The one lens that I both love and hate....Arrrrrgggghhhhhh

Started Aug 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Ben Herrmann
Ben Herrmann Forum Pro • Posts: 18,830
The one lens that I both love and hate....Arrrrrgggghhhhhh
6 bear with me for a moment.

I've used countless lenses over the years - from a variety of brands, but there is one lens that stands out of the crowd, that causes me to both love....and loathe it at the same time.  Psychologists may refer to this as experiencing sort of an "approach/avoidance" conflict.

Of course, I'm talking about the Olympus 12-50 lens.  To begin with, it has the ideal focal length - equivalent to a 24-100 zoom.  It has super fast AF and allows for great macros on the fly.  I mean to say, who couldn't cherish that scenario.  But then of course, there's the "clarity" factor and let's face it there are sharper (and faster - aperture-wise) lenses out there.  That is why I keep a Panasonic 14-45 readily handy when needed for that - and the images definitely show more clarity and definition - from center to edges with that lens (but it's AF is noticeably slower than the 12-50 - at least on the E-M5).  In fact, I cherish the Panny 14-45 on so many levels, but that's a discussion for a separate thread in itself.

In coming back to the 12-50, I find myself constantly being reluctant to use it, but then the focal length, speed of the lens, macro capabilities....all make for an enticing scenario, and I wind up putting it back on the camera (sigh).

For me, the 12-50 doesn't live up to my expectations for scenics or any scenarios that require lots of details.  For people photos, events (involving people), and street photography, the 12-50 seems to do just fine (at least, IMO).  Sure, it takes great photos (in the overall scheme of things), but with regards to contrasts, clarity (definition) from the center to the's just not there.  And when I consider what Olympus wants for this lens ($500 retail USD), I wind up just shaking my head.

So yes, it's a lens that I'm sure many of us have - but it is one that has given me the most conflicting emotions of any other lens I've ever owned.  One one hand I'm a clarity freak, but then on the other I gravitate to the focal length and AF speed that the 12-50 gives me.  And I'm tired of constantly switching lenses out on my E-M5 between the 12-50 and the 14-45, although I do it in a heartbeat when needed.

For those of you who have the 12-50 in your collection - and who tend to use other lenses also - are you experiencing the same feelings? 

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Have a great one....
Bernd (Ben) W. Herrmann
North Carolina, USA

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