Characterizing lens brands?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by 6BQ5, May 30, 2015.

  1. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    May 23, 2015
    Sigma, Olympus, Panasonic, etc all produces u4/3 lenses. Can these brands (and others) be categorized for certain unique features and qualities? For example, are Panasonic lenses generally sharper because of their collaboration with Leica? Do Sigma lenses have flatter fields because of their experience working with so many different sensor formats and sharing designs across their entire product line?

    Thanks!
     
  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Sigma lenses for m4/3 can be characterized as affordable and somewhat bulky (since the only ones we get are shared with aps-c Sony mount). One might also add, nonstandard in their focal lengths.

    I don't think Panasonic is sharper per se. My Olympus 25mm f1.8 is razor sharp. Panasonic places more emphasis on pancake style very compact lenses, with the 20mm, 14mm, 12-32mm and 14-42mm EZ. But otherwise I think P and O are pretty similar, I'm that there's scarcely a bad lens, the entry-level ones are cheap but they quickly ramp up to very pricey but excellent optics.
     
  3. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    May 23, 2015
    So the u4/3 Sigma lenses are actually APS-C lenses at heart? Do the lenses project APS-C sized images? That makes me think that the lens would seem super sharp, especially in the center. Any softness in the corners would naturally get cropped out due to the smaller area of the sensor.
     
  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Is this m43 only or for the brands as a whole? Sigma for example in the recent years has made some impressive lenses like the 35 and 50 Art and the 1.8 zoom.
    But in the m43 world there are only three lenses, two very good and one excellent, with average aperture.

    Pana and Oly...one has the Nocticron, the other has the 75mm. Both have excellent pro lenses and good basic kit zoom. Pana is trying to keep things smaller in the pro lines but not with the 25/1.4. Pana tends to be a little bigger and to cost more when you have stabilization. Quality and rendering change from lens to lens.
    I've often read that Oly lenses have a cold, clinical rendering but I often found myself to disagree looking at samples. PanaLeica lenses (not all Panasonic) should have a more organic, coesive rendering (whatever that means :) )
     
  5. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For every brand, there are good and bad examples of lenses. You cannot characterize them and generalize them. If you seek to compare lenses, you should compare specific examples.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Micro four thirds bodies are easier to characterize than the lenses that accompany them, because more of the manufacturer's design goes into them (as compared to optical formulas, which are sort of use-the-best-you-got I would imagine). Olympus goes for retro styling, clings to their PEN and OM-SLR heritage, and puts special sauce into their jpegs (which may or may not be your cup of tea). Panasonic goes for more utilitarian, but still elegant (for the most part), very photographer-focused designs and video. Lately they've gotten lots better at jpegs out of camera, and started to go retro, but a little closer to a rangefinder Leica-esque look.
     
  7. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    They aren't necessarily sharper, but the PL lenses tend to have more contrast and pleasant bokeh as well as good transitions from the focal plane to out of focus areas (The rumor is that Leicas contribution was mainly how to achieve good out of focus characteristics, but that might be an urban myth). That is why you hear "3D pop" or stuff like that when people talk about them. Other than that, each lens model has different characteristics regardless of brand.
     
  8. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    May 23, 2015
    This is good information! Thanks for the replies, everyone! :)

    It looks like each lens manufacturer has their level of "good, better, and best". I need to compare specific lenses against each other. This is different from where I come from in Pentax-land where there are very few 3rd party lenses being made. Sigma has a couple and Tamron makes one or two. Your major source of current lenses is Pentax. Pentax lenses tend to have slow apertures and the rendering is punchy with lots of pop. The most common description of the rendering is that the images look "as if they are drawn". Resolution in the center is typically very good in all lenses. The corners and borders suffer in some lenses but most do very well there too. All anyone can really do in the Pentax ecosystem is move between different families of lenses, like the DA, DA *, DA Limited, and FA Limited.
     
  9. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    贾一川
    while that different might not apply to all P/O lenses, it's exactly what I found, for example, while comparing the 25 1.4 and 1.8. I've read somewhere that if you design a lens sharp from edge to edge (I think especially wide open), it is more likely to give harsh bokeh, that added with the cold tune with many of Oly lenses, formed the expression of such less organic rendering.
     
  10. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    May 23, 2015
    @jyc860923@jyc860923 - I have digging into online lens reviews on sites like protozoon.de, lenstip.com, etc and I see that nearly every u4/3 lens is exceptionally sharp. The center of the lens is excellent or beyond and the edges/borders are very good to excellent. Peak combined sharpness is usually around f/4 - f/6.3. From a 35mm equivalent perspective this makes sense. That's f/8 - f/12.6. The lens better be sharp! :)
     
  11. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    The wide lens selection is one of the strengths of :mu43:. Its still missing a few niche pieces in comparison to Canikon (some to be filled soon), but for the most part there is something for everyone at all ranges. That said, many of us still complain and want more! :p
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  12. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I don't think 2x crop ratio means 2x f-stop. f4 is f4.
     
  13. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    May 23, 2015
    True, true. f/4 is f/4 no matter the lens. It's a physical measurement. I was translating to FF equivalents. :)
     
  14. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    842
    Feb 20, 2013
    Olympus's lens lineup vs Panasonic's could be characterized by its consistency. It's most popular lenses are in a line of relatively small, sharp, fairly priced primes (the more extreme ends cost more) that are virtually the same aperture and cover a perfect range of FLs: the 12mm is f/2 due to the obvious size and price complications making a lens that wide an f1.8, but the 17, 25, 45, and 75 are f1.8. They're all small and sharp. The 12 and the 17 have been complained about, but then again, so have many wide angle lenses. You want a weather-sealed macro? You get a 60, whose FL fits and of course the macro doesn't really need to be an f1.8 and being a f2.8 it remains smaller. I think this is the only one that doesn't come in silver.

    Panasonic's lineup I would say is inconsistent. Some lenses are very big, some tiny, some cheap, some super expensive. Again focusing on primes, the 14 is a 2.5 and the 20 is a 1.7. Both pancakes, one superb, one good but often criticized. Now we have a 15/1.7 which is has the small diameter of the 14 but is not a pancake. The 15's aperture and performance match the 20. Then we have the 25 which is much larger and an f1.4. Next on the list is a $1200 42/1.2. That's out of place! Finally we just got a 42/1.7. It's pretty much a stabilized version of Olympus's 45. You want a macro? There's a 45 and now a 30, both f2.8. The (very sharp and pricy) 45 I would say is m4/3s least popular lens (except for Panasonic's own fisheye).

    I don't feel like discussing kit zooms (where I'd say there is more order in Panny's lineup), although Panasonic make a very shockingly (inconsistency!) good 12-32mm stabilized pancake (!) that is extremely good! Through all of this, you would probably say Olympus's lineup is better. Personally, however, inconsistency can be good. Based on everything, however, I currently have Panasonic's lenses: 14, 20, 42/1.7 (soon). I want the O25 and 75, but the 25 is too close to the 20 and the 75 is half the price of a Sony A7.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  15. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    What I'm saying is that there is no FF equivalent with regards to f-stop. Only to field of view.
     
  16. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Both the 14 and 20 started as kit lenses, with whatever compromises that entails. That probably contributes to the impression that they are all over the place with regards to design. I have to say though... for kit lenses, they are really, really good. Especially the 20!

    If you want a really good telephoto prime but don't want to spend for the O75, try the Sigma 60. No hyperbole here... it renders as well as anything in m43, and tests show its super sharp wide open, so the f2.8 is workable.
     
  17. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Panasonic has two lines of lenses: proper Panasonic and Panasonic Leica. The 45 macro, 42.5/1.2, 25/1.4 are Leica branded and are significantly bigger and high price and quality. That could explain some of the differences.
     
  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you are comparing to DOF, there certainly is a FF equivalent aperture and it is also a 2x factor. If you factor in the high ISO noise ceiling, a case could be made for their being a crop factor on exposure, too, but that one is a bit more controversial to discuss.

    Not terribly relevant, either way unless you are trying to shoot two systems and perfectly match results which just isn't that productive.
     
  19. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I was responding to 6BQ5 saying that peak sharpness with m43 at f4-f6.3 was equivalent sharpness of a FF lens at f8-f12.6, and while depth of field is effected by the sensor size, I don't think it effects the range where peak sharpness is found for a lens (I could be wrong though). But... my understanding of this stuff is superficial, so there is a good chance I will say something uninformed and/or inaccurate if I continue to talk about this (and I don't want to further derail the thread), so I'll just link this which I found helpful, and maybe others will as well:

    http://admiringlight.com/blog/full-frame-equivalence-and-why-it-doesnt-matter/
     
  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I don't think it matters, either. Except in the case of making generalized statements comparing different systems.