Olympus finally released a fast wide zoom, something I’ve been waiting a while for. Lumix has had the 12-35mm available since Spring, 2012. I sold all my DSLR gear when I got the Olympus OMD and couldn’t wait for Olympus to come out with a set of fast zooms so I went with the pair of Lumix zooms and have been very happy with them. So why did I decide to get the Olympus version? I read some great reviews and it was just too hard to resist. Especially when the price of the Olympus is a bit cheaper than the Lumix so I was able to sell the Lumix for close to the price of the Olympus.
Before I sold the Lumix I took a couple of comparison shots to see how they compared. These test shots are straight out of camera (Olympus OMD EM-5) jpg’s imported into Lightroom which is how I begin processing all of my photos. Doing the same tests on a Lumix camera body may provide different results so keep that in mind.
On an Olympus OMD EM5 body the Olympus 12-40mm has slightly better results than the Lumix though it’s not that significant. Below are some pros and cons of each lens.
- Closer focusing distance 20cm vs 25cm
- 5mm longer focal length
- Fn1 button (can be programmed to 1 of 20 different functions)
- First Olympus m43 lens to come with a lens hood and it has a locking mechanism
- manual/auto focus clutch mechanism
- $100 cheaper than Lumix
- may have better weather sealing (dust proof, splash proof, freeze proof)
- heavier (382g)
- bigger (84mm, maximum diameter 69.9mm)
- 62mm filter size (uncommon size)
- Image Stabilization switch (not needed for Olympus bodies)
- Smaller (73.8mm, maximum diameter 67.6mm)
- Lighter (305g)
- 58mm filter size
- $100 more expensive than Olympus
In conclusion, my recommendation is if you shoot with a Lumix body or even both Lumix and Olympus bodies I would go with the Lumix zoom for the Image Stabilization. If you shoot with an Olympus body, you might want to consider switching to the Olympus lens but it’s more for the functionality and longer focal length than anything else. There is not much of a difference in quality unless you’re a pixel peeper. If the Olympus had been priced higher or even the same as the Lumix I probably would not have bought it. The lower price and longer focal length is what makes it the most appealing.