As I strongly suspected my first comparison wasn’t accurate. I’ve used both of these lenses quite a bit and I’ve never noticed that degree of softness. I repeated it with the same conditions, ISO 200 @ f/5.6, tripod mounted, cable release etc..
Lumix 12-32mm @ 17mm full-frame image.
M.Zuiko 17mm full-frame image
Lumix 12-32mm @ 17mm 100% center crop.
M.Zuiko 17mm 100% center crop
Lumix 12-32mm @17mm 100% corner crop
M.Zuiko 17mm 100% corner crop
Overall there’s very little in it but I feel like the Lumix 12-32mm is a tad sharper in the center. whereas the M.Zuiko 17mm is marginally sharper in the corners. Sorry about the moire pattern, I could have corrected it but not for these purposes. I reiterate this is a real world comparison and not a laboratory one and the differences are, at the worst, marginal. I am more than happy with both of these lenses but it does again demonstrate how good this little zoom lens is. I think that I might do the same comparisons between the 12-32mm and my M.Zuiko 12-40mm lens. Of course the primes are faster and the 12-40mm is both faster and weather-sealed but optically I don’t think there much in it, from the comparisons I’ve done to date in a real-world day-to-day usage perspective (pun intended) 🙂 . I’m in no way disappointed with any of my various prime lenses, the build quality is better and they’re faster but I think that the optical difference between them and the 12-32mm is nowhere near that of what one could easily be led to believe and, at certain focal lengths, the 12-32mm is, if anything, a tad better in terms of sharpness.