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acuriousman

12-35mm zoom vs 25mm prime. Which has better image quality?

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I'm looking for versatility and I usually don't shoot lower than 2.8 because I can never get all of my subject in focus.

 

However, I've been reading that prime lenses destroy zooms in terms of image quality. Is this true with the Panasonic 12-35/30-100 vs the Panasonic 25mm and the Olympus 45mm?

 

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No the 12-35mm is very good, just as sharp as a prime. You said it yourself - versatility and never shoot lower than F2.8. The main reason to go for a prime is the fast aperture.

 

If the 12-35 was a low end lens I'd say go for the prime but it isn't.

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Looking back at my lens purchases I wish I had bought the 12-35mm first.  It is a lens that changed my shooting style for the better.  Plus, once you get a lens like that, it will spend 90% of its time on your camera.  The 12-35 is sharp, sharp, sharp.

 

Consider following it up with the 25mm after.  It has gorgeous out of focus areas and is incredibly sharp in the center at f1.4.  In fact, I'd recommend shooting at f1.4 a lot of the time.

 

I'm not sure what camera you are using or what focal length is ideal for your next purchase.  However, because both of these are so sharp, they perform very well in Ex Tele Conv.  You've pretty much doubled the value of either lens with that.

 

You won't regret the purchase, no matter which way you go.

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I shot with the 12-35mm for the first time this week, and I did some A/B ing against SLR Magic 12mm, and Rokinon 35mm. The 12-35 was actually sharper that both. Although I preferred the images from the 2 primes. They just had a different look about them. The 12-35 was a little sterile for some reason. However it is an awesome "all around" lens. Super sharp, image stabilization, and nice zoom range.

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Look at the detail according to dxo's test, when comparing it to the 25mm f/1.4:

12-35mm has:

- less vignetting

- less CA

- less distortion

25mm has slightly more resolution and being an f/1.4 lens, it of course has better light transmission than a f/2.8 lens...

The light transmission is a better benchmark to look at when comparing lenses with same max aperture. It would actually be better if DXO dropped that value out of the comparison when comparing lenses with different max apertures.

 

And the resolution is still plenty enough for video. You might notice the small difference in resolution if you shoot stills and zoom in on detail.

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What about vignetting? I've had a few people say there's horrible vignetting at 2.8.

Can anybody else confirm this? Will it matter since I'm using a GH2 which I think autocorrects the vignetting effect?

 

I have no personal experience with that lens. However:

 

"Distortion is also corrected in Panasonic cameras, so it wasn't surprising to find little evidence of distortion in test shots. Correction for vignetting is optional and accessed via the shooting menu."

 

Source: http://www.photoreview.com.au/reviews/lenses/m4-3/panasonic-lumix-g-x-vario-12-35mm-f-2.8-asph-lens

 

At least in the GH3 the vignette correction is optional and found in menus. I'm unsure if it's the same in GH2 or always on, you'd have to check.

 

If you're unsure about it, I recommend finding a shop which has the lens so you can demo it. Shoot at 12mm f/2.8 towards some plain coloured surface - by doing that you maximize the amount of vignette that you can get from the lens.

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I've always been a prime-boy, but I have to admit I'm finding it optics overkill (and I shoot mostly stills).

 

1. Like you say, shooting anything under 2.8 (even 5.6 for me), requires very careful focus and the subject must stay still.  So the lenses are only good for "set pieces".  It's no fun walking backwards into traffic or people trying to fit things into your frame :)

2. Bokeh differs with each lens, and Primes can have unique qualities there. (doesn't float my boat, might yours).

3. Contrast and color also differentiate lenses, and some are very pleasing with low DXO scores.  This is a point Andrew made in his GH2 book and it opened my eyes and turned me onto one of my favorite lenses, the Fujian 35mm 1.7 c-mount CCTV lens ($30!)

4. I do so much more in post now that EVEN if the prime was better to start with, I can't see the difference once I have the image the way I want it.  So what I suggest is START WITH ZOOMS that give you the most flexibility, and once you have done everything you can to get your image in post the way you want it , THEN try a prime and see how much better it is.

 

o. Also, look on Flickr sets to get an idea of how each lens performs.  There's a group for almost every lens.

 

o. Although I like to disagree with Andy ;) he seems to have the most lenses of anyone and shoots a lot with MFT, so find and read his posts on lens selections.  Also, check with Andrew is he updated his lens stuff for the GH3 guide, if so, get that, otherwise, get the GH2 guide.

 

Lastly, most lenses look good in video.  Primes are overkill for what are much smaller images than still.

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Maxotics , your posts are always very informative ,

I am still waiting for that gold plated G6 from you!! haha!

 

I do like zooms with aspheric elements , some are sharper than my primes , so shop around as it all depends on what job you need the lens for.

 

Sharp zooms are useful if you have to shoot fast as they require less set up time changing lenses for every shot.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

Of course there's always the bonus of OIS with the zooms as well ...

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

No, no stills in it... it was a very quiet day. Shot in 1080p, 23.970 fps iAll

Oh ok. The Ken Burns threw me - it makes the video look 2D because if it was a real slide/zoom, the foreground and background would change relationship.

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In reality, the 12-35mm is an optically poor and way overpriced lens. Look at its real distortion by hovering the mouse over the chart on in this page: http://www.photozone.de/m43/766_pana1235f28?start=1

 

It suffers from terrible CAs, distortion and disappointing sharpness. These are all masked on native MFT cameras like the GHs through software corrections of the image - but will hit you when you mount the lens on a Blackmagic camera.

 

Any Tamron or Sigma 17-50mm/2.8 APS-C lens is optically much better while costing only a fraction. Even in combination with a Speed Booster (which would make their focal length the same as the Panasonic's, with one stop aperture gain at f2.0), those lenses cost less than the Panasonic alone.

 

The only advantage of the Panasonic is its compact size and optical stabilization.

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while I think it is good to point out it works best on a panasonic camera, your judgement seems a bit harsh, and not in agreement with most of the owners of that lens.

 

ps; the pana 25 had pretty bad CA on my gh3...

In reality, the 12-35mm is an optically poor and way overpriced lens. Look at its real distortion by hovering the mouse over the chart on in this page: http://www.photozone.de/m43/766_pana1235f28?start=1

 

It suffers from terrible CAs, distortion and disappointing sharpness. These are all masked on native MFT cameras like the GHs through software corrections of the image - but will hit you when you mount the lens on a Blackmagic camera.

 

Any Tamron or Sigma 17-50mm/2.8 APS-C lens is optically much better while costing only a fraction. Even in combination with a Speed Booster (which would make their focal length the same as the Panasonic's, with one stop aperture gain at f2.0), those lenses cost less than the Panasonic alone.

 

The only advantage of the Panasonic is its compact size and optical stabilization.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

I think the point is that a lens should be an investment. If you're confident that you're going to stick with Panasonic then the 12-35 probably is a decent investment. But if Blackmagic improve their ergonomics, Sony fix their video quality problems or Canon and Nikon wake up, you're not going to be able to use that lens. Personally I don't like the MFT glass look anyway, it tends to look too clinical. I think the Panasonic cameras look much better with FF/legacy lenses.

 

This is largely a low-budget filmmaking site. I don't think you're going to find a huge amount of support for MFT glass here. It tends to be more suited to a video/TV look IMO (albeit a very good one). But if the cinematic look isn't what you're going for, the 12-35 is probably a great option.

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