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Archive 2012 · Which m43 lenses?
  
 
foosion
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Which m43 lenses?


I'm thinking of getting a Panasonic GH2 or G3 and am trying to decide which lenses to get. I shoot stills in RAW. I'd like native m43 lenses and want to cover from UWA to at least 100mm (that is, 200mm in 35mm equivalent). I'm having a lot of trouble deciding on lenses longer than UWA.

1) UWA: choices are 7-14 and 9-18. Both seem very good, with the 7-14 having a small edge in image quality and aperture and the 9-18 being much smaller and lighter. I go back and forth, but would likely be happy either way.

2) 14-42/45. Built-in image stabilization would be useful, so that means Panasonic.

None seem all that great regarding image quality. The 14-42 seems mediocre, the 14-45 is better liked, but not by much, and the 14-42 X appears to have issues of blur or double images at some focal lengths with some shutter speeds (at least in some samples). The 14-45 does seem better regarding build quality, but that's not a top priority.

Pick-em?

3) Longer. Built-in image stabilization would be very useful, so that means Panasonic.

The choices are 45-175 X, 45-200, 100-300.

100-300 seems the clear winner, but that leaves a gap from 42/45 to 100
45-175 X has the same issue regarding blur as the 14-42 X
45-200 might be ok

4) 14-140 in lieu of 14-42/45 and longer. I'm generally skeptical of superzooms and getting a 14-42/45 and something longer would seem better for image quality, aperture and size and weight.

5) On the vague horizon. The 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 would be great, but these are concept lenses with no defined time frame. I'd really like a 35-100/4, but that's not even a rumor

6) Primes. I don't really need the speed and, in any event, there aren't enough of them. I'd likely get one eventually for small size and speed, but it's not a priority.

Am I missing something? Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Feb 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
millsart
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Which m43 lenses?


foosion wrote:
6) Primes. I don't really need the speed and, in any event, there aren't enough of them.


Not enough primes ?? M4/3 has more primes than any mirrorless system

12mm f2.0, 14mm f2.5, 17mm f2.8, 20mm f1.7, 25mm f1.5, 45mm f1.8, 45mm f2.8, 75mm f1.8 and thats not even including the offerings for Voigtlander, Sigma etc


That said, why do you have to buy every lens at once ? Why not get your hands on the camera and something like the 14-45 and see how you like it first ? I liked my GH2, but m4/3 is not for everyone. Once you know you like the handling the IQ, then maybe consider adding glass to your system ?




Feb 26, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Jman13
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Which m43 lenses?


The 12/2, Leica 25/1.4 and Olympus 45/1.8 are simply stellar lenses. I own several other Micro 4/3 lenses, as it's my primary kit, but I could survive with those three and be happy for about 85% of all my shooting. They are all outstanding lenses with fast autofocus, and really wonderful optics. The 7-14 is a fantastic lens. Small for its focal range (though large in m4/3 land), and very good optically. Having a lens this wide is great. Then the three primes, and the Oly 40-150 make for a really complete kit for me. There are times I'd like to have the OIS of the Panny zooms, but the Olympus 40-150 is much sharper than the 45-200 I owned before it, and much smaller as well. Great bargain, that lens is...

The 100-300 is a decent zoom with a lot of reach. It's sharp enough for most prints, but it's not amazing by any stretch.



Feb 26, 2012 at 03:23 PM
itai195
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Which m43 lenses?


m43 without primes? Does not compute!

Seriously, the 12/2, 20/1.7, 25/1.4, and 45/1.8 are the heart of the system, in my opinion. The zooms, on the other hand, are largely slow and boring. For a wide zoom, I'd favor the 7-14. It's larger than the 9-18, but it's still pretty small and it really is stellar. I love my Nikon 14-24, and the 7-14 is like it's adorable little brother. It's sharp, contrasty, and it goes to 7mm, which I love. For a midrange zoom, I'm pretty comfortable skipping all of the available options. The Panasonic 14-45 is much larger than the Oly 14-42 and I don't think the IQ is different enough to justify the size increase. I'd go with the Oly 14-42 if I had to have something here, or wait for the Panasonic 12-35. For tele on a Panasonic body I'd go 45-175 assuming you can get a good sample. Mine is pretty good. It's by far the most compact option available with IS. In my opinion, the 100-300 is complementary to this lens, get both if you need the extra range. But I wouldn't want to be stuck always having to carry the 100-300 as my telephoto option, it's a large lens.



Feb 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM
foosion
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Which m43 lenses?


millsart wrote:
Not enough primes ?? M4/3 has more primes than any mirrorless system

You're comparing to other mirrorless. I'm comparing to what I'd want

millsart wrote:
12mm f2.0, 14mm f2.5, 17mm f2.8, 20mm f1.7, 25mm f1.5, 45mm f1.8, 45mm f2.8, 75mm f1.8 and thats not even including the offerings for Voigtlander, Sigma etc

Has the 74mm been announced?

What are third parties offering that will autofocus, allow the body to set aperture, etc.

millsart wrote:
That said, why do you have to buy every lens at once ? Why not get your hands on the camera and something like the 14-45 and see how you like it first ? I liked my GH2, but m4/3 is not for everyone. Once you know you like the handling the IQ, then maybe consider adding glass to your system ?

I'd rather not start down the path unless I'm satisfied that there will be enough lenses available. The future is uncertain (especially for Olympus).

Do you regard the 14-45 as significantly better than the alternatives?

I'd like to cover 12-100 to start, which I wouldn't have thought would be a problem.



Feb 26, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Which m43 lenses?


IMO, the 7-14 is the only one worth getting unless you just have to have auto-focus. The cost to IQ performance ratio of all of the other Lumix brand lenses is pretty much in the mud. The Lumix 100-300 is one to avoid IMHO unless you can find it for like $150 or something - normal for that class/IQ.

But Lumix brand 4/3 lenses are all I have really looked into. I hear in every single case the Oly lenses beat the snot out of the Lumix ones and Voigtlander etc. have offerings as well. The 4/3 Voigtlaender 25mm f/0.95 and the 4/3 17.5mm f0.95 look especially nice!




Feb 26, 2012 at 03:53 PM
foosion
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Which m43 lenses?


Jordan and itai195,

There's certainly appeal to primes, but I find zooms more useful, don't really need the speed of primes for most of my shooting and, if I were to get primes, would like something longer than 45mm.

Something like a 12-50 (e.g., Canon FF 24-105/4) and a 100 or so (e.g., Nikon FF 180/2.8) would be great. Olympus has as 12-50, but it's too slow (and I'd like image stabilization in that range or longer). No one has a 100 or so prime

Do you regard the Panasonic 14-42 as acceptable?

Getting a good sample of the 45-175 X could be a hassle.

I suppose I should think more about primes, or wait for more availability



Feb 26, 2012 at 04:01 PM
bigkidneys
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Which m43 lenses?


Jman13 wrote:
The 12/2, Leica 25/1.4 and Olympus 45/1.8 are simply stellar lenses. I own several other Micro 4/3 lenses, as it's my primary kit, but I could survive with those three and be happy for about 85% of all my shooting. They are all outstanding lenses with fast autofocus, and really wonderful optics. The 7-14 is a fantastic lens. Small for its focal range (though large in m4/3 land), and very good optically. Having a lens this wide is great. Then the three primes, and the Oly 40-150 make for a really complete kit for me. There are times I'd like
...Show more


Spot on with the 12, 25, and 45. This Trinity could do most everything. I didn't like the 7-14 as I couldn't use a filter with it. Hardest part for me was determining what body to get. I got both the EP3 for IBIS and the GH2. The IQ from the GH2 was much better but I struggled with hand holding it with lenses wihout OIS but others seem to have no issue with it. If the O-MD has similar IQ to the GH2 I may consider one as I love having IBIS available. I found my copy of the 100-300 to be rather good as well as versatile.



Feb 26, 2012 at 04:17 PM
itai195
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Which m43 lenses?


I've never used the Panasonic 14-42, but for what it's worth I've read a bunch of opinions stating that it's more desirable than the 14-45. I can see that lacking IS on the 12-50 is a bummer (that's one of the benefits of Olympus bodies), but I don't think it would be much slower than a 14-42/45 and 45-XXX combo over most of the overlapping range. Granted, I haven't used a 12-50. If you get a G3 or GH2, you can get a 14-45 in the kit for next to nothing, so it doesn't hurt to start with that and see where you want to go next.

I'm not sure which camera system you're coming from, but in my opinion speed is pretty vital on m43. Generally speaking, the smaller sensors are not capable of achieving the high ISO noise performance you'll get on larger systems, and you're also diffraction limited around f/8-f/11. Fast lenses are the solution to both of those problems. The 20/1.7 and 45/1.8, at least, are must haves for their size, performance, and value.



Feb 26, 2012 at 04:19 PM
foosion
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Which m43 lenses?


itai195 wrote:
I've never used the Panasonic 14-42, but for what it's worth I've read a bunch of opinions stating that it's more desirable than the 14-45. I can see that lacking IS on the 12-50 is a bummer (that's one of the benefits of Olympus bodies), but I don't think it would be much slower than a 14-42/45 and 45-XXX combo over most of the overlapping range. Granted, I haven't used a 12-50. If you get a G3 or GH2, you can get a 14-45 in the kit for next to nothing, so it doesn't hurt to start with that and
...Show more
I believe you're confusing the 14-42 and 14-45. The 14-45 has better build quality, a switch for OIS and marginally better IQ. The 14-42 is the current kit lens. There appears to be a fair amount of sample variation, which confuses the issue.

The 12-50 is 3.5-6.3, which is somewhat slower than the 3.5-5.6 for the 14-42/45 and 4-5.6 for the 45-XXX

Existing OIympus bodies don't have a built-in viewfinder, which I find a major lack. I may wait for the E-M5, but don't need many of its features.

itai195 wrote:
I'm not sure which camera system you're coming from, but in my opinion speed is pretty vital on m43. Generally speaking, the smaller sensors are not capable of achieving the high ISO noise performance you'll get on larger systems, and you're also diffraction limited around f/8-f/11. Fast lenses are the solution to both of those problems. The 20/1.7 and 45/1.8, at least, are must haves for their size, performance, and value.

I shot with Nikon film SLRs for many years, then sold all and shot with compacts for a while.

I want deep DOF for a lot of what I shoot (e.g., landscapes). The ideal lens for the interior of a Gothic cathedral for lots of DOF and no tripod continues to elude me. If I shot street, portraits, typical indoors, etc., then fast glass would be much more important. OTOH, the small primes seem to be very nice lenses.



Feb 26, 2012 at 04:43 PM
 

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CalW
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Which m43 lenses?


If image quality is important, the 12/25/45 primes are the only way to go - this is my travel kit with the G3. If convenience is important and image quality is not, most of the "normal" zooms are much the same - the only one I own is the 14-45, which is acceptable but not very exciting, and I have seldom used it since getting the primes. For the long end I have the Oly 40-150 and a very small, light tripod until a better alternative appears.


Feb 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM
itai195
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Which m43 lenses?


foosion wrote:
I believe you're confusing the 14-42 and 14-45. The 14-45 has better build quality, a switch for OIS and marginally better IQ. The 14-42 is the current kit lens. There appears to be a fair amount of sample variation, which confuses the issue.

The 12-50 is 3.5-6.3, which is somewhat slower than the 3.5-5.6 for the 14-42/45 and 4-5.6 for the 45-XXX

Oh yes, you're right. Switch around the Panasonic 14-42 and 14-45 in everything I've said

Like I alluded to earlier, I don't really care about those normal range kit zooms. They all blend together to me. Once the 12-35 f/2.8 ships, things might get more interesting.

The difference between 5.6 and 6.3 is just a third stop and not a huge difference to me: they're both slow at that point.



Feb 26, 2012 at 05:46 PM
photosmart42
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Which m43 lenses?


Panasonic 14-140 is a great all-purpose zoom. I second the what others said about the primes - there are a number of stellar ones to choose from. How many lenses do you really need anyway? You can do just about 99% of what you need with a good zoom and 2-3 primes. If you're stuck on zooms, I'd get the 7-14 and the 14-140 to start with, and go from there. You can't go wrong with either of them.


Feb 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
bdshort
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Which m43 lenses?


FWIW, I purchased my GH2 with the 14-140 kit lens based on it's reputation as an excellent lens for stills and video, and the price at the time (under $1000 for the kit, and the 14-140 sells for $600 by itself). I find that I rarely use it, preferring to keep the 20 1.7 or my new 45 1.8 on the camera, and only putting the soon on when I need wider than the 20. If I get the E-M5 I think I may get the 12-50 for the 12 at the wide end and the weather sealing, even though I realize the 12 has a stellar reputation. It's also $800. Also, Panasonic should be releasing a 12-35 2.8 and a 35-100 2.8 you might be interested in, and I'm also waiting for. I would guess they will be $1000 or more though...


Feb 26, 2012 at 09:32 PM
michael49
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Which m43 lenses?


Personally I would go with the 14-45 (which is quite good), the 20 1.7 (which is as sharp as any Canon L that I've owned, plus its tiny), and the 45 1.8. That's a nice kit to start with. Then add one of the tele-zooms if you need it.


Feb 26, 2012 at 09:52 PM
foosion
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Which m43 lenses?


Questions for fans of primes: is your preference due to the speed of the lens (including narrow DOF and ability to shoot with faster shutter speeds or lower ISOs) or size and weight or optical qualities? I'm guessing most of you are not landscape shooters, as landscape shooters tend to prefer shooting stopped down for DOF (and may well still be in FF)

FWIW, I just saw that Art Wolfe, one of my favorite photographers, lists the 70-200/4 and 16-35/2.8 as his most used lenses (both FF). In m43, this would be the 35-100 so many of us are waiting for (and I fear bdshort is right about pricing) and the 7-14 (or so).




Feb 27, 2012 at 12:15 AM
itai195
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Which m43 lenses?


Primes can be shot stopped down, too

I am mostly a landscape shooter, but I mostly use my FF kit for that. My m43 kit is for pretty much everything else... I like the primes because they're small and light, but also because they generally offer the best IQ available on the system. I'm sure Art Wolfe would prefer to carry f/2.8 zooms, but he's trading that marginal increased utility off for the lower weight of f/4 zooms.



Feb 27, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Jman13
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Which m43 lenses?


For me, it's all three reasons. Speed primarily, coupled with great optics and small size.


Feb 27, 2012 at 01:20 AM
you2
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Which m43 lenses?


Does the 25f1.4 work ok on olympus bodies (vague I think i read somewhere there were issues). Also is the 20f1.7 marginally close to the 25f1.4 ?
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Do either the 14-55 or 12-60 (4/3) have decent auto focus on micro 4/3 (vaguely I think the 14-55mk2 has support for contrast focus). I'm thinkin the em-5 might be ok if the view finder is decent and the 45f1.8 seems very nice (the 12/f2 seems a bit pricey for what it offers).



Feb 27, 2012 at 01:03 PM
FlyPenFly
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Which m43 lenses?


IMO, the 20 F1.7 is over rated.

It has harsh bokeh unless you're doing pseudo macro. It's loud and slow to focus. It's also not as sharp as people give it credit for when you do 1:1 comparisons against other primes. Certainly sharp enough but not a special lens except that it's a pancake.

The lenses I wish NEX had though are the 7-14mm, 25mm F1.4 Leica, and 45mm Olympus.



Feb 27, 2012 at 02:33 PM
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