I got myself a new toy! (Zuiko 14-54 content)

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Promit, May 5, 2012.

  1. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    For all the fast zoom lovers out there:
    P1010855.JPG
    I've never actually had a fast zoom before, for any camera. Still getting used to it; it arrived at dusk and no zoom is that fast :rolleyes: The primes are great and all, but sometimes I just want flexibility in dimmer lighting conditions. I hear this lens is a real boss and I'm looking forward to stretching my legs with it :smile:
     
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  2. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
  3. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Can you post your impressions because I'm thinking about getting one. Is it the MKII?
     
  4. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    There's a lot more to a lens than sharpness. Besides, my 20 and 45 primes will push both zoom lenses off a cliff if we're just going to talk lpmm. I got the 14-54 way under market anyway, so the worst case is I turn a profit :rolleyes:
    Yeah, it's a MkII. I'll update this thread with actual samples and impressions in a couple days. The shots I have now are boring indoor and dusk photos that don't flatter. One observation: at 42mm, the 14-54 is at f/3.2, while the kit lens has hit f/5.6. That's a 1.6 EV advantage.
     
  5. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Thanks. Looking forward to read more.
     
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Yes, thinking about it, a 14-35/3.2 zoom is really only 1/3 stop slower than a 12-35/2.8 zoom.

    Will be interesting to hear your thoughts re: AF. I used the 14-54II on the E-P2 and found it awfully slow, but I'm hoping it's significantly better on the current Pens.

    Regarding sharpness compared to the primes, I think you may be (pleasantly) surprised.

    DH
     
  7. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Not to mention the fact that unlike the 12-35 the 14-54 actually exists.

    Fred
     
  8. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy

    Yes, thats a big advantage.
     
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The general case with the Zuiko variable aperture lenses in the High Grade category is that they lose no more than a half stop than any similar constant aperture fast lenses in the same class (and gain a lot in reduced size and weight I might add). ie, the average High Grade Zuiko is f/2.8-3.5, while competitive lenses may be f/2.8 constant. The 12-60mm is probably the one exception which is a full stop slower at 60mm, but it also has a 5x zoom range which no other f/2.8 class fast lenses I can think of off-hand have... Even Canon's broad-ranged 24-105mm f/4L is only 4 1/3 times zoom, and only f/4 throughout the entire range! And still bigger and heavier than the Zuiko 12-60mm, which is an f/2.8-4 and slightly cheaper (and did I mention sharp?). Sure the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L is a constant f/2.8, but it only has a 3x zoom range and costs 2.5x as much. I'd sooner buy the fabulous Zuiko 14-35mm f/2 or the Zuiko 35-100mm f/2.

    In other words... everything is a trade-off in lens manufacture... speed, size, cost, optical quality, zoom range... The half-stop difference in the variable aperture lenses does come with many worthwhile advantages. Personally, I love the Zuiko 14-54mm original or Mark II. It is so compact for a lens of its class and I don't know any like it that are so small. That particular advantage wasn't such a big deal on an E-3 or E-5, but it really stands out on a PEN.
     
  10. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I used my E-P3 and the 14-54MkII about 90% of the time while I was traveling in Japan. I took probably at least 1000 shots with this combo. Of that, I'd say about ~5 or so shots were missed because the focus wasn't fast enough. So in that usage scenario, focus times were "fast enough" for me.

    In general, focus takes about 1 second or less on my E-P3/E-M5. I was just casually testing the 14-45+E-M5 combo right now and I found that focusing at 14mm is just slightly a tad slower than focusing at 54mm, for what it's worth. But they're both still ~1 second or less.

    Ergonomics/usage-wise, for me the combo was getting a bit large/heavy after a couple of days. The hood adds a lot to the length of the lens. Overall not a big deal to most I would think, but it does kinda go against the "small + light" motif of m43.

    With the "free" MMF-3 rebate offer, this lens and my E-M5 will be my all-weather go-to kit. Having said that, I will probably use this lens less often now that I have the 9-18mm.
     
  11. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Ok, I've had a little bit of time getting to know this lens. Bad news is, I'm not comfortable sharing the shots I've got so far in public, they are mostly of close family. But I am getting a better feel for the lens and what it's capable of. Samples soon, I promise.

    I know everyone's wondering about AF. On the E-P3 it is generally under 1 second (and the long end might be a touch slower, not sure). It is worse than the 20mm, but not by a lot. They're very similar, enough that I think if you're happy with the 20 you'll be happy with the 14-54. If you're used to the faster modern lenses (PL25, Oly45, Oly14-42) you might not be so pleased. You will need to prefocus your shots of moving subjects, but it's still substantially quicker than manual focus. I don't think it's much slower than the D3100 kit PDAF, either.

    I should note that I'm seeing some blatant focus misses being reported as AF confirmation. Not often, but at a clearly higher rate than native lenses and enough to notice in two days of shooting. Some of these are in situations which traditionally confuse AF systems, point lights in particular.

    Sharpness: Seems very good. Difficult to judge exactly because a lot of my shots so far are at ISO 3200, where the noise is eating sharpness. I need to take a bit more time in daylight to get a good feel for it, but my sense right now is that it is as good and probably a little bit better than the kit zoom when both are wide open. Clearly not as good as the Oly45, clearly better than the 14-140 (both expected). Charts on SLRGear indicate that the 14-54 is substantially better than the Oly 14-42 or Pana 14-45 when stopped down. Did I mention it's a 1:2 macro?

    Size: Yeah, it's a cannon. Subtlety is not in the cards here, and one handed shooting is likely to lead to a date with a chiropractor. I don't mind how it feels on the E-P3, but I would love to see someone wield this thing handheld on a grip-less PL3/PM1. Better still on the GH2 of course.

    As mentioned before, the lens is 1 stop brighter at the wide end and actually improves to 1.6 stops at 42mm. Then it keeps going to 54mm. The extra reach is noticeable and handy, if not earth shattering. At 20mm, it is 1.5 stops slower than the pancake and 1 stop faster than the 14-42. At 42mm it's 1.6 stops slower than the Oly45. Basically it splits the difference quite evenly between the kit and the primes, and gives you a lot of flexibility in the process. For the way I shoot, it seems to be an excellent compromise.
     
  12. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Okay, this lens is a bruiser. Wide open you're giving up some sharpness to the primes, not a lot. I can tell at 100% magnification but I very much doubt it makes any difference at sane print sizes. It's giving up nothing to the kit zoom, despite being a stop and a half faster. I would happily use images from this lens wide open any time, anywhere. For the absolute best you still need primes, but for those who prefer wielding zooms this lens is amazing. Combined with 1:2 macro and weather sealing, you could put this on an E-M5 and make those with Canon's best L glass jealous.

    Speaking of macro, there appears to be no practical close focus distance. With the hood on, you can simply stick the lens right up to whatever you want.

    I will post more images in the image thread (with full size links) but here's a couple now:
    OLY60469.JPG

    OLY60445.
     
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  13. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Looks very good. As soon as I can get a used one at a reasonable price, I think I'll buy it.
    Have you used the 14-150? Can you compare? I'm asking this because it is my walkaround lens.
     
  14. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Don't look now but somebody just posted in our Buy/sell forum :biggrin:
    I can compare to the Pana 14-140, I don't know about the Oly. The Panasonic's advantages are reach and OIS. That's it. The Oly is going to be a fair bit lighter but not significantly smaller; the 14-54mm is longer than both of them by less than an inch. The 14-140mm is noticeably softer at 100% at all aperture and equivalent FLs compared to the 14-54mm.
     
  15. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Thank you for reply. I assume the 14-150 will also be softer at al FLs; so, lets say, if I need re4ach the 14-150 is ok but if I want somethink sharper with better IQ, then the 14-54 is ideal: is that right?
     
  16. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Yes if you want faster apertures as well (and don't mind slower, 20mm comparable focus speeds). The 14-54 isn't doing anything different from the kit 14-42, except macro. It's just doing it at a stop and a half faster.
     
  17. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    With better IQ as well I think. Slower AF is not a great problem for me because I'm thinking of using it for indoor photography of Churches and similia giving me more versatility. It should be fine for landscape pics along with my mZuiko 9-18 which I love.
     
  18. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I loved the Mk1 I used to have. It was every bit as good as the 12-60 I still have. Just not as wide or long, but faster and lighter. It's a bummer seeing good glass like the old 4/3 stuff not getting used due to poor AF in the m4/3 bodies. I guess I could MF, but aarghhh. Oly needs to make an adapter like Sony did, which allows fast phase detection with the 4/3 lenses.
     
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Yes, I've noticed the same thing with the 12-60. It's a pity that the only native m4/3 zoom that can do that sort of close-focus is the otherwise less-than-interesting 12-60.

    DH
     
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    12-50mm you mean (for the :43: lens). :)

    Zuiko SLR lenses have always been known for being good at close focus, both OM and Four-Thirds. The 14-54mm has a 1:4 magnification ratio, which isn't far off from the "semi-macro" 12-50mm's 1:3 ratio... while the 14-54mm was never meant to be a macro lens. Even the Zuiko 70-300mm was not advertised as a macro, even though it focuses down to a very useful 1:2 at 300mm!

    However, the SLR format makes close focusing that much easier because the lens is further away from the sensor. Just like how much closer you can get when you add an extension tube. Rangefinder lenses on the other hand, or other mirrorless formats, have always struggled with close focus. I love the quality and compact size of the rangefinder lenses, but the one thing that bothers me about them is the long focus distance which requires me to stay far back from my subject and doesn't allow close-ups to fill the frame. That's just a natural disadvantage of having the lens so close to the sensor...