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A Crazy Idea?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ijm5012, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    It all started last fall, when I purchased a non-SWD 50-200/MMF-3/EC-14 to use on my GH4 as a lens for shooting motorsports. I was looking for something that would have the reach and speed I was looking for, and the 50-200 was really the only lens in the system to do so. Even using it as a manual focus lens, I was extremely impressed with lens' performance. It was very sharp, and the speed advantage over lenses covering the same focal range was very much appreciated.

    Then in March, I purchased a refurbished E-M1 during one of Olympus' discount sales (this one was 25% off, so I managed to get the camera for $570 after tax, and added a 2 year warranty for an extra $80). Using the EM1 with the 50-200 at some local auto-x events this spring, I was pretty damn impressed with how well the E-M1 and 50-200 could track the cars, both coming at me, and when panning. Based on this information, as well as now having every lens I owned stabilized, I decided to purchase a second E-M1.

    As a function of GAS, coupled with too much discretionary income, I've accumulated quite the "collection" of camera equipment. I current have:
    • 2 E-M1's, both with the RRS base plate
    • 2 GH4's (one is currently up for sale, holding on to the other one for its 4K)
    • 1 GH4 battery grip (up for sale with the GH4)
    • Sony RX100M4 (upgraded from a Canon S120, and I love this little beast. Simply amazing)
    • Olympus 7-14 f/2.8 (upgraded from Panasonic 7-14 when I got my EM1's due to the purple flare issue, plus I wanted weather sealing. Very happy with this lens)
    • Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8
    • Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8
    • Panasonic 45-175 f/4-5.6
    • Olympus 50-200 (non-SWD)
    • PanaLeica 15mm f/1.7
    • PanaLeica 25mm f/1.4
    • Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7
    • Olympus 75mm f/1.8
    • Panasonic FL-360L flash
    • Panasonic FL-580L flash (currently broken, but I got it for free and plan on sending it in for repair once Texas isn't underwater anymore).
    • Various other items, including multiple filters, tripods, ballheads, etc.
    So, for anyone who says photography is a cheap hobby, I call BS.

    In an effort to cut down on some of the gear, I'm considering the following:
    • Sell my 12-35, 35-100, and 45-175, and use the money to purchase an Olympus 12-60.
    Not only would it cut down on my gear, but I would come out ahead by about $900, which I would put in to my "camera fund" account. With the recent rumors of the E-M1 Mk.II having 4K and a better PDAF system, I may sell my remaining GH4 and one of my E-M1's to purchase one (assuming that the reviews come back positive, which I can't imagine they wouldn't).

    My zoom's are really only used outdoors mostly, because f/2.8 on m43 isn't fast enough in a lot of poorly lit indoor areas with regards to ISO noise. And if I would use them indoors, I have 2 flashes that I could use (once I get the FL-580L repaired). So any difference in low-light AF shouldn't be a big deal, since I primarily use my primes when indoors. I would still maintain the weather sealing with the 12-60/MMF-3/EM-1, which is an important factor for me if I'm shooting an event that's all day and the weather conditions are spotty. The loss of aperture through the zoom range while not ideal, isn't a huge concern (it's about 3/4 a stop slower @ 35mm when compared to the 12-35). It's a trade-off that's necessary for the longer reach.

    Really the one thing that concerns me about the 12-60 is the "mustache" distortion @ 12mm. I'm aware of LR's ability to correct lens distortion, but has any successfully corrected mustache distortion in LR?

    Obviously, the other option on the table is the 14-54. The updsides to that lens is that it's faster (f/3.2 @ 35mm and f/3.5 @ 50mm, compared to f/3.7 @ 35mm and f/4 @ 50mm for the 12-60), it's smaller and lighter (not THAT big of a benefit for me, but nice to have none-the-less), it's cheaper, and it shares a 67mm thread diameter with my 50-200. While I would lose out on the wide angle (only 14mm vs 12mm), having the 7-14 f/2.8 may make up for that.


    I'd like to get people's opinions on selling my 12-35, 35-100, and 45-175 to consolidate lenses and pick up one of the 4/3 zooms instead. I'd also like to get people's opinions on the 12-60 versus the 14-54 II.
     
  2. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I sold the 12-40mm and went back to the 14-54ii a while ago. Same idea of putting the extra cash back into the fund. You won't lose any IQ. They are both great lenses and such a steal nowadays. IMO the 12-60mm is just kinda large for everyday use on the EM1, but YMMV (small compared to 50-200). It was my most used lens when I had 43 cameras though and is outstanding. The Mustache isn't that big of a deal most of the time. I know LR does a great job correcting vertical distortions, which I only discovered in the last year...so I wasn't aware or it might not have existed when I had the 12-60mm?...but since the lens profiles are built in, it should work. I just didn't realize I had to check a box to fix the verticals or never looked at it close enough.

    Like you said, if you are shooting wide you have other options. I opted for the 9-18, since it was so much smaller and cheaper and still sharp and also fits my 52mm filters/filter rings. I had a 43rds 7-14mm F4 and found it quite large, heavy and didn't care for the 7mm distortion in the corners. Besides I don't shoot ultra wide often to have that much $ tied up and the 9-18 suits me just fine.

    That all said, I don't use the 14-54mm that often. I end up packing a 12-50mm on trips for lightweight/weathersealing and it's a perfectly good lens, takes my 52mm filters and perfect for tripod work. My lightweight grab and go compact kit is the 9-18mm and 35-100 F4 that recently replaced the 12-50 and 40-150 (still own both)..and 17mm or 45mm if I need for low light.

    Based on what you have, selling the 3 you listed makes sense...and probably some others too that might not get much use. I need to pare down myself.
     
  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Now that you have the EM1's you really should look at adding the 150mm f/2 just because its such an amazing lens.

    Sell the lenses you listed and get the 4/3 35-100 f/2 and 14-35 f/2. That solves your aperture worry for indoor events and also gives you the weather sealing you need. If you need wider you have, as you mentioned, the 7-14.
     
  4. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I'm glad to hear you went from arguably the best "normal" zoom back to the 14-54 II, and weren't left wanting for IQ. The ability to share 67mm filters with my 50-200 is a plus, and the 14-54 + MMF-3 would come in under 500g, which I find is more than reasonable (the 7-14 f/2.8 is over 500g, and even then I don't find that too bad).
     
  5. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I've long lusted for this lens but I'm just not certain that I could get by with only 150mm (or 210 with the EC-14 on it). Having the flexibility of the zoom is fantastic, and adding another lens is going against my ultimate goal of reducing the number of lenses I have. Still, I understand what you're saying as the "little tuna" is a very special lens, as you've demonstrated time and time again.

    Nope. While the SHG f/2 lenses are optical marvels, they're simply too heavy and expensive for what I'm doing. I would still end up with the same amount of lenses I currently have, covering the same focal lengths, albeit 1 stop faster.

    They're excellent lenses, but they are of no interest to me.
     
  6. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I had re-bought a 14-54mki, for $80 after ebay discount. IQ is the same, but focus is a tad slower, but for that price I couldn't pass up. Not horrible, but I ended up selling and getting another MKii after going back and forth. For $200-250 it was worth it. I had reluctantly sold my beloved 12-60mm when I had the opportunity to another fanboy who had purchased my E30. Then I found one for sale years later when I had completely moved to M43 and got an EM1 that was an offer I couldn't refuse, but my instincts were right that I just wouldn't use it enough due to the size and weight and sold it again.

    FWIW both the 14-54 and 12-60 take great portraits. When I look back at my old pictures, I really got some great results from both of them. That's saying a lot after I had the 50mm F2 around the same time.
     
  7. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Ha..I almost mentioned that too, but didn't want to complicate his life. I love mine, but realistically I may need to part with it eventually.
     
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yeah, the only reason I ever parted with the 43 lenses was the AF was painfully slow and unbalanced weight until the EM1 arrived. That kinda changed the game and opened up new opportunities. It worked out though. I was able to Sell high and buy back lower. I never would have bought the 12-40mm if I had come into the system at the EM1 stage. I even considered selling the 40-150 pro and going back to the 50-200 or sticking with the kit version. Again, outstanding lens and fast long end, awesome hood design and aesthetics. I love it, but not sure I need it. The 50-200 is really cheap now, though it's heavy for a carry around lens. Ok if you are into wildlife, racing etc where you are mostly stationary.
     
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Well, I guess we'll see how I like the 14-54 II. I just bought one on ebay for $165 shipped with a 14-day money back guarantee (I just pay return shipping, which should only be $10-15). I'll try it out with the MMF-3 I have for my 50-200, and if I like it enough to keep it then I'll purchase another MMF-3. It should cost me somewhere between $250-$300 in total if I decide to keep it and buy another MMF-3.

    All told, if I keep the 14-54 II and sell my 12-35/35-100/45-175, it should net me about $1,000.
     
  10. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    As long as I am shooting µ4/3 I will never part with mine, unless they make a µ4/3 version. The IQ is unbeatable by any current µ4/3 lens and it is such a perfect focal length for most of my wildlife photography (with/out the EC-14). Once I get the 300mm ƒ4.0 Pro I will sell off my EC-20 because it will no longer be needed no matter what other 4/3 lenses I acquire.
     
  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Let me know how well you like it. I need something around that focal length for shooting stuff like cyclocross racing where you can get close to the action.
     
  12. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    If I shot wildlife or sports regularly I'd never sell it for sure. I used it at a concert the other night. Worked admirably. I get similar results from the 75mm though, just from closer up. The Little tuna draws more attention for sure. I picked up an EC20, because I got a great deal. Couldn't find an EC14 for a great deal at the time, but owned one years ago and sold it when I moved to M43. The EC20 surpassed expectations, though I haven't used it that much. I just can't justify keeping it and the 40-150 pro, though I love both and each has it's advantages over the other.
     
  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Will do. I'll be sure to report back with my thoughts. The nice thing is that at 35mm, the 14-54 II is only 1/3 a stop slower than my 12-35 (but it still has an additional 20mm of reach). Losing the 2mm on the wide end would be a bigger deal if I didn't own the 7-14 f/2.8, but since I do I don't think I'm that concerned. It would be ideal if I could cut my zoom portfolio down to the 7-14, 14-54 II, and 50-200.

    I purchased the Haida 100 filter system (4" x 4" square filters) to use with my 7-14, and I have 3, 6, and 10 stop ND filters so I'll be able to use those with both of the 4/3 zooms. All I'll need to get is a 67mm adapter ring for the Haida filter holder, which is about $25, and I'll be able to use those filters for all of my landscape work. I have a set of 3/6/10 stop ND filters in a 58mm thread, but I can use those with my RX100M4 and the MagFilter adapter.
     
  14. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    FTFY
     
  15. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    It seems a case or GAS struck pretty quickly this morning. Post at 5:44am and two hours later - positing you ordered another lens!

    You are not crazy - my kit for some time was the Olympus 7-14mm, 12-60mm, and 50-200mm. Substituting the 14-54 II for the 12-60 or vice versa brought some hot discussions in the day.

    I don't remember the 12-60mm having that radical of distortion at 12mm as compared to other WA lens. I had to check my Lightroom catalog and have nearly 1000 images shot at 12mm with this lens, with only 8 of those that made it into Photoshop for distortion correction. I've used Lightroom the entire time I've owned this lens and not sure if the software makes corrections or not, never checked. I still have the lens - just need to sell it.

    There are differences for all of us - but I know that when headed out for a shoot the 12-40mm will make it my bag 95% of the time over the 12-60. I initially thought I'd miss the extra 20mm but that seems to come to mind rarely.

    As for the 35-100mm and 50-200mm - the 35-100mm is so small and so good, that unless I know I'll need the extra 100mm the 50-200mm sits in the cabinet. And the extra 15mm at the wide end is a benefit as well.
     
  16. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 Top Veteran

    649
    Mar 26, 2014
    UK
    That question is quite complicated.

    Lightroom, and Photoshop's ACR, both enforce the application of M43 distortion correction parameters embedded in an ORF file. They don't say they are doing it and you can't stop them doing it. You can however apply your own additional manual corrections if you wish. I am referring only to barrel and pin-cushion distortion. This is all part of the M43 specification and it works across all M43 products. The lens holds the data, the camera collects it and stores it in the ORF. When creating a JPG in the camera it uses the same data to correct the distortion.

    Note that none of the above applies to 43 products, so photos from the 12-60 lens (not being an M43 lens) won't get corrected by this system. However Lightroom and ACR can provide automatic correction using instead their own distortion database. You can tell if it is doing it by looking in the distortion section of the window. You can also correct distortion manually in either product.

    If you have a lens that isn't M43 and isn't included in the (quite limited) Adobe database then you need a different solution. The only product I know that does all this including complex distortion, is PTLens, which I strongly recommend to any serious architectural photographer who isn't exclusively using M43. It is quite cheap and runs standalone or as a Photoshop plugin. I have used it for many years and the database of lenses it corrects is vast. PTLens Home Page

    This page is interesting, it includes a discussion of volume anamorphosis and how to correct it. PTLens | Distortion Explained
     
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    It's more like there was a great deal on eBay that I didn't want to miss. $165 for a 14-54 II, and if I'm not happy with it I can return it no questions asked.
     
  18. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Well, I received my 14-54 II yesterday. Very nice lens, not nearly as big or heavy as I had imagined it would be. The focus ring was noticeably looser than the one on my non-SWD 50-200. Manually focusing that lens is a breeze, while the 14-54 II was a bit more finicky.

    I grabbed it, my 12-35, E-M1, and a little tripod and went outside to shoot a brick wall. I compared the two lenses at the following focal lengths & speeds:
    • 14mm - wide open & f/5.6
    • 25mm - wide open & f/5.6
    • 35mm - wide open & f/5.6
    • 54mm - wide open & f/5.6 (for the 14-54 II only)
    I shot all images as RAW and pulled them in to lightroom to compare them, making no changes to them what-so-ever. Overall, I was pretty impressed with the performance of the lens. I think wide open the 12-35 has a minor edge, however it's so miniscule that I don't believe it would affect an actual image. Stopped down to f/5.6, the lenses were equivalent in terms of sharpness IMO, with possibly the slight edge going to the 14-54 II.

    I really like that the 14-54 II can go to 50mm, as it can serve as a pseudo portrait lens when shot wide open @ f/3.5 or stopped down a bit to f/4, and still have decent DoF control. I like that the lens is only 1/3 a stop slower than the 12-35 across the equivalent zoom range. I'm still not certain that I like the lens starting at 14mm, and the focusing ring wasn't nearly as nice to use as the one on my 50-200 non-SWD or the 12-35.

    Because of this, I ordered a used 12-60 from Adorama this morning. $300 including shipping, a 30-day return policy, and I should have it Friday (I paid for 2-day shipping so I would have it by the weekend). Based on handling the 14-54 II, I don't believe the marginal increase in size or weight will be an issue at all for me. From what I've read online, the 12-60 is sharper than the 14-54 II and about on-par with the 12-40 PRO, which should make it slightly better than my 12-35. I also think the SWD focusing motor is going to be a big plus, since it'll be quieter and allow direct, mechanical MF. The only real downsides to the lens are that it's about 1/3 a stop slower than the 14-54 II, which would put it at about 2/3 a stop slower than my 12-35 depending on the focal length used, and it uses a 72mm filter thread rather than a 67mm like the 14-54 II and 50-200.

    I really only plan to use the zooms in outdoor/well-lit conditions anyways (I have primes for indoors), so that slight loss in speed isn't really an issue for me. I think that the additional reach, and the ability to consolidate from a 12-35/35-100/50-200 three-lens kit down to a two-lens kit with the 12-60 & 50-200 on my two E-M1 bodies makes it a good trade-off for me. My only concern is that after experiencing the SWD focusing system with the 12-60 (quieter AF, faster AF, direct MF), that I'll want to sell my non-SWD 50-200 and upgrade to a SWD 50-200. I guess time will tell...

    Hopefully the lens will get here on Friday, and I can compare the 12-35, 14-54 II, and 12-60 head to head.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Nice thread. One dear to my heart in a way being a long time shooter of the 12-60mm and the non-SWD 50-200mm. A few personal experience thoughts I can throw in.

    I originally owned the 14-54 (the original version) and used it for about 6-7 months before picking up a 12-60mm. After about 8 months of owning the 12-60mm I realized I hadn't even touched the 14-54mm so decided to give it a try. Well I simply couldn't go back to 14mm when spoiled by 12mm. I sold the 14-54mm. Picture IQ-wise I never noticed a real big difference between the lenses. I think the 14-54mm lens was a fantastic image quality lens as well. It was the zoom range on the 12-60mm that made it such a great lens to me. 12mm on the wide end and frankly an unmatched 5x optical zoom range in the lens linep where other lenses either only offered 2x-3x typically or if they offered a bigger optical zoom range (e.g. the 18-180) couldn't even begin to match the quality of the 12-60mm.

    Yes, a large lens but having carried my around for years including mounted on much larger bodies such as the E-3 compared to the E-M1, I still don't mind its size or weight. Try holding an E-3 with the 12-60 and the FL-50 mounted on it, and just about any lens coupled with the E-M1 feels light. :) As someone else mentioned above, I too never noticed the distortion being any worse than many other wide angle lenses. To me you either are a don't mind distortion or can't bear it type of user. If you can't bear it, many other UWA lenses are probably gonna bug you as well.

    As to the 12-60mm + 50-200mm combo, while I love both lenses I couldn't imagine carrying both around with me. If I am out shooting my boys sports, I bring the 50-200mm and nothing else. When I go on vacation, I bring the 12-60mm and for a longer lens in the past I have packed the OM 135/2.8 legacy manual lens or something like the 40-150mm R which weighs almost nothing so not a big deal to drag along for those 15% of shoot I might use it on.

    And finally, I did buy a Panny 12-35/2.8 before our family vacation last summer to try and travel lighter than the 12-60mm. It is a very nice lens and I continue to use it for traveling. But the 12-60mm, when not traveling, still ends up on the E-M1 as much or more than the 12-35. I would never give up the 12-60mm, simple as that. The 12-35 offers the f/2.8 thru its range, but the 12-60mm offers almost twice the reach with pretty much the same image quality (Oly really did a terrific job with IQ considering its 5x zoom), so again making it a much more versatile lens in my view. My main bitch with the Panny (being the only Panny lens I own) is that the zoom ring turns the "wrong" way. That still throws my muscle memory for a loop. :)
     
  20. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    @PakkyT@PakkyT, thanks for your thoughts.

    Back when I got the 12-35, one of the biggest reasons I bought it was for its 12mm wide angle (the other being its fast aperture). The difference between 12mm and 14mm is pretty substantial, and I have run in to instances with my 12-35 where I can just fit the image in frame when set to 12mm, but 14mm is too narrow.

    While I love the 12-35 and 35-100 f/2.8 twins for their IQ, size, and speed, I definitely needed more reach on the long end for when I would be shooting motorsports simply because most of the time you just can't get that close to the action (and the 150mm of the 40-150 PRO wasn't enough, and while you can add the 1.4x TC to it for 210mm of reach which is better, it's pretty damn expensive at that point for a constant f/4 lens). Because of this, I picked up the 50-200, and once I tried it on my E-M1 I was pretty much in-love. Great reach, speed, and C-AF ability.

    That got the whole ball rolling about trying to consolidate some of my gear. I recently picked up a Sony RX100M4, which will pretty much replace my typical one-body-one-lens travel kit for when I travel for business, which up to this point had been a GH4 and 12-35. But with the RX100M4, I'm getting the same range, faster speed on the wide end (1 1/3 stops!), and can still shoot 4K. Combining these items, coupled with the fact that I have a great set of primes (PL15, PL25, P42.5, O75), I figured I should look to sell some of my gear and pare down my kit (without giving a whole lot up).

    I figure the money I'll get from selling some of my gear (just sold one of my GH4's last night, and will be listing the 12-35 & 35-100 this weekend assuming the 12-60 performs well at the local auto race this weekend) can go back in to my "camera" account, where it'll sit until Photokina comes around and I can see what new tech is out there, what lenses are coming out, etc., and decide what to do from there.

    So, I don't mind the larger size/weight of the 4/3 lenses because they offer a value and IQ that can't be matched in any system. The AF speed outdoors in good light is fine by my standards, and the fact that its slower indoors isn't a concern because of the prime lenses I have. I plan to do a comparison of all 3 lenses this weekend, so hopefully it'll be of use to anybody else who may be considering a similar path.


    One question I do have for you is, how do you like the SWD focusing system on the 12-60 when compared to the non-SWD system on the 50-200? Depending on how I feel about the 12-60, I may look to sell my 50-200 and pick up the SWD variant instead.