, than other system (native) variants that I had. Vibrant tones do usually look attractive (juicy) in macro photography, closeups, flowers, etc..  whereas cooler hues are often better fit in portrait and even some landscape renderings. Most what you shoot today gets post-processed in one way or the other anyway (or preset in camera), so at the end it all makes very little difference if at all.

-- hide signature --

- sergey

Oh please, the sharpness and contrast is nowhere near in the same league. It distorts massively (2.5%+). Vignetting in the corners is immense (almost 3 stops!).

There are some distortions, but we do not know how it all compares to 14-35, since both lenses are not tested concurrently. What we do know is that some distortions are easily correctable, due to the shape of their curve, whereas the others are not. Good examples are 11-16/2.8 and 12-24/4 Dx Tokinas, their distortions flatten out without a trace. The opposite would be Zuiko 12-60, where numerically small distortion is made of two curves. Try to flatten that one out.

The 12-60 distortion is only noticeable from 12 mm to around 13 mm, in my experience.  Olympus' software removes it well, so it is hardly impossible to fix -- and the Tamron has the same issue on a 135 body.  (I would assume that DxO's raw software would also correct the distortion, as that is its main claim to fame.)

As to vignetting, again, not what the tests show; @ f/4 (which is equivalent of f/2 on 4/3rds) I see 1 stop at short end, brief 2/3 of a stop at a (very) long end, zero in between. As I said, it is all not what you claim.

In this case, it is only "equivalent" to f/4 if you are considering that the Zuiko is 'cropping' the centre frame (and thus avoiding the corners where the worst vignetting occurs).  Also, it does not appear to be greatly improved at f/4, on a 135 body.

www.lenstip.com Tamron SP 24-80mm f/2.8

Vignetting is problematic for 135 use, but is good for APS-C:

Tamron vignetting

Distortion is again OK for APS-C, but you get "mustache" (double-wave) distortion as per the Olympus 12-60 at wide-angle:

Tamron distortion

From the lenstip conclusion:


  • very good image quality in the frame centre for most combinations of apertures and focal lengths,
  • image quality on the edge of the frame is similar or better than that of the direct rivals,
  • sensibly corrected chromatic aberration,
  • negligible vignetting on APS-CC/DX sensor,
  • well corrected astigmatism,
  • practically imperceptible coma on smaller APS-C/DX sensor,
  • silent, accurate and fast autofocus,
  • efficient image stabilization,
  • as many as five years of warranty.


  • weak performance by maximum relative aperture and middle of the focal range,
  • huge moustache distortion at the widest angle of view,
  • significant spherical aberration near the maximum focal length,
  • vignetting on full frame is noticeably higher than that of the rivals,
  • work against bright light could have been better.

At US$1300 the Tamron is a lot cheaper than the US$2300 Zuiko 14-35 f/2, of course, so it is likely better value for many uses despite the vignetting and other issues.  Really you should be comparing it to the Canon and Nikon equivalents, though.

FYI, the lenstip take on the Olympus lenses you bring up.

www.lenstip.com Olympus ZD 12-60 f/2.8-4

From the lenstip conclusion:


  • very solid barrel,
  • sensible dimensions when you take into account its wide focal lengths range, good fastness, weather-sealing and the presence of an SWD motor,
  • outstanding or very good image quality in the frame centre at all focal lengths and aperture values,
  • very good image quality at the frame edge on slight stopping down,
  • chromatic aberration well-corrected,
  • good distortion results, when compared to those of competitors,
  • slight coma,
  • very low astigmatism,
  • very good work against bright light,
  • silent and efficient autofocus,


  • too high vignetting at the shortest focal length,
  • a better performance at maximum relative aperture would be needed to make the lens really perfect.

At US$1000 the 12-60 is arguably more competitive, but it is not a constant f/2.8.  (I find it a good all-round lens, and not too expensive.  Others prefer the ZD 14-54 II f/2.8-3.5 for various reasons, including that it is a much cheaper option again at US$600.)

www.lenstip.com Olympus ZD 14-35 f/2

From the lenstip conclusion:


  • very solid, weather-sealed casing,
  • sensational image quality in the frame centre at all focal lengths to boot,
  • very good image quality at the frame edge,
  • well-corrected chromatic aberration,
  • not very bothersome distortion,
  • low astigmatism,
  • not many problems with vignetting,
  • silent and quick autofocus.


  • weak transmission for this class of equipment,
  • average work against bright light,
  • high price.

So, this is a better lens, but considerably more expensive.  Possibly the latest Canon and Nikon 135 system equivalents will have caught up to this level of performance?  (Not at f/2, obviously, but putting that aside.)

Then there is the rather important fact that the Zuikos don't work on any APS-C or 135 body in any case.  So really it is a bit irrelevant to compare them as they are not options in themselves -- you must choose a system that will use the Zuikos if you want them.

 boggis the cat's gear list:boggis the cat's gear list
Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +7 more
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