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Panny 12-35 f2.8 vs Oly 12-40 f2.8

srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2016 11:11AM
I'm hoping to be in a position to purchase one of these two lenses in the near future to use on a GX8. It'll see a lot of use, but mostly for landscape and family days out. From a sharpness, colour, micro contrast etc point of view, what's the view on which lens performs the best?

Any info from those that have used both appreciated, particularly the reason why you might've chosen one above the other.



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Hi Simon,
Can't help you on the Panny but I do have the Oly 12-40, so I'll tell you a few things about it. The lens is much heavier than a typical kit lens like the 12-50 and I have to use the full battery grip on the E-M5 to handle the weight. Focusing is so fast that you can literally take a shot as quickly as you can jab the shutter button, the beep merely serving to confirm that a shot has actually been taken. The lens is very contrasty and produces quite strong colours, so much so that I have to avoid using the "vivid" setting. Personally, I'm not keen on the manual focus, as success with this depends on the photographer being able to see if the subject is in focus or not. I went out one day and took about 100 shots in manual focus and at least 75 of them were out of focus. The lens focuses straight down from infinity to 20cm (from the focal plane in the camera, not the end of the lens) without having to select and apply a special macro setting. Lovely bokeh, by the way. My particular specimen's weakest point is that it's not a bit sharper at infinity, ie. landscape photography than the kit lens. I have to stop it down as far as I dare to get the sharpest results with landscapes (f10). I'd recommend it for close ups, street photography, action photography etc., but not so much for seriously sharp landscapes. My advice is to hire or borrow these lenses and try them out before buying one. Chris.
srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2016 6:54AM
Thanks Chris, that's very helpful. I'm a little disappointed to hear what you say about stopped down sharpness for landscape work. I seem to remember from the Ephotozine review that sharpness drops dramatically due to diffraction with this lens, but it's surprising if that effect is evident even at f10.

More food for thought!

Thanks again,

srh 15 54 1 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2016 12:52PM
Anyone else any experience with these lenses? It's a shame @lemmy doesn't have one of his excellent video reviews on the Oly 12-40mm to go with the Panny 12-35mm one on his YouTube channel.
No, it doesn't start at f10, but having been warned about the diffraction in reviews, I've been playing safe and stopping short of f11. Quite honestly, I wouldn't recognise diffraction if I saw it. Another thing is that it may well be that the sensor in the older E-M5 can't quite resolve all the detail this lens is able to give it. The Panasonic lens will probably have built in IS which you wouldn't need for the GX8 but you might want to use it on other Panny bodies.

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