What is your idea of "the lens gap?"

Started Feb 1, 2014 | Polls thread
OP Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,049
Many, many good ideas here

I hope Panasonic, Olympus, and Sigma are paying attention, because these are their customers who will not hesitate to spend their hard earned money if you create something they want. This is the sort of market research that they normally don't get free of charge.

"If you build it, they will come."

I would like to thank all those who voted in the poll, all those who made very thoughtful suggestions, and all those who will continue to vote and make suggestions.

I'd like to share some of my own personal observations, that are just my personal opinion.

  • The desire for longer primes seems obvious. This is something really missing right now. I suppose the challenge will be in creating a reasonably fast long lens that isn't a seven pound monster like the 4/3 300mm f/2.8 lens is. Because no one buys a small format camera in order to have huge and expensive lenses. I think the solution might be a high quality compact weather sealed 300mm f/4.0 lens. Birding is a daylight sport, so perhaps a f/4.0 would do the trick. Especially with the new 4/3 sensors.
  • Many people want a 12-60mm lens, but this range may already be over saturated. We have a 12-32mm, 12-35mm, 12-40mm, and 12-50mm lens right now, and the last three are weathersealed. The 12-35mm and 12-40mm seem to be superb lenses, and a 12-60mm would certainly be larger, heavier and more expensive. So I doubt we will see any more 12-XXmm lenses for a while. 
  • Virtually everyone wants faster lenses. Faster primes, faster zooms, faster macro lenses, there is even a request for a faster travel zoom lens. Unfortunately, the faster a lens gets the larger, heavier and more expensive it gets too. The new 42.5mm f/1.2 is a perfect example of this. A beautiful lens, but it will cost $1,600 and weigh almost a pound. There is a market for this, but not a very large market. If you need the speed, then it becomes perfect for you. If not, it costs you as much as two other very nice lenses that you might get more use out of. Of course, when people say "faster" they usually mean f/2.0 for primes, or f/2.8 for zooms, and not anything as exotic as f/1.2. And we will probably see many more lenses in the f/1.8 to f/2.8 category.
  • Some very popular 4/3 lenses may never make it to M4/3. The best example I can think of is the 14-54mm lens, which was something that was prized by those of us who previously used the 4/3 system. I think many people have come to want more on the wider end today, as a 24mm EFL seems like a very popular starting point for all high end normal zooms. And this seems to be true for every format. FF, crop sensor, and even high end compacts. 12mm is just too useful to leave off a high end normal lens. My own personal favorite walk around lens, the 11-22mm lens will probably never be made in a M4/3 version. Which is a pity.
  • I don't expect much from third party lens makers. Sigma has never designed a lens for a 4/3 sensor. At one point, they had 14 different APSC lenses fitted with 4/3 lens mounts. They currently have 3 Sony NEX lenses fitted with M4/3 lenses. This was clearly an easy way for them to sell a few more lenses by swapping mounts, but they never devoted any R&D effort to making lenses for 4/3 sensors. And this will not change. But it may not even be needed if Olympus and Panasonic keep creating very nice lenses.
 Marty4650's gear list:Marty4650's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22mm 1:2.8-3.5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +12 more
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