Help me decide on a new lens

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Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:31 am

So I want a new lens for my Micro 4/3 cam. Right now I have:

Kit lens, 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 - It works when I'm lazy, and with proper lighting takes good pics
Image
OM 28mm f2.8 prime with adapter (100% manual) - Love.:
Image
OM 75-150mm with adapter (100% manual) - Do not like at all. Kind of hazy photos, not sure what its deal is. Optics look clear to my eye though:
Image
OM Vivitar 2x teleconverter (I use it with the 28mm to take macro shots):
Image

Was thinking of one of these to replace the 75-150mm:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-261505-M4 ... 44&sr=1-13 - $199, good reviews, native m43
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-45-200m ... 744&sr=1-1 - $239, good reviews, better autofocus, longer zoom


Or this 8mm fisheye:
http://www.amazon.com/Rokinon-FE8M-Fish ... im_sbs_p_6 - I know its lower end, but I'm not opposed to manual focus at all and I'm not a pro anyways, so for the price it would be fun.

Or, based on my love of the 28mm lens:
http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-17mm-f-2- ... 46&sr=1-14


I'll probably end up getting all 3 at some point (only one of the zooms obviously) before December when I got on a 12 day cruise to the Caribbean, but for now I just want to play and take better photos. So, whats your recommendation?
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:10 pm

How old is your 75-150? Lens element groups can begin to separate in an old piece of kit, alignment between groups gets sloppier as the focus and zoom mechanisms take wear, and a lot of the cheaper long zooms tend to have poor control over light dispersion inside the body and element groups, which affects contrast.

Suggest renting or borrowing something in the 10-20mm range, if you can, before settling on that 17mm prime. Wider-angle lenses can be fun but even the best rectilinears tend to flatten and exagerate the subject material the farther you get from the center of the image circle. For landscape, architecture, and general outdoor shooting, this is not an issue and in some cases, may even enhance the effect you're trying to get. For indoor shooting around groups of people, the results can be...kind of odd.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:36 pm

Zuiko ED 70-300mm f/4-5.6
$286 Used, $339 New

Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5
$725 Used, $1000 New
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:13 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Zuiko ED 70-300mm f/4-5.6
$286 Used, $339 New

Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5
$725 Used, $1000 New



Both of those are regular 4/3 lenses. I don't have the proper 4/3 -> u4/3 adapter (yet). Its another $150 for that adapter, or you can get it with a 40-150 F4.0-5.5 lens for $199. The same lens in native u4/3 is $230 and a little bit smaller in size. I considered getting it because its a deal with the adapter, but have yet to pull the trigger.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:34 am

Corrado wrote:Was thinking of one of these to replace the 75-150mm:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-261505-M4 ... 44&sr=1-13 - $199, good reviews, native m43
http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-45-200m ... 744&sr=1-1 - $239, good reviews, better autofocus, longer zoom


The Panny gets rather soft past 150mm, so the longer reach isn't as big an advantage over the Oly. I'd get the 40-150 instead as it's a good deal lighter.

Or, based on my love of the 28mm lens:
http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-17mm-f-2- ... 46&sr=1-14


The panasonic 20/1.7 is a hands-down better lens than the 17. It's a good deal sharper, faster and contrastier, and is widely considered to be 'THE lens' to get in the format. Downsides are that it's a tad pricier, is a bit slow to focus, and is noisy to focus (an issue if you're using it for video). Also, on Oly bodies, it won't auto-correct CA, but having said that, it still has less CA than the 17/2.8.

I'd be wary of spending too much money into m43 though. As someone who has sunk nearly $3k into the system, I am dismayed by its lack of progress - although the optics are nice, most of its cameras are using sensor technology from 2008 (the 12 MP sensor first appeared on the E-30). Perhaps it may be a smarter idea to just restrict yourself to cheap legacy primes (C-mount, M-mount and SLR) for now. The sole area where m43 has a lead on the rest of the market is with the GH2's video capabilities, but that's a rather niche market. Also, with Oly's Imaging Dept bleeding money, I don't know how bright a future the format will have.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:39 am

I'm not really worried about it. If anything happens to Olympus, my stuff will still work. I'm not the kind of person that replaces their camera just cuz something newer and flashier comes out. I only bought the E-PL1 because my old Sony prosumer took a dump. I was reading the mu-43.com forums, and it was split 50/50 over the 17mm oly vs the 20mm pany. I figured I'm not good enough to really notice the difference but I'm not opposed to spending the money on the pany.


With that said, I just bid on the MMF-2 adapter on ebay that ends in 5 hours. If I win it, I'm going to pick this up:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-40-150mm- ... 45&sr=1-53

$145-175 in used/like new condition. The better aperture seems like a better deal considering I'd get it for the same price or slightly less than the 40-150 f4.0-5.6.
Last edited by Corrado on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:39 am

ludi wrote:Suggest renting or borrowing something in the 10-20mm range, if you can, before settling on that 17mm prime. Wider-angle lenses can be fun but even the best rectilinears tend to flatten and exagerate the subject material the farther you get from the center of the image circle. For landscape, architecture, and general outdoor shooting, this is not an issue and in some cases, may even enhance the effect you're trying to get. For indoor shooting around groups of people, the results can be...kind of odd.


Don't forget that with the 2x crop, the 17 on m43 gives an equivalent FOV to a 34mm prime on FF. The 20 on m43 counts as a normal lens (sensor diagonal is 21.6mm).
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:52 am

Corrado wrote:I was reading the mu-43.com forums, and it was split 50/50 over the 17mm oly vs the 20mm pany. I figured I'm not good enough to really notice the difference but I'm not opposed to spending the money on the pany.


Check out dpr's test results.

You have to stop down the 17/2.8 to f/4 to get the same sharpness as the 20/1.7 wide open. Stop the 20 to f/2.0 or smaller, and it leaves the Oly in the dust.

Course, MTF-50 should not be the sole metric in judging a lens, but the Panny also boasts excellent contrast and colour rendering. It does suffer from vignetting wide open (over 1.4 stop), but quickly vanishes on stopping down - I usually shoot mine at f/2.0 and have no issues with vignetting in real-world conditions.

I happen to like the 40mm equivalent FOV of the 20, too. It makes it slightly more suitable as a casual portrait lens than the 17, although the sharpness of the 20 can be a double edged sword when it comes to taking portraits of women.

With that said, I just bid on the MMF-2 adapter on ebay that ends in 5 hours. If I win it, I'm going to pick this up:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-40-150mm- ... 45&sr=1-53

$145-175 in used/like new condition. The better aperture seems like a better deal considering I'd get it for the same price or slightly less than the 40-150 f4.0-5.6.


I tested the lens with a MMF-2 on an E-PL1 and found the AF to be rather slow. Not sure which firmware revision the body was using, though (v1.1 and later had much faster AF than the original).

If you're getting into 4/3 lenses, though the Zuiko 50/2 macro is a perennial favourite. (Very) Slow AF, but astronomically sharp. Alas, it has no AF limiter, which can be annoying when the camera racks the lens through the entire range. It's a lot more usable on an E-5 with its lightning-fast AF system, but still a very good lens on a m43 body.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:45 am

As much as I like the 4/3 format, it does have a shakey future.

Of all of the camera formats - Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony/Minolta, and 4/3 - the only one that I KNOW will be going strong in 10 years is Canon. Camera bodies come and go, but the lens system is a long term investment. It is something to consider before dropping money on a system.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:49 am

I settled on micro 4/3 because I was completely satisfied with my Sony Pro-Sumer, but wanted interchangeable lenses. I don't need or want the bulk of a full size DSLR, but I do want the ability to swap lenses.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:34 pm

mcnabney wrote:Of all of the camera formats - Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony/Minolta, and 4/3 - the only one that I KNOW will be going strong in 10 years is Canon. Camera bodies come and go, but the lens system is a long term investment. It is something to consider before dropping money on a system.

Eh? I don't see Nikon going anywhere. Granted, they need to stop screwing around on the electronic lens mount vs. motor-in-body system debate and make a full commitment, like Canon did when switching to EF mount, but the DX-series crop factor lenses are carrying the brand in that direction.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:24 pm

Canon has sold over 60 million EF lenses in the past 25 years. Every one of them is fully-functional with even the cheapest Canon DSLR. Nikon is still gradually converting their lens lineup to electronic auto-focusing AF-S lenses. They've only been at it for the past 3 decades.

The Olympus 4/3 telephoto lenses should be fully-functional with the correct micro-4/3 adapter. There wouldn't be much weight or size advantage to designing a telephoto lens for the smaller image circle like there is for wide-angle lenses, which can be much smaller and lighter than the same lenses designed for larger sensors. The few reviews that I read of the 70-300mm lens were very favorable. With the micro-4/3 crop factor, 300mm is a powerful super-telephoto. As long as there is plenty of light, it should reach waaaay out there.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:01 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Canon has sold over 60 million EF lenses in the past 25 years. Every one of them is fully-functional with even the cheapest Canon DSLR. Nikon is still gradually converting their lens lineup to electronic auto-focusing AF-S lenses. They've only been at it for the past 3 decades.


That's also a downside. Many of the lenses in their current range have not been updated in over 20 years, and they show up poorly in the digital age.

The Olympus 4/3 telephoto lenses should be fully-functional with the correct micro-4/3 adapter. There wouldn't be much weight or size advantage to designing a telephoto lens for the smaller image circle like there is for wide-angle lenses, which can be much smaller and lighter than the same lenses designed for larger sensors. The few reviews that I read of the 70-300mm lens were very favorable. With the micro-4/3 crop factor, 300mm is a powerful super-telephoto. As long as there is plenty of light, it should reach waaaay out there.


There may not be as much advantage in telephoto lenses, but don't forget that you don't need as long a focal length to reach the same FOV. Case in point the Oly 14-35/2 and the 35-100/2, which are a full stop faster than equivalent FF DSLR lenses (unfortunately, they also cost up to twice as much as the EF equivalents. Yeowch!). There are advantages to waiting for m43 equivalents, though. Many of the 4/3 lenses are not optimized for CDAF, and the m43 equivalents are smaller yet because Oly had a telecentricity mandate for 4/3 which is no longer necessary, meaning designs can be simpler and more compact.

m43's greatest weakness is in the sensor. Panasonic (the sole sensor supplier) really needs to up its game to keep up with Sony's latest crop of APS-C sensors. Unfortunately, m43 is a much smaller market and has smaller economies of scale, so the difference in performance between a, say, GH2 and a D7000 are greater than you'd expect from the ~60% greater recording surface area on APS-C. Yet most m43 cameras are stll using an even older sensor. Right now the GH2 and AG-AF100 are among the two best solutions for HD video, but that is a niche application and not enough to carry the format among photographers, IMO. And if they rest on their laurels, Canon, Nikon and Sony will surely catch up.

As far as lenses go, m43 is looking pretty good. It has the best legacy lens compatibility among the major formats, and with Schneider, Zeiss, Cosina-Voigtlander and Sigma all signing on to make m43-compatible lenses (the CV 25/0.95 was successful enough to completely sell out its first production run), it's got a promising lens lineup. What they really need to work on now is the sensor.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:15 pm

I've settled on the Pany 20mm, but Amazon is out of stock, and I'd rather order direct from Amazon so that should I end up not liking it for some reason I have a 30 day return policy no questions asked.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:17 am

You will be happy with the 20mm. Provided the noisy AF and aperature don't drive you mad. The aperature noise is actually much worse than the AF noise. The E-PL1 varies the aperature more or less continously to control the amount of light reaching the sensor during live view. Needless to say it clicks all of the time. I picked mine up about a month ago. So far it has been pretty impressive apart from the racket.

I have both the OM Zuiko 28mm and the 75-150mm. My experience has shown the 75-150mm to be a pretty poor lens. But I guess that is to be expected from an old and cheap telephoto zoom (I think it was one of the cheapest available OM zooms). Now I know to stick with legacy prime lenses. One thing to remember though is that atmospheric effects like haze and heat shimmer tend to make photos from a telephoto look a little more washed out that you would expect. That has been my experience at least. I recommend switching to Canon FD mount if you are going to continue buying legacy lenses. There is a larger variety of lenses, they are easy to find and they tend to sell for cheaper than equivalent OM or Nikon lenses (mainly because they cannot be easily adapted to modern SLRs). Of course that's their disadvantagte too. You will be stuck using them on mirrorless cameras for the most part. But once you start buying modern lenses you will find you have less and less need for legacy glass. Of course I can't afford all that new stuff so I'll stick to my old lenses for now.

Personally I love my FD 50/1.4, FD 300/4L and Vivitar 90/2.5 macro. Here are a 300mm and macro example:

Image

Cropped:
Image

Click for the originals.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:30 am

Corrado wrote:Amazon is out of stock, and I'd rather order direct from Amazon.
I wouldn't hesitate to order from B&H Photo Video or from Adorama.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:38 am

Looks like they've gone up in price a little. Mine was $321 from Amazon last month. I'll agree that B&H is very good too. Only problem is that I have had bad luck wanting to order on holidays which I didn't know were holidays. Honestly it seems like their website is "closed" everytime I go to order something.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:59 am

imtheunknown176 wrote:Looks like they've gone up in price a little. Mine was $321 from Amazon last month. I'll agree that B&H is very good too. Only problem is that I have had bad luck wanting to order on holidays which I didn't know were holidays. Honestly it seems like their website is "closed" everytime I go to order something.


They're in Brooklyn NY, which leads me to believe they may be Jewish. If they're that close to Williamsburg (and no matter where you are in Brooklyn, you're close to Wiliamsburg) it may be 'status quo' to be closed for ALL Jewish holidays, and not just the main ones.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:08 am

B&H does close for the Sabbath and they close for most Jewish holidays. If you put in your order during the week you'll be fine, you just can't order after sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:56 pm

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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:38 am

Yeah, Adorama is also closed for the major Jewish holidays. But as long as you can work around those, their service is excellent.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:54 pm

Here's yet another option, although I think it's a bit overpriced, moreso than the 20/1.7 (which is a more versatile focal length and fast enough to give you more DoF control).
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:15 am

Corrado wrote:They're in Brooklyn NY, which leads me to believe they may be Jewish. If they're that close to Williamsburg (and no matter where you are in Brooklyn, you're close to Wiliamsburg) it may be 'status quo' to be closed for ALL Jewish holidays, and not just the main ones.
B&H isn't in Brooklyn; they're in mid-town Manhattan, a block from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. If you're ever in NYC, and photo stuff interests you at all, I highly recommend a visit to their store. Not only is there amazing stuff right there on the shelves that would be special order almost anywhere else (part of one floor devoted to underwater photography, another to macro, etc), but the whole place is like Santa's workshop run by Hasidic elves -- there are these crazy overhead conveyor belts, and when you order something it arrives at the cashier in a dangling basket via one of these. It's like you fell into some kind of alternate reality where stores were designed by Tim Burton. And he's Jewish.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:26 am

UberGerbil wrote:the whole place is like Santa's workshop run by Hasidic elves -- there are these crazy overhead conveyor belts, and when you order something it arrives at the cashier in a dangling basket via one of these. It's like you fell into some kind of alternate reality where stores were designed by Tim Burton. And he's Jewish.


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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:05 am

UberGerbil wrote:
Corrado wrote:They're in Brooklyn NY, which leads me to believe they may be Jewish. If they're that close to Williamsburg (and no matter where you are in Brooklyn, you're close to Wiliamsburg) it may be 'status quo' to be closed for ALL Jewish holidays, and not just the main ones.
B&H isn't in Brooklyn; they're in mid-town Manhattan, a block from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. If you're ever in NYC, and photo stuff interests you at all, I highly recommend a visit to their store. Not only is there amazing stuff right there on the shelves that would be special order almost anywhere else (part of one floor devoted to underwater photography, another to macro, etc), but the whole place is like Santa's workshop run by Hasidic elves -- there are these crazy overhead conveyor belts, and when you order something it arrives at the cashier in a dangling basket via one of these. It's like you fell into some kind of alternate reality where stores were designed by Tim Burton. And he's Jewish.


I have no idea why I thought they were in Brooklyn. I thought I saw an address for them on their site that said Brooklyn, but upon looking again, I guess I was mistaken.


In other news, I bought the 40-150mm Oly native m43 lens. I found it for $195 shipped, and couldn't say no at that price. in a few weeks I will pick up the 20mm.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:49 pm

Lens got here today. It was already dark, but I did have some time to play. So far so good. Trying to decide if I want a macro lens next or not. I can pick up the 35mm F3.5 from adorama for $195 + $130 for the MMF-2 adapter, or I can get the 20mm F1.7 Panasonic + a thread on macro adapter. Any thoughts?
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:32 pm

IIRC, Voldenuit has the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-ELMARIT 45mm f/2.8 Aspherical Mega O.I.S. referenced in this thread. How compatible is that with your Olympus?

A lot of macro work is manual-focus anyway. What about an old manual-focus macro lens like the FD 100mm f/4 macro?
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:37 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:IIRC, Voldenuit has the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-ELMARIT 45mm f/2.8 Aspherical Mega O.I.S. referenced in this thread. How compatible is that with your Olympus?


Its directly compatible, but I'm not looking to spend $700+. The 35mm is $195, and the adapter is $120, or $240 for the 17mm and $40 for a macro filter.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:46 pm

Cheap FD to micro-4/3 adapter:
http://www.adorama.com/CZFDM43.html

Are there any extension tube sets that would maintain the auto-focus capability of your existing lens?
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:25 pm

Look for an older manual focus 90mm macro lens. I have the Tamron 90mm f2.5 and the Vivitar Series 1 90mm f2.5. Both cost me around $120. Superbly sharp and well built lenses. All the metal is something to behold. I think you will find the 90mm (180mm eqv) focal length more useful than the 35mm as well. Only problem is that they only go to 1:2 without adapters. Still, it's a lot of macro for the money. You could also go with a 50mm lens with extension tubes. That's an even cheaper route. I used an OM 50mm with 25mm of ext tube for a while and was quite happy with the results.

JustAnEngineer wrote:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/HelpCenter/HoursOfOperation.jsp


Thanks for that list. I was under the impression that they were closed because of Jewish holidays but I didn't really know when they were. Too lazy to look too (especially with my free Amazon prime subscription).

By the way, I'd like to know how the 40-150mm performs.
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