Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Rich K
Rich K Contributing Member • Posts: 849
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?

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.

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.

You just need to sort out your priorities.  Both are very good lenses.  Oly has some advantage due to close focus with the downside being bigger and heavier.  Personally, I do a lot of hiking and walking while on trips, so weight/size tipped the scale for me.  Never been unhappy with the quality of the images I've gotten out of the Panny unless I screwed up settings.

You might also throw the PL 12-60/2.8-4.0 into the mix.  Almost identical size to the 12-40 (about 2mm longer) but lighter (320 gm to 384 gm).  Yes, it's not constant 2.8, but that extra 20mm of reach might be meaningful.

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Rich in Reno

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Sony RX100 III Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 +4 more
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