m4/3 primes are "stellar"?: distortion comparison to other lenses

Started Jul 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
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m4/3 primes are "stellar"?: distortion comparison to other lenses
Jul 3, 2013

Caveat: my favorite two cameras are the GX1 and E-PL5, and I use and enjoy the Oly 17mm 1.8. I also think the Olympus jpeg engine is superior to all other cameras on the market. So please don't bother saying I am some kind of Canon/Leica/Fuji troll, etc...

In another thread I made the reply to someone blasting Sony primes that Panasonic and Olympus m4/3 primes are not "stellar", and in fact are mediocre at best. Someone asked me if I want to 'recant' that. No, I do not.

I did about 15 minutes of browsing to find these numbers, and no I did not cherry-pick. I threw in some Canon EF lenses just as a comparison.

I understand that there is more to lens performance than a distortion number... but these results don't look all that "stellar" to me. M4/3 primes are consistantly higher in distortion than any other primes. I believe the Pany/Oly designers have made a decision to favor small size, cost, and speed over IQ. Then they attempt to correct it in post.

Having said that, often there are no other autofocus options in a particular focal length, or the alternative is too pricey, so the m4/3 lenses can be the best/only option. Everything in photography is a compromise, but please don't go around bragging about something that in reality your camera's algorithms are doing, not your glass.

Lens, distortion %, price

Olympus 75mm 1.8, 0.44%, $899
Voigtlander 75mm 1.8, 0.27%, $699
Canon EF 85mm 1.8, 0.14%, $369

Olympus 45mm 1.8, 1.02%, $349
Canon 50mm 1.8, 0.37%, $110
Zeiss 50mm 2.0 ZM, 0.17%, $859
Voigtlander 50mm 1.5, 0.08%, $899

Panasonic 25mm 1.4, 2.73%, $569
Canon EF 24mm 2.8, 1.32%, $699
Voigtlander 25mm 0.95, 1.07%, $999

Panasonic 20mm 1.7, 3.26%, $399
Canon EF 20mm 2.8, 1.89%, $489
Zeiss 21mm 2.8 ZF, 1.70%, $1843

Olympus 17mm 1.8, 4.54%, $499
Voigtlander 17mm 0.95, 1.77%, $1149
Zeiss 18mm f3.5 ZE, 1.77%, $1395

Olympus 12mm 2.0, 5.45%, $799
Voigtlander 12mm 5.6, 1.84%, $799

Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1
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