Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,308
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

I visited the Salon de la Photo camera show the other day and got my hands on a few Micro Four Thirds lenses.

I immediately learned things I hadn’t picked up from reviews and YouTube videos.

Now, sadly the Olympus lens had a security tether while the Panasonic was loose. That may have affected my impressions because it interfered with holding the lens (why do companies hamper themselves like this at shows?). All the same …

Comparing the Panasonic 12–35 mm with the Olympus 12–40 mm:

The Olympus zooms in the wrong direction when turned! Yikes. (Or the Panasonic is wrong if you’re coming from Canon.) That might rule out mixing brands of zoom lenses although not primes. This throws a wrench in my planning.

Do any of you mix zooms despite this?

Yup, I own a big mix of lenses and used them regularly and it wasn't until somebody on the forums complained about this "reverse zoom feature" that I realised that my Oly and Pana lenses did just that. But I never noticed and it never bothered me until I was told here that it was a problem. Now I'm up all night worrying about it.... Not.

The Olympus felt better in the hand … until zoomed. The Panasonic zoom ring moved with perfect resistance and smoothness. I was impressed by the mechanics. The Olympus zoom ring was heavier – a touch too heavy for my taste – and slightly less smooth. Still good. A bit more play in the fully extended barrel too.

Additionally, the Olympus barrel extension reverses near the wide end and slightly extends at 12 mm. Mildly annoying for packing.

Pack it at its shortest length whatever the focal length happens to be.

On the other hand, the Olympus focal lengths are better spaced, allowing easier precise adjustment near the wide end.

I’m still vague about how these lenses compare optically – I know the Olympus focuses much closer – but I left favouring the Panasonic. Which wasn’t what I expected going in.

The generally accepted difference from many years of comparing in this forum is that the Panasonic is a whisker sharper in the centre than the Olympus but the Olympus is better across the whole frame. It is only of any importance to the truly dedicated pixel peepers.

The close focus at 40mm of the Olympus makes it great as a macro substitute. I click the AF/MF focus ring to MF, focus to closest setting at 40mm then move in on the bee in the flower or whatever. A bit of judicious cropping and you have near as good as most macro lenses without the need to buy or carry them.

Regards...... Guy

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