Pointlessness of M43 and zoom lenses

Started May 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
Andy Crowe
Senior MemberPosts: 1,550Gear list
Do you really need to completely cover every single focal length between 7 and 300?
In reply to msusic, May 28, 2012

Do you really need to cover every single focal length between 7mm and 300mm with premium zooms? Seems a bit over the top when you could easily skip one of the new Panasonic X zooms (do you really need continuous focal length coverage in the midrange?), or use the not to bad (if a little slow) Panasonic 14-140mm for the middle?

Another thing is your m4/3 setup is faster between 12 and 100 than the Olympus lenses, while still being 30% lighter and the same price for brand new kit.

I was just thinking a bit and came to the conclusion that there's really no advantage in a m43 kit if one wants zoom lenses over classic 43rds, and here's why:

Let's make a hypothetical high quality kit with zooms covering regular focal lengths from UWA to tele:

So, your best bet on m43 would be something like this:
Panasonic 7-14mm
Panasonic 12-35
Panasonic 35-100
Panasonic 100-300 or,
Olympus 75-300

2 extra BLN-1 batteries (to make up for reduced battery life and enable you all day shoot)

Total weight: about 2200-2300grams (assuming 35-100 weighs about 500-600gr)
Price: roughly $5400-5700 (assuming 35-100 will be about 1500-1600)

This doesn't even account for HLD-6 grip which would be recommended for handling and battery performance (it also adds more to weight and price).

Now, 43rds kit would look like:
E-5 (or it's soon to be released successor)
Olympus 7-14mm
Olympus 12-60mm
Olympus 50-200mm
(optional) EC-14 teleconverter

Total weight: about 3100-3200gr, so not even 1kg more, only about 0.5kg if you add a grip to E-M5.

Price: roughly $5300-5500 (new, but you could get all these lenses second hand for much less money)

Also, there are numerous advantages to this kit over the micro:

  • Better lenses

  • Wider zoom range (less frequent need to change lenses)

  • Full weather sealing

  • Longer battery life

  • Significantly more rugged construction

  • Usable C-AF performance (I know, M5 is also apparently decent with 75-300mm, but there are a lot of quirks and it lacks longer lenses to really use it well).

So, at the end of the day, for a nature photographer, or just the one who wants to cover good range with couple of zooms, there's no advantage in micro kit.

It's even more expensive and you need more lenses. Lenses are not as good (especially in the corners) and long zooms are significantly lacking.

Also, even these high grade zooms on 43rds are virtually the same speed in the overlapping focal lengths as those new "premium" Panasonic zooms, but don't suffer from the limited zoom range (5x and 4x zooms vs 3x).

Don't get me wrong, I love m43 for use with few very nice primes (12/45 are fantastic combo and Samyang fish is great), but for zooms or longer lenses - 43rds is way better.

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