Why I prefer M4/3 lenses on M4/3 bodies

Started Sep 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
GBC Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: OK, lets make that comparison

Marty4650 wrote:

Olymore wrote:

Include the 12-60mm and 14-54mm in the comparison and it isn't quite so clear cut.
Given the extra range of those lenses and only slighty slower speed the relatively small differences in weight over the 12-40mm Olympus are entirely justified and I doubt that an M43 version would have a significant difference in either size or weight

I tried to compare lenses that were very close in focal length and maximum aperture. In fact, most were exactly the same. But if you insist on comparing constant aperture zoom lenses to variable aperture zoom lenses with widely different zoom ranges, then we can do that too.

And this shows us that your partially right. There isn't much difference between price. But there is a huge difference in weight, with the extreme case of one lens weighing more than twice as much as another. And there is a visible and significant difference in size.

There is no perfect comparison in this category.

We could also compare the 4/3 normal zooms with a 12-50mm and 14-42mm M4/3 lenses too. Those would be even closer in range, and would share the same problem of having different lens speeds. If we did that, at least we would have no constant aperture zooms in the comparison.

I think the 12-35mm and 12-40mm compare closer to the 4/3 14-35mm lens than the 14-54mm or 12-60mm lens. But even that comparison is flawed due to lens speed. Which is why I omitted this category of lens completely. There just are no good direct comparisons.

Note that I had to include the adapters, since you cannot use a 4/3 lens on an M4/3 body without one.

You are not serious about the 14-35 f2 being in the same league as the 12-40 or 12-35. You're out to lunch there. Sorry.

The 12-40 may be slightly better than the 12-60, but the 14-35 will spank it resolution wise (especially on the sensor of the future) a has less vingnetting with better sharpness in the corners and edge of the frame. And bokeh is no contest with the 12-60, and color, and contrast.

I also think that not considering a used 11-22 for under $500 would be a bad chose. The lens is amazing, cheap, splashproof, fast, takes filters, is light and a serious chose for people interested in that focal length. I would never choose a m4/3rds 9-18 over an 11-22 for the same price, just so I can save a few grams or have a slightly smaller bag.

What about a great deal on a 50mm F2, why not take it over a 60mm. You can use the macro flashes, and an extension tube. Overall size and cost are similar, the zuiko 50mm is super well respected and faster, but the AF might be slower.

Plus a used 12-60 is available now, high qaulity, versitile, fast autofocusing and can be found under $600 used. Not an option worth ignoring.

What option do you have in micro four thirds for a 35mm macro? There is no alternative.

4/3rds lenses require much less vignetting correction, CA fixes, and distortion correction that M4/3 as well, but that only really matters if you are using "unusal" raw convertors.

In the end, I agree with you saying that micro four thirds lenses are good, fast autofocusing and the future, but you are mistaken to disregard all the options available to you, especially if you buy gear second hand ever.

My final point, phase detect on sensor will be available for a long time, and will get better and better.

Anyways, here are a couple of excerpts from a evaluation of the 12-40 and the 12-60 from the four thirds user forum.

OK, I have now spent some time looking at the images. Based on examination of the JPEG images, sadly, I have to put my hand up and admit two failings; the 12-60 40mm shots are very slightly mis-focused compared to the 12-40 shots and the 12-60 lens sample does look de-centred, with the top right looking sharper than the top left.

Therefore I have decided to re-shoot the entire exercise and will use a different 12-60 and hope it is a better sample. The weather today is much better and sunny although forecast to deteriorate this afternoon. I need to wait for the light to shine on the front of the building later this morning before I can start but I will publish new images this afternoon.

But given the above comments, at 25mm, comparing the best areas of the 12-60 to the 12-40 there is not much difference except of course the 12-40 is 2/3 or so stops brighter fully open and doesn't seem to lose much to the 12-60 at f/3.4. At 12mm wide open and this time both at f/2.8 I think the 12-40 has a very slight edge in sharpness but we'll have to see how a different 12-60 sample works out. Surprisingly, given that the E-M1 is supposed to correct Four Thirds lenses for distortion in the JPEGs there is still quite a bit of barrel distortion with the 12-60 compared to the 12-40. I should also add that the 12-40 was more consistent in focus accuracy (using CDAF) than the 12-60 (PDAF) although the conditions weren't ideal.

Finally, the previous comments elsewhere that have referred to reduced sharpness at f/5.6 - I can concur and can only think that is a diffraction issue as it appears to affect both lenses.


This is highly interesting. Not only because of the decentering issues of the 12-60. But also because the 12-40 seems so incredibly consistent across the frame.

I've developped the RAW files with PhotoNinja, though, and now I see a slightly different result: First of all, there's a massive barrel distortion on the 12 mm end of the 12-40 (not surprisingly, I'd say). Secondly, in the corners you can see huge vignetting. Luckily, they're cropped once the distortion is corrected (Olympus Viewer crops much more than PhotoNinja, b.t.w. - even after distortion correction).

Thirdly, an that's for me the most interesting part: In the developped RAW file, the corners and edges seem to be notably softer than the center. There seems to be some selective sharpening going on: the soft outer part of the image is sharpened more than the center. That's why the results are so consistent.

If you shoot jpgs, it doesn't matter - the results are beautiful! But for RAW-shooters this may pose a problem (if you don't use a RAW converter that accounts for the lenses' weaknesses as well as e.g. DXO does).

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