Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

Started Jan 14, 2013 | Discussions
gtravis Regular Member • Posts: 257
Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

Disclaimer: I did some searching to try and see if this question had already been answered. Didn't find what I was looking for.

I want to get a weather-sealed all-around zoom for my m4/3s cameras (OM-D and GH3). Ideally this lens would take the place and function of my existing 14-45mm Panasonic lens except be brighter and weather sealed.

The obvious choice is the Olympus 12-50mm which isn't any brighter but has a wider coverage and is weather sealed.

The only other choices that I see are the Panasonic 12-35mm which is weather sealed and faster. It's also $1000, twice the Olympus.

And the Panasonic 35-100mm. Which at $1500 is three times the Olympus.

I have the Panasonic 20mm and 25mm primes, as well as the 7-14mm wide angle and the 14-45mm to fill in below 35mm but, of course, not weather sealed. And that's a problem since I would say that most of my shooting is around 20mm

I'm leaning towards the Olympus 12-50mm on the basis that it would be the outdoors walkabout lens and its coverage extends in both directions beyond the Panasonic 14-45mm that currently is used for that function

The Olympus plus the PL 25mm for indoor/low-light shots seems like a nice, small, kit for travel but then the Panasonic 12-35mm would probably be fast enough to leave even the PL 25mm at home, meaning I just have to carry around one camera/one lens for excursions.

So I guess the question comes down to Oly 12-50mm at $500 or faster Panasonic 12-35mm at $1000 for a general-purpose weather-sealed walkabout lens?  This would go on both an OM-D and a GH3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
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BingoCharlie Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

gtravis wrote:

The Olympus plus the PL 25mm for indoor/low-light shots seems like a nice, small, kit for travel but then the Panasonic 12-35mm would probably be fast enough to leave even the PL 25mm at home, meaning I just have to carry around one camera/one lens for excursions.

I like the 12-50 well enough. I'd buy something better if Olympus offered it and it weren't crazy expensive. But they don't. The 12-35 is crazy expensive, especially for such a limited focal range. I know people like to bash the 12-50, but I think that's because they were expecting greatness when it was announced and it's just pretty good instead.

I have the 12-50 and PL25 combo and I agree with you that it makes a great pair for traveling. I shot a recent trip to Chicago with that combo and it was perfect. The PL25 is a fantastic lens with beautiful rendering. I love it for travel portraits. For everything else, the 12-50 does a good job. The macro mode is surprisingly useful, too.

bowportes Veteran Member • Posts: 3,490
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens
1

If you move from the 14-45 to the Olympus 12-50, you'll have a lens that adds weather sealing and does macro, but is not as sharp as your 14-45 and lacks IS on your Panny GH3 (making it effectively a slower lens than what you currently use). In your circumstance -- if you can afford it -- I would think the sharpness, micro-contrast, and stabilization of the Panny 12-35mm might be worth the additional $$$. You'll at least feel that you've moved to a better optic, rather than to one that may not be as good as your 14-45mm.

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Chas2 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,517
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

Considering at this time, the only other weather sealed lens is the Oly 60 mm macro, you about have it covered.  It is really up to you how much you want to spend to get a better lens.  As you noted, the 12-50 is not faster, though you do get weather sealing and close up ability.  Only the two premium Panny lenses are acknowledged better optics, and the 12-35 is the only choice you have in filling for the 14-45 if you want something faster.

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Entropius Veteran Member • Posts: 4,253
One more option...
2

There is a 14-54 f/2.8-3.5 zoom lens for classic Four Thirds that is weather sealed and very sharp, and will focus moderately quickly on m4/3. It's not small, but it's relatively cheap; I got a second-hand one for $250.

You can get the weathersealed adapter (MMF-3?) and use it.

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Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikon 35mm F1.8G ED +1 more
BingoCharlie Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

bowportes wrote:

If you move from the 14-45 to the Olympus 12-50, you'll have a lens that adds weather sealing and does macro, but is not as sharp as your 14-45

Are you sure it's not as sharp?  I see that claim repeated around here a lot, but it frankly seems to come down to which copy of which lens you get.

OP gtravis Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

Thanks, that's very helpful.  Try as I might, I cannot get away from the Panasonic 14-45mm lens that originally came with my G1.  Other than being slow, it's just a fantastic, tack-sharp lens.

So you're right that whatever I target to replace it should be up to the task.  From what I'm reading here and elsewhere, the Olympus 12-50mm isn't optically up to the task of replacing the 14-45mm

And while I think image stabilization is way overrated (my problems tend to be subjects, not cameras, that are moving too fast), the fact that the Panasonic has image stabilization in the lens and thus I can image stabilize with it on the GH3 is compelling.

bowportes Veteran Member • Posts: 3,490
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

BingoCharlie wrote:

bowportes wrote:

If you move from the 14-45 to the Olympus 12-50, you'll have a lens that adds weather sealing and does macro, but is not as sharp as your 14-45

Are you sure it's not as sharp? I see that claim repeated around here a lot, but it frankly seems to come down to which copy of which lens you get.

There's always sample variation, but then there are averages. Maybe the claim is repeated a lot because many have experienced surprise at how sharp the Panny 14-45 is, and not as many feel the same about the Oly 12-50. ... Averages.

DPreview hasn't reviewed the 12-50 like it has the 14-45, but some other sites have done both. (And we have to expect that manufacturers send good copies of their lenses to lens reviewers.) Compare the sharpness tests on the two lenses at ephotozine.com, for example, where they aren't even close.  I doubt that this is simply a reflection of a bad copy of the Olympus lens.

 bowportes's gear list:bowportes's gear list
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BingoCharlie Contributing Member • Posts: 849
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

bowportes wrote:

BingoCharlie wrote:

bowportes wrote:

If you move from the 14-45 to the Olympus 12-50, you'll have a lens that adds weather sealing and does macro, but is not as sharp as your 14-45

Are you sure it's not as sharp? I see that claim repeated around here a lot, but it frankly seems to come down to which copy of which lens you get.

There's always sample variation, but then there are averages. Maybe the claim is repeated a lot because many have experienced surprise at how sharp the Panny 14-45 is, and not as many feel the same about the Oly 12-50. ... Averages.

DPreview hasn't reviewed the 12-50 like it has the 14-45, but some other sites have done both. (And we have to expect that manufacturers send good copies of their lenses to lens reviewers.) Compare the sharpness tests on the two lenses at ephotozine.com, for example, where they aren't even close. I doubt that this is simply a reflection of a bad copy of the Olympus lens.

That's all well and good.  You might even be right.  But LensRentals tested "two or three copies" of each lens using controlled conditions and found them to be equivalent.  Maybe they just got two or three bad copies of the 14-45 in a row.

Thomas Kachadurian
Thomas Kachadurian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,550
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

It sounds to me like you answered your own question. You may not like the answer but there it is.

Consider one other thing. Why is it so important to be weather sealed? I've taken my 14-45 out on many a walk in the snow and rain with no issues at all. And at the price, If something happens to it I'll just buy another one.

The 12-35 is worth the premium for the f2.8, and the sealing is a bonus.But even then, "weather sealing" doesn't make it waterproof or bullet proof.

But what is it you are doing that you think weather sealing is so important that you are letting it choose your lens for you. What is it you are expecting to happen to your lens?

Tom

www.kachadurian.com
Call me crazy. I happen to like photos of cats.

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LMNCT Veteran Member • Posts: 4,906
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

The Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 would be faster and stabilized on both of your bodies.  The Olympus lens would be stabilized on the Oly body but not the Panasonic.  More speed and functionality.

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OP gtravis Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

Yeah, I answered my own question.  And, today, I ordered the Panasonic 12-35mm.

As for why it's important for it to be weather sealed, I take my camera everywhere in all kinds of weather.  The real push for me was shooting outside in a heavy/wet snowstorm in Western Mass over Christmas, getting the kid's first sleigh ride and some other great shots.

My OM-D was pretty soaked and I was doing all I could to keep the non-sealed lens dry and I decided that was just not fun -- that the last thing I wanted to be doing was spending any time playing in the snow instead worrying about getting water in the lens or camera.

Now that may have been a remote possibility (water in the lens/camera).  After all, I have years and tens of thousands of photos shot with my old G1, GH2s, etc. all using non-sealed MFT lenses.  Walking around in the rain in Chicago, on the beach in California, all over.  And it's never been a problem.

But it was always in my mind.  And now, it won't be.  Or at least it will be a lot less and I can enjoy what I am actually there to do all the more.

And now you know the reason.

sderdiarian Veteran Member • Posts: 4,229
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

bowportes wrote:

DPreview hasn't reviewed the 12-50 like it has the 14-45, but some other sites have done both. (And we have to expect that manufacturers send good copies of their lenses to lens reviewers.) Compare the sharpness tests on the two lenses at ephotozine.com, for example, where they aren't even close. I doubt that this is simply a reflection of a bad copy of the Olympus lens.

SLRGear has tested both, and even compared to the Olympus m14-42mm II, the 14-50mm fares badly.  The Panasonic 12-35mm simply trounces it at every focal length and is fast enough to adequately replace 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 20mm, 25mm and 35mm primes.  Consider that in its price, along with its weather sealing and OIS.

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1479/cat/15

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1400/cat/15

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1518/cat/69

If bargain hunting, the 4/3's 14-54mm MkII at f2.8-3.5 and a going price used of $300 or so (KEH, comes with a warranty) with a $100 Panasonic adapter is a bargain with excellent optics and not unreasonable weight (15.5 oz. vs. the 12-35 at 10.8 oz.) and size when mounted on the GH3. No IS, however.

http://slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1239/cat/15

I'd say the 12-35 is your best option if you want more than a lateral move in optics plus the advantages of IS.

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Willgo Regular Member • Posts: 433
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

There are options which meet all your criteria without compromise. Entropius has mentioned the four thirds 14-54 with the weather sealed adapter, There are a few other four thirds options as well.

The 12-60, the 14-35 and the 35-100.

The 12-60 ticks all of your boxes - speed, range weather sealed. But its big, pricey and will never AF very fast on M43

-- hide signature --

Paul

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OP gtravis Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

My 12-35mm arrived today.  It looks good, although a bit large, on the OM-D.  Can't wait for the GH3 to arrive.  I think it will end up semi-permanently attached to that (and the PL25mm to the OM-D).

I have to say, the build quality of the 12-35mm is the best m4/3rds I have ever seen and almost as good as the 4/3rds 25mm Leica that I recently sold (one of the larger mistakes in my life)

Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 25,804
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

sderdiarian wrote:

If bargain hunting, the 4/3's 14-54mm MkII at f2.8-3.5 and a going price used of $300 or so (KEH, comes with a warranty) with a $100 Panasonic adapter is a bargain with excellent optics and not unreasonable weight (15.5 oz. vs. the 12-35 at 10.8 oz.) and size when mounted on the GH3. No IS, however.

I don't believe the Pany DMW-MA-1 adapter is weather sealed. The Olympus MMF-3 is weather sealed, and in the USA goes for around $160, with a $50 mail-in rebate good through January 27th.  The older Olympus MMF-2 adapter is not weather sealed.

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Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 25,804
Re: One more option...

Entropius wrote:

There is a 14-54 f/2.8-3.5 zoom lens for classic Four Thirds that is weather sealed and very sharp, and will focus moderately quickly on m4/3. It's not small, but it's relatively cheap; I got a second-hand one for $250.

You can get the weathersealed adapter (MMF-3?) and use it.

Note, continuous focusing is not supported using classic 4/3rds lenses with the Olympus MMF-3/MMF-2 or Panasonic DMW-MA-1 adapters.  Normal S-AF focusing is rather slow compared to the native m.43 lenses, though you do gain about a stop of light.

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skpman Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

Is the 25mm/1.4 weather sealed? I thought the only weather sealed lenses were the 12-50 and 60macro... I guess the expensive 12-35/35-100 are weather sealed too?

OP gtravis Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Recommendations for all-around weather-sealed m4/3rds lens

no, the 25mm 1.4 is not weather sealed

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