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If small and light is your absolute priority...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by OzRay, May 1, 2014.

  1. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    ...why do you use m4/3s, when there are other options that fulfil that criteria much better and provide very good image quality as well?

    I'm posing this question because of numerous posts from many that suggest that the entire raison d'être for m4/3 is small and light cameras and lenses, and that lenses like the 12-40mm and, heaven forbid, 4/3 lenses are considered far too large and heavy for general use. I find this a kind of one dimensional view and perplexing indeed. I've pointed out a couple of times that I use 4/3 lenses because I have a bag full of the most outstanding zoom lenses possibly ever made and the only option today to marry those lenses with a great camera is to use a m4/3s body.

    I don't find my 4/3 lenses large, heavy or cumbersome whatsoever, in the same vein as I didn't find them large, cumbersome or heavy with my E-3/E-5. Similarly, there are many that don't see the likes of the 12-40mm large, cumbersome and heavy whatsoever. If Olympus just produced tiny, lightweight, lenses and nothing in the pro range of zooms and the like, I bet there would be a hew and cry over the lack of such lenses. Yet in nearly every thread raised on this forum, I see this recurring meme of nothing but tiny, lightweight, lenses will do and the likes of the 12-40mm et al seem to be denigrated because you can't fit them into a snuff box.

    Personally, I find the absolute beauty of the m4/3 system being the fact that you can have such a wide range of choice to build the sort of system that suits your needs, with a vast array of lenses both old and new to choose from. I think people sometimes lose sight of exactly how flexible and accommodating the m4/3 system really is and fail to realise that many who use the m4/3 system are just as flexible and accommodating of the plethora of options available to suit their needs. Some want small and light, others don't care, as they seek to fulfil other needs, but the constant emphasis on small and light makes it sound as if people don't want that flexibility to be available.

    That's what makes me wonder why some don't choose a smaller system, if small and light is the absolute priority.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    OzRay, your post perplexes me, because in your fourth paragraph you've written what would've been my response to your first three paragraphs.

    Everyone doesn't insist on their m4/3s kit being tiny, but some certainly do. For those who do there are good choices within the system. And those who do have that POV are likely to continue to point out that fast-ish zooms are "too big" for them. What's the big deal?

    m4/3s is so great because you can have a very diverse system, and someone else can go micro, and someone else can go with longer zooms on bigger bodies. Other can choose Panny for pro level video, or Oly for great JPEGs with minimal effort. Or 5-axis IBIS for shooting manual focus lenses, or two generation old bodies for ridiculously cheap prices. Other systems may be better than m4/3s in any specific area, but none provide the diversity with regard to size and cost and capabilities.
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I may not be expressing things well enough, but I just see so many posts seemingly knocking anything other than the smallest of lenses. I fully understand why some may want small, but the very strong feelings levelled against lenses such as the 12-40mm perplexes me. It almost seems as if many feel that these lenses shouldn't even exist in the m4/3's ecosystem. This isn't just a spur of the moment observation, but something I've been noting for a while and at times commenting on in individual posts. So I thought I'd pose the question more openly and try and find out why there is such animosity towards lenses that are not small. I know it's a personal choice, but some make it sound as if any other option is patently wrong, if not evil, and are almost on a crusade to discourage others from even considering other options.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I can answer this for probably over half the users who want certain things:

    The user wants...

    1) Small, lightweight, and low-light -
    PM2 + 20 beats the RX100 and anything in a smaller body. Smaller and cheaper than a RX1 or any DSLR. Cheaper and smaller than any of the Sony A7s.

    2) Cheap but good - It's pretty obvious that the lens selection of m4/3s is cheaper than nearly every other system out there, except Pentax Q, which I have, and instead of "good" on the phone to my friend the other day I referred to it as a "POS." Buy something even close to say a 14, 20, 25, and 45 in another system and still say you've spent under $1200. Won't happen.

    3) Adapt old lenses plus have a few native lenses - Sony NEX or Fuji can do this as well. But the crop factor isn't as easy to work out in your head. And if you want a few native lenses as well, read #2 above. Fujis are expensive too; and bigger.

    4) Size - This is the one I think that is confusing you here. People don't have just one desire, they have many. Taking me for example, I want a camera I can wear on my belt when I go to say, Disney World. RX100, maybe? Or a 12-32mm lens for m4/3s? Next, I want low-light. DSLR, maybe? Or a m4/3s 15/1.7? Or maybe I want a standard f2.8 zoom. Larger, sure, but would I rather buy a $1000 D7100 with a $800 zoom or else just buy a 12-35/2.8 and use it on the same camera that I'm using for Disney Land and for low-light? The same goes for portraits. I can grab a 45, 60, or 75 and pop 'er on the same camera that is small when I need it to be. If I want FF DOF I start thinking about the Sony A7, but, then I quickly realize that owning a $2000 Sony A7 simply for bokeh and low-light is a less-wise choice than simply buying a Voitlander 25 or 42/0.95 lens and popping 'er on. Plus, I'll buy that Voitlander used for $800 and sell it used in 3 years from now for $800. Good luck getting even half price for that Sony A7 3 years from now. And a personal reason is that I don't like having more than one 'main' camera. I have several, but I rarely use any others.

    Back your main question about why don't some people use a smaller system. Well, I don't think anyone here is really considering buying a Nikon 1, Pentax Q, or whatever the heck Samsung is ramming down their fan boys' throats this time around. Nothing about any of those cameras impresses me, nor are they much smaller, either. Finally, back your larger 4/3s lenses: after carrying my camera on my belt at Disney World for two days, I pop on a "real" lens like any of your 4/3s lenses and go do some photography as opposed to the "snapshots" the 12-32 was getting me at Disney. I could have a DSLR, sure, but a second body with different lenses is much more to carry around.

    Here's my thought-process on m4/3s:

    Size: 8/10
    Low-light: 8/10
    Price: 8/10
    Lens selection: 10/10

    What about Sony A7?
    Size: 7/10
    Low-light: 10/10
    Price: 4/10
    Lens selection: 3/10
    • Like Like x 4
  5. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Actually there are 2 questions in your post.

    1) If small and light is your priority why do you choose M43?
    Well with every photographer small and light takes on a 'certain importance' but it usually comes as a 'compromise' for nearly everything 'image quality, versatility''. For me M43 is the best 'compromise' between the two available.

    2) So if you choose M43 why are the 'fast zooms' and even the 43 lenses unacceptable to you?
    Well it is roughly the same equation. Small and light is important but it will come at the expense of 'image quality/versatility'. Slow zooms are smaller but they are less fast. Primes are smaller but they dont zoom. Personally I like fast zooms and one of the reasons I own M43 is because I can get a 12-35 or 35-100 2.8 in a compact size, something that even APSC doesnt offer me. But do I want a 40-150 2.8 - maybe - but maybe it is just too big for the benefits it brings. As for the 43 lenses I dont really like them. They do have unique lenses like the 150/2 or 35-100/2 but they are just too big to fit in my bag. And a lot of the lenses are really just m43 equivalents but bigger and heavier. I am all for them being there - choice afterall is good - but none of the lenses look particularly attractive for me to own.
  6. Lurch

    Lurch Hi, I'm a gear addict

    Apr 21, 2014
    Canberra, Australia
    I think it's all comparable.
    EG: I find my kit 14-42 properly *tiny* compared to what I'm used to. Someone mentioned on another forum how "big" the 19mm Sigma is. No I havent actually seen one in the flesh, but looking up the dimensions on the net, It's still smaller that my smallest Pentax lens (not counting the 40mm XS).
    So it's all relative.
    My mu4/3 "kit" is now less than half of my Pentax bag of tricks (which in turn was about 2/3rds the size of my D800 bag). Yes, the K-3 can probably take a better picture (but not in my hands) and I'm more than happy with the supposed compromise in IQ because the E-M5 is a kit I'll actually take out with me (trips, on the bike, etc) without looking at it and wondering if I can actually be bothered...
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz

    I'm not the user that you describe, and I doubt that it fits every m4/3 user's remit.

    Again, I understand that 'some' have a need for small and light, but it begs the question as to why some feel that anything else is effectively a bad thing and small and light is the 'only' thing. I have a bunch of Voigtlander M mount lenses, some Minolta M mount lenses and a Leica, and I don't really like using them; I've found that I dislike primes and klutzing around and swapping lenses at inopportune times is not to my liking. Also, fast is pretty much irrelevant in most cases nowadays, as the ISO capability is so good with m4/3. Weight? Not a problem, I can go all day with several of my 4/3 zooms if need be and not worry a jot (I've done a Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, round trip in one day lugging a bag full of 4/3 gear).

    I have no issue if people discourage others from buying 'bad' lenses, from a performance view, but size and weight are different issues altogether. If someone with an E-M1 were to ask me whether they should buy an ED 14-35mm f2 lens because they can get one at a very good price and it's in pristine condition, I would heartily recommend the purchase. The last thing I would do is start recommending three or so primes because they may be lighter and slightly faster combined.
  8. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Reason is simple, the M43 system offers some of the best lenses available in the market today + Olympus provides a magical four letter abbreviation thingy called IBIS that then makes all those amazing lenses even better. :D 
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    My main premise here is lenses, not the brand.
  10. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I don't think the 12-40 is large, but I learned the hard way that the bigger my kit is, the more time it spends in my closet. But thats just me. I also like the sensibility of shooting one focal length for a while and really learning to see the world that way (I'm thinking of doing this with the PL15!). And I think about finding a darkroom in town that I can use, and buying a used rangefinder and a crate of Tri-X (or maybe Neopan... I haven't decided). There are others who share my sensibility, and who knows, maybe they gravitate to a compact system with excellent primes like m43, but I realize I'm probably in the minority.
  11. Lurch

    Lurch Hi, I'm a gear addict

    Apr 21, 2014
    Canberra, Australia
    It's not just you :thumbup:
    • Like Like x 1
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Maybe it does invoke two separate responses and I accept the first is important for some/many.

    On the second point, it just reinforces the first point. However, there are many existing 4/3 users about that do not find their kit too big, heavy or impossible to fit in a bag, as they are well versed and used to the 4/3 system. However, there are clearly some/many that want to transition to a newer Olympus body, but want to retain their 4/3 lenses. He's my bag, which contains an 8mm, 7-14mm, 18-180mm, 35-100mm, EC-14, EC-20, EX-25, FL-50r, tripod, batteries, filters and various other odds and ends, which I can carry quite easily (not shown is my E-M1 with 14-35mm, which I can fit in easily by putting the FL-50r into the pocket on the side of the bag and another on the other side):

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    This is my travel kit. I can reduce it as much as I want or need depending on the circumstances, or make do with only one or two lenses. Other than the 18-180mm, all the other lenses have been in some of the most hostile environments around, rain, sleet, snow, dust, mud, waterfalls etc. How many of your lenses will you take into any of those environments?
  13. Lurch

    Lurch Hi, I'm a gear addict

    Apr 21, 2014
    Canberra, Australia
    An umbrella (ella, ella, ella)?

    Sorry, I had to...
  14. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    I bought into micro 4/3rds not because it was tiny but because it was lighter and cheaper than my Nikon gear.

    I was considering moving from my crop sensor D7000 to a D600 which would have meant upgrading my lenses (and Nikon lenses aren't cheap) and would have meant even more weight.

    Sure there are even lighter systems but micro 4/3rds (and in particular the EM-1) provides a good view finder, optional grip, affordable lenses, splash proof body and weight that's more like an entry level drop sensor DSLR than a full frame camera.

    To go even lighter and smaller would have eliminated one or more of those features.
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Again, there are at least two types of m4/3 users, those who have gone fully m4/3, lenses and all, and those who have transitioned mainly to m4/3 bodies, but retained their 4/3 lenses. Like Alex, with his ED 300mm f2.8 lens and adapters, why on earth would you want to get rid of such a superlative lens, simply because it happens to be 'relatively' large and heavy? The same applies to all the SHG and HG lenses from the 4/3s era; they are so good when coupled to the E-M1, at least, that arguing they are large and heavy omits the fact that they are so good, and that the size and weight may well be irrelevant to some.

    Had I come from a different but equivalent system, to 4/3s, I would not hesitate to get the likes of the 12-40mm and the other 'huge and heavy' m4/3 weatherproof zooms, rather than the 'wee' primes. But even those zooms appear to be way too large and heavy for many, and they tend to discourage others from even considering them. I mean, the 12-40mm lens weighs considerably less than a 330mm bottle of beer (382g vs 450g - I just weighed a beer) and slightly more than a glass of wine (depending on your glass size), so I can't believe that anyone could consider that heavy.

    If you think holding a stubby of beer all day is a chore, don't ever attend an Australian BBQ. :wink:
  16. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    So, to answer your question again, for those users who want small + speed + quality + cheap, m4/3s is their answer, so they buy it. And if they are recommending small lenses based on their own opinions--or their assumed empathy for the person asking for lens help--then recommending a small lens is, well, kind of to be expected. If they want even smaller, then, well, they probably bought a Canon s110 and never came to this forum.

    You said you'd recommend the 14-35/2 if it were cheap. Okay, great. I actually want the 550g 42/0.95. Would you recommend one of those to someone going on roller coasters at Disney Land? Of course not. The bag you posted with all those lenses in it is huge. I would never carry that. It'd take the fun out of it. We've had users on here comfortable of carrying no more than a GM1 12-32 kit. There's nothing wrong with that. Maybe it's on their belts when they're on a date? As to why they would recommend lenses as they do, see first paragraph.

    It sounds to me like you're trying to say that the lenses some people say are big are not really big. And if that's what you want to say, then, well, it's a never-ending argument of opinion.
  17. scott2hot

    scott2hot Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 27, 2012
    west yorkshire
    When i visit disney / universal next week...I will only take e m10 ...20mm F1.7...40 -150 and 14-42 for when i need wider.
    with 20 on the cam and other two in wifes handbag...it will make for a super light system round my neck...Please dont try and tell me a G15 or rx100 will afford me the same shots...landscape maybe...but everything else NAH...been there done that...always slightly disapointed!
    So yes a high quality small system for me does count.
    I would like you say carry bigger and better quality lenses....if ...A ..i had the cash and B...didnt have small demanding children hanging off my arms or neck!!
    So lightweight and near perfection will do just grand for me and my family snapshots
  18. tino84

    tino84 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2013
    hi, I use adapted lens when "I have to", and m4/3 lens for everyday use, because of their small size.
    I have an e-pl5, and my girlfriend got a canon 350d.. one of us doesn't bring so much her camera because of its size, who will be? :p 
    (In my bag -the bag that comes with olympus 40-150- find place 40-150, 14-42 ez, 3 batteries, money and keys..)
    Maybe size isn't the only point for everyone, but sure m4/3 size is a pro that helps the system
  19. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Far from it. My ED 14-35mm f2 is a big lens in the m4/3 world, it weighs 1kg and with the E-M1, MMF-3 and RRS grip, the total weight is 1.6kg. But I don't find that objectionable. What I find inexplicable, is that some find the 12-40mm incredibly large and heavy. I'm trying to understand why the larger m4/3 lenses, especially, are so disparaged by some. When a question is raised about lens options, and say the 12-40mm is mentioned, some respond like the 12-40mm and its ilk are the devil's spawn and do everything that they can to discourage any consideration of these lenses. This thread appears to be attracting the same sort of response.
  20. AndrewMac

    AndrewMac New to Mu-43

    Apr 23, 2014
    I guess it depends quite what you're looking for. I've just stepped down/up from a Pentax K10D which tended to have the 16-45 f4 on it. Thats a lens which is pretty comparable to the 12-40 in size and weight terms. But I ditched the Pentax as I wanted lighter as I just wasn't carrying it around.

    Now my camera weighs less than half as much so I've a massive weight saving there, but this is what it'd look like if I went back to a big zoom:


    Rather more attaching a camera to a lens than the other way around...

    Not going to do anyone any real harm, but its a very different thing to put that round your neck for a day / in a small bag vs the same camera with a small prime or small / pancake zoom. If (who am I kidding, when) I pick up an OMD style body as well then it could be back on the table for when I'm specifically going out looking for photos, but you've straight away lost the "not that much bigger than a compact" (though still have "much smaller than a DSLR").
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