Advice regarding micro-4/3 system ...

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Sella174, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Sella174

    Sella174 Mu-43 Rookie

    I have come to this forum seeking advice regarding the micro-4/3 system and as such this will be a frank post. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed.

    I am currently a Canon user, with my kit consisting of -
    • Canon EOS 5D
    • Canon EOS 30D (two)
    • Canon EF 24mm f/2.8
    • Canon EF Compact-Macro 50mm f/2.5
    • Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8L USM
    • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
    • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM
    Of this, the EOS 5D with the 70-200mm f/4 is used the most and, strangely, the 28-70mm the least. It is all old gear that I've had and used for many years. Two of the lenses (the 24mm and the 50mm) have now given notice and the 400mm needs to be cleaned. The replacement of the 24mm is ridiculously overpriced and there's none for the 50mm. The cameras are showing their age and the accumulation of years of dust on the sensor. Neither the 6D nor the 5D Mark II offer me any real upgrade over the 5D, apart from more megapixels as I don't do video. The 5D Mark III is somewhat beyond the reach of my wallet, unless I sell all three cameras and all the lenses apart from the 70-200mm (for obvious reasons).

    With that last sentence in my mind, I began wondering if a complete switch to micro-4/3 is possible, especially since that will also solve one of my biggest gripes about my current gear ... the humongous size of everything.

    Just a bit more background ... Before starting to build this Canon kit (when "going" digital), I used a Pentax S1a and Spotmatic SP, with 55mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, 135mm f/3.5 and 200mm f/5.6 lenses for more than 25 years. I still have it all, plus an SMC TAKUMAR 45~125mm f/4 and an S-M-C TAKUMAR 24mm f/3.5 bought in a secondhand shop a few years back. (The latter doesn't work on the 5D.)

    I'm not into shallow DoF and use the 70-200mm at f/5.6~8 and the others at f/8~11 most of the time. No RAW, just JPEG ... although I have tweaked the in-camera settings severely to suit my preference. I don't particularly like short zooms or extreme-wide-angle lenses. And personally feel that autofocus is the single most detrimental invention towards photography ever, unless coupled with "eye-control".

    So, given that I mainly use the 5D with the 70-200mm, the 50mm and the 400mm, is it possible to replace this with a micro-4/3 setup? But before you answer, two points to keep in mind: (1) a second bugbear about my current gear is the lack of weather-sealing; and (2) I live in South Africa, so Panasonic stuff is by special order from B&H only (but Olympus is sold and serviced here).

    All input will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    From a lens perspective, you have the Panasonic 35-100 2.8 or the upcoming Olympus 40-150 2.8 that both cover where your 70-200 is. The Panasonic 25mm would replace the 50mm. The only one that doesn't have a direct competitor is the 400mm. There is a 100-300 Panasonic zoom, and there are rumors of an upcoming 150mm from Panasonic. Or you have legacy glass options for all of that.

    The Olympus OMD series is weather sealed, along with the 35-100/40-150. The 12-35's are also, if you decide that you want a 24-70 equivalent lens.

    As for function, I don't have an Olympus, and have never shot Canon, so I will leave that to someone else.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I came from a 5dii with a not dissimilar set of lenses (24-105, 70-200,/4 17-40, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 100-400). I now have an E-M5 plus the lenses in my sig. I have absolutely no regrets on the switch. IQ for what I do is 95% of the 5dii and the weight reduction is enormous.

    Given your preference for the 70-200, 50 and 400, I'd suggest this:

    70-200: direct equiv would be the Panasonic 35-100. No Oly alternative yet.
    50: direct equiv would be the Panasonic 25. Nearest Oly would be the 17/1.8 (nice lens, but not that close)
    400: no direct equiv. The Oly 75-300 or Panasonic 100-300 would get you a zoom with that length, but there are no primes.

    I don't have the 35-100, but I do have the 12-35 and it's a very nice lens. I'm told the 35-100 is similar in IQ & build.

    The 100-300 is "OK" - well actually, that's unfair, it's very good at 200mm (400 equiv), but loses some sharpness and contrast at the 300 end.

    The 25 is superb, but not a macro. If you want a shortish macro, the 4/3 Oly 35/3.5 is a good alternative, but it needs an adapter to go on a u43 camera. The new E-M1 though will give you good AF performance with it.

    Hope this helps!
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Honestly, since you're not shooting much wide open (so super shallow DOF), I think you'd love an MFT system. The only thing that's sort of tough to replace right now is the 400mm - there are no really good (at any speed) MFT native supertelephotos. I think my 'best value proposition' recommendation would be an Olympus E-M1 with the 12-40 (if you want a normal range lens, and value with the kit is undeniable.), the Panasonic 35-100, and get a 55-200 four-thirds lens with an adapter. The announced 40-150/2.8 looks amazing but is huge compared to the Panasonic, and nobody knows when it will actually become available or at what price. All the other lenses listed can already be bought.

    I still have a reasonably large Canon setup (5D mark II) which I'm slowly liquidating because - despite the fantastic image quality - it's just too big and heavy and just doesn't get taking along often enough to warrant my keeping it. The E-M5 felt pretty good and was an easy switch for me, I expect to like the E-M1 even better (reason for the planned upgrad = theft the E-M5).
  5. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    The 50-200 (100-400 FF) is great on the E-M1.
  6. Sella174

    Sella174 Mu-43 Rookie

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I checked again and ... Panasonic stuff is just not available here, which is a shame because the 35-100mm f/2.8 looks simply perfect - especially with it being an internal zoom design.

    But I did get a price on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera (body only). Gulp! For a tiny tad more I can a Nikon D600, and it is also more expensive than the Sony a7 camera.
  7. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Add the EC-14 and it's 70-283mm...just sayin. But it's a big heavy lens...but likely lighter than your current 400mm
  8. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Yes, it's not going to be cheap, in fact you pay for small and light. But look at sizes and start adding up weight of the camera and lenses... You named size as your biggest gripe; no full frame is going to be small or light if you add the lenses.
  9. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    If you can live without autofocus on the 400mm, you can probably find a 200mm legacy for short $ that might do the trick. As stated in previous listings, the other focal lengths are well covered.

    In my opinion, image quality is excellent through 20" prints, which is the largest I've gone with MFT system. I think I could probably go larger.

    I have Canon 5d mk II, and a large stable of fast lenses, which I used for sports photography.

    I'm a lot happier carrying my Oly EM5 and half a dozen lenses with me, and do a lot more shooting with that kit.
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Really great explanation Sella!
    You'll be wanting an Olympus, perhaps the expensive E-M1, or maybe some of the Pens with a great viewfinder.
    One problem : try the viewfinders (both good ones VF-2 and VF-4, or their built-in counterparts E-M5 & E-M1) and if you hate the electronic view RUN away and don't look back.

    You're not shy to spend on lenses so you'll be wanting the PanaLeica 25mmF1.4 and the mZuiko 45mmF1.8 at a minimum.
    The Panasonic 35-100 looks good but there may be a better one soon from olympus...
    Buy the cheap but good mZuiko 40-150 or the svelte Panasonic 45-175

    Now I'll go read the thread.
  11. angusr

    angusr Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2011
    I'm not an expert and may be off the mark regarding what you are after, however since you can't get Panasonic easily and balked a little at the cost of the EM-1, I'd propose:

    EM-5 - prices coming down now the replacement is in the air. Cheaper than the Em-1 anyway. The kit lens is weather sealed with decent, but not stellar image quality and slow (slow doesn't seem to matter to you much). It also has a macro mode and internal zoom.

    Then one or more of:

    Oly 12/2 and 17/1.8 (both metal, good image quality, special pull focus ring to select manual focus.)
    Oly 45/1.8 (very good image quality, plastic, cheap)
    Oly 75/1.8 (amazing, larger, expensive)

    Check out any of the native mount voigtlanders (17.5, 25, 42.5) all f/0.95, all manual focus, all expensive but lovely.

    None of the above are weather sealed, but you'll be impressed with the diminutive size of the first 3.

    Zooms have been covered already - the oly mu43 zoom in the range you want is not out yet and will be relatively very large!

    Happy shopping.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Sella174

    Sella174 Mu-43 Rookie

    This seems to be the case, and I find it interesting as this kind of shatters that excuse of the sensor being the reason for the high cost of "full frame" DSLR cameras. (Prices of lenses between Canon and micro-4/3 seem about equal for equal products.)
  13. Sella174

    Sella174 Mu-43 Rookie

    Actually I use the 400mm mostly in MF mode (with the camera in AI Servo mode), as neither the 5D nor the 30D has decent off-centre AF capabilities.

    I do have the Tele-Takumar 1:5.6/200 lens, and also (for some unknown reason) a Minolta MC TELE ROKKOR-QF 1:3.5 f=200mm lens. Plus an smc PENTAX 1:4.5 500mm in the post on its way - which will hopefully arrive safely.

    I am considering the E-M5 (read a post further down). Does it play well with manual focus (legacy) lenses? Is the lack of focus peaking something which I should consider a "deal-breaker" negative?
  14. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Let's sat both M43 and FF have a reason to be more expensive than APS.

    But lenses are cheaper, sometimes a lot cheaper, unless you go for the 'super high grade' 43 lenses from Oly. And those are very high grade indeed, they are usually seen as seriously better than Canon L-glass for example. I know many people complain about the prices of the better M43 lenses, but they are way below what Canikon wants...
  15. Sella174

    Sella174 Mu-43 Rookie

    I am tentatively looking at the E-M5 with the 12-50mm EZ lens as a starting point. Over here in South Africa it is still sold at the original price, but a year or so has passed and inflation made our money worth about 8% less ... you have price drops and rebates, we have old stock sold at old prices. And the kit bundle is also a bit cheaper than the new Canon EOS 70D, just as a reference. (Remember I live in a Canon world, so I see everything in relation to their products.)

    I'm thinking of then just starting with this (the E-M5 kitted with the 12-50mm EZ), as I have enough dinero in my "photographic slushfund" without first having to sell some of my Canon gear. This combination is also weather-sealed. (But to what extent ... can it do three hours in pouring rain, perhaps?)

    Or should I rather invoke the credit card a bit and go for the E-M1, with the same 12-50mm EZ lens. I have the Canon 28-70mm up for sale, but it is just not a popular lens over here - for some obscure reason people are more willing to pay twice my asking price for a secondhand 24-70mm lens! However, if/when sold, an E-M1 can be bought cash. What I have decided, though, is I will be keeping the 5D and the 70-200mm to be sold last.

    Right, E-M5 compared to the E-M1 ... compared to the EOS 5D. Ruggedness? Although not weather-sealed, I carry the 5D almost everywhere: especially out in the veld when repairing fences or plowing the weedfields. It gets put on the ground a lot and constantly baked by the sun as I carry it over my shoulder (banging against my hip). And, strangely, it hasn't broken yet. Will I be able to do this with the E-M5 and the E-M1 cameras?
  16. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    It should do well with the lenses you mentioned, you'll need to get an adapter for them If the Takumars are left over from the Pentax bodies you mentioned I assume they are M42 "thread" mount so you could get by with one adapter for both of them, plus an adapter for the Minolta.

    Lack of focus peaking should not be a problem, there is a magnified focus assist that helps "nail" focus. I just got a lightly used OMD EM5 body to supplement my Lumix GH3's, it's got a better viewfinder than the Panasonics and the 5 axis Image Stabilization in the body is "crazy" amazing.

    I would advise getting it with the 12-50mm "kit" lens as it and the body are both weather sealed (I've seen demos of a glass of water being poured over that combo). You'd have a 24-100mm equivalent in that combo for general "walkaround" and no worries about being caught in the rain with it.
  17. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    If you're not interested in auto focus then it seems to me that Legacy glass is the obvious route for you.
    With relatively cheap adapters you should be able to use any of your existing lenses, (perhaps even those that have 'given notice'). Remember that most modern lenses don't have aperture rings so the adapter will have to provide for that. There is an EOS version that has an aperture built into the aperture, many other adapters such as 'Pentax DA' use manual linkages to control the lens.

    To get the maximum benefit of the smaller size of µ4/3 you'll want other lenses though. The crop factor does help in turning a 200mm into a 400mm effective, but a µ4/3 (or rangfinder) 200mm would be smaller than an EOS equivalent.

    You say the 70-200 is your most used lens. Is this throughout the range, or is it really just the longer lengths? It might be a 70-150 would cover the FOV you use most and even give a bit more reach (effectively similar to a 140-300).

    There shouldn't be any issues using your older Pentax lenses, the 200 f5.6 will even give fairly similar results to your EF 400, though it's probably not quite up to L grade in sharpness etc. You'd need an A*200 for that:biggrin:

    I haven't got Focus peaking available on any of my cameras, so it's not a deal breaker, but it might be a feature that's worth the extra...
  18. Sella174

    Sella174 Mu-43 Rookie

    From the kind attempts to provide me with a micro-4/3 equivalent for my 400mm, a question arises.

    Living in the Canon world as I current do, with both "full frame" (FF) and "cropped frame" (CF) sensors, I learned that there is no such thing as focal length equivalent, e.g. a 50mm lens on FF does not become an 80mm lens on CF. The sensor does not change the magnification factor of the lens, only the field of view (FoV) by "cropping" the projected image. Hence, a 50mm lens on FF provides the same magnification factor on CF.

    Obviously the above would be same if I should use legacy lenses on micro-4/3. A 200mm, manual focus, full frame lens is still a 200mm lens on micro-4/3, although the FoV is equivalent to that of a 400mm lens. This means that for small birds (or LBJ's, as we call them), where the 400mm on both my 5D (FF) and 30D (CF) still requires substantial cropping to isolate the bird, I'll still require an actual legacy 400mm lens on micro-4/3 cameras to photograph these little rascals.

    Now for my actual question ... seeing as everybody, including Olympus and Panasonic, present the micro-4/3 lenses with corresponding FF focal lengths. Are the micro-4/3 lenses designed to give the same magnification factor as the FF equivalent lens? I mean, should we do the following test of taking a photograph with a 20mm micro-4/3 lens (and camera, obviously), will that photo look the same (in terms of magnification and perspective) as if we had taken it (using a FF camera) with (a) the Canon EF 20mm lens and cropped, or (b) the EF 40mm lens without cropping?
  19. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    Just a quick complimentary comment on the weather sealing: a friend of mine uses an E-M5 + 12-50 for "family stuff". The camera is pretty much lying around the house being used by anybody, even the kids, and has been drowned several times in the bath by said kids. However, it still works like a charm, proving that the sealing is actually quite durable (I know, E-M5 for family stuff is crazy, but he's a Leica shooter so the E-M5 is just small cash to him). He's had this camera for a year and a half.

    I'd strongly encourage you, Sella, to try an EVF before buying an E-M5 (or buy it somewhere where they'd give you a refund after a few days of testing if you dislike it). I know some people cannot get used to it.

    The tele, as some said already, is where you'll lose a bit compared to Canon (but the telephotos are arguably Canon's strong suit). The rest of the range is nicely covered by both Oly and Pana.
  20. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    just get an adapter to use the EF 400/5.6 on the m43 body you decide on.

    personally, having come from the 'viewfinder world' and using long legacy glass, I would consider the E-M1 + 12-50 'kit' as a base and go from there. if you do go for an E-M5 you will want the VF-4, and should factor that into you price comparisons. This combination actually has some advantages over the E-M1 (tilt and magnification). Using the rear screen to compose and focus with a long lens and no tripod doesn't work well for me.

    I realise that reducing overall weight/size is a major factor - but suspect you don't carry all your gear all the time currently!

    You will then be able to make a call on any further m43 lens in the 50mm+ range from a position of understanding (and possibly opportunity too)
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