Are m43 lens cheaper or more expensive?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by kkx, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. kkx

    kkx Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 9, 2014
    I bought a Lumix G5 for a great price and I'm loving it (great perf, best bang for the buck for a camera w/ EVF). However I'm not blown away by the stock 14-42 Vario PZD and looking to buy some new lens :) (Especially a short prime for low-light and street)

    Also, my friend who lured me into m43 told me the lens from m43 are way cheaper. And that come from someone who own must of them.

    However, I'm comparing the prime I want with their Nikon APS-C equivalent, and they are 2-3 time more expensive. However, it's true that zoom lens tend to be cheaper, however, for some common telephoto the difference is not much.

    For exemple.

    Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX -> 200$ new, 50mm equiv
    Olympus 25mm f/1.8 -> 500$, 50 equiv

    Nikon Nikon 55-200mm VR AF-S f/4-5.6G -> 250$, easily found for 200$, 82-300mm equiv
    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R Lens -> 200$, 80-300mm equiv

    So m43 being smaller, shouldn't they those lens be less costly to produce? Especially prime lens, that are more simple construction?

    Can we say that m43 lens are generally cheaper? If not which are more expensive and what other are cheaper?

    I love the m43 format, but I find the lens I want and need cost more than on APS-C DSLR, I might want to switch. Since my goal is to make great picture on a budget.
  2. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    There's a few reasons M43 lenses are more expensive:
    - Actually, manufacturing smaller products is more expensive, not cheaper, because fault tolerances are tighter and harder to match. e.g. Why an iPhone is more expensive than an iPad or a generic laptop.
    - M43 currently doesn't have the sales volume of Nikon, which means items are initially introduced at higher costs to the market to recoup for the research & development costs.
    - Entry-level M43 lenses tend to be higher quality than entry-level lenses from other systems. However, this also might mean they are more expensive. The 25mm Zuiko is smaller, sharper at F/1.8, and has *very* good bokeh. It is simply a superior lens in several ways, and thus more expensive.

    Some recommendations:
    - Consider shopping for an asian import of the 25mm, as it can be somewhat cheaper. It is the same item in every way, and Olympus lenses are covered by an international warranty. I did this for my 45mm zuiko.
    - Consider other lenses which may currently be a better value. I got great deals on the 14mm pancake and 45mm before buying my 25mm Panasonic. Being patient paid off greatly!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    Do they have the same corner sharpness wide open? Also distortion, CA?

    Do they have the same glass production techniques and coating technologies to the same degree?

    Do they have the same construction and finish quality? Including iris details?

    Do they have the same motor technology, quietness, and performance?

    Do they have the same production variation between samples? Do they have the same reliability?

    Finally, do they have the same volume production and sales?

    You can buy a new Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens for $400, or for $1,500. Once you answer these questions for the two Canons, you see that their prices should not be the same.

    The issue of pricing is complex. IMHO it is simplistic to think that same overall spec means equivalence.
  4. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    m43 lenses are considerably more expensive than APS-C equivalents but they are more compact. There is currently only one bargain lens in the entire m43 lineup:

    Oly 40-150 which is sometimes sold as low as $99 but pretty much requires an Oly body with at least 3-axis IBIS (E-M10, E-P5, E-M5 or E-M1).

    There are currently no budget bright primes like nifty fifty, Nikon 35mm f1.8, etc. Wide angle m43 lenses are especially expensive considering Canon's new 10-18mm ($299) which has incredibly high IQ for any price point.

    Nevertheless, m43 is far more fun to use. I'd rather spend 2-3x for something I would use consistently than an APS-C DSLR which will be used once in a blue moon.

    Current crop of DSLRs is an obsolete technology. Enter m43: tilt screen touch focus/shutter, face and eye detect, EVF - what you see is what you'll get, video C-AF, etc. An additional bonus: Oly jpegs and AWB are in its own league and far superior to Canon, Nikon and Fuji which has notoriously poor indoor AWB.

    There is only one weak spot in m43 right now is Continuous and Tracking AF which undoubtedly will be solved in the next generation of cameras with the advancement of on-sensor PDAF. At that time, m43 may become a #1 choice for sports photography due to convenient 2x crop (great for tele).

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  5. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    The fact that you can spend $50 and get used lenses such as the Konica 40/1.8, 50/1.7, or 135/3.5 and they'll perform beautifully on your camera is one reason m4/3s is, IMO, cheaper. I could do this on APS-C cameras too but the crop factor would be off and I wouldn't be able to throw on a tiny buy sharp 12-32 or 20/1.7 that fits in my pocket.

    For me it's usually either the cheapest or the best which would mean I'd have one P&S camera and one FF camera. However, there is no P&S which gives me "good enough" bokeh except for the ones with large sensors that cost as much and are as pricy as the PM2 and a lens anyway.
  6. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    M43rds is both cheaper and more expensive.

    The DSLR systems have a long history, in most cases there are very good deals on used prime lenses which Canon, Nikon, and Minolta have made millions of over the last 25 years. These are 50/1.4, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 35/2, 28/2.8, 24/2.8, etc. They are almost all universally cheaper than M43rd lenses (and where the cost is comparable, eg 85/1.8, and 45/1.8, the 85s are better lenses).

    There is also a good selection of reasonably priced F4 and 3.5-4.5 zoom lenses for DSLRs, solid mid range lenses that don't really exist in M43rds world.

    For the high end stuff, the 2.8 zooms and such, M43rds is pretty much universally smaller, lighter, and cheaper. You'll get some arguments about quality though in both directions, and the look of a 24-70/2.8 on a FF camera can't really be matched with a 12-35/2.8 on M43, especially in terms of DOF.

    Me personally, I owned a lot of "bargain" DSLR lenses, and got fed up with them and bought better lenses, so when I sold off my DSLR gear and bought the best M43rds gear I could find, the cost was comparable. I paid more for certain M43rds gear than I would have for DSLR gear, but for the size/weight its a price I am happy to pay.

    I don't consider vintage MF lenses as a selling point either way. First off, they don't have AF, so they are no use to me, secondly, you can mount them on Sony NEX, Fuji, etc, and with certain mounts (M42, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus OM, etc) you can mount them on DSLRs too. MF adapted lenses are also generally much bigger than native lenses, and you can't really get high quality lenses that are vintage and genuinely wide angle of M43. On aps-c and FF mirrorless adapted wide angle lenses make a lot more sense.
  7. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    If you think that the going price for the Olympus 40-150mm R is $200 and that the 25mm is $500, you're either being deliberately ignorant or you just really haven't tried hard enough.

    In general, micro four thirds primes are more expensive than "equivalents" in other systems, but they're also generally more compact and better. Generally.

    But the above posters really covered it well.
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Real Name:
    You can find the 25mm for $300-350 if patient or buy refurbished....the 40-150 you can get for $80-120. NO one would pay $200 (not that it's not worth it, but can be found for song). The 45 can be found for mid $200's and is a stellar lens.
  9. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Real Name:
    If you are looking for a lot of bang for your buck check out the Sigma u4/3 lens line up. I only own the 60/2.8. It compares in performance to lenses costing much more. The build quality is also comparable to more expensive lenses. I have seen much praise for the 19/2.8 and 30/2.8 Here on this forum.
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    M43 retail prices versus DSLR retail prices...M43 lenses are more expensive. Regardless of manufacturing volume, assembly, etc. M43 is just more expensive if one were to walk into a a camera store right now and buy brand new.

    Saying that, M43 prices fluctuate quite a bit and refurbished items can be had for dirt cheap while DSLR gear prices tends to hold more steady at a fixed price. M43 does have some of the best bargains if one were to look!
  11. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    There are many factors here. The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is a similar focal length, sharper and priced at around $300. If you were buying for a Canon, there is nothing in this price range, and even at $500 the options are poor.

    I wouldn't say m43 lenses are generally cheaper, but I wouldn't say more expensive either. Most of the time you get what you pay for regardless of the system. There are also bargains for most systems. Competition has an effect though, and over time, I think the fact that there are multiple manufacturers making m4/3 cameras (Olympus, Panasonic, BlackMagic, Kodak (sic)) will increase competition for both bodies and lenses, thus bringing prices down.
  12. monkeymashbutton

    monkeymashbutton Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 10, 2014
    I recently sold my E-PL5 to get an E-PM2 with more glass. Before I bought, I checked out Sony and Fuji. They both have attractive body offerings for the budget conscious, but their lens selections are slim and expensive (and the lenses are generally larger than mft offerings). They certainly don't have anything like the Olympus 45 1.8.
  13. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    If one would to look at mirrorless only, there is basically no real choice but m43 as the only viable system. Compared to DSLR, lens prices are way higher.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  14. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee

    May 3, 2013
    I haven't bought DSLR lenses for a while, so I just did a quick scan of Canon's primes + MSRPs (as listed on their USA website).

    Versus equivalent Olympus primes, the Canon 50mm lens is the only lens that is clearly cheaper. Other primes tend to be priced pretty similarly. (I don't know how the lenses compare optically.)
  15. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I'd actually argue that Fuji is a viable option, and they are building up their lens catalog. Sony, on the other hand, keep coming out with 20 bodies a month, with a new mount every 6 months, and no real lens line up that would convince you to choose them.

    Sony nee dto stop creating more bodies and mounts than lenses...

  16. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    By and large, they're more expensive. But...I would say IQ-wise they're generally better. I'd happily throw my 45 1.8 up against the Canon 85 1.8 or my 75 1.8 up against the Canon 135L...interestingly enough, in both of these cases, the M4/3 option is cheaper. The Panasonic 20 1.7 is more expensive than the equivalent (FF, of course) Canon 40 2.8, but it's a stop and a half faster.

    Unfortunately, most of the "normal" lenses you mentioned are more expensive in our stable...but venture outside that, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Real Name:
    Overall mu43 is more affordable than other mirrorless systems (except for the ultrafast portrait lenses; at the moment mu43 has the most expanesive 42,5 f1.2 lens; the alternatives from Fuji, Samsung, Nikon 1 are more affordable). If you are not on hurry, you can build your mu43 kit with moderate investments. I got my 17mm 1.8 for $350 new (with a rebate), 45mm 1.8 for $300 new, 12-50 zoom for $150 used, etc. You can buy Oly 25mm 1.8 for $350 new right now as well. All these prices are slightly higher than prices on equivalent lenses for DSLRs.
  18. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    Canada far as mirrorless goes we have the best selection and - I think - some of the best values! :D
  19. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I say both.
    You can find examples in which they are cheaper than FF or APS-C counter parts as well as more expensive. From my perspective, m43 is cheaper... coming from a Canon system with high end Canon branded lenses.

    Canon 24-70f/2.8 L vs the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and the Canon 70-200mmf/2.8 IS L vs Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 are two examples. Both of those Canon mark II fast zooms are over $2200 each. The closest replacement to my Canon 100-400L was the panasonic 100-300 which is also cheaper. As for primes, my 24L ($1750,) 50 f/1.4 ($399), 85mm f/1.8 ($419), 135mm f/2L($1090) were replaced by the Olympus primes were cheaper but by a smaller margin (if any)... Olympus 12mm f/2 ($699), 25mm ($399), 45mm ($399), 75mm ($800)

    If you like fast lenses, there is nothing that touches the f/0.95 voigtlander group in the Canon world in both price and max aperture.

    On the flip side, we don't have a lot of third party lens manufacturers releasing lenses for the micro 4/3rds system. So people that would have primarily chosen Tamron, Sigma, Tokina for their value would see micro 4/3rds as more expensive.
  20. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Lets not exaggerate. Sony has two lens mounts (E and A), with FF and APS-C options for each, and converters with full high speed AF performance for A mount glass on E mount bodies. The E lens lineup is so so, but you do have nice Zeiss glass (and the FE, full frame E, Zeiss primes are fantastic). Micro four thirds is almost as bad for te ridiculous number of bodies, and has a much more well rounded lens lineup though.