Purchasing a Travel Lens

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,529
Re: Purchasing a Travel Lens

Falcon04 wrote:

I've narrowed my choices down to the following:

A. Oly 14-150mm II (f/4-5.6) $599 [New]

B. Pany 14-140 II (f/3.5-5.6) $597 [New]

C. PL 12-60 (f/2.8-4) $629 [Used]

Of these, I've been leaning toward the Pany 14-140 II; but then I came across the used PL 12-60, which is appealing due to the extra 2mm on the wide end, and better aperture across the entire zoom range.

For my general travels, do I substantially gain anything by choosing the PL over the Pany?

The zoom lenses you mentioned are all Olympus. Note, that on Olympus lenses the zoom and focus rings go in the opposite direction as on Panasonic. I now own zoom lenses from both, and I find I usually start turning the Panasonic lenses the opposite direction (unless I've been shooting primarily with Panasonic, then it happens when I switch back to Olympus). Not a big deal, but something to think about.

There are two versions of the Panasonic 12-60mm. The cheaper one is listed Panasonic only and has an aperture range of f/3.5-5.6. This is the kit lens that comes with the mid-range Panasonic cameras, so you often times people selling these off after buying a kit. The more expensive version is the Panasonic-Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0. If you are buying used, be sure you know which one you would be getting.

For a travel lens where you don't want to keep switching lenses, I think the 12-60mm (either version) is too short. I would look at your pictures, and see how often you shoot with the 40-150mm lens, and if so how often do you shoot above 60mm. If the numbers are high, then you probably would not like the 12-60mm as much (unless you needed it for wider angles, and with a faster aperture for low light shots).

I have the Olympus 14-150mm mark II and I had the mark I before that. I think they are fine lenses. It is my second most used lens (at 20% in both 2018 and 2019), with my most used lens being the 12-40mm f/2.8 pro lens.

Some people that love to shoot brick walls and such, claim the Panasonic 14-140mm is a tad sharper than the Olympus 14-150mm lens. And similarly, the 40-150mm f/4-5.6 lens might be slightly sharper. Maybe they are sharper, maybe not. But for real world pictures in good light, the 14-150mm mark II lens produces good pictures.

One thing to keep in mind, is that you probably want to keep your 14-42mm lens, since all 3 lenses you mentioned are much larger than the 14-42mm. If you use the pop-up flash, it is possibly that the flash is not tall enough, and the lens will likely block part of the flash. Thus, if you are going to use the flash, switch to the 14-42mm lens. Since the 40-150mm routinely goes on sale, you likely won't get much for it if you are selling it used.

Finally if you shoot JPG, Olympus cameras have an option to do an in-camera 2x zoom (digital tele-converter toggle). I tend to program function FN1 to be the digital tele-converter toggle. This allows me to have essentially a 14-300mm lens on the camera (28-600mm equivalent lens to a 35mm film camera).

Everybody shoots differently.  FWIW, since 2002, I shot roughly 58% of my shots in the 28-100mm equivalent range (i.e. 14-50mm), 30% in the 101-300mm equivalent range,  9% above that, and 3% wider.  Of course it depends on what I was doing at the time, what camera/lenses I had when I took the shots.

 Michael Meissner's gear list:Michael Meissner's gear list
Olympus Stylus 1 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 Olympus 14-150 F4-5.6 II +20 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow