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View Full Version : Is the 12-60mm swd worth the Xtra?


Guitarrero
11th April 2012, 03:04 PM
I'm new to the Olympus dslr world and I 'think' I want to buy a 12-60 swd to go on an E-620 body as a cracking walkabout setup..... BUT, is the 12-60 really worth all the extra cash over the 14-42 kit lens (from which I've seen some pretty impressive results)??
I'm not talking about extra focal range/aperture/speed .... just sheer image quality.
Sorry if this has been covered, but I've tried a quick search on the forum for this topic but can't find much ... could be operator error though!!
Thanks!

snaarman
11th April 2012, 03:24 PM
This might not be an answer, but the 14-54 is a worthwhile improvement over the 14-42 (I have both) and I am told the 12-60 is just that bit better than the 14-54 :)

'Course there is always the 14-35 if you have deep pockets *chr

Pete

crimbo
11th April 2012, 04:53 PM
I have a 12-60 and use it on the E-620 as well as an E-1...
If I had to start again it would be get a 12-60 and then work out which body to buy to use it on... if you can afford it I say buy it

StephenL
11th April 2012, 04:59 PM
Image quality the 14-54 is not much less than the 12-60, but it is a bit cheaper and in my opinion is ergonomically slightly better on the E-620 because it's not quite as fat. But the 12-60 does have a better range, and despite what I have said it works very well on the E-620. Both lenses are better than the kit lens, which itself is no slouch for a "cheapie".

Guitarrero
11th April 2012, 05:05 PM
Thanks to both....

I'm not au fait with the 14-54 either but I'm guessing it falls between the 14-42 and the 12-60 in terms of optical quality (and cost!).

I don't have the chance to try these lenses so, which ever one I end up with will be bought at a distance ... so your opinions are appreciated.

Does the 12-60 Feel too heavy/unbalanced for the 620 body ... I am looking for a compact carry-anywhere camera/lens combo with the best compromise between quality and portability.

Thanks!

Guitarrero
11th April 2012, 05:07 PM
Image quality the 14-54 is not much less than the 12-60, but it is a bit cheaper and in my opinion is ergonomically slightly better on the E-620 because it's not quite as fat. But the 12-60 does have a better range, and despite what I have said it works very well on the E-620. Both lenses are better than the kit lens, which itself is no slouch for a "cheapie".
Thanks Stephen ... I think I was posting at the same time you hit the send button!

StephenL
11th April 2012, 05:11 PM
No, not too heavy at all. Indeed, I used it happily with the 1.4x converter. It's just that my slightly arthritic hands found the slightly greater girth not as easy to zoom with. But I'd not hesitate to get another if I could get one with an MMF adapter for m4/3 at a good price. That's because, with hindsight, the extra zoom range really is useful.

Zuiko
11th April 2012, 05:40 PM
I've never used a 12-60mm but it's optical excellence is well documented, legendary even. The only thing it does not excel at is architectural shots at 12mm due to barrel distortion, but otherwise image quality throughout the range is beyond reproach.

I would have bought one if I had the money but settled for the 14-54mm instead and must say that it makes an excellent alternative if cost is a consideration.

Mind you, I would think you'd need quite a large print to notice any substantial advantage by either lens over the 14-42mm, which is one of the best performing kit lenses available from any manufacturer.

What I value most about my 14-54mm over the kit lens is its more robust construction and weather resistance (important when using outdoors with an E-3 in all conditions) plus a much brighter maximum aperture throught the focal range.

crimbo
11th April 2012, 06:10 PM
Does the 12-60 Feel too heavy/unbalanced for the 620 body ... I am looking for a compact carry-anywhere camera/lens combo with the best compromise between quality and portability.

Thanks!

Well I did a job at the end of January and carried the combo for over 24 hours!
I have a small bag in to which I get the 12-60, E-620, netbook, chargers and mains cable...it works for me... if you have the HLD-5 grip then the balance is a little better but heavier

sponner
11th April 2012, 06:38 PM
I have an e 620 and 12-60 and find the combo works fine, that said it is a fairly big heavy lens.

If you are happy with the kit lens (and it is nice and small and light) I'd be tempted to take a look at the 50mm f2 prime. I am constantly amazed by the image quality of this lens and it is small (and cheaper) The downside is you have to zoom with your feet.

I find that the 50mm is my most used lens by far.

Melaka
11th April 2012, 08:29 PM
I have a Leica 14-150 on my E620 and it's an excellent walkabout combination, although maybe more expensive than the 12-60. I have one of those too and often use it on my E5. I sold my 14-42 years ago, 'nuff said.

Guitarrero
12th April 2012, 08:40 AM
I hadn't thought about weather-proofing ... thanks for reminding me !

I've been looking at specs on dpReview and the 12-60 it only marginally bulkier than the 14-54, but the 14-42 is substantially smaller & lighter than both and has some pretty good reviews regarding optical performance! .... I think, somehow, I need to see/try these back-to-back for myself but this will be difficult as I live in a camera shop void!

P.S. Anybody know who I contact re. forum display issues ... I can't see any of the PMs I've sent as the sent folder is empty??? ... thanks

Nick Temple-Fry
12th April 2012, 08:46 AM
P.S. Anybody know who I contact re. forum display issues ... I can't see any of the PMs I've sent as the sent folder is empty??? ... thanks

Go to Quick Links on the bar across the top of the page, Edit Options, scroll down to the bottom of Private Messaging and tick Keep Sent Messages.

Nick

andym
12th April 2012, 08:50 AM
I've got both albeit the 14-54 is the Mk1 version.Both very sharp but I think the 12-60 has the edge.
One other thing is that the 12-60 has a mechanically connected focus ring where the 14-54 is focus by wire.I find the mechanical much nicer to get on with.

Swordfish
12th April 2012, 09:13 AM
I have used the 12-60mm on an E620 and now on the E5 - I would not be without this lens, which is almost permanently attached to my camera. It is a superb performer and the IQ is the fantastic. It is terrific at the wide end for landscape and great for close up stuff and portraits at the longer end.
It is heavy, but so is any good quality glass.

Highly recommended

Martin

zuiko-holic
12th April 2012, 10:17 AM
I'm not talking about extra focal range/aperture/speed .... just sheer image quality.


Image quality is a very complicated thing.

It's not just the sharpness, its also the CA, vignetting, distortion, flare resistance and sometimes even aperture comes in the way (larger aperture means lower ISO setting, lower ISO setting means less noise and higher Dynamic Range).

Generally speaking, yes, Zuiko 12-60mm is a better lens in most aspects.
It is sharper wide-open, it resists flare more efficiently, and if you can live with its relatively high distortion @ 12mm, then it is probably the best standard zoom lens ever made.

But, the Zuiko 14-54mm (especially Mk II) is no slouch either.
It delivers and it delivers well. The only thing that it's "significantly" worse is its performance wide open at the telephoto range.
Actually, Zuiko 14-54mm is brighter in all corresponding focal lenghts due to its limited focal range and (28-108mm instead of 24-120mm) and in my opinion it is much easier to use on a lightweight body like the E-620.

All in all, Zuiko 14-54 gives 75-80% of the perfomance with 50% of the cost.

So it is up to you to decide how much you wish to spend on a standard zoom lens.

Imageryone
12th April 2012, 11:03 AM
I have used the 14-54mm mk1 on my E-1 in the worst possible conditions for the past 5 years. It has never let me down ( if you remember to clean the contacts occasionaly) and the image quality is excellent for all subjects. A truly versatile and robust lens in all ways. Nicely balanced on both the E-1 and e-300.

Ian
12th April 2012, 12:12 PM
In my experience the 12-60 is sharper wide open than the 14-54. This may be explained by the fact that 12-60 uses ED glass and the 14-54 doesn't, you only need to stop down the 14-54 a little to fix that. The 14-54 also seems to show less distortion at the wide end but of course it doesn't go as wide as the 12-60.

Ian

Guitarrero
12th April 2012, 05:32 PM
Thanks to all again .... seems like all owners of this lens are suitably impressed with it!
I think I'm going in search this weekend to see if I can see one in the flesh before deciding......

JohnF
13th April 2012, 08:45 PM
One thing to consider with the 12-60 as well is the relatively close focusing. This has been a real life saver at times, and I tell everyone when the ask "Why 4/3" that this is the lens I've always been looking for. Of the ca. 75k photos I have in Lightroom, over 12000 were taken with the 12-60 on either the E510, E30, EP1 or GF2 cameras.

The only lens sharper are the 50 f2 and the 14-35 and 35-100. Okay, the 50-200. And the 90-250. Oh, and the 150 f2 and 300 f2.8. Besides that... .-)

cinders
16th April 2012, 01:39 PM
Since buying my 14-54 I haven't gone back to the 14-45 once. It's such a great lens I'd happily put up with the extra weight - and it's not too heavy really! The extra telephoto length is brill, as well as a much closer focus distance - and of course the brightness, weather proofing, and overall quality!.
So I'd say that if you find you can't afford or justify buying the 12-60, then at least go for the 14-54 - even the MkI.
Of course I'm hackering after a 12-60 of my own really, coz they're just that bit better again....

spn0923
17th April 2012, 07:23 PM
echo everything here. bought the e600 for its small size so was worried about upgrading to the 14 54 but after getting a mk1 at knock down price actually felt the extra bulk stabilised the camera and definitely better than kit lens. so much so i quickly upgraded to the mk2 from one of our forum members and sold the mk1 to a friend. My friend dropped his e600 while trying my mk1 lens on it, camera toast but lens fine. When we were checking the lens health I also dropped my mk2 and again no damage at all so they really are great pro lenses. If you use liveview remember that the 1260 and 1454mk1 have limited support e.g no face detect. i seldom use liveview though. Basically you cant go wrong. 1454mk1 on ebay around 200, mk2 280, 1260 5 to 600. Assume you have external flash since larger lens blocks the flip up flash a little.

paullus
29th April 2012, 06:47 PM
Before I bought a 12-60 SWD I owned a 14-54 mkII. I intended to keep both lenses but the 14-54 tended to sit in my bag. The 12-60 SWD focusses a bit faster and as already mentioned is weatherproof and has a slightly wider zoom range. I wanted a weatherproof lens for my weatherproof E-5 because I spend a lot of time in (wet) North Wales and don't want to have to put my camera away every time the heavens open. (Do you know that the folk in Wales know when it's Summer because the rain is warmer. My Dad's Welsh so he knows)
However there is very little discernable difference in image quality in my humble opinion. So you have to decide what it is exactly you need and not what you think you may need because both lenses produce excellent results.