Direct comparison Oly 12-40mmF2.8 with Oly 12-50mmF3.5-6.3?

Started Feb 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,813
thoughts on the upcoming 40-150F2.8

Sierra Dave wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

The Oly 12-40 F2.8 arrived this morning.

Very good look and feel on the camera. Everything works smoothly. Caps, hood etc are well designed, with special mention for the manual focus ring (pull backwards).

Never mind the pixelpeeping tripod tests, that are intended mainly to make sure that I did not receive a lemon of a lens.

The real proof of the pudding is in eating in a real-world setting, not in laboratory testing.

So after the afternoon of tripod fun, I took the new 12-40 on my E-M5 with me to the dress rehearsal of a theatre play, with the ZD35-100 on E-5 for the longer shots (I cannot sing the praises of that combo well enough : I get my very best stage production shots with it).

Hold onto that thought when the 40-150/2.8 comes out!

The F2 versus the F2.8 still makes a difference.  Theatre being in difficult light by definition, I shoot most of my images wide open for enough shutter speed.  And the F2 makes the subject pop even more than F2.8.  The OOF areas are very dreamy.  Hard to describe but easy to see.

And truly, the rendering quality of the ZD35-100 is stellar : it is easily better than the ZD50-200 which is not a bad lens.

So I am not going to retire the E-5+ZD35-100 combo anytime soon: ergonomically it feels like an extension of my arm.

It is just in the wider-than-35 mm that I wanted a real improvement, because apart from primes, my lens there is the ZD12-60 and it focuses not well enough on E-M5.  And E-3 is OK, but the files from E-M5 are clearly better in high ISO (VERY clearly).

Now if I had a ZD14-35F2, I would probably stick to the E3 E5 combo, but I don't have that lens and I am not going to get it anymore (unless someone wants to make me a really nice present).

Therefor, I wanted a very good standard zoom for the E-M5.  Enter the 12-40.

Now the 40-150 F2.8 will be another matter.  Probably nice, but already quite big for mFT.

And I have great lenses in that range (not just good, but really great) in FT.

And I would need a second mFT body to go dual-camera.  And if that second mFT body is an E-M1 or its successor, I might want to use it with my ZD35-100 and ZD150 instead of getting a new lens, because AF will be so much better...

Let me just tell you : no more ZD12-60 on E-3 as second camera for me.

The 12-40 on E-M5 does better in many ways. the aperture speed is there and autofocus is instant, while the E-M5 can go two stops higher in ISO before it reaches my uncomfort zone (no problem with ISO800 on E-3, and with ISO3200 on E-M5; the E-5 sits inbetween at ISO1600 for its auto-ISO ceiling).

For the same output size, I'd bet you can go even higher with the ISOs on the E-M5 vs. the E-3 as you've got 25% more linear resolution and no strong AA filter or banding to complicate post-processing. So long as the tele-end of your 12-60 is covered with your other body, you should be set.

I also think that for this sort of photography, Olympus is long overdue in introducing an electronic shutter. The ability to shoot silently at productions is something I've missed ever since I gave up my P&S.

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Roel Hendrickx
lots of images:
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara:

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