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Lens conundrum

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by silversx80, May 8, 2012.

  1. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    Hey all. I recently sold all my legacy 4/3 gear, with the exception of my trusty 14-54mm mk.II (and FL-36R... and RM-UC1) in anticipation of the EM-5 finally being what I was looking for to move over to :43: fully (I have the E-PL1 as well). Along with the 14-54, I had the wonderful 11-22 and the spectacular ZD50. Already missed.

    The 14-54 would mostly hover in the mid-focal ranges (~20-30mm) and was nearly always stopped down between f/4 - f/8. The 11-22 was my 11mm prime with the convenience of a 2x zoom. The 50 was used every time I didn't need a shorter focal length.

    My dilemma: Should I go all native, or keep the one legacy lens?

    The initial plan was to go with the EM-5, get the MMF-3 and acquire the Oly 45 at a later date (as well as the Panny 20mm and Oly 12mm). The 12-50 didn't strike me as a "want" for many reasons. It's not a bad lens, but it's optically inferior (not by too much) to my 14-54. On the other hand, it's better than the 14-42 on the E-PL1, and I've always been pleased with the results from that kit.

    My local shop is willing to split a kit so I can buy the body only, but they don't have the MMF-3, and don't know when they'll get one. I talked with Olympus America today, and they said the rebate is only applicable when the adapter is on the same invoice as the EM-5. It seems that I might lose $180 to keep the 14-54.

    If I sell the 14-54, I could manage a good chunk of change (the high end of what they're being sold for) as it's nearly mint. I could then get the 12-50 kit to cover my weather sealed, macro and wide-angle needs. The Oly 45 is an easy next step, and picking up the Panny 20 is only a matter of waiting until I have the funds available (when I get my mileage reimbursement for work later this month). The Oly 12 would be an early Christmas gift to myself. I'd then use the rebate for the MF-2 (I have a small collection of lenses for my OM-10)

    My dream kit would be those three primes, weather sealed... oh well.

    I am leaning toward the 12-50, but it's just teetering. I really am undecided. I'm open to all rationale and reasoning to push me one way or another. My [camera system's] fate is in your hands. :wink:
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    First, don't use the rebate for the MF-2. It's not worth it You can get an equally good OM adapter on eBay for $15-20. Go for the FL300R or the MMF-3 - even if you don't need 'em, you can resell them for a lot more than the cost of the MF-2.

    I'd probably sell the 50. The 45 is nearly as good, and a lot more convenient. If you're heavily into macro, there are lots of great legacy macro lenses that are quite cheap. Keep the 14-54 and see if the handling/performance are suitable for you on the E-M5. It's a better lens than any of the kits, but the size, weight and slower AF may not suit you.

    I'm not a big fan of the 12/2 and I'm fairly confident the 11-22, CA aside, is the better lens, but the size and weight are a big difference, so if you really do use the 11-22 mostly at 11, it's probably more convenient to replace it too, particularly if you can find a refurb. or secondhand 12/2 so the cost is a bit more bearable.

    Good luck,

  3. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    I would say if you already were used to stopping the 14-54mm down, then the slight speed advantage of the lens isn't of value. Go native and get the 12-50mm kit, user reports are looking to show the lens a good value, and the additional wide range would be a nice bonus. Also consider that though the 12-50mm is slower, whatever camera you're coming from in the native 4/3 mount is significantly behind in terms of high ISO performance (likely 2+ stops), also negating the speed difference with the 14-54mm.

    Use the rebate to get the FL-300R, it'll make a nice pocket flash to compliment the kit (and your 36r), or sell it for (likely street after all of the rebated flashes) about $100. Don't bother with the Olympus OM adapter as you can buy cheap, decent adapters for around $20.
  4. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    Thanks DH.

    I guess I rambled too much wasn't clear enough (I have that tendency a lot), everything has already been sold, and only have the 14-54.

    I feel the same way about the 12. It's much too expensive for what it is, but $200 - $300 less would be nearly the perfect price.
  5. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    Well, I finally bit and placed my order (should be here next week). It seemed like they didn't have the MMF-3 (or all the incoming stock was accounted for), so I took it as a sign. Rip the HG glass bandaid off quickly, I guess.

    EM-5 + 12-50 kit and FL300R. Expect the 14-54 to be posted for sale later this evening :frown:.
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I would not get rid of your high quality glass. That is where all the performance of a system lies. Optical quality, lens speed, everything. I would not have gotten rid of your Zuiko 50mm Macro either. The ONLY thing that makes that lens perform any less on a Micro Four-Thirds body over a Four-Thirds body is that the AF is slower. We're talking about a macro lens with a long focus throw which was never meant to AF fast in the first place. The Zuiko 50mm/2 Macro is an amazingly sharp lens.
    The only substantial thing that the Zuiko 12-50mm has over the Zuiko 14-54mm is also Autofocus speed. Really, is the fastest AF possible really that important that you would sacrifice the quality of the images you produce from it, or your ability to capture action or shoot hand-held in low-light without covering your image in noise? I wouldn't, personally. I got along fine without AF before the digital age, and still took great photos. I still use many old manual focus glass, and they still take great photos and offer me great opportunities for shooting. You cannot replace good optics and design!

    Four-Thirds lenses are for all intents and purposes native lenses for Micro Four-Thirds except for decreased AF ability. You have to weigh just how much that AF means to you, in comparison to the quality of the Four-Thirds collection and the High Grade/Super High-Grade Zuiko glass.

    The choice to ditch your 11-22mm on the other hand was a good one. Fantastic lens, but it's too close to the 14-54mm II which simply works that much better on a Micro Four-Thirds body. For a Four-Thirds body I would pick the 11-22mm over the two, but see no reason not to stick with the 14-54mm II on a Micro Four-Thirds body.

    In short, your only reason not to use Four-Thirds glass is the need for Autofocus (which should not be an issue with macro lenses!). Your only reason not to use CDAF-enabled Four-Thirds glass (like the Zuiko 14-54mm II) is the need for blazing fast AF. With some lenses size may be an issue, but you won't find a fast lens of comparable quality to the 14-54mm that's any more compact. That has always been one of the prime advantages of that particular lens.

    I don't know how much prominence you put on AF performance, so I'm not going to say which is the best choice for YOU. I just want you to be aware so you don't fall into the trap of thinking that decreased AF performance has made these lenses unusable or obsolete. Good lenses will always stand the test of time.

    Also bear in mind that eventually there will be native equivalents to all of our great Four-Thirds glass, which will have the best AF capabilities as well as comparable quality and specs (ie, like lens speed), and likely much smaller size. At that point, then yes you could call your 4/3 glass "obsolete". However, we're still a ways off from that point, and it will cost each of us quite an investment to replace a full collection of glass if it comes down to it. So there will still be a place for 4/3 glass in the Micro Four-Thirds system for a long time to come... The Zuiko 14-54mm will be one of the toughest lenses to replace. Whenever I look back at my commercial photoshoots, which I only do with Micro Four-Thirds bodies these days, I notice that I seem to always have that 14-54mm mounted. It's sharp, it's light, it's versatile, it's reasonably fast. It just seems so natural to pop it on. ;)  It was an original for the Four-Thirds system, and remains the most classic design. Just so you know though, I don't carry zoom lenses anymore except in my largest kit. Otherwise I stick with lighter, faster primes. The 14-54mm is a workhorse for my "day job" work. I don't have a day job per se, but when a client asks me to come in and shoot their products every day, 9am-5pm 5 days a week until the project is done, that's what I call a day job. :)  For jobs like that, lenses like the Zuiko 14-54mm and Zuiko 50-200mm SWD make a wonderful versatile pair which offers superior performance but are still lightweight for handling all day, with a full focal range coverage.
  7. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    Ned, thanks for taking the time to type such a detailed response. I find myself agreeing with nearly everything in your post, and that's what makes this such a hard decision. I love the quality I can squeeze out of the 14-54, and the results I've seen from the 12-50 aren't as inspiring (they're not uninspiring, just not up to the point of the 14-54). It was my first HG lens, and my favorite (the ZD50 blew me away every time, but the versatility of the 14-54 is what has me).

    From all the results I've seen by both lenses, the 14-54 has the advantage with aperture, sharpness, distortion, and bokeh (more blades). The 12-50 has the advantage of 2mm wider, faster AF, better video, better macro magnification, nearly half the volume (with the 14-54 collapsed), and is less than half the weight (not considering the adapter weight).

    AF isn't such a huge deal with what I shoot, but my main reason for switching to :43: is the size. The 12-50 + 20 + 45 weigh less than the 14-54.

    I guess I'm expecting less optical quality with the 12-50, and those expectations are valid. I'd expect to make up for that with primes, which are better performers than the 14-54.

    At the end of the day, I don't make any money with my equipment. I consider myself an advanced enthusiast who takes pictures purely for enjoyment.

    The 14-54 combined with the E-620 would give me more options to get the image I wanted. I never looked at the images and wished for better optical quality. On the other hand, I always had more fun using the E-PL1 in jpeg with its 14-42 kit, never too concerned about the sharpest image. I'm not sure why. Maybe it comes down to the adage in the motorcycling/auto world: It's more fun to ride/drive a slow motorcycle/car fast, than a fast motorcycle/car slow.

    More endless ramblings... sorry to drone on. :redface:
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