Suggest a 12-(something)mm walk-around lens

Started 5 days ago | Questions thread
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bokemon New Member • Posts: 5
Suggest a 12-(something)mm walk-around lens

Hello folks,

I am relatively new to photography, having gotten an Olympus E-M10 Mk2 only a month ago. For now, I am looking for a single lens that stays on the camera for these two situations:

1) Go on a short hike, take random pictures of landscape, plants, and semi-macro of flowers, bugs, etc. No long range zoom pics.

2) Walk around University campus, take random pictures of buildings, various objects, semi-macro of flowers, etc. No pictures of people or action events.

I have tried these scenarios with the 14-42mm kit lens that comes with the camera, and the main thing that seems to be "lacking" is that I want an even wider field of view so I can take pictures of e.g. both the floor and part of the ceiling inside a building with a tall ceiling. The other thing is that I often extend these walk-arounds into the evening, where I can get pics of the warm glow of lighting on / inside a building against a dark blue or orange sky. In this case, I might want a larger aperture so the ISO values are not so high.

The two lenses I am looking at are the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro ($500 used) or the Panasonic 12-60mm F3.5-something (about half the price used). After a lot of reading, I think the main differences are that the Olympus lens is heavier, better image quality and larger aperture. The Panasonic lens, if I think about it, only gives me 2mm of extra wideness over my kit lens.

Some questions:

1) How well does the Panasonic lens image stabilization work vs my camera's in-body stabilization. Would I be able to do hand held focus stacking (semi) macro?

2) In practice, is the smaller apertures at longer focal lengths a problem, or is image stabilization good enough for a long-shutter-time hand-held shot?

BTW, I semi-ruled out the Panasonic 12-32mm kit pancake because it doesn't have a good manual focus. When I do the focus bracketing, I purposely move the starting focus point a bit in front of the object, in case there is an antenna or thin flower part sticking forwards.  Also, Olympus 12-50mm ruled out due to too many complaints of bad image quality.

Please feel free to mention other issues that I haven't thought of.

Some background: I do have a SamYang 12mm lens which works ok, but I found out that it was too much of a PITA to switch lenses back and forth during a "walk-around".

I have a 60mm macro lens, and for that I use it with a tripod and do focus stacking pics.

I have a 25mm prime lens, but at this stage, I am still trying to zoom back and forth to find a good composition, so I don't use that too much due to too much of a pain to switch lenses.

 bokemon's gear list:bokemon's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Samyang 12mm F2 NCS CS Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH
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Olympus OM-D E-M10
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