Balancing large lenses on smaller bodies

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by broody, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    I've come to the conclusion the smaller camera bodies in the system suit me best. However, I'm wondering if the small size isn't going to be a hindrance with larger lenses (of which I haven't purchased any). The largest lens I own is the Panasonic 25mm, which IMO still balances OK on a small body like the EPL5 or GF3. But how much larger of a lens can I use before the ergonomics just become ridiculous? Are the 12-40mm/35-100mm factible for casual use on a small body? How about the 75mm or a Voigtlander?

    I would appreciate anyone sharing their experience in the matter!
  2. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I think it depends on how you hold the camera. I, personally, have no issue with any sized lens on any sized body, I just adapt my grip. Bigger lenses mean I use my left hand to hold the lens from underneath, thumb and index finger facing to the front of the lens.

    Once the lens gets too small (such as the 25 1.8 or 17 1.8) my palm holds the base of the camera, with my fingertips holding the lens. My right hand doesn't really do much, apart from offer some stabilisation, and is used mostly to press the buttons that take pictures. My avatar pretty much sums up the grip - that is a 7D with a 100 F2.8 macro.

  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    I use 4/3 lenses (7-14mm, 41-35mm, 35-100mm and 90-250mm) on my E-M1, they all balance beautifully. Even on my E-P2 with EVF, the first two aren't completely out of place, as they give great purchase when shooting, though AF is woefully slow. I've always been a believer that larger lenses are not detrimental, as they provide the perfect way to hold a camera (left elbow tucked against your chest while your left hand holds the lens underneath, right hand holds camera). Lenses like the Voigtlander 75mm f1.8 and even the 50mm f1.1 (both of which I had) are in no way too large for m4/3 bodies of any type.
  4. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    400g lenses are tolerable ONLY if they are shorter. The Vivitar 135/2.8 is good but not in macro mode because it increases in size by about 270%! The leverage of the weight being so far away makes it hard to hold. Rokinon 85/1.4 is hard too. I rarely use my Hexanon 200/4 but that seems fine, probably because I'm expecting the weight. Off hand I'd guess it's under 400g though. How do I hold them? I keep my right pinky held out straight like I'm drinking from a tiny teacup. That finger balances the lens when my left hand isn't focusing it.
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    For me, this is a perfect, well-balanced, combination (E-M1 and 14-35mm f2 lens):


  6. Jon Li

    Jon Li Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2014
    Jakarta - Indonesia
    I hv a friend who inherited a Canon 7 lens from his father , he attach this old lens to his Sony NEX5 camera n finds it difficult to get good focus , he took my advise to buy an Olympus OMD E-M1 to use with this Canon lens to make use of the IBIS n Focus Peaking as well as the obviously larger body to suit this very big lens .

    Attached Files:

  7. dancebert

    dancebert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2014
    Hua Hin, Thailand
    With my em10 the O45 (116g) balances, while the O40-150 (190g) and P14-45 (195g) do not. With them, holding the camera with a right hand grip is in balance only when the lens is point straight down. An accessory grip would be make resisting the imbalance easier, but doesn't fix the inbalance*. As others said above, only way to balance is with left hand holding the lens.

    *By adding body weight it changes the inbalance more in favor of the body, but that's not a fix.
  8. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    Real Name:
    I have been using the 12-40 with the E-M10 and whilst initially I thought what a huge lens, now it seems fine. I use both hands when shooting and don't need a grip at present. With a smaller lens I just change my style of holding. (I use a wrist strap rather than neck strap which I always found easier.)

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  9. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Real Name:
    Define big and heavy.

    I find any lens that lets me get my left hand under it and hold in a two handed grip fashion like Zee showed will always be balanced. This comes from shoting film with manual focus zoom that required one hand on the zoom and one on the camera.
    I actually struggle to deal with the short and light lens in the m43 space as my left hand is "lost" and keeps bumping focus rings etc.
    Large diameter, short body lenses will have the greatest potential to feel unbalanced but again if they are legacy glass then you still need the second hand in a lot of cases.
  10. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    While I wouldn't necessarily shoot with it this way, my idea of a a balanced camera and lens is one that I could comfortably hold and operate one-handed.
  11. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    May 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    I've always used the 'left hand supporting the weight of the lens' approach. All lens + camera combos are perfectly balanced - you put the lens on the body, work out the centre of mass, and put your left hand under that point. The only time I can see there being any issue is with weight above the camera - e.g. a large, heavy, flash gun on the hot shoe of a small camera.
    Naturally that doesn't apply if trying to shoot one handed, but I think that's as much an issue of total weight as it is for balance.
  12. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Real Name:
    yeah, it was awkward, but the results were great...sadly I no longer own that lens.

  13. Viktor1135

    Viktor1135 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 23, 2014
    Having no trouble balancing/handling this combo, but I do have a Richard Franiec custom grip on the way as my right hand needs a bit more "purchase".


    Edit - Lens is the new Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5 - 5.8 Di III. Just realised no markings were visible in that photo.
  14. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    You've got the wrong end of the horse.

    It's not a question of whether the big lens works on the small body but, instead "does the small body work on the larger lens?"

    When using any relatively large lens, regardless of the absolute size of the body and lens, you hold the lens not the camera body. As lenses get larger the advantages of a smaller body do diminish.
  15. jjinh

    jjinh Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2014
    +1 for holding the lens with the left hand when using a large lens with a small body
  16. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Real Name:
    GM1 and 35-100, no prob so far. I hold the lens not the body. :rolleyes: