Is m4/3 really going Big and Expensive?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tkbslc, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    List of too big and/or too expensive* lenses that have been released (or rumored) in the past little while:

    • 7-14 pro
    • 8mm f1.8
    • 100-400
    • 300mm f4
    • 25mm f1.2
    • 12-100mm f4
    • 12mm f1.4
    *According to yours truly

    So with this list, one can get the sense that m4/3 is transitioning into territory that has a lot of overlap with big pro SLR systems, both in cost and in size. And some people, maybe even me, might get the idea that m4/3 is moving away from it's roots and complain about it.

    But, if you step back and look at the other releases in the past year or two, maybe you realize there is not so much to worry about.

    • 25mm f1.7
    • 42.5mm f1.7
    • 30mm macro
    • Rumored even smaller 30mm macro
    • 35-100 f5.6
    • Sigma 30mm f1.4 (should have same bokeh-ability as a 25mm f1.2)
    • 12-60mm
    • 14-150mm II (weather sealed superzoom)
    So even if you are like me, and you think the new pro lenses are ridiculous, m4/3 is giving you plenty of fun stuff at the other end of the scale. And most of it has been quite outstanding, too. Not to mention the other outstanding cheap kit we already had available.

    I guess I'll quit whining so much about the f1.2 primes.... :)
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  2. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    We've already got the tiny lenses line up for those who want small. Now we're getting the "serious lenses" for the people who want more quality (and faster lenses) - and are willing to pay more.

    It's not wise to concentrate on one of these sides while neglacting the other. If a system can support all parties it will sell much better.

    EDIT: And more importantly, these PRO lenses are the ones bringing the dough to the makers - not the cheap plastic ones. Obviously Oly and Pana wants more professionals to come aboard the m4/3 train since they can/will pay more than "soccer moms". :D
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  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I guess we all need to make our choices. For me none of the lenses in the first list are on my personal "must buy" list. But I got into u43 for the size and I fell in love with the small primes. Sort of a cheap Leica I guess. Having said that, the 12-100 might be of interest and if I ever get seriously into starfield photography then that 8mm f1.8 FE looks sort of unavoidable.
  4. LucDeSchepper

    LucDeSchepper Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 8, 2014
    Luc de Schepper
    Imo choice is good and necessary for the future of M43 however M43 is in need of better (high iso) sensor performance and AF tracking otherwise people willing to spend serious money will move away from M43.
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  5. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    If m43 is going to be anything more than a supplement to an existing SLR system it needs lenses like that. If someone buys only f1.2 primes they probably should have bought something with a larger sensor. But if they sometimes need a lens that fast but also want to be able to leave them at home and travel light at other times the big, fast lenses lets them have a single system instead of two.

    I am considering a 100-400 and would hate to have to purchase and carry around a whole other system to get that capability. People that buy the f1.2 and heavy high grade zooms lenses probably feel the same way. And the 100-400 is about as small and light as a lens like that can be.
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  6. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The most overlooked thing in my mind is that 'serious money' will easily net a body and several lenses in m4/3, the same money in full frame will be a body and no lens... or a lens and no body.
    m4/3 might be getting "bigger" and "more expensive" however it's still an amazingly cheap proposition compared to a full frame camera and lenses of the same generation (Comparing a 30 year old Canon 50mm f1.4 or f1.8 design against a modern m4/3 25mm design really doesn't work out well in the real world, it makes me facepalm so hard I get bruises every time someone does it ).

    I would also suggest that buying into a system because someone on the internet said to do so is a bad strategy. Look instead at what the system offers you in every day usage and if it meets your needs and not the hypothetical needs of someone on an internet forum (think about weight/size/performance vs cost, what is more important to YOU).
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  7. panamike

    panamike Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    Lincolnshire UK
    Room for both type,i have and like the 100-400 and the 45-175
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  8. Danny_SWE

    Danny_SWE Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 30, 2013
    Sweden (Gothenburg)
    agree, I have all pancakes and love them. The 100-400 is also fantastic and not so big thinking of what u get :)
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  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    What's a bit disappointing to me is that they seem to have abandoned new pancake lens designs. The 17/2.8 is pretty mediocre. The 20/1.7 has focusing issues. There are no long pancake primes. The 14/2.5 is decent enough, but the corners never get *that* sharp. And there's nothing wider. Given how well they fit the smaller bodies, it's a shame neither Olympus nor Panasonic are putting in any effort on pancake lenses at this point.
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  10. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    It really depends on what FF system you look at, there are quite a few options these days. I think one of the posters above was quite apt when he said these ultra fast lenses are great if you only need one, (I have the 42.5/1.2 personally, and the reasonably sized and priced 25/1.4, wider than that I don't really shoot below F2.8 so my 12-35/2.8 and 7-14/4 work very well) however, if you need a series of ultra fast primes, a FF system will generally be more economical/make more sense.

    Let's take a modern mid-high-spec'd M43 camera such as the GX8 (I would say the EM1, but it's 3 years old and sells for about half the price these days)

    GX8: $1000, 490g
    42.5/1.2: $1400, 425g
    25/1.2: at least $1000 and 450g,
    12/1.4: $1300, 335g

    Total: at least $4700, 1700g

    Sony A7II: $1700, 555g
    Zeiss 85/1.8: $1200, 475g
    Sony 55/1.8: $900, 280g
    Zeiss 24/2: $1300, 335g

    Total: $5100, 1645g

    Here we've got a modern body, and high end lenses that are brand new design, not legacy SLR glass. The cost for the Sony is a little higher, but the weight is slightly lower. The M43 kit is certainly nothing close to amazingly cheap. There are options in the M43 system that are much less expensive than the Sony kit above, but only if you go with cheaper/slower lenses.

    Let's try another
    Nikon D750 or D610, $2000, 750g or $1500, 760g
    Nikon 85/1.8 G: $477, 350g
    Nikon 50/1.8 G: $217, 185g
    Nikon 24/1.8 G: $746, 355g

    Total: $2940-3440, 1650g

    The Nikon system is both significantly less expensive, and slightly lighter. The Nikon 1.8 G primes are not 25 year old designs like the EF 50/1.4 either, they were released within the last 10 years and are known to be very good performers.

    But but but... 1.8 lenses vs 1.2/1.4? Yeah, the FF examples I'm using are 1.8. This means they provide about a stop more light gathering, and narrower DOF than the M43 counterparts, so comparing to 1.8 is perfectly reasonable. Yes, I also recognize that M43 bodies have certain advantages, such as IBIS over the Nikon, and exposure/wb preview via EVF (a pro for me, a con for others), but the 35mm systems have advantages as well, such as higher DR at base ISO, better AF tracking for the Nikons, etc. Certainly, it is more complex than simply looking at price/weight to pick the right system.

    At the end of the day, M43 is a fantastic system that is compact and capable - if like me, you're willing to forgo the light gathering of a larger system (it is not actually needed for many types of photography). However, when lenses are designed to provide somewhat equivalent physical aperture openings as a larger format system like 35mm, the lenses get extremely complex, large and expensive to manufacture. If we had F0.9 AF lenses that provided the same DOF/aperture opening as these 1.8 Sony/Nikon lenses, the situation would be even more lopsidedly in favor of the larger sensor system. Olympus was rumored to be considering a 25/1.0, at about 30% larger than the 25/1.2 - which would make it one of, if not the biggest 50mm equivalent lenses made for any system (the Otis would probably be bigger).
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  11. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    The reason you don't see pancake teles and wide angles is simple; physics. It's much easier to design pancake lenses when the focal length is close to that of the flange distance. The M43 system has a 20mm flange distance, and thus 17mm and 20mm lenses can be made pretty small, even 14mm if you don't want it to be particularly fast or good. But you're never going to see a 50mm or 100mm pancake lens, because it's simply not physically possible. The 35-100mm 4-5.6 is a remarkable small lenses, but when expanded the 100mm end is slow (5.6) and also nowhere near pancake length. Similar is true for ultrawide-wide angles, to bend the light from such wide lenses the design needs to be complex, which mean typically means not small, so unless it's something like the toy-lens style Olympus body cap pancakes, it's just not feasible on the wide end either.

    If more pancakes were to be released, they would most likely be in the 14-25mm range, and then people would complain that we have enough 14-25mm lenses already. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

    Realistically, lenses like the 12/2, 15/1.7, 17/1.8, 25/1.8, 42.5/18 and 45/1.8 are as small as they can reasonably be while being fast and offering excellent performance. If you want a pancake in this range you need to give up speed, image quality, or both.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  12. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    The FF 1.8, does not gather more light, I showed this mathematically yesterday. It "gathers" less light than the MFT 1.2, but it had a shallower DoF Potential, because of the sensor it is coupled with & focal length difference.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  13. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    There's two problems for me really, there's no real push for new 135 lenses which match the equivalent aperture and performance of m4/3 lenses. People talk about equivalent aperture like bigger is always better however I would often prefer elmarit class (or slower!). One of my favourite lenses for 135 was an Olympus 28-48mm f4.0, my current every day lens is the 12-40mm and I am pretty excited about the possibilities the 12-100mm will offer.

    The second problem is the only items on that list which come remotely close to being weather sealed are the Nikon bodies and two of the m4/3 lenses, while many people frown apon introducing a camera to rain I don't think twice given my past experience with the E-series (I know I can take a shower with it to get clean and it will be fine).

    Different strokes for different blokes as they say...
  14. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    I wouldn't be too concerned. They obviously want to crack into the professional market, where Nikon and Canon are winning by miles. Just think of all the wedding photographers who'd love to save money and some weight on their gear. They need lenses like this, it doesn't matter how big they are if the customers are happy.
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  15. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    While I don't want to get into a huge equivalence debate, as it's beating a dead horse, there are two ways to look at it:

    A. Light per unit such as mm squared - where what you're saying is correct
    B. Total light - light captured over the entire area of sensor, where what you're saying is incorrect

    B is generally what matters when it comes to practical photography. As it determines DOF control, and noise (assuming similarly efficient sensor tech). Total light and DOF control are mutually exclusive, you can't have less of one and more of the other. Total light is determined by the physical aperture opening, not the f-ratio. In this case 50/1.8 = 27.7mm and 25/1.2 = 20.8mm, so the larger opening of the 35mm lens lets in more light.

    The easy analogy here is, if you've got two buckets of water. One bucket is 36 inches wide (35mm) the other bucket is 18 inches wide (43), if both buckets have 2 inches of water in them, which bucket has more water? The same principal applies to total light.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  16. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That right there is the major difference for me. I don't know if it's because I am odd but I love the rain and any inclement weather for that matter. I have always loved being outside when it's raining, just something about it has always been magical to me. Since getting into photography many years ago I have been fanatical about shooting in the rain, there is just something about the light and how everything being wet reacts to that light. The EM1 and the Pro zooms are one of the things that attracted me over to Olympus. I have always been impressed with their weather sealing (I personally believe Olympus and Pentax make the best weather sealed gear in the industry) and the EM1 combined with the Pro zooms and the ability to use the 4/3 lenses (which have always been regarded as some of the best lenses produced, talking their SHG line) converted me over. One thing about shooting in stormy weather is the light is not the brightest, so having fast lenses to help keep the ISO low when you need fast shutters speeds is a huge plus to these new lenses coming out. I have been excited about the announcement of them since the beginning and happy that I had not started buying the more normal focal length primes (being new to the system has some advantages).

    I will probably end up with all the Pro lenses by the end of next year. I am mostly a telephoto shooter (wildlife and sports) and for this area µ4/3 has a huge advantage in size/weight (300mm ƒ4.0 Pro is much smaller then a 600mm ƒ4.0 lens). When I do want to shoot more normal focal lengths it would be nice to have lenses that are weather sealed and fast (concerned more about shutter speed vs ISO then DoF) to use on my same camera body that I use for telephoto work. Staying in the same system allows me to become perfectly adapted to my camera. My muscle memory is perfect with my EM1, I just think about changing this or that and my fingers are already moving to the proper place. Shooting action stuff this is a huge advantage, I miss no shots because I could not react fast enough to make a change in settings because I had to think about where that setting was. So I have interest in doing two systems.

    On another note...................

    Everyone needs to remember a few things about Olympus.

    1st - They have always produced lenses of the highest caliber and to achieve those impressive results there are some things you just can't get around, physics. They also like to use as much optical correction as possible in their high end lenses. The SHG lenses are some of the best lenses made and they went all in on those lenses and there will probably never be another line of lenses of that caliber ever made again, they are also large and heavy but that was what was needed to produce them. It seems like now they are going a more conservative route with the new Pro lenses and using their HG lens approach, a good compromise between IQ and weight/size. But even this design choice is going to be larger and heavier then going more software based correction. While I love my 150/2, I believe in this climate they are going the right direction......even tho I would love a 150/2 with modern focus and aperture mechanisms in it.

    2nd - Up until the EM1, Olympus had two lines of cameras. While developing the EM1 they made the choice to use it as the replacement for a new 4/3's camera. So now they have only 1 camera system. I honestly believe they were trying to attract pro photographs in the 4/3 days with the HG and SHG lenses. So when they committed to only µ4/3 they need to figure out a way to attract those pros, because they had no real high end lenses (talking Pro grade, weather sealed) in their new mount. They took those designers who were working the high end 4/3 lenses and put them to use designing and building what we are getting now. Olympus has not changed in what target markets they are going after, they have been producing high end (yes high end almost always requires large/heavy) lenses for a number of years now. What has changed is they have started making those lenses in µ4/3 mount because they only have one camera mount now. it or not, Olympus will continue to pursue making high end lenses that meet a very high IQ standard. They will make those lenses at what ever size it requires to achieve it. I also think that after they finish their line of Pro lenses (akin to their old SHG lenses) they will start working on something similar to the old HG line (something in between Pro and Consumer). We are already seeing that in the announced 12-100 ƒ4.0, which I have seen some saying even that is going to be to big (guess it's a good thing they have other choices).
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  17. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    I don't see this as an equivalence debate, more of a purely technical discussion. We could easily be discussing the difference between a 16mp & 20mp Mft sensor.

    See that's a little to simple to me, because its not 2 different sized buckets, but a few million buckets spread out over different sized areas.
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  18. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Let me just preface this and say I don't often use super telephoto lenses where light is almost always the limiting factor, I completely understand the desire for faster glass under those conditions (no I won't carry it :p I too am happy with the smaller and lighter compromise). While I agree with almost all of your points I do offer another side to the quoted part based on geographic location.

    I really don't want to be the northern hemisphere during any season other than summer (and even then it's pushing it) as it has always seemed miserable to me. Winter here in the south never gets anywhere near as dark (or cold!) and during summer rain is AMAZING as it stops you melting (in all seriousness rain during summer is my FAVORITE event, hands down the best time to be out and about).

    Monsoon season nearer the equator can also be a load of fun, it's a bright hot day and yet it's pouring rain, there's still plenty of light if you're willing to get wet (due to the humidity you're going to get soaked regardless, but if you go out you'll at least get some pictures and still be 'dry' within 10 minutes of the rain stopping :) ).

    I always have the option of fast lenses if the conditions need them (I do own several which would meet the criteria of 'fast', and I'll likely get the 25mm f1.2 in time for a compact weathersealed lens), I just prefer a slower lens during the day where it excels without many of the downsides.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  19. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Sure, but the end result is one photo, not 20 million pixels that we view individually. So it makes sense to look at it on the whole, rather than the micro scale.

    Whether the photo is taken with a 35mm camera of a 43 camera, we tend to view the photo in exactly the same way as well. Look at it online, print at common print sizes, etc.
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  20. danelkins

    danelkins Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    Norhtern Illinois
    I think as a group (m43) we should all be please that lenses and cameras of all sizes and capabilities are continuing to come to market. It gives proof of system stability and a long future. Look into the past film formats, like the porely executed 110 and APS film, to see how new formats can fail. Olympus and Panasonic seem to be doing a good job at groing the m43 system to offer up gear for all types to admire and pursue. I personally would like to see a 9 or 10mm f2.8 lens along with a 70-200 f4 IS with 1.4x extender to offer a smaller/lighter/brighter option to a 100-400mm. All in all most photographers have some really great options in the m43 system – and a lot of adapters for everything else.
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