Why are all M43 zoom lenses so abysmally dark?

Started Sep 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Francis Carver
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Why are all M43 zoom lenses so abysmally dark?
Sep 9, 2012

Considering maybe getting the upcoming Panny Lumix DMC-GH3 for video shooting, but first wanted to see what the lens situation is. Seems like M4/3 lenses are still the darkest and lowest zoom range optics out there. In fact, i just don't see how anyone can shoot low-light video clips with one of these M4/3 zoom jobs. Since the M4/3 forma factor has been around for a few years now, when will the companies making M43 zoom lenses will at lrast try to get into the neighborhood of APS-C image circle lenses, I wonder?

I am looking at the M4/3 lens line-up on the B&H web site. Wow, a 4x zoom range Olympus zoom for $900 that has a maximum open iris of F4.8 at the short-end and an F6.7 at the long-end? For video use, this is a summertime beach lens. During the day. But after the Sun goes down - not so good, right?

I am not trying to to pick any fights here, just cannot figure out why the variable focal M4/3 lenses are so dark? Also, why do they have such low focal ranges -- for instance, for the APS-C sensor cameras, you can now get a pretty neat 18-300mm zoom lens (Nikon) which is a 16.7x zoom ratio. Or get an 18-270mm from another mfr. But for the M4/3 cameras, it looks like the absolute longest range is only 10.7x, and is an F4.0-5.7 lens. This is strange to me, since obviously the image circle that the lens needs to cover is considerable smaller for a M4/3 sensor than for an APS-C sensor.

I am just trying to find out the 'why'part, since I surveyed the lens-line up on B&H. Single focals are another story, no problems there (although they are pretty pricey), just w. the M4/3 zooms. Maybe M4/3 shooters don't even need longer range, brighter zooms than what Oly/Panny is giving them now?

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