f4 is too slow

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Apr 21, 2019
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Brian Richards
I'm planning ahead to next year, when the 150-400 is released. It wont fit in my camera bag unless I take other lenses out, so I'm already looking at the best blend of lenses to carry.

On a recent 88 day trip I kept just 1 photo taken with the 35-100, so that's gone. I kept 751 photos taken with the 12-40, 296 of which were at 12mm. I don't want to go wider than that, but it seems that's a sensible wide angle to retain.

Another 215 were at 40mm. It's unlikely that this was my preferred focal length for most of those, suggesting that I just didn't have time (or was too lazy) to switch to the 35-100.

So the 12-100 would be a sensible option instead. Except.. 125 of those 751 photographs were taken at f2.8 and another 56 at f3.2 or f3.5. Almost none of those were intentionally trying to achieve shallow depth of field, the light levels meant that this was a sensible aperture. (Almost all of the sub-f4 shots have 1/100 or slower shutter speed).

In the UK (where it's generally less sunny than the places I visited on that 88 day trip) approximately half of my photographs with the 12-40 are at f2.8.

So I can ditch the 35-100 but I really would like that extra flexibility, yet it just doesn't seem to make sense to buy a lens as slow as f4.

I'm not sure how I'm hoping people will respond, just wanted to share a personal source of frustration, uncertainty and indecisiveness.
Problem with the 35-100 is that it is somewhat soft at 100mm at f2.8, sharpens real fine at f4.0.
 

wjiang

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Problem with the 35-100 is that it is somewhat soft at 100mm at f2.8, sharpens real fine at f4.0.
Centre is fine for portraits IMO. For landscapes, yes stopping down is required, but I wouldn't be shooting telephoto landscapes at f/2.8 in any case. The most noticeable deficiency at 100mm for me is actually the vignetting - it doesn't seem to go away completely, even at f/4.
 

PakkyT

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This thread makes me think about my dream: An ~100mm ~f2.8 prime.
All ya got to do it purchase a used E-M1.1 or a used/new E-M1.2 or E-M1X, pick up a MMF-3, then find a second hand Sigma 105mm or 150mm macro lens in 4/3rds mount both are f2.8 and both are 1:1 macro lenses. They were rather popular back in the 4/3rds day. The 150mm was a bit better and also cost more. I never heard a bad thing about either one. All the shots I saw off both of them were excellent.
 

acnomad

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I owned the 12-100 for a time and it was a fixture on my E-M1, with very pleasing results in a wide variety of situations. Since the OP is planning to add the 150-400 to his kit when it comes out, it seems quite sensible to use the 12-100 and 150-400 combo as a 90% solution - a journalistic approach to photography, “f/8 and be there,” if you will.
 

ooheadsoo

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Jan 13, 2018
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Centre is fine for portraits IMO. For landscapes, yes stopping down is required, but I wouldn't be shooting telephoto landscapes at f/2.8 in any case. The most noticeable deficiency at 100mm for me is actually the vignetting - it doesn't seem to go away completely, even at f/4.
One of the reasons why I gave up the 35-100/2.8 is that, while yes, the center is fine for portraits, after doing 3-4 portrait sessions, I came to the realization that I would never take my primary lens off the camera for the 35-100 for a portrait because a prime serves much better. Between my 25mm 1.4, 45mm 1.8, or a number of legacy nikon lenses, there was no case for my personal portraiture work where I would prefer the 35-100. Therefore, my decision was to consolidate to the 12-100 for general purpose photography, and if I need to switch lenses for isolation, I will switch to a prime. I do feel the PL12-60 will do ok in a pinch.

My dream no compromise lens is a 12-60/2. I could accept a 12-60/2.8, but I'm sure neither Panasonic nor Olympus will make their existing pro lineup obsolete by creating this lens.
 

wjiang

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One of the reasons why I gave up the 35-100/2.8 is that, while yes, the center is fine for portraits, after doing 3-4 portrait sessions, I came to the realization that I would never take my primary lens off the camera for the 35-100 for a portrait because a prime serves much better. Between my 25mm 1.4, 45mm 1.8, or a number of legacy nikon lenses, there was no case for my personal portraiture work where I would prefer the 35-100. Therefore, my decision was to consolidate to the 12-100 for general purpose photography, and if I need to switch lenses for isolation, I will switch to a prime. I do feel the PL12-60 will do ok in a pinch.

My dream no compromise lens is a 12-60/2. I could accept a 12-60/2.8, but I'm sure neither Panasonic nor Olympus will make their existing pro lineup obsolete by creating this lens.
I was never quite satisfied with the 45mm f/1.8 wide open but since getting the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 I only really use the 35-100mm when I don't really know what to expect, and my vantage points are limited (i.e. events, or going out with family).
 

ac12

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. . . Therefore, my decision was to consolidate to the 12-100 for general purpose photography, and if I need to switch lenses for isolation, I will switch to a prime. I do feel the PL12-60 will do ok in a pinch.

My dream no compromise lens is a 12-60/2. I could accept a 12-60/2.8, but I'm sure neither Panasonic nor Olympus will make their existing pro lineup obsolete by creating this lens.
A 12-60/2 would probably be a BIG/HEAVY lens.

Who knows.
With a mature lens landscape, there is more likely chance to create specialty lenses. And some of the older lenses may be candidates for an upgrade.
Olympus already has the 12-100, so maybe they can shorten the zoom range and bump the max aperture a stop.
Panasonic-Leica seems to have settled on a variable aperture f/2.8-4 for the 12-60 and 50-200.
 

ooheadsoo

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Jan 13, 2018
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A 12-60/2 would probably be a BIG/HEAVY lens.

Who knows.
With a mature lens landscape, there is more likely chance to create specialty lenses. And some of the older lenses may be candidates for an upgrade.
Olympus already has the 12-100, so maybe they can shorten the zoom range and bump the max aperture a stop.
Panasonic-Leica seems to have settled on a variable aperture f/2.8-4 for the 12-60 and 50-200.
Yes, but it just needs to be about the same size as the Nikon 24-120/f to win me over. In fact, if Nikon got their act together and released a 24-120/4, I know I would be tempted to switch back.
I recall there was another Pro standard zoom in the roadmap. Olympus had a ZD 14-35 f/2, they might try for a 14-35 f/1.8 this time around with more software corrections - Panasonic have set a precedent with their 10-25mm f/1.7.
It looks like a 10-40, which certainly would be more interesting to me than the 10-25.
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tkbslc

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Feb 6, 2015
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Haha, I have that lens, it's sitting in front of me right now ;) But I can't quite bring myself to go back to DSLR tech :( I spec'd things out on a Z6 but with the lens being not too lightweight and with the addition of the adapter, I'm sticking with M43 for now. I'm eager to see a lightweight f/4 ala Nikon's new 24-70/4.
Oh you said you waiting on that lens from Nikon so I'm confused I guess.
 

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