I repeated the lens comparison that I did in my previous posting between my Lumix 12-32mm and one of my prime lenses. This time I’ve compared the Lumix set at 12mm with my Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 prime lens. Same setup as before, camera mounted on a tripod and shots taken at ISO 200 at f/5.6. 100% crops.
Lumix 12-32mm @ 12mm
Olympus 12mm corner.
Lumix 12-32mm @ 12mm corner
This time I think that the Lumix is sharper across the frame and especially so in the corners. I’m more than happy with both lenses and the differences are marginal at the worst although the 12-32mm really does shine as an all-round lens and doesn’t disgrace itself again more expensive prime lenses. If one doesn’t habitually shoot in poor light and/or at large apertures or desire lots of bokeh then I think that the Lumix is a very good buy and it’s more compact and lighter than carrying two primes. Colour rendition between all these lenses is virtually identical or, if there are any differences, I’m hard pressed to spot it. No test charts here, I shoot real-life images not test charts! 🙂
Just for fun I decided to compare my Panasonic Lumix 12-32mm “kit” lens set at 25mm with my Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm. I took two shots with the camera tripod mounted and a cable release fitted at ISO 200 f/5.6. Here are two 100% crops, I think they compare very favourably and I’d be happy with both, I think that the Olympus is perhaps a tad softer but there’s very little in it and nothing that a little sharpening couldn’t sort out. Of course the prime lens has a faster maximum aperture of f/1.8 compared with the slower zoom. But as someone who primarily shoots landscapes and stops down then that difference is largely irrelevant.
Lumix 12-32 @ 25mm.
Olympus Corner crop
Lumix corner crop.
Where the Olympus does win out is in the corners but again nothing that I can’t live with and nothing that a little sharpening can’t fix. Actually I don’t think that difference is purely softness it’s more to do with a slight difference in depth of field as the two images have a little different field of view as the zoom is set to be 25mm and they don’t line up exactly. If you look at the writing on the microphone cable in the foreground for example then the Lumix is noticeably sharper. Perhaps worth noting that, at the time of writing, Amazon are listing both lenses new within a few pounds of each other with the Olympus being sold at £90 below its list price. I paid £89 for my Lumix, used in great condition and full-price for my Olympus new. I might repeat this comparison tomorrow with the Lumix set at 12mm and my Olympus 12mm f/2 lens which, for me, might be a more interesting comparison because I often shoot my landscapes at this focal length.