Owners only: 12-35 or 12-40?

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NZ Scott
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Owners only: 12-35 or 12-40?
8 months ago

Hello campers,

It's that time of the year again when Gear Aquisition Syndrome kicks in and I think to myself, "Why save up for a rainy day when I can blow my money on a hellishly expensive lump of glass?"

For some time now I've been wanting a good standard zoom for those occasions in which I can't be bothered hauling a sackload of primes around with me, and the standout contenders are the Panasonic 12-35 and the M. Zuiko 12-40.

Recently I almost bought the E-M1 / 12-40 combo, but I've had one or two doubts since then and am now considering just buying a zoom for my E-P3, rather than a full kit.

As I see it, the advantages and disadvantages are the following:

12-35:

+ Is a bit cheaper at USD $850.

+ Is quite a bit smaller and lighter.

+ Takes 58mm filters, which are also standard with the 40-150 and 75-300 II.

- May not be quite as good optically (especially when mounted on an Olympus), but are we splitting hairs?

12-40:

+ Has a semi-macro mode.

+ Has a clutch-focus mechanism.

+ Has a slightly longer zoom range.

+ Is perhaps a bit better optically than the 12-35.

- Is built like a tank, but may have durability issues given reports of the barrel snapping away from the mount.

- Has a very annoying 62mm filter mount which adds to Olympus's already schitzophrenic 37mm, 46mm, 52mm and 58mm.

- Is a bit more expensive at USD $900, added to which I will have to spend another $100 + on new filters.

So, my question for people who have owned both lenses (presumably starting with the Panasonic and later switching to the Olympus), is this: have you found the Olympus to be significantly better lens in practice than the Panasonic? And if so, why?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards the Panasonic - even though Ive been a religious Olympus boy until now.

S.

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My Flickr stream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottkmacleod/
My kit: E-P3, 12/2.0, 17/1.8, 45/1.8, 60/2.8 Macro, 7.5 Fisheye, 14-42 IIR, 40-150 ED, 75-300 II

 NZ Scott's gear list:NZ Scott's gear list
Sony QX1 Olympus PEN E-P3 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 +10 more
Olympus E-M1 Olympus PEN E-P3
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