Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Questions
Pepyn Contributing Member • Posts: 965
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

Well this forum topic (plus a bunch of reviews) resulted in me today changing my order from a prime (17mm f1.8) to instead purchase the 12-40 with a view to it replacing the need for a bunch of primes (e.g. 12, 17, 25, 45) and ultimately lower cost.

The decision was very much helped along by the fact that I struggle with mid session lens changes - simply put it frustrates me, and I'll often forego a shot simply because of the time / effort / risk of a lens swap.In saying that I do have the 60mm macro as I really want to get into that side of things, although that lens has a steep learning curve! My previous camera was a Pany Z150.

I think my set up will eventually be complete at 12-40, 60mm macro and 40-150 (not PRO).

I must say the 12-40 is not light! (all those primes combined would maybe be lighter?). Nor perfectly balanced on my EM-10. I'm a bit scared holding the camera without a supporting hand on the lens. Optional grip is on the way.

Cheers,

Pepyn

 Pepyn's gear list:Pepyn's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm X-T2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +5 more
MatsP
MatsP Senior Member • Posts: 2,383
Some blur

rickreyn wrote:

I have yet to be too distracted by it but I do step back as much as possible to improve the blur, but it is an issue. Thing is there is a lot of functionality with this particular zoom, and I think having the pro 40-150 and using it like a 70-200mm in a portrait situation might work.
http://www.gloriography.com

Of course you can get some blur, often enough more than you want to....

Some pseudo-macro attempts with the first flowers this spring...

The last picture shows how difficult it can be to avoid blur everywhere when DoF is thin.

 MatsP's gear list:MatsP's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +3 more
rickreyn
OP rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?
1

I understand. For heaven's sake. It's threatening rain. Take it off! I see this a lot in comments on gear. If only......I guess I fell into that trap. Point taken.

-- hide signature --
 rickreyn's gear list:rickreyn's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 +2 more
jlehet Regular Member • Posts: 130
Re: The 60 macro is good

Fotoloco wrote:

and although long, it is skinny making it easy to fit in bag.

Not to knock the 60 macro, as it is one of my favorite lenses, if not my very favorite, lens ever -- but it is a little slow to focus if you need to be quick. If you're not especially a macro enthusiast either the 45 or the 75 would be better choices for out-and-about or portraits.

rickreyn
OP rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Some blur

I went back and looked at a lot of my shots, and I had an acceptable amount of blur. Like others have mentioned, when I used the 50mm 1.8 on the Canon, I'd get the nose in focus and the rest of the child pleasingly blurry! That's not what I intended. More like, the swing set blurry and the child's head in focus. While its easy for this to happen with the Canon setup, it take more finesse to work DOF with MFT.

-- hide signature --
 rickreyn's gear list:rickreyn's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 +2 more
rickreyn
OP rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

Good to know the question and the many answers were helpful. You won't be unhappy with the 12-40mm lens, and the grip. When I want to be less obtrusive, I take the grip off. But when I need to assist the camera's stellar stabilization, or want to "look more professional" (ha, ha) I use the grip. I also feel safer with the extra ledges to hold on to.

I am now more inclined to look at the 60mm macro as well, having read the comments here.

-- hide signature --
 rickreyn's gear list:rickreyn's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 +2 more
rickreyn
OP rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

I've thought about something wider, but here in claustrophobic Florida where everything's flat and there are not many vistas, and not getting to those places much, the 24mm equivalent width works perfectly. All of the primes may get rented if I take a trip like I did to Colorado or Maine. Indeed the one that might happen in May to the Northwest and Canada may require the wider angle!

-- hide signature --
 rickreyn's gear list:rickreyn's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 +2 more
rickreyn
OP rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Macro, UW, or fisheye?

Nice shots on Flickr...!

You snow...me swamps!

-- hide signature --
 rickreyn's gear list:rickreyn's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 +2 more
MatsP
MatsP Senior Member • Posts: 2,383
Re: Some blur

I forgot to write that those blurries were all shot with E-M5 and 12-40/2,8 at 40 mm and f/2,8 except for the last one which was 21 mm. It's extremely difficult to find focus with a flower a few cm from the front lens, handheld and under windy circumstances. Anyway, it's definitely possible to get some background blur with the 12-40 and with more skill even some sharpness...

 MatsP's gear list:MatsP's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +3 more
zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Re: Some blur - closeup bokeh not great?

I notice in #2, and to some degree #4, the bokeh is not all that pleasing - very similar to the kit lens in similar conditions. I've always assumed the 12-40 would handle this better, but maybe it's just a limitation of the conditions - many outdoor closeups include OOF objects that are a bit too close and with hard edges (branches, sticks, etc), leading to harsh bokeh.

Are there any lenses that do a better job of this, maybe the 60 macro? The ZD 35 macro produces very nice bokeh but still struggles in the conditions.

-- hide signature --
 zuikowesty's gear list:zuikowesty's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +11 more
WW Webster Regular Member • Posts: 369
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

Pepyn wrote:

I must say the 12-40 is not light! ... Optional grip is on the way.

I don't get it!

-- hide signature --
 WW Webster's gear list:WW Webster's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 +4 more
zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

DonTom wrote:

rickreyn wrote:

If I hadn't sold all my Canon stuff and came on the scene fresh like I did and bought the 12-40, I would have purchased a few primes. But I seemed to hit it real well as Adorama had just received a shipment of this hard to get lens, and I was bent on a totally weather-sealed kit. As it stands, I am due to go to Cuba in October on a missions trip, and have already "weathered" a day in the rain photographing my quail shoot. As mentioned, the 60mm and 75mm are prime targets, the 75mm more so. I just wish is was weather-sealed.

Rick, regarding the 75mm & weather-sealing...I don't "get" the desire for weather-sealed primes, especially when dealing with a specialist long portrait lens like the 75/1.8. Even if you were to find an adverse weather application for such a lens, changing lenses in that sort of weather isn't that sensible.

I can sort of understand the need for the 60/2.8 macro to be weather-sealed, as a lot of insect habitats are fairly damp. Of course, the coming 300/4.0 prime is another exception, as it has an obvious application for outdoor sports and wildlife. Maybe a weather-proofed normal lens would be good as well, for street shooters.

But in general, I feel desiring weather-proofing on already expensive, specialised primes is asking for another price raising feature just to raise the feel good factor on an already expensive purchase! I'd rather save the $100 thanks.

I can see some people wanting w/s on the 75. Back in OM days, a 135mm was my walkaround lens for outdoor portraits and candids, and would often stay on the body all day. Since we live in a coastal temperate rainforest, w/s is a desirable feature, whether it be for rain, fog, or salt spray on the ocean.

At the moment this is not a large enough need for me, so the 40-150 will fit the bill, and it's cheap to replace if it gets wet.

-- hide signature --
 zuikowesty's gear list:zuikowesty's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +11 more
zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Re: Macro, UW, or fisheye?

rickreyn wrote:

Nice shots on Flickr...!

You snow...me swamps!

Thanks! Some great work on your page - never enough time to appreciate the work of others it seems. What is your site based on?

-- hide signature --
 zuikowesty's gear list:zuikowesty's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +11 more
zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
50% lighter than 12-60

At 380g or so, it is 50% lighter than the 12-60, so seems in keeping with M4/3 design goals. Of course the 14-54 was only a bit over 400g, but it doesn't have the 12mm or constant aperture.

I assume there is a lot of glass in there, so it probably can't get any lighter.

-- hide signature --
 zuikowesty's gear list:zuikowesty's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +11 more
zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Re: *** Absolutely !! ***

I agree - great thread!

-- hide signature --
 zuikowesty's gear list:zuikowesty's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +11 more
zuikowesty
zuikowesty Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

rickreyn wrote:

I've thought about something wider, but here in claustrophobic Florida where everything's flat and there are not many vistas, and not getting to those places much, the 24mm equivalent width works perfectly. All of the primes may get rented if I take a trip like I did to Colorado or Maine. Indeed the one that might happen in May to the Northwest and Canada may require the wider angle!

Yes, lots of reasons for UW up here! But it's often not enough - here is a 360deg pano from a little peak about an hour from us (although it took us tries to reach the summit). Taken with a Canon A530 P&S.

View from summit of El Capitan, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

-- hide signature --
 zuikowesty's gear list:zuikowesty's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M5 II Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +11 more
Joseph T Lewis III Veteran Member • Posts: 3,402
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

Pepyn wrote:

Well this forum topic (plus a bunch of reviews) resulted in me today changing my order from a prime (17mm f1.8) to instead purchase the 12-40 with a view to it replacing the need for a bunch of primes (e.g. 12, 17, 25, 45) and ultimately lower cost.

The decision was very much helped along by the fact that I struggle with mid session lens changes - simply put it frustrates me, and I'll often forego a shot simply because of the time / effort / risk of a lens swap.In saying that I do have the 60mm macro as I really want to get into that side of things, although that lens has a steep learning curve! My previous camera was a Pany Z150.

I think my set up will eventually be complete at 12-40, 60mm macro and 40-150 (not PRO).

I must say the 12-40 is not light! (all those primes combined would maybe be lighter?). Nor perfectly balanced on my EM-10. I'm a bit scared holding the camera without a supporting hand on the lens. Optional grip is on the way.

Cheers,

Pepyn

After reading through this thread, I came to the realization that while I do have a nice set of lenses for special purposes (Oly 9-18 wide angle for landscape and "artsy" closeup work, Oly 45mm for portraits, Panny 20mm for low light, Oly 60mm macro for insect shooting, Oly 14-150 for outdoor use at parks/zoo), I don't have a really good, fairly fast, sharp lens for the normal day in and day out stuff in the range of 24-80mm (ff equiv).  The closest I come is the Olympus 14-42 R II kit zoom, and the Oly 12-50 weather sealed lens.  Those lenses are OK, but they definitely aren't as fast or as sharp as the 12-40.

What I'm really after is a lens that is similar in performance to the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 lens I had for my Sony SLT cameras.  That was my most-used lens when I had that system...I used it for everything from shots in old churches and cemeteries, to a wedding, to a baby shower.  I felt its focal range and constant f/2.8 made it a tremendously useful lens.  From what I've read, the Olympus 12-40 should be at least as good if not better.

Sooo...I'm probably going to get sell the two kit zooms and buy the 12-40mm.  Later on down the road, I may sell the 20mm and replace it with the upcoming Panasonic 15mm f/1.7, but that can wait a bit.

-- hide signature --

Tom

 Joseph T Lewis III's gear list:Joseph T Lewis III's gear list
Canon PowerShot G7 X Olympus E-M1 Olympus E-PL7 Olympus PEN-F Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 +8 more
MatsP
MatsP Senior Member • Posts: 2,383
Re: Some blur - closeup bokeh not great?

I notice in #2, and to some degree #4, the bokeh is not all that pleasing - very similar to the kit lens in similar conditions. I've always assumed the 12-40 would handle this better, but maybe it's just a limitation of the conditions - many outdoor closeups include OOF objects that are a bit too close and with hard edges (branches, sticks, etc), leading to harsh bokeh.

Are there any lenses that do a better job of this, maybe the 60 macro? The ZD 35 macro produces very nice bokeh but still struggles in the conditions.

Well, bokeh is not what this lens excels in.This is something that several reviewers, like Lenstip for instance, have remarked and I agree. But it excels in other things indeed. You can't have it all.

 MatsP's gear list:MatsP's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Olympus OM-D E-M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM +3 more
OlympusTog Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: Is the 12-40mm good enough to forego 12mm, 17mm, 25mm and 45mm primes?

I have an Olympus 12-40 and Panasonic 14-140 (f/3.5-5.6) and the same applies to me re changing lenses. I am about to shoot my first wedding with my EM-1 and EM-5 with the two lenses attached respectively (I have shot numerous weddings using Canon Pro bodies and L lenses and this is my first foray into the M43 camp) - I changed due to all the weight I was carrying and the aching arms afterwards from the heavier bodies and lenses. I do have the Olympus 60mm macro for closeup work if necessary but I do prefer not to change lenses and the constant 2.8 on the 12-40 has convinced me to stay with the zooms - the EM-1 will be my main camera at the wedding and the EM-5 as a backup with the Panosonic on for the odd candid/back of the church type shot. However, I spoke to a pro tog recentlly who shoots weddings using two EM-1's, one with the 12-40 and one with the 17mm 2.8. So to answer your question, go with what feels right for your style of photography, mine is using two zooms, the 12-40 is tack sharp, the Pano is also very sharp at 5.6 fully zoomed out, as for the extra light, just pump up the ISO - noise is handled very well at ISO 1600 on both cameras. Horses for courses etc.

-- hide signature --

Phil

 OlympusTog's gear list:OlympusTog's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / Power O.I.S Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
rickreyn
OP rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: Macro, UW, or fisheye?

Thanks. I started by wanting to capture "God's creation," but I'm snapping all kinds of subjects now, in addition to that continuing main theme--dilapidated buildings, flowers, animals, people, etc. The E-M1 frankly has given me a real creative boost, but I've got to get out of town soon! At least I'm never snowed in. I'm going to start a blog soon to be more discriminating on what I show, and to express the writing gift along with it. I still need more practice, especially learning this complicated machine!

Rick

-- hide signature --
 rickreyn's gear list:rickreyn's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 +2 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads