The 12-35 mm for landscape.

Started Jan 29, 2013 | Discussions
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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sigala1
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

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ravinj
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to sigala1, Jan 29, 2013

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Is there a cheaper 12-35 F2.8 lens in MFT mount? I would like to buy one.

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inasir1971
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

While some reviewers like Lloyd Chambers have not particularly liked the 12-35, I have found the 12-35 to be an excellent lens - perhaps sample variation. While maybe not as sharp as my 14/2.5 or 20/1.7 in the center, it seems to have better contrast and less field curvature.

What you describe is pretty much in line with expectations. You have several competing effects as you stop down the lens.

Lens imperfections - decrease as the lens is stopped down causing resolution to increase.

Field curvature - is overcome by increasing depth of field.

Diffraction - robs first contrast and then resolution. When this occurs is largely dependent upon the pixel size - the smaller the pixels the earlier diffraction effects start. I think by f/5.6 you are already losing resolution due to difraction with the OM-D/PL5/PM2 sensors.

With a good lens you would expect to have a relatively flat field and lens imperfections to be largely overcome stopped down by 1 to 2 stops. If your subject matches the field curvature, stopping down further will cause the resolution to fall through diffraction as you will be gaining little if anything through the other two effects.

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gollywop
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to sigala1, Jan 29, 2013

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Were you able to comprehend the last paragraph of my post?

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Pic Man
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

gollywop wrote:

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Were you able to comprehend the last paragraph of my post?

Maybe sigala means compared to the pan 14-45mm which is said to be pretty sharp especially for a kit. If you need the f2.8 then there is no alternative but if you shoot landscapes off a tripod or shoot in good light or just shoot landscapes where nothing is moving and the ois is enough, it might be interesting to know whether the 12-35 is worth the money in comparison. The Oly 12-50 is apparently one the softer kit lenses.

After all, you could probably buy a 7-14 and a 14-45 for the same money as a 12-35, which maybe a better alternative for some landscape shooters.

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RealPancho
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So......where are these pics?
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

Posting the entire series might be a bit much, but why didn't you at least provide a few of these pics? Simply hearing about them is, you know, kinda boring. :\

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sigala1
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to ravinj, Jan 29, 2013

ravinj wrote:

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Is there a cheaper 12-35 F2.8 lens in MFT mount? I would like to buy one.

There are four other MFT lenses that cover 12mm, plus several legacy 4/3 lenses, all less expensive.

Plus, if you zoomed in to 14mm, you could compare it against several 14-42 kit lenses.

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sigala1
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to Pic Man, Jan 29, 2013

Pic Man wrote:

gollywop wrote:

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Were you able to comprehend the last paragraph of my post?

Maybe sigala means compared to the pan 14-45mm which is said to be pretty sharp especially for a kit. If you need the f2.8 then there is no alternative but if you shoot landscapes off a tripod or shoot in good light or just shoot landscapes where nothing is moving and the ois is enough, it might be interesting to know whether the 12-35 is worth the money in comparison. The Oly 12-50 is apparently one the softer kit lenses.

After all, you could probably buy a 7-14 and a 14-45 for the same money as a 12-35, which maybe a better alternative for some landscape shooters.

I mean I'd like to see real evidence the lens is better than cheaper alternatives, even the kit lens that came with your camera, whatever that may be (but all of the kit lenses perform pretty well at 14mm except for the 12-50).

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amtberg
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

I think the end result of the previous thread was that the OP determined that he had a duff copy of the lens, and that he should have been shooting at f/4 or f/5.6 instead of f/8 for sharper results.

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Starred
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to amtberg, Jan 29, 2013

I love the 12-35/2.8, also for landscape





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Paul De Bra
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Would love to see those in full size.
In reply to Starred, Jan 29, 2013

These are beautiful pictures but to judge how good the lens is it helps to see full size images. We are not allowed to see "original" size...

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ravinj
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to sigala1, Jan 29, 2013

sigala1 wrote:

ravinj wrote:

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Is there a cheaper 12-35 F2.8 lens in MFT mount? I would like to buy one.

There are four other MFT lenses that cover 12mm, plus several legacy 4/3 lenses, all less expensive.

Plus, if you zoomed in to 14mm, you could compare it against several 14-42 kit lenses.

You missed the point. Re-read my question again: Is there a cheaper 12-35 F2.8 lens in MFT mount?

The answer is no, there is no other lens in MFT mount that offers this focal length range at a constant F2.8. Not having to swap lenses, having the option of F2.8 throughout the range and fast focusing due to native MFT mount, all these make it worth a premium for some people.

Not having to carry around multiple primes or dealing with adapters also deserves a premium and some persons will gladly pay such a premium. Others will carry a bagful of lenses, keep swapping and miss the shots or use legacy M/3 lenses with an adapter.

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dgnelson
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to Starred, Jan 29, 2013

Love the first one, perfectly done.

Dan

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amtberg
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to sigala1, Jan 29, 2013

sigala1 wrote:

Pic Man wrote:

gollywop wrote:

sigala1 wrote:

This review would have been more helpful if you took the same photo with a cheaper lens, and then compared to see if you were gaining anything by spending so much money on a lens.

Were you able to comprehend the last paragraph of my post?

Maybe sigala means compared to the pan 14-45mm which is said to be pretty sharp especially for a kit. If you need the f2.8 then there is no alternative but if you shoot landscapes off a tripod or shoot in good light or just shoot landscapes where nothing is moving and the ois is enough, it might be interesting to know whether the 12-35 is worth the money in comparison. The Oly 12-50 is apparently one the softer kit lenses.

After all, you could probably buy a 7-14 and a 14-45 for the same money as a 12-35, which maybe a better alternative for some landscape shooters.

I mean I'd like to see real evidence the lens is better than cheaper alternatives, even the kit lens that came with your camera, whatever that may be (but all of the kit lenses perform pretty well at 14mm except for the 12-50).

There's a pretty big difference between 12mm and 14mm, even if the kit lenses are decent at 14mm.

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Ron Outdoors
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

Here are some photos I took with the Pan 12-35. I was out Sunday trying to get familiar with the GH3 I just got. I purchased the 12-35 a few months ago, due to not being entirely happy with Olympus 12-50 that came with the OM-D. The Pan is an improvement over that, and a nice fit on the GH3.

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Ron Outdoors
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to Ron Outdoors, Jan 29, 2013

Ops, I see one picture taken with the Pan 100-300 slipped in.

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Bob Tullis
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Re: The 12-35 mm for landscape.
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

Thanks, Gollywop. I need the likes of guys/gals such as yourself, to verify what I think I see though casual field tests.

I haven't done any determined landscapes as of late, but for what I've done I feel the lens was a good purchase (and a boon to the format in general). I've been enjoying the detail that can be drawn through it.



(full sized versions avail. on bobtullis.com in Catskills & NYC galleries)

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Starred
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Re: Would love to see those in full size.
In reply to Paul De Bra, Jan 29, 2013

Paul De Bra wrote:

These are beautiful pictures but to judge how good the lens is it helps to see full size images. We are not allowed to see "original" size...

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Slowly learning to use the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Public pictures at http://debra.zenfolio.com/.

Really? I thought you could click on the link on my gallery page and see them in both small, medium, large or original size?

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papillon_65
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*Sigh* I get so bored.....
In reply to gollywop, Jan 29, 2013

at the constant questioning about the value of this lens ( and this is not directed at the OP by the way ).

If you want 12mm at the wide end and a constant F2.8 aperture zoom then it's the only game in town. If you don't need the 12mm or the faster aperture then get the Panasonic 14-45mm and be happy with it, it's close enough.

On the question of the value of the 12-35mm, if you use it a lot it's worth every penny, if you don't then it's not, just like any other lens.

On the question of image quality, it's sharp at all apertures and all focal lengths until diffraction becomes apparent. If you use it on an Oly any CA is easily removed by Lightroom or similar. It's also sharp across the frame.

It's weathersealed and very well made  and it has a slight purple sheen to it. That's it, that's all you need to know, no questions, no more arguments, it does exactly what it says on the tin.....

Can people just please get over it, it's a lens not a solution to the global banking crisis......

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