12-35mm vs. 14-45mm

Started Jun 9, 2012 | Discussions
tpani
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12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
Jun 9, 2012

I have been postponing buying a regular range zoom for quite a long time now, essentially waiting for the verdict on the new (and expensive) Olympus 12-50mm and Panasonic 12-35mm. So far I have been shooting with the 20mm, the 9-18mm, and the 45-200mm, and have been mostly quite happy, not very urgently needing anything to cover the 20mm to 45mm range. Surprisingly, much of my city shooting has been very well handled with the Olympus 9-18mm (at daytime) and the 20mm.

The baseline for me has been the 14-45mm, and now I have decided that the new Olympus 12-50mm does not cut it (optically not better, although a bit faster; weatherpoofing irrelevant to me; too big; too expensive). I had high hopes for the 12-35mm, but, again, although it is a faster (f/2.8 vs. f/3.5 in the short end, which is little, but a bit more, f/2.8 vs. f/5 something, at 35mm), optically it does not seem to be a proper and clear improvement over the 14-45mm e.g. in the ephotozine tests. The dpreview preview sample photos also leave a lot to be desired: e.g. the corners are much blurrier than what I get with any of my existing lenses.

So, does somebody want to defend this 12-35mm, and should I wait for more data to come in before making a decision?

The 14-45mm seems pretty OK to me, although I would prefer 12mm to 14mm in the short end. As the lens is not incredibly expensive, it would be a pretty easy decision to buy it rather than shell out much more money for the 12-35mm.

eques
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Re: 12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
In reply to tpani, Jun 9, 2012

I have been thinking along just the same lines.

One difference: I have been using the 14-45 for 2 years now and like it very much. After an accident (camera with lens fell down over an 2 m hight rock) some plastic on the front chipped off, but the lens is still working perfectly (just like the camera!). So I thought I might get a new one or perhaps a "better" lens. However, the 12-50 doesn't have OIS and seems to be rather suboptimal, and the tests at ephotozine show, the 12-35 has no better resolution.

At the moment I use my old MF 20mm Nikkor as back up and start to like it more and more, but still think, I should perhaps get a new 14-45 as long as I can get one. - Peter.

 eques's gear list:eques's gear list
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS +1 more
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kenw
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Re: 12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
In reply to tpani, Jun 9, 2012

There is more to a lens than just resolution charts and sharpness in the corners. So with that in mind I wouldn't write off the 12-35 just yet. That said, I agree with much of what you say at this point - I'm not sure it is worth the step in price unless speed at the long end is important. And while being quite compact and light for what it is, it is still definitely heavier and larger than the 14-45.

What I can say is the 14-45 really is to my mind a "no-brainer" lens. Besides the rare exception of "copy variation" it is a very sharp and contrasty lens across almost its entire range of focal lengths. No, it isn't fast (wide aperture), but it is optically excellent around 5.6 and 6.3 edge to edge and does very respectably wide open as well. It can even keep up with many of the primes in the range that it covers (obviously the primes have other benefits, like wider apertures, that the zoom can't do).

The OIS works well, it focuses reasonably fast, it is very light and quite compact. At $270 on B&H right now it is an excellent lens for the price - one of the best values in such a zoom in any system. When it was a kit with the earlier cameras it was a ridiculously good bargain. People like to whine about the lens costs in m43, and I don't disagree with that in many cases - but to my mind the 14-45 is one of the best bargains for a slow walk around zoom in any system.

The 14-45 will always be a desirable lens I think. Bargain priced, excellent performance, OIS for Panasonic cameras, small and light.

With that in mind I'd say go ahead and get a 14-45. You aren't going to want to be an "early adopter" of a lens as expensive as the 12-35 I don't think. In six months to a year when the 12-35 has a large enough user, test and sample base to make a better evaluation and the price has come down as well you can decide what you want to do. You'll probably be able to sell the 14-45 for a very small loss and any loss will be made up for in the price drop on the 12-35. That is of course assuming you even decide you want the 12-35. And in the interim you will have gotten to use the 14-45.
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Ken W
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tpani
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Re: 12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
In reply to kenw, Jun 10, 2012

Yes, this has been my reasoning too: buy 14-45mm now and switch later if there is a reason to. Many of the 12-35mm sample photos I have seen look very promising, and I have just been hesitant to be one of the first to test the lens. I am surprised that I haven't seen much comments on the dpreview sample photos, some of which show lots of blurriness in the corners, and quite a bit of unpleasant looking distortion at 12mm (and this comment is from somebody who is using his 9-18mm all the time without much being bothered by its distortions at 9mm.)

Another lens I may be considering is the new 35-100mm. The 45-200mm is sharp at 200mm only when stepped down to f/8 or f/9, which often means longer exposure times and risk of camera shake and/or high ISO and noise. Sharp f/2.8 until 100mm would really be tempting, and I am really using the 100-200mm range only for some small scale birding and whatever. I am eagerly waiting the first samples from the lens.

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chasfox
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Re: 12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
In reply to tpani, Jun 10, 2012

Where the 12-35 really scores over the 14-45 is the constant aperture all the way to 35mm.

My 14-45 is a decent f3.5 at 14mm but hits f4.9 as soon as 25mm and F5.5 at 35mm ie a full two stop slower.

In addition although the 14-45 is great optically, build quality is only average and to me the 12mm wide end (24mm equiv) is going to be much more useful when out with just one lens.

Will post more when mine arrives from Panasonic as we had a special intro offer in the UK

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Aleo Veuliah
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Re: 12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
In reply to kenw, Jun 10, 2012

kenw wrote:

There is more to a lens than just resolution charts and sharpness in the corners. So with that in mind I wouldn't write off the 12-35 just yet. That said, I agree with much of what you say at this point - I'm not sure it is worth the step in price unless speed at the long end is important. And while being quite compact and light for what it is, it is still definitely heavier and larger than the 14-45.

What I can say is the 14-45 really is to my mind a "no-brainer" lens. Besides the rare exception of "copy variation" it is a very sharp and contrasty lens across almost its entire range of focal lengths. No, it isn't fast (wide aperture), but it is optically excellent around 5.6 and 6.3 edge to edge and does very respectably wide open as well. It can even keep up with many of the primes in the range that it covers (obviously the primes have other benefits, like wider apertures, that the zoom can't do).

The OIS works well, it focuses reasonably fast, it is very light and quite compact. At $270 on B&H right now it is an excellent lens for the price - one of the best values in such a zoom in any system. When it was a kit with the earlier cameras it was a ridiculously good bargain. People like to whine about the lens costs in m43, and I don't disagree with that in many cases - but to my mind the 14-45 is one of the best bargains for a slow walk around zoom in any system.

The 14-45 will always be a desirable lens I think. Bargain priced, excellent performance, OIS for Panasonic cameras, small and light.

With that in mind I'd say go ahead and get a 14-45. You aren't going to want to be an "early adopter" of a lens as expensive as the 12-35 I don't think. In six months to a year when the 12-35 has a large enough user, test and sample base to make a better evaluation and the price has come down as well you can decide what you want to do. You'll probably be able to sell the 14-45 for a very small loss and any loss will be made up for in the price drop on the 12-35. That is of course assuming you even decide you want the 12-35. And in the interim you will have gotten to use the 14-45.
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Ken W
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Wise words, I agree the 14-45mm always will be a fantastic lens, don't know if they still produce it, but if not they should, it is a great lens, for price, image quality size and the OIS

The 12-35mm is also very good I think people sometimes expect that wide aperture lenses are much better, but that is not true, they are only better at wider apertures, if we compare at medium apertures quality are almost equal, one thing the 12-35mm is a bit better than the 14-45mm is on the depth of color
And for who needs a faster lenses is a wonderful choice

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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

God is the tangential point between zero and infinity.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

God always take the simplest way.

 Aleo Veuliah's gear list:Aleo Veuliah's gear list
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Aleo Veuliah
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Re: 12-35mm vs. 14-45mm
In reply to tpani, Jun 10, 2012

tpani wrote:

I have been postponing buying a regular range zoom for quite a long time now, essentially waiting for the verdict on the new (and expensive) Olympus 12-50mm and Panasonic 12-35mm. So far I have been shooting with the 20mm, the 9-18mm, and the 45-200mm, and have been mostly quite happy, not very urgently needing anything to cover the 20mm to 45mm range. Surprisingly, much of my city shooting has been very well handled with the Olympus 9-18mm (at daytime) and the 20mm.

The baseline for me has been the 14-45mm, and now I have decided that the new Olympus 12-50mm does not cut it (optically not better, although a bit faster; weatherpoofing irrelevant to me; too big; too expensive). I had high hopes for the 12-35mm, but, again, although it is a faster (f/2.8 vs. f/3.5 in the short end, which is little, but a bit more, f/2.8 vs. f/5 something, at 35mm), optically it does not seem to be a proper and clear improvement over the 14-45mm e.g. in the ephotozine tests. The dpreview preview sample photos also leave a lot to be desired: e.g. the corners are much blurrier than what I get with any of my existing lenses.

So, does somebody want to defend this 12-35mm, and should I wait for more data to come in before making a decision?

The 14-45mm seems pretty OK to me, although I would prefer 12mm to 14mm in the short end. As the lens is not incredibly expensive, it would be a pretty easy decision to buy it rather than shell out much more money for the 12-35mm.

The 14-45mm always will be a fantastic lens, don't know if they still produce it, but if not they should, it is a great lens, for price, image quality size and the OIS

The 12-35mm is also very good I think people sometimes expect that wide aperture lenses are much better, but that is not true, they are only better at wider apertures, if we compare at medium apertures quality are almost equal, one thing the 12-35mm is a bit better than the 14-45mm is on the depth of color

And for who needs a faster lenses is a wonderful choice, but people have to pay the glass needed to make it f/2.8 constant aperture, and it has also the new Nano coating that is an important improvement

-- hide signature --

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

God is the tangential point between zero and infinity.

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

God always take the simplest way.

 Aleo Veuliah's gear list:Aleo Veuliah's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Nikon 1 V3 +4 more
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