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Is Panasonic a superior lens maker?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by strang, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    Just throwing it out there. It seems like Panasonic is doing what things better than Olympus, such as the faster zooms in both mid-range and short telephoto, better pancakes, faster primes and wider UWA zooms.

    When I look at the lens chart that I built for myself, seems like it just makes sense to invest in Panasonic more.
  2. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Panasonic has larger collection of MFT native lenses than Olympus but I won't rate Panasonic higher than Olympus .
  3. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    I feel that currently they are outdoing Olympus...but I don't think they're superior. Oly has some terrific lenses, and Panasonic has some terrific lenses...it just happens that at the moment, my preference goes to Panasonic.

    Now that I think about...I own an Oly body, and not one Oly lens. I don't see that changing in the near future either.
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    OTOH, Olympus has a bunch of fast primes, like the 45 1.8, the 75 1.8, and the 12 f2 that everyone seems to agree are stellar. And Panasonic's 14-42 and 45-200 are pretty much typical consumer zooms. The 100-300 maybe a bit better than that, but certainly no competition of Canon or Nikon pro-level zooms.

    I don't think one is better than the other, but they've focused on different areas. Panasonic is rumored to be coming out with a fast prime tele (whatever that means). Oly is rumored to be preparing a fast 25mm lens at a lower price point than the PanLeica. It wouldn't surprise me to see Oly update some of its zoom range.
  5. My list of ideal (i.e. money no object) prime lenses would currently be all Olympus bar the PL 25/1.4, and my list of ideal zooms would be all Panasonic.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    You don't feel like having OIS is kind of a duplication of IBIS and the money you spent for it is unnecessary?

    I look at the 12-35/2.8 and the 35-100/2.8 and I'm telling my self that these are the lenses. They're the lenses that I use the most in a Canon or Nikon system. They would allow me to not worry about having the 12, 45, 75. They would be extended with a 100-300 being the extreme telephoto, another Panasonic. Get the 25/1.4, 7-14 and I have a full kit.

    But then I look at the size and weight and just think to myself, what if Olympus came out gunning in September with similar zooms, perhaps a constant f/4 or a f/2.8-3.5 at 2/3 the weight and size? The rumoured 25/1.8? The speculation and GAS is killing me.
  7. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    No...Panasonic incorporates OIS in several of their lower-priced lenses, so I don't see it as something that adds significantly to the price of the lenses I have purchased from them.

    Aside from that, lenses are a longer investment for me...my next body could easily be Panasonic, where the redundant OIS will pay off.
  8. shizlefonizle

    shizlefonizle Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 21, 2012
    Olympus needs to come out with a normal 35mm or 50mm eqv lens that matches the quality of the 45mm or better (I would prefer it be similar to the 12mm or 75mm) or an affordable pancake (the rumored 25mm f1.8?) since the two good choices are both Panasonic with the 20mm and 25mm and theres also that rumor about the PL17.5mm (drool).
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Similar focal length zooms at f4 probably wouldn't interest me, unless they were both a lot cheaper than the Panny 12-35 and a lot higher quality than the 14-45. A 2.8 - 3.5, maybe. But even the 12-35 (and the 35-100, based on photos of the two prototype lenses) is dramatically smaller than its APS-C equivalent mounted to a decent APS-C body. I don't find it to be "too big" at all.
  10. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Both companies have some excelent offerings which are, up to this point, highly complimentary of each other.

    For my highly subjective needs (not going into "wants" at this point), Oly 12mm, 45mm and 75mm would be an ideal combo. The only Pany I'd need/want is the 25mm f/1.4, but, sincerely, I have postponed an order at the last minute a number of times, since rumors of a smaller, less expensive Oly 25mm f/1.8 came out. If it is in the same league as the 45mm, this would be my choice.

    I though hard about the Pany 12-35 and, though it seems an exquisite lens, it wouldn't cover what I want from a zoom. This is a wide to short portrait lens; what I would like is a longer telephoto range. Ergo, I hope the rumored Oly 12-60 comes out and is as good as its 4/3 brother.

    So, even is I'm not biased against Panasonic lenses, and in fact find some of them lovely (the 45mm macro comes to mind) I don't find one that I could justify paying a substantial amount to have in my arsenal. Another thing is, using Olympus bodies at the moment, I have no need for lens IS. Which is something you pay for when buying a Pany lens that has it; but that's secondary.

    I offer the above as an example showing, I hope, it's not the "objectively" better lenses that always "win", but the lenses you really need. A relevant situation exists with Canon vs Nikon lenses. There are people who have bought into one or the other system, based on lenses available for their work. Fortunately, with :43: we have no such dilemma, we can enjoy the best there is on offer from both companies.
  11. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I am using a mix of both, all primes.

    It is interesting to me that there is still not a lot of direct overlap in the lens ecosystem.
  12. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    I look at it this way: If I could choose only lenses from Olympus or from Panasonic which would I go with? Olympus without any hesitation.

    No idea if that makes them a better lens maker, but they would be my clear choice.
  13. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011

    Both have proved (through 43 and m43) that they are quite capable of making outstanding lenses when they put their mind to it. Both have also shown that they can make some pretty average ones....
  14. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    A partnership with Leica along with learning from Olympus certainly doesn't hurt them. :smile:
  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I don't see that as being the case really... both companies have some fantastic lenses. When it comes to primes I own 2 from each manufacturer. All my zooms (except the 14-42mm m.Zuiko) are Panasonic mainly because shooting a G3 and GX1, the OIS is worthwhile. Otherwise I would have been more than happy to look at some of the Olympus zooms in similar focal ranges.
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree with most others here - neither company has shown itself to be a superior lensmaker to the other.
  17. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Same here. You've got some great lenses coming from both camps, with folks loving the Panny 20, 25, and 7-14 as much as the Oly 12, 45 and soon the 75 mm lenses. It's great to have competition ; )
  18. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Not superior ... different

    Here's my short comparison on these lens makers:

    Sharpness, Color and Contrast
    I am generally finding the Oly lenses sharper than Panny. But, I find them a bit less contrasty, and therefore a little more washed out.

    I think of it this way -- Oly lenses seem more clinical to me. More technically sharp wide open, but I find the Panny lenses have more character. Better contrast and color generally, a little less sharp overall, but just richer feeling (sorry, not very scientific).

    Size and Weight
    The Oly lenses are generally more compact and lightweight, which has it's benefits.

    Filter Sizes
    The Panny lenses have had some great easily matched filter sizes (46mm for 14, PL25 and PL45 and I think also the 45-200??), which I appreciate. I guess maybe Oly has that too with the 17, 14-42 and 45, but the first two lenses, to me, which are just "meh" so I don't really care about them sharing with the 45 (is the 12mm lens also 37mm filter?). The 9-18 is 52mm which I think is shared with the 40-150 and 14-150?? But not the primes like the 45.

    Build Quality
    Lastly, I find the built quality of the Panny lenses "better" in that the Olys feel lighter and more plasticky, BUT -- 1) the Oly construction choices makes the lenses lighter and smaller, which as mentioned above, has it's benefits, and 2) while the Panasonic build quality might feel better, they are all still plastic, so it's only a relative comparison, and they are nowhere near the build feel of my previous Canon lenses, and certainly not my legacy glass.

    Oddly enough, I prefer the Oly bodies, which I find have more consistent metering and better colors, at least OOC. IBIS is also of course very nice. My goal is to have sharpness, yes, but maximize OOC contrast color and "character" (an elusive term, of course), and I find Oly bodies + Panny lenses does that best.

    So, I'm mostly Panny lenses and Oly bodies.
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I think optically Panasonic and Olympus lesnes seem very similar quality in terms of making some nice lenses. I'm not so impressed with the build quality of Olympus' affordable lenses. None of the ones I've had has felt like they were as well put together as my various Panasonic lenses. My 45/1.8 reminds me a lot fo my of Canon 50/1.8 II. It was wonderfully sharp but felt a bit like a toy in hand. The 45 strikes me much the same way...of course that Canon 50 was all of $85 new.

    I am sure lenses like the Olympus 12/2 are terrific build wise but then again at at $700 I would expect that they would be.
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I don't really agree. I'd say neither is really doing an outstanding job. Both have a few great lenses, a few good lenses, and a lot of okay lenses.

    By comparison Olympus's 4/3 lineup consisted of great and good lenses, with only 2 or 3 exceptions. But that's not true of m4/3, or of any other mainstream manufacturer at this point.

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