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Mid-range zooms

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dhazeghi, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Mid-grade zooms

    EDITED for clarity - 'mid-grade' rather than 'mid-range'.

    4/3 had a wealth of mid-grade zooms - lenses that were sharp, had decent range (4x or more), and featured apertures that essentially made up for the noisy sensors.

    There were the Panasonic 14-50/2.8-3.5, the Olympus 14-54/2.8-3.5, 14-54/2.8-3.5II, 12-60/2.8-4.0, 50-200/2.8-3.5 and 50-200/2.8-3.5 SWD.

    These were very popular lenses. Much more so than the ultra-expensive 'fast' zooms. They also did very well with people who bought kits but wanted something faster, sharper and a little more versatile.

    Meanwhile m4/3 has no native mid-grade zooms. Not only that, but Panasonic's recent CES presentation showed only 2 fast 3x zooms. They'll probably be great lenses, but the range is awfully limited. Meanwhile Olympus in recent interviews has said they consider the zoom segment covered, and will be working mainly on primes in the future.

    I'm wondering what's going on. We've now got a choice between 7 slow kit zooms in the 28-80mm range, but not a single mid-grade zoom. Primes are all very well, but most people prefer zooms when offered the choice, and putting together a prime kit to cover the range, of say, the 14-54, requires 3 lenses and at least $1000. The final option is the adapter. Despite the unwieldiness and the crappy AF, it seems this will be the only practical option for the forseeable future...

    DH
     
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Market demand.

    Clearly, the market research driving BOTH Olympus and Panasonic is leading them to a "bottom up" approach rather than the "top down" approach they took with 4/3.

    Frequent complaints by people on forums that fast zooms will be too big or too expensive dont help. So long as the manufacturers think there's no money in it, we won't see the lenses we need to make up for the inherent sensor disadvantage in both low light performance and DOF control due to it's smaller size.
     
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    That's fair as far as it goes, but still I see several phenomena:
    1) People want better zoom lenses than the kit lenses
    2) People don't want big lenses.
    3) People are willing to spend fairly big on m4/3 (e.g. the 7-14/4, 45/2.8).

    Which suggests to me that mid-range zooms, rather than fast zooms are the answer. Olympus hasn't bothered at all though, and Panasonic is actually going in the direction of fast zooms, which means either large, or limited range, or both. 12-35 is fine for a fast zoom, but it's very limiting for a walkaround. There's a reason 28-105 and 24-120 zooms have been popular elsewhere...

    DH
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The only real problem I see is time. A completely native Micro Four-Thirds system offers the "potential" of full DSLR performance, but it's still only a 3 year old system! Yes, I think it's fair to compare the potential of m4/3 with any DSLR system out there, but I don't think it's fair to compare a 3-year old system with a decades old system...

    Panasonic's announcement of two bright zooms may be a small step, but it shows the direction they're going. I read somewhere else of a commitment made by Olympus to completing the lineup of primes. It's all coming together, but we should be patient.

    Personally, I adapt Four-Thirds lenses when I need fast zooms, and also adapt a lot of other lenses as well which cover the full range of lenses (ie, like telephoto primes) which are yet unavailable in Micro Four-Thirds. I haven't even started investing in m4/3 lenses because I don't want to until there's more of a complete selection (I don't want to deal with swapping between adapters and native mounts - right now, all my primary lenses adapt with the same Four-Thirds adapter). Until that time I will still need my adapted lenses no matter what. When there's a complete lens selection available, then I'll go native. I know it's coming...

    I know it's a frustrating wait, but we are pioneers to this industry...
     
  5. jambaj0e

    jambaj0e Mu-43 Top Veteran

    816
    Aug 31, 2010
    How do you like the Zuiko 4/3 50-200/2.8-3.5 SWD? I'm very content with the 14mm-54mm mkII and I wonder if that 50-200mm has the same IQ and focusing performance to my lens. Otherwise, I may wait for that Pany f2.8 X lens
     
  6. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Perhaps, but legacy 4/3 is not a decades old system. Ditto Canon and Nikon APS-C.

    Granted, m4/3 is still young, but given the number of slow kit zooms and odd specialty lens designs they've managed to churn out, a single mid-range zoom doesn't seem like such a leap.

    I am curious about Olympus' recent comment that they've got the zooms they want, and will be focusing on more primes going forward. I assume that means a redesign of the 17/2.8 and some sort of macro lens. I hope it doesn't mean an Olympus 25/1.4, 50/2.8 macro and 8/4 fisheye though. Those are already well covered.

    DH
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The Zuiko 50-200mm SWD is spectacular. :)

    Why would they produce more primes in the standard focal length range, when it's obvious that we have the 12-50mm range very well covered already with fast primes and it's quite obvious that we're lacking in telephotos? If they're talking about "more primes" I'm sure it means new focal lengths, not redesigning old lenses over and over again! :confused: If they're talking about a redesigned 17mm/2.8, I would be shocked.
     
  8. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I'm assuming they'll go where the money is, and primes past 135mm EFL are very niche items, particularly outside the world of sports shooting where m4/3 is clearly not targeted.

    DH
     
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    huh? We're talking lens availability here, and FF lenses work fine (if a bit spendy) on crop bodies, so ...
    Canon EF mount = 1987
    Nikon F mount = 1959 (!)
     
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Don't see how one gets a useful mid-range zoom like one with 28-105mm or 24-120mm EFL using a full-frame lens on an APS-C camera.

    For both Canon and Nikon these were among the first APS-C lenses they released, as was also the case for Olympus 4/3. There's a reason for that.

    DH
     
  11. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    The 50-200 has totally abysmal AF on m4/3, unlike the 14-54II which is like the 20mm 1.7. Optically it's great but it's basically a MF lens on m4/3.

    Gordon
     
  12. Pretty much the same story for the non-SWD version as well. Best used on a 4/3 camera.
     
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Going OT, but I'm curious: you're saying the 14-54II is as fast at AFas the 20/1.7? What body? I tried the 14-54II on the E-P2 and it was awful. But if it really has improved that much on the newer bodies, maybe it's worth another look.

    DH
     
  14. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Would the Oly 90-250mm f2.8 still be considered mid-range? :p

    On a more real note Panasonic does have plans for a 12-35mm and 35-100mm f2.8 lens, so hopefully we are now moving on to the right track. I personally would like to see a f3.5(or even f4 to keep size down) prime in the 250-300mm range.
     
  15. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    No. it's in the SHG line and is currently over $5000 at B+H.
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The 90-250mm/2.8 would definitely be a super-telephoto. :) Even the 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 is considered a super-tele.
     
  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    A 300/4 on m4/3 is going to be pretty much exactly the same size as a 300/4 on any other system - mirrorless doesn't make a difference. If you want a sense of the size, look at the Canon 300/4L.

    DH
     
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Mid-range in this post was in reference to aperture, not focal length.

    DH
     
  19. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Not exactly ... Since it will be a 150 mm focal length, or a helluva lot smaller than a 600 f/4!

    Aside from which - GET OFF THE "IT'LL BE TOO BIG" BANDWAGON. We need these fast/bright lenses. We know they will be bigger and more expensive than slower lenses. We also know they will be smaller than any DSLR alternative when compared to equivalent focal length/FOV
     
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    And as I've mentioned many times before, many of the top-pro lenses people use on DSLRs the mass majority of consumers will say, "gee... that's humongous, and way too expensive! Who would use that?". They dwarf a pro-grade DSLR much more than a simple fast standard zoom would dwarf a PEN. Yet many of us still use these lenses because we need them. Why has that changed? As you say, we choose to use the lenses we need and understand the compromises of them. That's why we use interchangeable lenses, because we understand that to optimize performance in one area we need to make compromises in others!

    Having a large telephoto lens that you can carry in a lens bag and mount on your small PEN camera only when you need it, does not negate the size advantage of the small PEN body. You still have a compact kit that you carry with you at all times, plus you have the option to mount that high powered lens when you need it.

    For those who think that anything with performance is going to be too big, I say let them go out and buy compacts then. ;)
     
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