12-40 or a prime?

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
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richarddd Senior Member • Posts: 2,982
12-40 or a prime?

I currently have the 7-14, 12-50 and 45/1.8 (plus a 40-150). I'm thinking of replacing the 12-50 with something faster and sharper. A lot of my photography is travel photography, including a fair amount of architecture (exteriors and interiors of cathedrals, chateaux and the like) and gardens. Also landscapes and city-scapes (often on a tripod). The bulk of my photos with the 12-50 are at 12, 43 (macro) and 50.

The main alternatives seem to be

1) 12-40. It seems to be a great lens. Faster and sharper than the 12-50. Fewer lens changes. Downsides are weight and lack of "macro", although it may focus close enough to fill most of the frame with a flower (which I don't believe any of the primes do as well).

The 12-35/2.8 is an alternative. It's only advantage over the 12-40 is weight, but the difference isn't that large. Image quality isn't quite as good from just about everything I've read.

2) 12/2. I'd miss everything from 12-45. This isn't many people's favorites. The 12-40 seems at least as sharp

3) 14/2.5 or 17/1.8. The 14 is not as sharp or fast as the alternatives. The 17 could be sharper. 7-14/4 covers 14 and is only one stop slower.

4) 20/1.7 or 25/1.8. Closer to the middle of range between the 7-14 and the 45. Faster than the 12-40 and similar sharpness. Some complaints about AF speed and banding on the 20/1.7. AF speed is not a major priority. Banding would be a problem, but it seems rare and only above 3200, where I rarely shoot.

The Voigtlanders are not really on my list.

I bounce back and forth between the 12-40 and the 20/1.7, with occasional stops at 25/1.8.  7-14, 20 (or 25) and 45 is a nice light kit and doesn't miss much. 7-14 and 12-40 cover the range, is very high quality, fewer lens changes and focuses closer.

What do you think?

 richarddd's gear list:richarddd's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +3 more
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