Bye-bye 7-14mm… 17mm… 45mm… Hello 12-40mm!

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TonyinJapan
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Bye-bye 7-14mm… 17mm… 45mm… Hello 12-40mm!
9 months ago

Just wondering if any of you sold a bunch of prime lenses (or other lenses) for the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8? And if so, if your experience so far justifies your swap?

Before the 12-40mm arrived, I had the following:

• Panasonic 7-14mm f4.0 (for wide landscape shooting)

• Panasonic 20mm f1.7 (for portable, low-light)

• Olympus 17mm f1.8 (for my general walk-about prime)

• Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 (for best sharpness, walk-about prime, portraits, subject separation)

• Olympus 45mm f1.8 (for portraits)

It was simply too many lenses for me, and I wanted to simplify, simplify, simplify.

So I got rid of the 7-14mm, 17mm and 45mm.

All those lenses were great, but I reasoned from my photographic style is that 12mm is as wide as I need to go, so the 7-14mm could go. The 17mm f1.8 is a very nice lens with good rendering and superb build-quality, but falls behind compared to the 20mm (compact) and the 25mm (super-sharp and faster), so that could go. The 45mm did not get much use even though I like to take portrait shots. I like to take snapshot kind of portraits, but to have to change lenses for those moments tends to defeat the purpose of quick snapshots. I assumed the 40mm f2.8 of the 12-40mm could suffice for portraits.

Well, after a long wait and period of slowly selling off my lenses, my 12-40mm finally arrived yesterday. After doing a quick photoshoot and putting the lens through its initial paces, I must say my first impressions is that I am quietly blown away by this lens. It is like a prime zoom.

Having enjoyed and experienced Olympus’s two other ‘much-acclaimed’ zoom lenses, the 12-60mm and 14-54mm II, my initial thoughts is that they have created an even better zoom lens. Though longer, neither of those two lenses stayed at f2.8 at the long end; and neither could do close-up shots like this baby. It is pretty amazing how close you can get to your subject at the long end.

I was considering whether to add the 60mm f2.8 macro lens to my collection, for close-up and portrait work, but I think this lens could suffice in doing a respectable job for these areas too.

I am even considering if I need my Panasonic Leica 25mm anymore (which didn’t even cross my mind before the 12-40mm arrived). Doing quick comparison test-shots shows the 12-40mm being just as sharp as the Panasonic 25mm at 25mm f2.8 (which has been the sharpest lens in my collection). While the 25mm f1.4 is two stops faster, the major problem with this lens is the excessive purple fringing at fast apertures you get on non-correcting CA cameras (which reveals the deficiencies of the optical design of this lens). From what I have seen, there is very little CA from the 12-40mm shot wide-open (albeit at f2.8).

So, I only have two primes left (20mm and 25mm) and two zooms now (12-40mm and 12-32mm). Too many primes and it becomes really inconvenient with constant lens changing; too many zooms and IQ/speed is compromised for convenience. But recently, the zoom releases for m43 have been superb. Now it feels I have a better simplified collection for my shooting needs.

If the 12-40mm continues to impress on further shoots, it could kill another prime lens in my collection (Panasonic Leica 25mm).

Has your 12-40mm taken over many of your prime lens duties?

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