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Tuesday, 09 June 2020


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Personal experience: the kit 12-60 is a good lens, and a steal bundled with the camera. The Leica version is a little "sweeter" but the marginal improvement may not be worth the not so marginal difference in price. It does have the added convenience of two buttons on the barrel, one to shut off IS, the other to switch to manual focus.

"I'll do that for you as soon as I'm younger."

You'd better copyright this line, and soon!
I also was impressed by the 12-60 'slowpoke' (compared to the Leica f/2.8-4) in my time with it. I went all primal in the lower end (12∙20∙30∙60) so the 14-42ii is my tiny zoom for those times.

oopz - 14/20/30/60. Love the baby 14/2.5!

You always make your reviewed cameras look good (not that that's bad). I used the GX9 for a week, and it was too small for me to comfortably handle. Looks like you have some kind of grip, which would help a lot. My XT-30 is also a little too small, but with an added aftermarket grip it works pretty well.

The GX9 remains my choice for primary camera.

The 12-60/3.5-5.6 is a decent lens, a bit better than the Oly 12-50/3.5-6.3 that was my first µ4/3 lens. As I have many great photos out of the 11,000+ I took with the Oly, the Panny should be fine.

OTOH, the PanaLeica 12-60/2.8-4.0 is a very fine lens, distinctly better than either of the others. Build quality is much better, as well. I'm out at nearly 10,000 shots with mine, so pretty familiar with it.

This is especially true for close-ups. I do a lot of C-U shooting, so that's important to me. Specs say the PL has slightly greater max. Mag., and I found that to be true.

In a careful C-U comparison test with a flat subject, the Leica is distinctly better in the center and a great deal better in the corners. That particular copy of the 12-60/3.5-5.6 was particularly bad in one corner, while the Leica was pretty consistent and pretty good in all the corners.

We travel a lot in "normal" years, one 2019 trip had us away for seven weeks. Much of the travel is where replacement gear would be difficult or impossible to get. So I carry back-up gear. The Panny 12-60 is B-U for the PLeica.


As you are sharing your experiences about your latest set of toys, I am offered a "nest" focal lengths in my part of the woods.

It's a GX9 kit with 12-32 Panasonic lens + free 25/1.7 Panasonic lens + free Panasonic battery for about the same price B&H is offering the GX9 kit that you are holding.

I wished they can offer me the 12-60 instead of the 12-32. Am still exploring options.

Dan K.

"...Take that, Nikon 24–120mm owners!

I own that lens. When I don't want to carry it or any of the other FF gear, I use the Sony RX10 with its 24-200mm-e with its constant aperture of ƒ/2.8. I chose the Sony over m43 gear as I realized m43 didn't save me enough weight to justify another camera and lens system. I've been very happy with the decision.

I actually have a three lens kit, two manual focus only primes and an autofocus lens.

1) 50mm f/1.4 Super Takumar (my most used lens, by far).
2) 25mm f/1.8 Meike (cheap little lens, but I really like its badness).
3) 14-42 Olympus (its a kit lens I got for next to nothing), I use it mainly for the autofocus to take pictures of my kids running around.

All that, plus my good old trusty Olympus EM5 fits perfectly in a Lowepro Format 100 thats only 6 inches long! Exactly the same size as an iPhone 11, just a little thicker.

Long ago when I was a newspaper photographer I carried four cameras. A Nikon F with a 24mm, Nikkormat Ftn with 200mm, Leica M3 with 90mm, and Leica M2 with 35mm. There was also a LunaPro meter hanging around my neck. The Nikkormat with the 200 doubled as a spot meter. The idea was to have the lens you needed immediately available. Zooms were not yet good enough to use for professional work. The arrival of the 80-200s and 35-70s changed all that.

In Australia, there was a recent promotion where you got the G85, with the 12-60 plus a bonus 25 1.7, for AUD$825. I got 2. Thinking I'd sell the lenses from one kit. But they're excellent lenses.

Fitting in with your idea to have something in the middle that's an excellent prime, the 25 1.7 is the best lens I've used. The only thing it doesn't have is high tech/cost/weight bragging rights. But as an image maker, I've never met it's equal.

Of all the reviews I've read about the Olympus and Panasonic, with all the features and lenses covered 10 ways from Sunday, nobody has talked about what's staring them in the face. The wonderful aspect ratio of 4/3rds, except in passing. Import the first shot of the pink flower in the window into photoshop, open the crop tool and set it to 3:2, and see what happens to your picture. I love what the 4/3 does for composition. Love love love.

I liked the idea of a nested kit so much that I spent a fair bit on such in 2015, when I 'nested' my 28-e, 50-e and 90-e primes with a 24-80-e 2.8 zoom. My overall conclusion is that it failed for me. Once the good zoom is on, I don't swap it out for a prime.

The only exception being a pancake (28-e) prime, which turns the camera into a commuter companion that takes no serious space and fits into general purpose bags.

Over time, I found that I was actually annoyed about having these primes that I am not using. And that's not a feeling that I want my photography to give me.


In my film days when I was a newspaper photographer (1976-2001) I usually carried two Nikon camera bodies, four lenses, 24mm always a 35mm, 105mm, and 180mm. I also had a 300mm which I used for sports and some breaking news assignments but I didn't generally carry it with me all the time, I kept it in the car. With four lenses I still had to switch lenses between the two camera bodies. I also went through a phase where I shot with a couple of Leica cameras, I had a 21mm, 35mm, and 90mm with two M4-2 bodies, because I needed something longer than the 90mm I had one Nikon body with the 180mm lens and the 300mm. Generally mixing the two camera systems didn't work that all that well, after about 3 months I went back to the all Nikon system, it made more practical sense to have one camera system and lenses.

In my digital days as a newspaper photographer (2001-2018), I shot with one Nikon digital camera, started with the D1H then D2H to D300 to finally a D7100. I had two Nikon zoom lenses 17-35mm and 80-200mm and eventually the 70-200mm. These were the first zoom lenses that I had ever used and they worked well in terms of workflow and quality, I never had 50mm even in my film days so I never really missed it. However I found that I missed something a little wider than the 17-35mm, that's because the lens worked out to a 25.5 - 52.5mm on the cropped DX sensor of the Nikon cameras. The telephoto zoom was great because the 200mm was like a 300mm. I used the two lenses for 100% of my work. It would have been nice to have two camera bodies, then the wide-angle zoom lens on one camera body and the telephoto zoom on the other. There were times when I missed a few shots while switching between lenses in fast-moving news situations. Since this equipment was supplied and maintained by the newspaper I was not complaining!

You bring up a bug-a-boo of mine that zoom lenses that are trying to be everything to me, fail when they only go to 70mm. I need them to get to at least 85mm for a portrait, and well, I use a 50mm lens practically never, altho it's useful. You can pretty much figure that a lens that covers the equivalent of 24mm to 70mm, I'm going to use anything over 35mm to 70mm, very rarely, if ever! Wasted size and construction!

Plus these zooms that have a wide open f/stop at the long end of f/5.6, well, in Micro speak, for depth of field, that's like having a 35mm lens that only opens to f/11!

Which brings us back to the idea that a useful (and probably sharp and small) zoom would be 24mm-50mm (or 12-25 in Micro 4/3rd's speak), then I would carry a portrait prime lens and be done. Didn't Pentax make one of these back in the old days?

I generally have all primes because after years of being a photographer, I really rail against the "coffee-can-on-a-credit-card" aspect of huge zooms on tiny little bodies, Totally unbalanced.

One of the things I've noticed with pro video guys, is a lot of their lenses bottom out at an equivalent of around 38mm; I was told years ago that's because it's too hard (and too large and expensive), to make a zoom that goes very wide to very long. Your choice is slightly wide to tele, or very wide to mid-range!

My perfect walking around lens for Micro 4/3rds, would be a 17mm (or 18mm), to 42.5mm (or 43mm, 45mm), with either a constant 2.8 f/stop, or floating between F/1.8 to 2.8 or 3.5! Back in the 80's I had a perfectly sharp Tamron that was 35mm to 85mm, and barely larger than a 50mm prime, I used it all the time. I don't even know what happened to it!

BTW, the multiple camera body thing (Nick Nolte in "Under Fire" is a good example) was prevalent because a "pro" would never touch a zoom, totally considered amateur hour, no zoom was ever as sharp as a prime, no where near. Computer design, and camera software that "corrects' images on the fly, has made a lot of that moot; BUT, I do have to say that the idea of keeping a lens on a body and avoiding the possibility of getting dust on the sensor is an attractive idea!

The opportunity of getting dust on the sensor goes up exponentially every time you take the lens off! As a guy who used to manage a photo department with 8 photographers, I could never understand how the sensors were getting so dirty when a lot of the bodies never had the lens removed?! I thought they were doing it on purpose!

I have the Olympus 2.8 zooms (12-40 and 40-150) ... but I also pack the 12-100 F4 zoom and that's mostly what I use.

Even the "tiny" m4/3rds sensor is good enough at high ISO to not really need the fast lenses except for DOF effects.

I mean, there isn't much to complain about here


Still, it's nice to have the smaller 12-40 or the longer telephoto along for when you need it.

This is a good travel lens. Decent quality, a little slow, nice in good light (like the whole m43 system) and perfectly fine for looking at pictures on a computer screen, which seems to be the norm now. It's not a great lens at all, and certainly isn't nearly as good as the Olympus 1.8 primes. I used it a lot for travel snapshots, but when there was something I really cared about getting an decent image of, or when the light went down a little out came the 45mm f1.8.
PS I finally gave up on Olympus because I couldn't stand the menus and cryptic symbols. Are Panasonic's much better?

I got used to the zoom range 24-120 when I had a Sony R1. I use the kit 12-60 on a E-M5m2, and it's my most used lens. Next time I go on vacation, if that ever happens again, I doubt I'll bring anything else with me.

I've been trying your one-lens experiment lately, albeit not for a full year. I tried walking around a couple of times with the 17/f1.8 and then on another day with the 45/f1.8. I haven't shot anything memorable yet, which is normal enough, but I really enjoyed myself. It's nice having one less thing to think about.

The correct link for the 17mm 1.8 is https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2015/03/olympus-17mm-f18-lens-crowdsource.html - one of my favorite TOP posts ever.

When I was doing archaeological photography, I carried two Nikon F5s, one for color slide film and one for B&W -- the color was basically for documenting the dig for academic lectures, the B&W for academic journals, which usually couldn't use color. I shot some color negative for memorabilia-type stuff (photos for volunteers, etc.) Because of the strange conditions (photographing in holes) I used fast short zoom lenses on both cameras.

When shooting newsy type stuff, I carried two Nikons (F4s, 5s and later D3s) mostly because I needed a backup in case a camera went down. I suspect that was the case with George Rodger -- not only did he want several different focal lengths handy, if you're risking your neck taking pictures, you don't want to do it with one camera that could go down on you. If that happens, then you're just risking your neck, period.

Military photographers in the middle East don't like changing lenses not because it's slow, or they could lose a shot, but because dust is everywhere, and gets into everything, especially in helicopter operations. The side doors on Black Hawks are open (for the door gunners) and there are often large dust and smoke clouds over Middle Eastern cities that the helicopters are impacting at 100 mph+. Even when you're not taking lenses off, cleaning the cameras is a daily chore.

[I remember seeing 2 Nikon F4s's, painted a light tan color, partially disassembled on the repair bench at Pro Photo. I asked about them, and was told they belonged to a Gulf War photographer who had returned from assignment. The cameras were all beat up and looked to be easily 10 years old. They were both six months old. --Mike]


Let me say that I bought all of the Olympus primes between 12 and 45, and then the Pen F body. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to get pictures out of the body, that I really want. I lost interest after messing around with it repeatedly over a two month period.

I was convinced that Micro 4/3rds was the way to go, especially after using my Panasonic G3! I use the Olympus lenses on the G3 now, in the hopes that eventually Olympus will make something far more intuitive! Before you get too financially involved, I would certainly recommend using the Panasonic bodies and lenses. It took me about 3 minutes to set my G3 without looking at a manual.

It's disconcerting for me to spend a lifetime in photography, using all kinds of film cameras, from 8X10 to 35mm; and all of a sudden a camera company makes a camera so "hinkey" I can't be bothered to figure it out!

A single prime lens fixed to the camera body, that's how God has meant it to be. In my Fuji system, I have several bodies (all with the same sensor) and my lens cabinet covers the whole spectrum from 16mm to 90mm, all in primes. But the choice of lens is made right at the start, as I venture out, and each excursion then is with one body and one lens, or possibly two bodies with different focal lengths. That lens stays on the camera throughout the day. There may be a backup lens in the bag but it never gets used. The "day in the hills" then becomes, say, a "35mm day", or perhaps a "23mm plus 60mm day". And God smiles on me.

Do you know who the man in the back of the jeep is - the man in civilian clothes with the dark glasses?

For me m43 is all about size ..or the lack of it.

My other discovery was that the Olympus cameras through they looked beautiful were certainly ridiculously complicated or generally not easy to hand hold. So I sold the EM5. The Panasonics don't look so good but are easy to use ... all of them and cheap and easy to hand hold

So for me Panasonic G90 and GX85 ... both great value.
I didn't want the 12-60 that came with but find I use it.
On the GX85 the Panasonic 20/1.7 or the Olympue 45/1.7

I cannot see the point of the big expensive lenses for me on this system.

I am amazed at how photographer focused Panasonic have been compared to Olympus

Whether intended or not, I've implemented the nested lenses idea. For me, its the Fuji 16-80/f4 and the 35/f2. If I could add one prime it would be a 18mm/f2. I do hope Fuji will update their 18mm in the near future.

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