Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.

Started May 3, 2012 | Discussions
RStyga
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Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
May 3, 2012

Now that E-M5 is out there is a clear market need for zoom lenses with large aperture. In the current m4/3 zoom lineup there is none. Considering that (m)4/3 sensors are half FF and thus, natively, do not offer very shallow DoF, it makes the need more pronounced.

If you were/are with a m4/3 system how would/do you deal with this lack? So far only primes can offer large apertures but not all FLs are covered; e.g. there's not a single tele prime with a large aperture.. actually, there are no m4/3 tele primes in general (save the short-tele 45mm 1.8). Last, using 4/3 lenses with an adaptor is not a viable solution due to the significant AF speed reduction.

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Gregm61
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

RStyga wrote:

Now that E-M5 is out there is a clear market need for zoom lenses with large aperture. In the current m4/3 zoom lineup there is none. Considering that (m)4/3 sensors are half FF and thus, natively, do not offer very shallow DoF, it makes the need more pronounced.

If you were/are with a m4/3 system how would/do you deal with this lack?

Fast primes, and I'm having a lot of fun with them. 12mm f2, 25mm f1.4, 45mm f1.8, and as soon as it is available, the 75mm f1.8.

So far only primes can offer large apertures but not all FLs are covered; e.g. there's not a single tele prime with a large aperture.. actually, there are no m4/3 tele primes in general (save the short-tele 45mm 1.8). Last, using 4/3 lenses with an adaptor is not a viable solution due to the significant AF speed reduction.

Even the two Panasonic f2.8 zooms in the works (for forever) will not zoom past 100mm.

If you need a fast tele zoom and you already have one with a DSLR outfit, keep it. It might be a while over here.

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Acrill
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

I would wait until Photokina 2012 when the two new Panasonic lenses are expected to debut.

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RStyga
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to Acrill, May 3, 2012

I do not think the m4/3 will ever compete as complete system without fast zooms and tele primes. So far they can only be promoted as very portable photo gear.

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bgalb
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to Acrill, May 3, 2012

My fear is that we will wait for these two fast panny zooms and find that they are as bad as the two panny x zooms that recently came out. I know that some have seemed to get good performance from these x lenses, but there have also been a large number of what I consider defective x lenses sold with no acknowledgement or explanation from Panasonic.

This is just unacceptable business ethics. You can bet your bottom dollar that Panasonic engineers discovered exactly what was wrong with those lenses, but their marketing people kept the facts under wraps and just denied that there was a problem. I guess there is no such thing as a recall in the photographic business.

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Klarno
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

We know that a Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100 are in the pipeline; they showed mockups a few months ago and they suggested f/2.8 constant aperture, which is as good as you're realistically going to get. The Olympus Four Thirds f/2.0 zooms are quite exotic glass, and you pay for it accordingly. If you want a faster zoom lens just for shallow DoF in portraiture, you're probably barking up the wrong tree here, and APS-C really doesn't do much better either.

There is also an upcoming Olympus 75mm f/1.8 to fill a longer tele prime need. Between it and the 45mm f/1.8, I think pretty much everything you need to cover in the 35-100 range can be covered combined with foot-zooming. Primes will always be brighter than a zoom lens of comparable quality, and zooms will always be faster to work with.

I'm using the Olympus 14-54 f/2.8-3.5 II with the necessary adapter. It's a very competent AF performer, it just won't do C-AF or silent AF for video. In lower light conditions where you can actually benefit from the lens' aperture, this lens actually focuses faster on m4/3 than it does on any 4/3 camera I've tried it on (PDAF still has a slight edge with this lens for focus speed in bright, overhead daylight conditions, which I also see as the conditions that are the least conducive to good photography).
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Promit
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to Klarno, May 3, 2012

Klarno wrote:

I'm using the Olympus 14-54 f/2.8-3.5 II with the necessary adapter. It's a very competent AF performer, it just won't do C-AF or silent AF for video. In lower light conditions where you actually benefit from the lens' aperture, this lens actually focuses faster on m4/3 than it does on any 4/3 camera I've tried it on.

I have this lens ordered, tracking says it will show up on Friday. I'm actually very relieved to hear that it does well at AF, as the only 4/3 lens I have at hand is the old 40-150. I've seen the video of it in action on the OM-D, but somehow I can't get a feel for it until I've been out shooting with it.

In any case, that lens is hopefully going to be my "large" aperture walk-around until Panasonic gets the new X zooms out.

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Macx
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

Olympus makes the 12-35 mm f/2, the 35-100 mm f/2, the 150 mm f/2 and the 300 mm f/2.8 for the four-thirds. A micro four-thirds version wouldn't be much smaller if at all. These are very niche products because of the price, and I think Olympus' philosophy has been that anybody interested in such kind of glass isn't concerned about bulk and as such is probably fine with using them on the full four-thirds bodies like the E-3 and E-5.

I think you are right that the success of the M5 changes things a bit, but frankly I think Olympus are going to keep the above lenses as four-thirds, pdaf-optimised designs, and just keep working on the pro camera body that is going to merge the four-thirds and the micro four-thirds with both pdaf and cdaf capabilities.

Now, Panasonic has teased about a couple of fixed-focal ratio zooms, which maybe f/2.8, maybe not, but everybody is expecting a formal announcement about them this summer. Hopefully, they'll be as good as their leaked and unconfirmed price tag of around a $1200 warrants.

From Olympus, I think the most probable next higher-end zoom will be a micro four-thirds version of the excellent 14-54 mm f/2.8-f/3.5. I haven't heard anybody who didn't like that lens, honestly, and if they can make it a tiny bit smaller and somewhat faster to autofocus without tampering with the optical quality and weather-sealing, I'd be a happy man.

RStyga wrote:

Now that E-M5 is out there is a clear market need for zoom lenses with large aperture. In the current m4/3 zoom lineup there is none. Considering that (m)4/3 sensors are half FF and thus, natively, do not offer very shallow DoF, it makes the need more pronounced.

If you were/are with a m4/3 system how would/do you deal with this lack? So far only primes can offer large apertures but not all FLs are covered; e.g. there's not a single tele prime with a large aperture.. actually, there are no m4/3 tele primes in general (save the short-tele 45mm 1.8). Last, using 4/3 lenses with an adaptor is not a viable solution due to the significant AF speed reduction.

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SkiHound
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

It is a hole in the current lens lineup. We'll see what the two Panny f2.8 zooms are like when they come out. I also have to think Olympus will release a couple of faster weather sealed zooms at some point. If the m43 system had come out with small bodies and relatively large, expensive, large aperture zooms I don't think they would have dented the market. As m43 gets more market share there will be more of us who will be willing to deal with the additional weight and cost of faster zooms. When I see Canons and Nikons out in public it's usually with slow kit zooms. I think we'll also see some faster longer teles at some point.

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Keenasmustard
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to Klarno, May 3, 2012

Hi

After the posts in this thread I am now considering buying the 14-54 lens. I hadn't considered it before because I thought autofocus would be very slow.

Is there any chance someone could post a picture of the OMD with the lens on it? Just trying to guage the size on the OMD.

Thanks

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RoyGBiv
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

RStyga wrote:

I do not think the m4/3 will ever compete as complete system without fast zooms and tele primes. So far they can only be promoted as very portable photo gear.

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I eagerly await the m4/3 fast zooms & more primes. I give them 5 yrs, conservatively.

But let's talk about specific requirements.

Have you ever shot for subject isolation @ an effective 150mm? Or an effective 300mm (the long end of a 45-150mm lens on m4/3) What aperture did you feel was sufficient for subject isolation?
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RStyga
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RoyGBiv, May 3, 2012

Well, it depends. I was even able to isolate for portrait photography using a sub-APS-C camera or even a compact camera but the problem becomes obvious when your subject is close to the background.

RoyGBiv wrote:

RStyga wrote:

I do not think the m4/3 will ever compete as complete system without fast zooms and tele primes. So far they can only be promoted as very portable photo gear.

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Regards,

I eagerly await the m4/3 fast zooms & more primes. I give them 5 yrs, conservatively.

But let's talk about specific requirements.

Have you ever shot for subject isolation @ an effective 150mm? Or an effective 300mm (the long end of a 45-150mm lens on m4/3) What aperture did you feel was sufficient for subject isolation?
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RStyga
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to bgalb, May 3, 2012

Sorry, I probably missed that episode; what's wrong with the Panasonic x zooms? I was actually eyeing a 14-42 X because its small size...

bgalb wrote:

My fear is that we will wait for these two fast panny zooms and find that they are as bad as the two panny x zooms that recently came out. I know that some have seemed to get good performance from these x lenses, but there have also been a large number of what I consider defective x lenses sold with no acknowledgement or explanation from Panasonic.

This is just unacceptable business ethics. You can bet your bottom dollar that Panasonic engineers discovered exactly what was wrong with those lenses, but their marketing people kept the facts under wraps and just denied that there was a problem. I guess there is no such thing as a recall in the photographic business.

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James Pilcher
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In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

No one camera system can do it all. No one comes to 4/3 for ultra shallow DOF. No one comes to 4/3 for big honkin' zoom and tele lenses.

The only reasonable recommendation for those instances where 4/3 does not make the grade, is to own two or more systems. A Nikon D700 and the latest 70-200mm f/2.8 VR is a good alternative when you need that speed. Then you are also primed (pun intended) to move up to the 85mm f/1.4, 200mm f/2, and other great fast expensive lenses.

If it comes down to money, then you have to pick your compromise. That's what I've done. the Zuiko 12mm, PL 25mm, Zuiko 45mm, and Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 (soon) are doing it for me right now.

RStyga wrote:

Now that E-M5 is out there is a clear market need for zoom lenses with large aperture. In the current m4/3 zoom lineup there is none. Considering that (m)4/3 sensors are half FF and thus, natively, do not offer very shallow DoF, it makes the need more pronounced.

If you were/are with a m4/3 system how would/do you deal with this lack? So far only primes can offer large apertures but not all FLs are covered; e.g. there's not a single tele prime with a large aperture.. actually, there are no m4/3 tele primes in general (save the short-tele 45mm 1.8). Last, using 4/3 lenses with an adaptor is not a viable solution due to the significant AF speed reduction.

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RoyGBiv
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

RStyga wrote:

Well, it depends. I was even able to isolate for portrait photography using a sub-APS-C camera or even a compact camera but the problem becomes obvious when your subject is close to the background.

That "problem" can be said regardless of your system...even if you're sporting a Pentax 645d. So, what would be sufficient? And on the alternative side...would you then struggle to achieve adequate DoF when the subject is close to the foreground?

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jxl
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

Really really want a replacement for my 4/3 50-200... Olympus or Panasonic, don't care... Make it and I will buy it.

I think the closest would be the 100-300 at 200 right now... But that is still around f5 I think.

I will of course keep on using the 50-200 with the adapter... Just too bad that the focus is a little slow (first gen model).

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Dheorl
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

RStyga wrote:

If you were/are with a m4/3 system how would/do you deal with this lack? So far only primes can offer large apertures but not all FLs are covered; e.g. there's not a single tele prime with a large aperture.. actually, there are no m4/3 tele primes in general (save the short-tele 45mm 1.8). Last, using 4/3 lenses with an adaptor is not a viable solution due to the significant AF speed reduction.

By not giving a grap about stupidly shallow DoF. That's why I went m4/3. I think portraits without the whole head in focus look stupid and I don't think much more of full body shots where the ground starts to go OoF a few feet behind the subject.

I don't see why using 4/3 lenses with an adapter is not viable. I've seen some great shots from people on this forum with manual focus lecagy primes. The only thing that you won't be able to get is birds in erratic flight and sports, both of which the system isn't great at with native lenses either.

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Jeremy_T
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to jxl, May 3, 2012

jxl wrote:

Really really want a replacement for my 4/3 50-200... Olympus or Panasonic, don't care... Make it and I will buy it.

Yes. Or alternately, make the 50-200 SWD work properly.

The Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 is also simply not fast enough to generate subject isolation in many circumstances. 70mm f/5.6 equivalent is simply not good enough as a portrait lens unless your subject is very far from the background.

The longer zoom will do OK, but a 70-200mm f/5.6 was a bargain bin freebie lens in the film days, and we'll likely pay over $1k for Panasonic's equivalent now. Ugh. It had really better be flawless optically.

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Pete Williamson
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to RStyga, May 3, 2012

What about the Oly four thirds "professiona"l zooms? I could live with slow focussing, but the small print on the Olympus site seems to suggest manual focussing may be neccesary. That would make them unworkable for me.
So why bring out a new 4/3 to m4/3 converter?

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Jeremy_T
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Re: Large-aperture zooms for m4/3.
In reply to Pete Williamson, May 3, 2012

Pete Williamson wrote:

What about the Oly four thirds "professiona"l zooms? I could live with slow focussing, but the small print on the Olympus site seems to suggest manual focussing may be neccesary. That would make them unworkable for me.
So why bring out a new 4/3 to m4/3 converter?

They will autofocus, but poorly relative to their performance on DSLRs. Manual focus is not required.

The issue of course is that you often want fast telephotos for capturing moving subjects, and the autofocus you get on M4/3 of the old lenses is inadequate for this purpose.

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