IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

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thetrystero Regular Member • Posts: 144
IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

I've scoured around and there seem to be a lot of suggestions that there isn't much in it, with only one person here on the dpreview forums saying that the 12-35 is "much better".

I will be using the lens mainly for family travel and in good light. For low light I will switch to my 15mm f1.7 or 42.5 f1.7. I will print max A4 sized photos at home on a Pixma Pro 100 and make some 4k videos to be viewed on YouTube.

I have the option now to add either the 8-18 or to add the 12-35 (selling the 12-60 won't get me much in my locale). Since I don't have a wide angle I think I would appreciate that for travel, but I've also read that the 12-35 seems to be the go to lens which is why i'm vacillating a bit, although some of those might have been before the 12-60 kit came out. The constant f2.8 could prove useful. I don't zoom mid-shot but I still have to adjust my variable ND currently to maintain shutter 180 if I re-compose between clips. It's mildly annoying but if the IQ isn't much better for my use case, I would rather live with the mild inconvenience than spend extra for essentially a shorter reach.

Thoughts?

Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 II Panasonic 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 OIS Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7
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richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,179
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
3

hetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

I had the 12-35mm and got the 12-60mm later as a kit. I could see no appreciable difference in the travel/good light conditions you mention below, so the 12-35 stays home.

I've scoured around and there seem to be a lot of suggestions that there isn't much in it, with only one person here on the dpreview forums saying that the 12-35 is "much better".

You will also probably find opinions both ways here, so a good reason to rent the f/2.8 12-35 (or purchase with a good return policy) and compare for yourself!

- Richard

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NCV
NCV Veteran Member • Posts: 9,251
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
6

The advantage of the 12-35 is that with the 2.8 aperture, you can leave the primes at home.

IQ is overemphasised on photo forums. Most lenses are very good these days even the cheap slow standard zooms.

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windmillgolfer
windmillgolfer Forum Pro • Posts: 16,104
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
5

I’ve no doubt the 12-35mm f2.8 is a great lens but 12-60mm is far more flexible ( though the 14-140mm is even better for general walkabout). I use it on the G80 ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157676548292814 ) for travel, especially in city destinations. The 12mm end is very useful for architecture and city work. UWA for internal and exterior architecture, I have the Panasonic 7-14mm f4, the 8-18mm f2.8 is faster and, going to 18mm, is more flexible. The 8mm f2.8 would also be good for Astro work.

When travelling it tends to be to at sunny times when the difference between f2.8 and f3.5 isn’t significant. In any event you’re usually stopped down for more DOF or ( unless you use ND filters ) because the sun is too bright. You have the reasonably compact 15mm f1.7 for really low light.

The 12-60mm and 14-140mm are very similar in size and weight. Like the 12-60, the latest 14-140mm has weather-sealing too. 14-140mm examples https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157659779708109

UWA examples https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157646076479907

The link below compares all of all of the above zooms, they are all quite compact and light. So, primary subject matter should be the deciding factor. If a wide range of subject matter, then flexibility: the 8-18mm opens up new possibilities in cities; the 12-60mm is great for city walkabout; the 12-35mm offers less flexibility, an increase in low light capability but not as much as your existing 15mm and 42.5mm.

https://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=panasonic_12-35_2p8_ii&products=panasonic_8-18_2p8-4p0_asph&products=panasonic_12-60_3p5-5p6_asph_ois&products=panasonic_14-140_3p5_5p6_ii_asph_ois

If in doubt, just use  what you’ve got until the real need becomes  clearer.

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magnesus3 Regular Member • Posts: 424
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
5

The advantage of the 12-35 is that with the 2.8 aperture, you can leave the primes at home.

f2.8 is not bright enough for leaving primes at home in many situations.

Tommi K1 Senior Member • Posts: 7,081
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
3

thetrystero wrote:

It's mildly annoying but if the IQ isn't much better for my use case, I would rather live with the mild inconvenience than spend extra for essentially a shorter reach.

Thoughts?

Too many here are worried about lens sharpness, sensor megapixels, diffraction, dynamic range etc etc etc.

Many loves to quote their MTF graphs and know by heart the "best quality" in what ever combo, only because they are afraid that they would miss something if they do not have best possible gear to get the work done (no matter what their purpose to use camera is).

The image quality is not determined by charts or all kind laboratory tests and so on. The image quality is evaluated by the final image, something that is not done here, nor really anywhere else.

The image quality evaluation is about the context:

1) Where (Lighting, colors, theme, distance....)

2) When (Lighting, style, medium, processing....)

3) Whom (old, young, visually impaired...)

And it is defined by the final image itself, not by the gear what you can get out.

There is difference is someone going to produce a A4 size prints, view the image on 5.2" smartphone via web browser or is it a pixel peeping, nose on the screen.

Lens A can show mediocre sharpness compared to lens B, but both will deliver the same quality image for final product.

First you need to know for what purpose does the camera get used. If it is mainly for family photo album or to do a A4 size prints, then all the evaluation is required to be done so gear is used to make the final products and then compare those products as they would be used. So if they go to photo album and under a plastic, it is then defined by that. If you produce something that is more critical for the variations and differences in the photography equipment like a 40x30" prints, then that is your evaluation starting point for the process.

Cafe Racer Contributing Member • Posts: 537
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
1

thetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

I think one difference in IQ between the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 and the 12-35mm f2.8 will be the border quality. The resolution of the borders on the 12-35mm is higher than the 12-60mm according to technical reviews. It may not be noticeable when shooting close up but will become more apparent as your shooting distance increases.

You can get an idea of border quality by comparing your 12-60mm with your Leica 15mm at the same focal length and aperture settings, shooting a moderately distant to distant scene. I've done this comparing my 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 with my Oly 17mm f1.8 and the 17mm resolves better on the borders of the image.

That being said, if the difference is not noticeable on your A4 prints then it may not matter to you.

Cafe Racer.

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OP thetrystero Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

magnesus3 wrote:

The advantage of the 12-35 is that with the 2.8 aperture, you can leave the primes at home.

f2.8 is not bright enough for leaving primes at home in many situations.

i was gonna say... 2.8 is only half a stop brighter than 3.5. even my 14mm f2.5 only just barely works inside museums sometimes for video at 1/50 shutter speed (24fps). i didn't mention this in the post but one of the rationale for me not being too excited about the slightly faster aperture, only that it was constant.

I've yet to see how 1.7 performs.

OP thetrystero Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

richj20 wrote:

hetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

I had the 12-35mm and got the 12-60mm later as a kit. I could see no appreciable difference in the travel/good light conditions you mention below, so the 12-35 stays home.

I've scoured around and there seem to be a lot of suggestions that there isn't much in it, with only one person here on the dpreview forums saying that the 12-35 is "much better".

You will also probably find opinions both ways here, so a good reason to rent the f/2.8 12-35 (or purchase with a good return policy) and compare for yourself!

- Richard

forgot to mention, rentals are not available in my locale.

OP thetrystero Regular Member • Posts: 144
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

Cafe Racer wrote:

thetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

I think one difference in IQ between the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 and the 12-35mm f2.8 will be the border quality. The resolution of the borders on the 12-35mm is higher than the 12-60mm according to technical reviews. It may not be noticeable when shooting close up but will become more apparent as your shooting distance increases.

You can get an idea of border quality by comparing your 12-60mm with your Leica 15mm at the same focal length and aperture settings, shooting a moderately distant to distant scene. I've done this comparing my 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 with my Oly 17mm f1.8 and the 17mm resolves better on the borders of the image.

That being said, if the difference is not noticeable on your A4 prints then it may not matter to you.

Cafe Racer.

Interesting.. I would've expected a Leica prime to outperform a Lumix zoom (the 12-35 that is)!

Cafe Racer Contributing Member • Posts: 537
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

thetrystero wrote:

Cafe Racer wrote:

thetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

I think one difference in IQ between the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 and the 12-35mm f2.8 will be the border quality. The resolution of the borders on the 12-35mm is higher than the 12-60mm according to technical reviews. It may not be noticeable when shooting close up but will become more apparent as your shooting distance increases.

You can get an idea of border quality by comparing your 12-60mm with your Leica 15mm at the same focal length and aperture settings, shooting a moderately distant to distant scene. I've done this comparing my 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 with my Oly 17mm f1.8 and the 17mm resolves better on the borders of the image.

That being said, if the difference is not noticeable on your A4 prints then it may not matter to you.

Cafe Racer.

Interesting.. I would've expected a Leica prime to outperform a Lumix zoom (the 12-35 that is)!

I don't know how the 15mm and 12-35mm compares but they should both resolve better on the borders than the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6.

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uniball Senior Member • Posts: 2,075
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?

I have both.

The 12-60 kit is used for travel where added reach is desirable. A big however though: I’m an RX100 user and with the 200mm reach of the VI, I may pick one up and retire m4/3 for all travel. It’s already been retired for urban travel.

My copy of the 12-60 is soft in the center and edges, especially at the long end where I find it’s unacceptable. The draw — contrast, saturation — is not up to the standards of my former Fuji 18-55 (at double the money). But comparable to my kit Fuji 16-50. Though the Fuji was sharp in center at all FL's. I believe the 12-60 needs a better hood when used on sunny days. Alternate hoods I’ve tried that deliver better contrast vignette. What doesn’t vignette, is no better, or worst, than the included hood. It is what it is, a kit lens. There will be areas where it’s not great. It’s up to the user to decide if it never-the-less meets his/her criteria.

As far as the 12-35 is concerned, it’s basically welded onto my only m4/3 body, a GX85. Along with the 15/1.7, it’s really all I need to have a lot of fun with my hobby. Within its FL range I find it just does everything right. It carries well, mechanically feels good, and the files it delivers are excellent.

Gary from Seattle Senior Member • Posts: 3,503
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
1

thetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

On the difference optically, you can view numerical lens tests at Optical Limits. You can roughly estimate the % difference. I would think, though, that the kit lens would have more sample variation than a more expensive lens.

I've scoured around and there seem to be a lot of suggestions that there isn't much in it, with only one person here on the dpreview forums saying that the 12-35 is "much better".

Whether you can notice the difference in IQ or not is a different question and depends on your viewing screen, printing sizes, and how much scrutiny you tend to undertake in evaluating an image.

I will be using the lens mainly for family travel and in good light. For low light I will switch to my 15mm f1.7 or 42.5 f1.7. I will print max A4 sized photos at home on a Pixma Pro 100 and make some 4k videos to be viewed on YouTube.

I have the option now to add either the 8-18 or to add the 12-35 (selling the 12-60 won't get me much in my locale). Since I don't have a wide angle I think I would appreciate that for travel, but I've also read that the 12-35 seems to be the go to lens which is why i'm vacillating a bit, although some of those might have been before the 12-60 kit came out. The constant f2.8 could prove useful. I don't zoom mid-shot but I still have to adjust my variable ND currently to maintain shutter 180 if I re-compose between clips. It's mildly annoying but if the IQ isn't much better for my use case, I would rather live with the mild inconvenience than spend extra for essentially a shorter reach.

Your shooting style will determine what focal lengths you use; or is it the other way around - will you shoot more at different focal lengths if you have that capacity available? Best guess might be to evaluate your shots and to see if you often shoot at one end very close to that end.

Thoughts?

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Albert Valentino Veteran Member • Posts: 7,765
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
4

I cannot comment on the 12-60 kit lens other than I have read mostly good things. In my opinion, if you are happy with it then I would compliment it with the PL 8-18. The range of 12-35 is nice, but the range of 8-60mm covers essentially all one needs for travel and most types of photography. The 18mm long end of the 8-18 is the coveted 35mm FOV most used, especially for environmental portraits. Plus, it is lighter than it looks. So you might find yourself using the 8-18 more, especially for narrow streets and interiors. It is a fantastic lens.

These days, my two lens kit for essentially everything is the PL 8-18 and Oly 12-100. The 12-18mm overlap is very welcome since it negates the need to swap lenses. 12-35mm is a great range but two limiting. When I picked up a used 12-100 lens earlier this year, I completely stopped using my Oly 12-40 f/2.8 and it is now up for sale in the for sale forum

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Gary Waugh Senior Member • Posts: 1,773
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
2

I went through the same decision process and decided to keep the 12-60mm kit lens. As I recall the 12-60mm at 35mm has a maximum aperture of 4.5. On average the 12-60mm is 1 stop slower than the 13-35mm. I decided my money would be better spent on some primes.

I'm sure the 12-35mm lens is excellent. My copy of the Panasonic 12-60mm is good enough. I've read it does well with video. Photography is my hobby. A professional may make a different decision.

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Gary in PA

photofan1986
photofan1986 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,306
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
2

I haven't used the 12-60, but I did use all other kit lenses in the micro43 world. The best was the original 14-45 Panasonic, but they all left me wanting more (more speed, better corner sharpness, weather sealing, consistency of the results....)

Then I got the 12-35 and I've been happy ever since. It's not a particularly exciting lens, but to me it ticks all the boxes. It's well built, it has constant aperture, it focused quicky, it's sharp (though the little 12-32 is sharper in the center wide open), but most importantly it delivers good results all the time.

For the record, it cannot compete with my 15mm in low light, as the latter is 1,1/3 stop faster and it's sharper as well.

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rashid7
rashid7 Senior Member • Posts: 3,869
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
1

windmillgolfer wrote:

I’ve no doubt the 12-35mm f2.8 is a great lens but 12-60mm is far more flexible ( though the 14-140mm is even better for general walkabout). I use it on the G80 ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157676548292814 ) for travel, especially in city destinations. The 12mm end is very useful for architecture and city work. UWA for internal and exterior architecture, I have the Panasonic 7-14mm f4, the 8-18mm f2.8 is faster and, going to 18mm, is more flexible. The 8mm f2.8 would also be good for Astro work.

When travelling it tends to be to at sunny times when the difference between f2.8 and f3.5 isn’t significant. In any event you’re usually stopped down for more DOF or ( unless you use ND filters ) because the sun is too bright. You have the reasonably compact 15mm f1.7 for really low light.

The 12-60mm and 14-140mm are very similar in size and weight. Like the 12-60, the latest 14-140mm has weather-sealing too. 14-140mm examples https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157659779708109

UWA examples https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157646076479907

The link below compares all of all of the above zooms, they are all quite compact and light. So, primary subject matter should be the deciding factor. If a wide range of subject matter, then flexibility: the 8-18mm opens up new possibilities in cities; the 12-60mm is great for city walkabout; the 12-35mm offers less flexibility, an increase in low light capability but not as much as your existing 15mm and 42.5mm.

https://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=panasonic_12-35_2p8_ii&products=panasonic_8-18_2p8-4p0_asph&products=panasonic_12-60_3p5-5p6_asph_ois&products=panasonic_14-140_3p5_5p6_ii_asph_ois

If in doubt, just use what you’ve got until the real need becomes clearer.

kit 12-60:  210g

14-140:      265

PL 12-60:   320g

- big weight diff between the two 12-60's

The 14-140 give great range vs weight!

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rashid7
rashid7 Senior Member • Posts: 3,869
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
1

rashid7 wrote:

windmillgolfer wrote:

I’ve no doubt the 12-35mm f2.8 is a great lens but 12-60mm is far more flexible ( though the 14-140mm is even better for general walkabout). I use it on the G80 ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157676548292814 ) for travel, especially in city destinations. The 12mm end is very useful for architecture and city work. UWA for internal and exterior architecture, I have the Panasonic 7-14mm f4, the 8-18mm f2.8 is faster and, going to 18mm, is more flexible. The 8mm f2.8 would also be good for Astro work.

When travelling it tends to be to at sunny times when the difference between f2.8 and f3.5 isn’t significant. In any event you’re usually stopped down for more DOF or ( unless you use ND filters ) because the sun is too bright. You have the reasonably compact 15mm f1.7 for really low light.

The 12-60mm and 14-140mm are very similar in size and weight. Like the 12-60, the latest 14-140mm has weather-sealing too. 14-140mm examples https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157659779708109

UWA examples https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselgolfer/albums/72157646076479907

The link below compares all of all of the above zooms, they are all quite compact and light. So, primary subject matter should be the deciding factor. If a wide range of subject matter, then flexibility: the 8-18mm opens up new possibilities in cities; the 12-60mm is great for city walkabout; the 12-35mm offers less flexibility, an increase in low light capability but not as much as your existing 15mm and 42.5mm.

https://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=panasonic_12-35_2p8_ii&products=panasonic_8-18_2p8-4p0_asph&products=panasonic_12-60_3p5-5p6_asph_ois&products=panasonic_14-140_3p5_5p6_ii_asph_ois

If in doubt, just use what you’ve got until the real need becomes clearer.

kit 12-60: 210g

14-140: 265

PL 12-60: 320g

- big weight diff between the two 12-60's

The 14-140 give great range vs weight!

12-35:      305g

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larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 15,866
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
1

thetrystero wrote:

I have the Lumix 12-60 3.5-5.6 (not the faster Leica) that came with my G85 and am wondering how much of an improvement in IQ I will see if I upgrade to the 12-35 f2.8?

If it's an image quality improvement you're concerned about AND you mean in real world results as opposed to carefully testing your lenses for differences, I wouldn't bother upgrading the 12-60 to ANY of the other pro grade f/2.8 lenses.

I have the 12-35/2.8 and 12-60/3.5-5.6 and while I haven't compared them side-by-side, I also haven't noticed any deficiencies in the image quality of the latter.

I've scoured around and there seem to be a lot of suggestions that there isn't much in it, with only one person here on the dpreview forums saying that the 12-35 is "much better".

Someone else on this thread made the point that the quality control might be better on the 12-35/2.8, meaning that the 12-60 could suffer from a higher variability in performance.  Sounds reasonable to me.  In those cases, the differences between the 12-35 and 12-60 might be more noticeable.

I will be using the lens mainly for family travel and in good light. For low light I will switch to my 15mm f1.7 or 42.5 f1.7. I will print max A4 sized photos at home on a Pixma Pro 100 and make some 4k videos to be viewed on YouTube.

My system is primarily used for traveling.  My first big test of the 12-60 (I got it a few mos. ago when I bought a GX9) was in the Caribbean so its use was mostly in bright light and it worked just fine.  For the first time on a trip, I left my 35-100/2.8 at home.  I wanted to see if 60mm was long enough for general travel photography and, IMO, it is.

I have the option now to add either the 8-18 or to add the 12-35 (selling the 12-60 won't get me much in my locale). Since I don't have a wide angle I think I would appreciate that for travel, but I've also read that the 12-35 seems to be the go to lens which is why i'm vacillating a bit, although some of those might have been before the 12-60 kit came out. The constant f2.8 could prove useful. I don't zoom mid-shot but I still have to adjust my variable ND currently to maintain shutter 180 if I re-compose between clips. It's mildly annoying but if the IQ isn't much better for my use case, I would rather live with the mild inconvenience than spend extra for essentially a shorter reach.

What annoys me about the 12-60 is the the f/5.6 max aperture at 60mm.  I also have the 15/1.7 which is my default evening/indoors lens but it's nice to have a normal zoom that can also be used in low-ish light or when I need a shallow DoF.  For the Caribbean, the 12-60 was fine but for my next trip (Japan) which will consist of a lot of urban photography (narrow streets that are in shadow, photos of people where I want to blur some of the distracting, busy background, and where I probably won't need the longer FoV very often), I think the 12-35/2.8 will be the better choice.  I also know that I'll be using the 8-18 a lot, too.

So, if I were in your situation, and given that the 12-60 isn't worth much to sell used, I'd hold onto it and make the 8-18 your next purchase.  I still think the 12-35/2.8 is worth buying even if you own the 12-60/3.5-5.6 but I think the 8-18 will be more useful at this point, especially since you have the 15 and 42.5 lenses for low light / shallow DoF.

larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 15,866
Re: IQ on the 12-60 kit vs 12-35 ii?
1

photofan1986 wrote:

I haven't used the 12-60, but I did use all other kit lenses in the micro43 world. The best was the original 14-45 Panasonic, but they all left me wanting more (more speed, better corner sharpness, weather sealing, consistency of the results....)

Then I got the 12-35 and I've been happy ever since. It's not a particularly exciting lens, but to me it ticks all the boxes. It's well built, it has constant aperture, it focused quicky, it's sharp (though the little 12-32 is sharper in the center wide open), but most importantly it delivers good results all the time.

Same here.  It's my "vanilla" lens but it is also responsible for the largest majority of my keeper photos.  It's not the lens that excites me the most but it's the one that covers more of my needs than the others by a large margin and it's the lens I'd choose if I could only have one.

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