From compact SuperZoom to m4/3 - Please help with lens selection.

Started Oct 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Digital Parasite
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From compact SuperZoom to m4/3 - Please help with lens selection.
Oct 25, 2012

For the last several years I have been using a Canon S10IX superzoom (28mm to 560mm zoom in 35mm equivalent) and am ready to make the jump to m4/3.  I shoot about as much video as I do taking photos so the GH3 is the body I'm interested in getting and the lighter bodies and lighter/smaller lenses compared to APS-C/FF is one of the reasons I'm interested in m4/3.

I need some help picking a couple of starting lenses.  I don't have a huge budget so I will likely only be able to start with 2 lenses and then work my way up over time.  One thing I did do is look at the 14k pictures I took with the Canon and extract the focal length information from the EXIF data so I could see what range I shoot most.  Here is what i found:

Values have been converted to m4/3 ranges so it is easy to map to m4/3 lenses:

  • 14mm - 35mm = 58% of photos
  • 35mm - 100mm = 29% of photos
  • 100mm - 150mm = 5% of photos
  • 150mm - 200mm = 3% of photos
  • 200mm - 300mm = 5% of photos

One thing that surprised me was that I don't actually use the long telephoto end as much as I figured I had so it is good that I looked at my actual numbers instead of guessing.

The GH3 will apparently come with 2 kit choices, the 12-35mm and the 14-140mm lens   I understand that the 12-35mm is an F2.8, better quality, will support the fast focus of the GH3, and is weather sealed compared to the 14-140mm.  If I only got the 12-35mm, I would be missing out on 35% of the pictures I like to take.  My budget does not allow me to get the new 35-100mm zoom as well so in the mean time I need something cheaper/else fill in the missing range.

Remember that I will also be using this for video so any recommendations should take that into account.  I see there is a new 45-150mm lens from Panasonic that is marked HD for video.  The kit 14-140mm lens is also marked HD and both are F4-5.6.  Does anyone know which lens has better IQ, build quality, OIS, and other features at the 45-140/150 range?  (ie: would it still be better to get a 14-140mm to start and keep using that for the 35-140 range even if I had the 12-35mm compared to the 45-150?)

Any other suggestions that I haven't mentioned?  At this point I'm not worried about covering ranges above 150/200mm since it is a small fraction of what I shoot overall.

Based on my budget I could afford getting the 12-35mm + 45-150mm, or the 14-140mm and then in 4-6 months get at 12-35mm on top of that.  Or some other combination that amounts to roughly the same equivalent price.  Since I tend to change my focal length quite a bit, at this point I'm not really looking at prime lenses but will consider it in the future once I get more experience with  m4/3.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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