Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

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Samuel Dilworth
Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 468
Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

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.

superflyguy
superflyguy Regular Member • Posts: 160
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
2

Zoom direction can be changed in the camera settings.

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Samuel Dilworth
OP Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 468
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
4

superflyguy wrote:

Zoom direction can be changed in the camera settings.

You’re thinking of focus-ring direction on focus-by-wire lenses. The zoom rings are mechanical (thank goodness!) and their direction cannot be changed.

I didn’t notice if the focus rings turn in the same direction. This matters much less anyway with autofocus.

Michael Meissner
Michael Meissner Forum Pro • Posts: 26,650
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
5

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

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 …

I dunno, maybe Olympus lenses are more desirable and people are more likely to steal them.

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?

This is standard behavior. All Panasonic lenses zoom in one direction, all Olympus lenses zoom in the other.

While it is slightly annoying, it isn't the end of the world. It just takes a second or two, to realize which way the lens zooms, and to switch.

I own several Olympus zooms (12-40mm f/2.8, 14-150mm mark II f/4-5.6, 9-18mm f/4-5.6, etc.) and Panasonic zooms (35-100mm f/2.8 mark II, 100-300mm f/4-5.6 mark II, etc.). You get used to it after awhile.

As you have found out, the Panasonic lenses are smaller than the Olympus lenses, but their focal length is also smaller (Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 vs. Panasonic 12-35mm mark II f/2.8 and Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 vs. 35-100mm mark II f/2.8).

If you own a recent Panasonic body, the Panasonic zooms with work with the body for DFD (depth from defocus, that is claimed to speed up continuous auto focusing), and combining lens based stablization and sensor shift stablization.

If you own a recent Olympus body, with the few Olympus lenses that offer stabilization (12-100mm f/4, 300mm f/4) the body will combine lens based stabilization and sensor shift stabilization. Otherwise, with Olympus bodies, you choose whether to use lens based stabilization (if it exists) or just sensor shift stabilization. If you choose lens based stabilization and then lens does not offer stabilization, Olympus bodies will switch over to using sensor shift stabilization automatically. As I recall, Panasonic only offers the option to do stabilization or not. It doesn't have the option to choose one method or the other. I typically just turn on using lens stabilization in my Olympus bodies.

After one bad experience with the 100-300mm f/4-5.6 mark II (a splash of an ocean wave rendered inoperative for a bit, while the Olympus 14-150mm mark II had no problems), I don't trust Panasonic lenses are splash proof. I've been using Olympus splash proof lenses since 2004, with nary of a problem (you do need to do basic cleaning and drying out of the lens after being subjected to harsh conditions). I've even used the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 and Olympus 14-150mm f/4-5.6 mark II on my G85 and it has survived various wet conditions, including being on the boat ride at Niagara Falls for 10 minutes under the drenching water from the falls.

Many Olympus lenses have a focus clutch ring that you switch instantly into manual focus mode. However, many of us have engaged the focus clutch by accident and wondered why the lens wouldn't focus. The new 10-25mm f/1.7 lens from Panasonic also features a focus clutch ring, and I recall Jordan/Chris (dpreview TV) having the same experience. Olympus does offer an option to turn off the focus clutch ring, but at least until recently Panasonic did not (I don't have a G9/GH5, so I haven't seen the latest firmware, and the G85 doesn't get many new features that the G9/GH5 get).

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Albert Valentino Veteran Member • Posts: 8,155
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
3

I believe the Olympus zoom focuses closer/better mag (0.3x vs 0.17x). Very useful for flower or food shots. Same with the Olympus 40-150 Pro vs Panasonic 35-100 F/2.8. I am a big fan of close focus lenses so this is an important feature for me. I think the PL 12-60 also does a very good job with close focus

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Samuel Dilworth
OP Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 468
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Michael Meissner wrote:

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

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 …

I dunno, maybe Olympus lenses are more desirable and people are more likely to steal them.

Ha. Thieves keen on close focus, perhaps.

Albert Valentino wrote:

I believe the Olympus zoom focuses closer/better mag (0.3x vs 0.17x). Very useful for flower or food shots. Same with the Olympus 40-150 Pro vs Panasonic 35-100 F/2.8. I am a big fan of close focus lenses so this is an important feature for me.

I’m also a big fan of close-focus lenses. All the more so if they’re not only focused but optically good at that distance.

Is the 12–40 mm good enough to be a macro replacement within its range of focus distance?

And is there much difference in close-up performance between the 12–40 mm and 12–35 mm, around the Panasonic’s minimum-focus distance?

Careful testing seems pretty hard to find online for many Micro Four Thirds lenses.

AlmostDoctor Regular Member • Posts: 137
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Another thing to consider is that Panasonic 12-35 is slighfly brighter (by about 1/4~1/3 stop according to Dx0) compared to oly 12-40.  Comparing 12-35 to some of the other lenses I have, it does seem to be slightly brighter at same apertures.

I had a brief experience with oly 12-40 in a store.  I ended up buying pana 12-35II since it's smaller/lighter, a little brighter,  and I have a pana body.

cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,517
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
3

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Michael Meissner wrote:

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

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 …

I dunno, maybe Olympus lenses are more desirable and people are more likely to steal them.

Ha. Thieves keen on close focus, perhaps.

Albert Valentino wrote:

I believe the Olympus zoom focuses closer/better mag (0.3x vs 0.17x). Very useful for flower or food shots. Same with the Olympus 40-150 Pro vs Panasonic 35-100 F/2.8. I am a big fan of close focus lenses so this is an important feature for me.

I’m also a big fan of close-focus lenses. All the more so if they’re not only focused but optically good at that distance.

Is the 12–40 mm good enough to be a macro replacement within its range of focus distance?

And is there much difference in close-up performance between the 12–40 mm and 12–35 mm, around the Panasonic’s minimum-focus distance?

Careful testing seems pretty hard to find online for many Micro Four Thirds lenses.

I personally put a very high value on the 12-40 close focus capability (0.3 magnification vs 0.17 for the 12-35). It often saved me from pulling out the macro lens or the Raynox close-up lens. It often let me take say flower pics, even when I had left the bag with macro lens at home.

On the other hand, the Panasonic is considerably smaller and lighter (382g vs 305g). A great advantage!

If I had to chose again, I am not sure which one I would pick. The deciding factor would probably come down to price - where I live there are frequent very good deals on the 12-40, but not so on the 12-35.

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whumber
whumber Senior Member • Posts: 2,816
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
1

AlmostDoctor wrote:

Another thing to consider is that Panasonic 12-35 is slighfly brighter (by about 1/4~1/3 stop according to Dx0) compared to oly 12-40. Comparing 12-35 to some of the other lenses I have, it does seem to be slightly brighter at same apertures.

I wouldn't trust the DxO transmission measurements to anywhere close to 1/4 a stop. Brandon Dube from Olaf did some analysis with some other forums members here and found their t-stop values for the 25 PRO were off by the better part of a stop.

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alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 12,207
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
1

I have no experience on 12~40. But on 12~35 I found to get similar edge to edge sharpness as those f/3.5ish consumer grade lenses from Panasonic, I have to stop down the 12~35 to f/3.5 ~ f/4 very often.

As per MTF scores from Opticallimits, it seems that the center/edge sharpness 12~40 is better than 12~35. Therefore I suppose 12~40 might have better edge than 12~35 on wide open?

But I still stick to 12~35 because of DUAL IS, DFD on the Panasonic bodies, and most important above all, smaller and lighter in weight which is why I use M43.

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Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,306
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
3

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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ekah2722
ekah2722 Regular Member • Posts: 116
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
7

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Michael Meissner wrote:

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

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 …

I dunno, maybe Olympus lenses are more desirable and people are more likely to steal them.

Ha. Thieves keen on close focus, perhaps.

Albert Valentino wrote:

I believe the Olympus zoom focuses closer/better mag (0.3x vs 0.17x). Very useful for flower or food shots. Same with the Olympus 40-150 Pro vs Panasonic 35-100 F/2.8. I am a big fan of close focus lenses so this is an important feature for me.

I’m also a big fan of close-focus lenses. All the more so if they’re not only focused but optically good at that distance.

Is the 12–40 mm good enough to be a macro replacement within its range of focus distance?

And is there much difference in close-up performance between the 12–40 mm and 12–35 mm, around the Panasonic’s minimum-focus distance?

Careful testing seems pretty hard to find online for many Micro Four Thirds lenses.

I don't have macro lenses, but I sometimes use 12-40mm for close-up shots. When the light is right, the image looks good to me even with digital zoom (x2) on. The following are all taken at 40mm with digital zoom on.

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AlmostDoctor Regular Member • Posts: 137
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

whumber wrote:

AlmostDoctor wrote:

Another thing to consider is that Panasonic 12-35 is slighfly brighter (by about 1/4~1/3 stop according to Dx0) compared to oly 12-40. Comparing 12-35 to some of the other lenses I have, it does seem to be slightly brighter at same apertures.

I wouldn't trust the DxO transmission measurements to anywhere close to 1/4 a stop. Brandon Dube from Olaf did some analysis with some other forums members here and found their t-stop values for the 25 PRO were off by the better part of a stop.

You might be right. Though I did take some test shots with 12-35II and compared to some other lenses I have under same conditions, and the 12-35II tend to have slightly brighter image at same apertures (or faster shutter speed at same metering). It wasn't a huge difference, but it was enough for it to be noticeable IMO. But again, I didn't compare it to 12-40 so I'm not sure what the real differences are.

Though I've only handled 12-40 briefly at a store, I do think that 12-35II feels noticeably lighter attached to a body.

Samuel Dilworth
OP Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 468
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

alcelc wrote:

I have no experience on 12~40. But on 12~35 I found to get similar edge to edge sharpness as those f/3.5ish consumer grade lenses from Panasonic, I have to stop down the 12~35 to f/3.5 ~ f/4 very often.

Is this mainly at 12 mm or anywhere in the zoom range?

Samuel Dilworth
OP Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 468
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

Guy Parsons wrote:

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.

Do you put up with initially zooming in the wrong direction often, or do you quickly adjust to whatever lens is on the camera? You may consider both of these scenarios fine, but the first may be a problem to another photographer with moving subjects.

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

Sure, but you have to find it rather than slam the zoom to the end stop. No big deal and I never said it was. I had a 24–70 mm f/2.8 Nikkor that behaved similarly.

Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 33,306
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
1

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Guy Parsons wrote:

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.

Do you put up with initially zooming in the wrong direction often, or do you quickly adjust to whatever lens is on the camera?

Probably a bit of both, I never actually stop to think about it.

You may consider both of these scenarios fine, but the first may be a problem to another photographer with moving subjects.

For me a moving subject may mostly involve street type scenes while on holidays and fast moving changes of little scenes or passers-by that could be interesting. Again if I start to zoom the wrong way it is immediately obvious so I reverse. Never a problem.

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cba_melbourne Senior Member • Posts: 1,517
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
2

Guy Parsons wrote:

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Guy Parsons wrote:

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.

Do you put up with initially zooming in the wrong direction often, or do you quickly adjust to whatever lens is on the camera?

Probably a bit of both, I never actually stop to think about it.

You may consider both of these scenarios fine, but the first may be a problem to another photographer with moving subjects.

For me a moving subject may mostly involve street type scenes while on holidays and fast moving changes of little scenes or passers-by that could be interesting. Again if I start to zoom the wrong way it is immediately obvious so I reverse. Never a problem.

With manual focus lenses in the film days, I used to turn the barrel either way quickly back and forth until nailing the perfect focus. It never occurred to me to think which way is "near" and which is "far".

That is the same way how I handle the zoom setting. I turn either way until nailing the best framing. It never occurs to me which way is zooming "in" or "out". It is irrelevant to me.

But I can see that other people have other ways to handle it. They seem to memorize rotating clockwise (as seen from the back of the lens  ) is zooming out.

There is no right or wrong way, it's an individual habit. My method has the advantage that it makes no difference, if I use an Olympus or a Panasonic zoom. The other method has the advantage to be a fraction of a second faster (as long as one does not mix lens makers .

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alcelc
alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 12,207
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations

More close to the wide end most of the time stop down will be needed. Specially if any object in the foreground...

The following is a snapshot (SOOC jpg) taken by 12-35 f/2.8 @24mm wide open on GX7. The focus was on the center (around middle row of roses). Please note that the pink / white roses in the front row (just off center, not on the edge yet) were very soft. DoF should not be the cause (shooting distance around 300cm, M43 @f/2.8 should look sharp 40cm in front of and 55cm behind the focus plane).

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Albert

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Alseyn
Alseyn Regular Member • Posts: 164
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
1

One noticeable difference between those two is that Olympus 12-40 Pro almost doubles as a macro lens while Pana does not. If you get used to the close focusing capability of Oly lens, it's very hard to use other lenses.

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Albert Valentino Veteran Member • Posts: 8,155
Re: Olympus versus Panasonic f/2.8 standard zoom observations
2

Guy Parsons wrote:

Samuel Dilworth wrote:

Guy Parsons wrote:

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.

Do you put up with initially zooming in the wrong direction often, or do you quickly adjust to whatever lens is on the camera?

Probably a bit of both, I never actually stop to think about it.

You may consider both of these scenarios fine, but the first may be a problem to another photographer with moving subjects.

For me a moving subject may mostly involve street type scenes while on holidays and fast moving changes of little scenes or passers-by that could be interesting. Again if I start to zoom the wrong way it is immediately obvious so I reverse. Never a problem.

My two most used lenses are the Oly 12-100 and PL 8-18. Never gave any though to which way to turn the zoom ring - especially since I zoom in both directions 😃

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