Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

Started Mar 4, 2010 | Discussions
Paul Guba Regular Member • Posts: 348
Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

So have my new E-P1 with kit lens which I am actually enjoying shooting with. Now I guess I should add that I shoot primarily with Nikon D3 and top zooms and primes. I mention that because when I am looking at the raw files from the E-P1 they look just a tad soft. Now I realize I am comparing it to a very good camera system. I am one who always tries to get the best out of a camera system. This is not a slam against the E-P1 it a really good camera. I am just wondering is the kit lens (being a kit lens) a little soft. If so what are some options for me? I would like to stick to just micro four thirds lenses. Is it so new that we are still waiting for the great options? I believe a good lens has even more value in this system since you can change camera makers and still use it.
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Paul Guba New Jersey Photographer
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oluv Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

Lumix G 20mm f/1.7

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gatorengineer64 Forum Member • Posts: 87
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

I havent shot the 20mm, but the Panny zooms arent very good.

I do shoot alot of old Nikon and Canon glass and am very pleased with the results. The only issue is you really cant get wide...... But at 50mm Plus equivalent, you will be very happy, with your Nikon glass.

autograph Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

oluv wrote:

Lumix G 20mm f/1.7

ditto

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Marla
Marla Veteran Member • Posts: 8,994
agree..........and

oluv wrote:

Lumix G 20mm f/1.7

I have the E-PL1 - and due to IBIS the 20mm/f1.7 (and other lenses) become Image stablized. Great asset IMO.

Maria

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Thomas Kachadurian
Thomas Kachadurian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,535
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

gatorengineer64 wrote:

I havent shot the 20mm, but the Panny zooms arent very good.

Upon what are you basing this? If your primary experience is with the 45-200 I can see where you might come to this conclusion. The 14-45 is pretty good for a kit lens.

The 7-14mm might well be the sharpest UWA - I've ever shot. There is nothing close to its wide end at all from Canon or Leica. The Nikon 14-24 I'm sure is as good or better, but I haven't shot Nikon since that lens was made.

The 14-140 is a 10x zoom, and again as good, or better than the 10x zooms from anyone else, including the Canon 28-300L.

But, back to the OP's question. The 20mm f1.7 is clearly the king of native M4/3 lenses.

Tom

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OP Paul Guba Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

I shoot with the Nikon 14-24 and all the good stuff you read about it is true. It is an amazing piece of glass. It is also very large and very expensive. Teamed with my D3 its a big bundle. Hard to beat optically though. That said its weight and value were one of the reasons I got the E-P1. I wanted a good affordable camera that I could carry on a daily basis and not obsess about if I left it unattended in my car.

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Enjoy the Day

Paul Guba New Jersey Photographer
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John Bean (UK) Forum Pro • Posts: 18,035
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

Thomas Kachadurian wrote:

gatorengineer64 wrote:

I havent shot the 20mm, but the Panny zooms arent very good.

Upon what are you basing this? If your primary experience is with the 45-200 I can see where you might come to this conclusion. The 14-45 is pretty good for a kit lens.

It's probably the best kit lens on the market, so I guess if "Panny zooms arent very good" [sic] then the rest must be complete cra... erm, I mean even less good

But, back to the OP's question. The 20mm f1.7 is clearly the king of native M4/3 lenses.

No argument from me; it's a lovely lens at all levels. I don't rate "sharpness" in isolation as a useful metric for assessing a lens' "goodness" in the real world but since the 20/1.7 happens to be very sharp along with its more important attributes it's a win-win all around.

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John Bean [GMT]

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compositor20 Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

i have both and the kit lens is not bad its corners arent bad but it is not very sharp eve i the center however the 20mm is really good it sharpens i lightroom to 80 and the other one it sharpens to 60 maximum because more than that you wont see extra detail or micro-contrast

it is also very contrasty and better with far aways subjects as landscapes and it has a pop 3d feeling that the other doeset but the kit lens for a collapsible is not bad but i think it hazes/glare a lot in my opinion but is sharp for a kit lens

John Bean (UK) Forum Pro • Posts: 18,035
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

compositor20 wrote:

but the kit lens for a collapsible is not bad

The Panasonic kit lens (that's the one we were discussing) is not collapsible.

The Olympus kit lens is collapsible but doesn't equal the performance of the Panasonic.

Which one do you have?

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John Bean [GMT]

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efMan Forum Member • Posts: 73
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

I use the Pany 20 1.7 on my EP2 and it is sharper than my kit zoom. It also has very close minimum focus and pretty good bokeh. But don't fool yourself. ALL commercial work goes through post production. I shoot a 5D with L glass and still need to occasionally the sharpen the image. I almost always selectively sharpen and when combined with good bokeh the image just pops.

Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,355
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

I consider my Micro-FourThirds bodies to be a part of a FourThirds camera system, which nowadays includes SLRs and mirrorless bodies and lenses, and I move lenses between all three bodies frequently.

So ... ranking my lenses in order of top to bottom performers, and leaving out the adapted manual lenses (peers on the same line):

Oly ZD 50mm Macro :: Oly ZD 11-22mm
Panasonic/Leica Summilux-D 25mm
Olympus ZD 35mm Macro :: Panasonic Lumix G 20mm :: P/L Vario-Elmarit-D 14-50mm
Olympus ZD 25mm

... and even the Olympus ZD 25mm f/2.8 is an outstanding performer:

(I don't own it anymore, but the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm lives on the line with the Vario-Elmarit-D 14-50, although the Vario-Elmarit has superior speed and bokeh performance.)

Obviously, the professional grade lenses perform better than the consumer grade lenses. But the range of "by how much" is remarkably small, the baseline performance of even the "worst" is still excellent.

If you're not getting excellent results from your Micro-FourThirds camera, look to your technique and usage rather than to the lens quality.
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compositor20 Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

taken at f4 with 20mm f1.7 so that you can see the sharpness (click 2 times in the picture please)

i have the mzd 14-42 kit lense from olympus e-p1

here to see the color rendition and contrast

those are 5 profiles one in capture one other i think it is olympus studio and the others are from lightroom standard and a corrected dng profile for e-p1

Ravncat Senior Member • Posts: 1,109
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

I wonder how the 20mm compares to the 45 macro...
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David247
David247 Senior Member • Posts: 2,406
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

Well you've gotten a lot of good responses already. The kit lenses are good for kit lenses, but let's face it, not very many kit lenses really excel and many are not that good all round. The Panasonic and Olympus kit lenses tend to rank on the high side as kit lenses go. But sounds like you are looking for something else.

Well, the 20mm F1.7 is highly recommended by just about everyone it seems including users. I don't have it.... yet. With my GH1 I have the 14-140 kit lens. Very nice for a 10X lens but not perfect. Corners a little soft at 14mm, from 18mm to 100mm it is very good across that range. At 140mm it is soft, not horrible but still noticeable.

My recommendations:
20mm F1.7 Lumix for a base prime lens. (exceptional)

7-14 Lumix ultra-wide (exceptional across its entire range.) A fantastic street lens.

45mm F2.8 Panny/Leica Macro. Don't believe the knocks against it because it isn't as good as the Olympus 50mm F2 macro, but that lens is a rare success and one of the premier macros of all time. The 45mm is still excellent, and very compact for a macro and goes to 1:1 without any adapter.

14-140mm very good from 18 to 100mm and acceptable otherwise. (Still ranks towards top of class for 10x zooms from any manufacturer).

RUMORED LENSES COMING UP

9-18 Olympus Zuiko. If it matches the quality of their regular 4/3 9-18 it will be a very good lens, probably a bit cheaper then the 7-14

100-300 long zoom. - I'm waiting for this lens or an equivalent and hope they don't compromise the IQ for size.

You are probably aware of the 4/3rd system 2X crop factor, so just remember to take the focal lengths above and double them to get the equivalent field of view for a full frame DSLR.

Good luck and have fun.

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Ann Chaikin
Ann Chaikin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,094
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens
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dark goob Contributing Member • Posts: 980
Re: Sharpest native micro four thirds lens

I agree. The 20mm 1.7 is amazing.

I also get really good results with my Olympus 14-42mm ED. Maybe you got a bad copy, or maybe you need to turn on your Image Stabilizer or turn down your ISO. I get VERY sharp results with my 14-42.

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