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Best Option for Standard Zoom Lens? (Native or Adapted)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by aohus, May 18, 2011.

  1. aohus

    aohus New to Mu-43

    May 18, 2011
    I bought my gf a GF1 some months ago, and am ready to purchase a standard zoom lens for her. The only lens she currently owns is the 20mm f/1.7 pancake.

    That being said, what is a good zoom lens that gives a sharp picture, and does well under low light conditions? My budget is around ~$600 max.

    Ideally, I want to use a zoom lens for everyday use, such as portrait, landscape, and street shots.

    I looked into the Panasonic 14-45mm lens, but now seeing if there are better alternatives. I found 100-300m to be a bit 'overkill' for my needs. Any recommendations?

    One other quick question. What is ideal for shooting in 50mm? Does that give a pretty zoomed in view?

    Also, is there a good website/resource where one can buy used lenses?

  2. birigoboom

    birigoboom New to Mu-43

    Dec 14, 2010
    Much of that would depend on you. Personally, my typical walk around lens when I use film, I prefer something of a 35mm focal length and carry my 85/1.8 and I do portraits with my 105/2.5. Recall the u4/3 format would "double" the focal length of that of 35mm film lens. That is, a 50mm film lens would crop to the perceived focal length of 100mm on the GF1. Such that the Panny 20/1.7 would equate to a 40mm/1.7 in relation to 35mm film. So the Panny 20mm is close to pretty close to a 'standard' focal length. Zooms typically will introduce distortion with greater zooms. Also, you'd be hard pressed to find a zoom faster than f/2.8. Adapting a lens will likely require manual focusing. So, take all that into account. I find no trouble with it but have found my Nikkor AI-S lenses are much easier to focus than the Nikon AF lenses.
  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    When I really want to travel light (which is the reason why I got into µ4/3), then I grab my E-PL2 & M. Zuiko 14-150....One body, one lens....no need to carry anything else :smile:
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Reading your post, I wonder if you are confusing the terms "zoom" and "telephoto".

    A zoom lens has a variable focal length. You can have wide angle zooms (such as the 9-18 and the 7-14), normal zooms (14-42 or 14-45), telephoto zooms (45-200 or 100-300), even "super" zooms (14-140 or 14-150) that go across those categories. By manipulating the lens, you can achieve a variety of fields of view without moving yourself.

    A telephoto lens has a narrower field of view, and makes distant objects fill more of the field of view. Some would say they "zoom in" on those distant objects, but that can be confusing, as you can have a fixed length telephoto lens (currently, the only native one is the 45/2.8)

    When you talk about "doing well in low light", the biggest thing will be to look for a low f/stop number - like the f/1.7 of your 20mm lens. Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of native choices in "bright" lenses right now - especially in telephoto focal lengths. The 45/2.8 is about it.
  5. aohus

    aohus New to Mu-43

    May 18, 2011
    Thanks for this. Cleared it up well for me. Yeah, I'm very new to photography so thanks for everyones patience.

    One quick question. Is it true that fixed focal lens gives a sharper image than say a variable zoom lens? I'm guessing yes, because the more you zoom on a lens, the more distortion exists. True?

    Also, in terms of 'brands,' do most lenses perform relatively the same regardless of brand (granted they are in the same category)? Should one be a 'brand snob' in the lens world? From what I gather, aside from Leica, Zuiko Nokton and Panasonic m4/3 lenses are the way to go for quality?

    Thanks in advanced.
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It is hard to make blanket statements like this.

    Modern zooms are VERY good. Of course, it is considerably easier to optimize a fixed focal length lens, and so there is more difference between a "good" and "bad" zoom than there are between primes.

    Same thing with lens brands. The Olympus Zuiko 4/3s lenses range from really good to awesome. The Olympus m.Zuiko m43 lenses are rather meh across the lineup, especially in comparison to the Panny lenses that are typically very good. My guess is that Panny is using the built in software correction to better effect while Zuiko is trying to do it the old way.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Alan_N

    Alan_N Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 22, 2011
    Yorkshire UK
    tc summed it up very well with giving a break down of wide angle zooms, standard zooms and so on. What you buy next depends on what your gf shots if want to get more in to the shot then a wide angle zoom would be better if what to get closer then normal zoom might be better. When I bought my GF1 I got it with the 14-45 ( which in my option is a nice little lens) and also bought the 20mm as well from reading a few reviews and talking to the sales guy in the shop the 14-45 was getting slightly bettee write ups then the 14-42 they had both in stock and where charging the same as far as I can remember if there was a difference was not that much.

    After a while I did look at getting a longer zoom, thinking about 14-140 and selling the 14-45 or the 45-200 but thought that they might look a bit to big on the GF1 when fully extended. In the end I decided to to go wide instead and bought the oly 9-18 which I love. If I was going to get a longer lens I would get a panasonic or an olympus mainly as they have the IS in the lens and not in the body. If I had an pen then I would get an olympus lens.

    If you can do go to a shop that has a few in stock and try them out see what suits you best. Hope that helps and not confused you even more!
  8. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Ditto here, the M. Zuiko 14-150 is a fantastic lens.
  9. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Everyone is giving sensible advice about zooms in general, but from my point of view the answer is more negative.
    There are no micro-4/3rds system zooms with maximum apertures fast enough to do well in low light conditions...(yet)
    The newer the camera body it seems, the better they do with any lens.
    You yourself already have the absolute best lens for low-light, the 20mm F1.7 but its not a zoom.

    There are big 4/3rds zooms which may do what you want with the adapter, but I'm not sure that's helpful to you.
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I totally agree with these two points. The best standard Zoom for a Micro Four-Thirds camera like an Olympus PEN or Panasonic GF, in my opinion, is the Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 Mark II for Four-Thirds mount. It's fast and compact, a perfect fit and handling for a small camera like the PEN or GF, and the Mark II version is CDAF compatible for faster Autofocus with the mirrorless system.

    I have the original version, and although it focuses much slower with CDAF than the Mark II, I still love to use it on my PEN all the time because it fits so well. For manual-focus lenses your options are much broader, but for something which can still handle AF, I can't think of a better compact standard zoom.
  11. DrZero

    DrZero Mu-43 Rookie

    May 20, 2011
    The only reason maybe not to prefer this lens if you are using a Panasonic body is that you are giving up auto-stabilization. It seems like a worthwhile feature to have.
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    True that. The Leica 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 was a more popular lens on Panasonic Four-Thirds and Micro Four-Thirds cameras for that reason. It's not as compact as the Zuiko 14-54mm so it may not feel as "perfectly balanced" on a GF camera, but I think the slight boost in size would be worth the Optical Image Stabilization of the Leica lens for a GF body.
  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The PL14-50 is pretty big on a GF1 and will not autofocus.

    Image quality of mine seems to be Ok, nothing remarkable. When the bright zoom native lens comes out, it will be replaced
  14. I'm very happy with the IQ of the PL14-50 f2.8-3.5 (of my copy anyway). Autofocus speed (if available) is horrible though. A m4/3 version of this lens might have me thinking seriously about selling some Canon gear.
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 Mark II is the closest thing you'll find to a Micro Four-Thirds version, as it is CDAF compatible and fast to focus on a :43: body. It's just nicer on a PEN body because of IBIS.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. I'm sure that 14-54 is very good, but when you take away the potential size and weight benefits of a dedicated m4/3 version the choice is not so clear cut. The only reason I bought the PL14-50 was the price I paid for it and because I had an E-410 body, but for size and weight of the lens on a smaller camera body it is quite a handful.
  17. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Though it is not terribly fast, I find the Lumix 14-45 lens to be wonderfully sharp and capable with a very compact size. I think it's a superb "one-lens" choice for a small form factor m4/3 camera.

    If a larger size lens isn't a problem, the Lumix 14-140 is also an exceptionally nice lens, though again, not terribly fast, but exceptionally capable. And the IS with the 14-140 is amazingly effective. I have used the 14-140 on a number of occasions at 140mm (280mm equivalent) handheld, indoors, at 1/15th second with very sharp results. Panny's 14-140 is a fantastic lens with a very long zoom range and the IS goes a very long way toward compensating for not being terribly fast.
  18. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    IMHO there aren't better alternatives for the Panny 14-45mm, unless you accept the trade-offs: Oly 14-150mm? More range, lesser IQ, more bulk, no IS (image stabilization). Adapted 4/3 lenses like the Zuiko 14-54mm? Pricier, bulkier, slower AF, no IS. Panny 14-140mm? More range, more bulk, lesser IQ. Adapted legacy lenses? No AF, no IS, no EXIF-data, zooms have lesser IQ, bulkier. Etc. etc.

    I have a load of lenses for my G1 and GH2, but the 14-45mm is still my bread-and-butter lens. It has a versatile range from wide-angle to moderate tele, very good IQ across the range even wide-open and offers image stabilization which is very helpful in this range of focal lengths. To top it off, it's relatively cheap.
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Fast is a relative thing. On :43:, the 14-54II is 2-3x slower than the original :43: Olympus 14-42, itself no speed demon. Certainly, attempting to AF on anything in motion (say a walking person 20 feet away at the 14mm setting) was an exercise in frustration with the 14-54II. It's unfortunate because even on an ancient 4/3 body like the E-500, either version of the 14-54 focuses almost instantaneously in the same conditions.
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    That is true. But waiting for the AF on the original 14-54mm is just painfully boring, lol. I mean, AF was smooth and accurate once it finally locked on, but it's just so much faster to use Manual Focus. In comparison to that, the Mark II is a nice improvement. :) 

    The fastest focusing Four-Thirds lens I've noticed yet on the :43: bodies is the Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 pancake, which is quite responsive on the E-PL2 in particular. It's loud as hell with the aperture adjustments, though. xP
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