A list of good/bad MFT lens for new owner?

Started Oct 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
shihhan Regular Member • Posts: 307
45-150 or 45-200

Al Bond wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to produce such a comprehensive and thoughtful list of lenses.

I'm a fairly long standing M4/3 user but, even keeping an eye on new lens releases and reviews, it can be difficult to remember what is out there and how they compare! It is a pity that you can't have "sticky" posts that stay at the top of the forum for when newbies join: yours would be a prime candidate.

Ironically, I have the opposite problem to the OP. I recently upgraded my G1 (which I got with the 14-45 and 45-200) to a G5. Because of the cash back offer at the time, the cheapest way of getting a G5 body was to go for the twin lens kit (14-42 and 45-150) and sell the lenses. The 14-42 will go and had I assumed that I would sell the 45-150 as well. But having seen how compact the 14-150 is, I may well keep it even though I do like the extra reach of the 14-200.

Looks like I'm going to have to do some serious comparison testing of these 2 lenses!

Hi Al Bond,

So, you now have a G5 + 14-45 (congrats on getting the G5, and keeping the *right* kit lens!) and you're now deciding on which tele to keep...

From my extensive trawling of forums/reviews, this is what I have gathered:

Specs and Features

45-150: 62mm (diameter) x 73mm (length), weights 200g, uses 52mm filters
45-175 X: 61x90, 210g, 46mm filters + non-extending zoom, PZ, power OIS
45-200: 70x100, 380g, 52mm filter

*I've highlighted the key advantages in bold. But basically:

Zoom range: no brainer... 45-200 > 175 > 150 (lol!)

Size: 45-150 and 45-175 much more compact

Weight: 45-150 and 45-175 much lighter

Filter: 45-150 and 45-200 use the same 52mm filters as your 14-45 (and 14-42)... though the new 14-42 II will use 46mm filters (as the 45-175, hmm...)

Non-extending zoom: 45-175 wins hands down! (nice feature to have)

45-175 also has zoom-by-wire zoom ring + power zoom lever (if you're into video)
It also has the (supposedly) better power OIS*...

*Word of warning: some people complain about image quality issues with the 45-175, apparently due to shutter shock or OIS issues. Apparently the problem shows up when zoomed in (175mm) using specific SS (1/60-1/150) causing images to be soft. Personally, I've never experienced this problem (on the latest firmware etc.), but if you are worried about it then it may save some grief/stress to avoid the lens.

Image Quality

A handful of reviews MTFs from the usual sites (ephotozine, dxomark etc.) show:

- 45mm: centre excellent, edges good
- 75mm: centre excellent, edge good/excellent
- 150mm: centre good, edge good
- usable f4-f8 (+maybe f11), stopping down gives a tiny improvement in edge IQ at 45mm
- CA: low (~0.5 pixels)
- Vignetting: well controlled
- Distortion: well controlled (+ on P bodies, auto-correct)
- Flare: low, with circular lens hood

45-175 X
- 45mm: centre excellent, edge good
- 112mm: centre excellent, edges good
- 175mm: centre excellent, edge good/excellent
- usable f4-f8 (+maybe f11), stopping down improves IQ (most significant at 112mm f5.6)
- CA: very low (<0.25 pixels)
- Vignetting: well controlled
- Distortion: well controlled (+ on P bodies, auto-correct)
- Flare: low, with circular lens hood + nano surface coating

- 45mm: centre good/excellent, edges good
- 75mm: centre excellent, edge good/excellent
- 200mm: centre good, edge fair
- usable f4-f16, stopping down gives a big improvement on IQ (45 f5.6 and 200 f8)
- CA: borderline (~1 pixels)
- Vignetting: well controlled
- Distortion: well controlled (+ on P bodies, auto-correct)
- Flare: low, with circular lens hood

So you can see that 45-150 and 45-175 give better IQ (on average) than 45-200.
The 45-200 IQ loses out a bit at the wide end (very minor)... but A LOT at the tele end!

Compare this with the 100-300 supertele, which shows:
- excellent/good at 100mm / 200mm (edges suffer more at 100mm)
- good at 300mm

The the 45-200 performance at 200mm is really not that great.


So the question is: should you keep the 45-150 or 45-200?

Well, it really depends on your budget... and whether you *really* need the 200m FL!

Plan A. Keep 45-150, and trade the 45-200 for a 100-300 (£350 second hand?)

Plan B. Sell both for the 45-175 X. Assuming you can put up with being 25mm short in the tele end, and don't object the lens (go try it out somewhere that's not Jessops!).

Objectively its the best lens out of the lot, and price wise, is only £20 more than a 45-150. (but see warning above on the bad press it's been getting...) Though new 46mm filters will be another hidden cost...

My Personal Setup (so take with a pinch of salt!)

I did have the 14-45 and 45-175 X before and found them OK.
(That is until I splashed out on a 12-35 X and 100-300 last week lol!)

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