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Pana 45-200mm owners: is it worth money?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by AnttiV, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    Hi, I'm new!

    Okay, now that that's out of the way, let me explain :) 

    I'm a hobbyist photographer, I currently own a Sigma SD10 DSLR and a few lenses, but due to changes I find myself more and more wishing for something smaller and/or WAY faster than that old Sigma. (The SD10 body weights 950g...) Anyways, I've fallen (hard) for the Pana DMC-G3 and currently planning to purchase one as soon as I a) get the money and b) find a good deal. My most used lens on the SD10 is a 28-200mm/3.5-5.6 MACRO that I most commonly shoot from 40mm onwards to full tele. (Then I like to "play" with my kit 18-55mm that has a 0.5x Wide converter bolted to it, I love the thing :)  Mostly I photograph the various activities that my three (3, 6 and 9 years) kids invent, so that's the reason I neeeeeed a faster camera. The SD10 manages about 1.5fps for 6 consecutive shots, and then stops for almost two full minutes to write to card. (I HATE that...)

    Anyway, that's there so you know some of my shooting habits and can advise based on that. My real question is: is the Pana 45-200mm worth lots of money? The thing is, I found a deal for the G3 + 14-42mm kit lens for 500€ (that's practically the lowest I've found anywhere near here). I know now, that the 42mm "tele" end will not suffice and I will want to go longer. But the store that sells that, also has another bundle: G3 + 14-42mm kit + 45-200mm pana for 900€. That's way much more money than the bundle, and I'm really short on cash around here.

    So even though I would really like to have the longer lens, is it really worth almost 400€ for the lens alone? Is there anything cheaper that would be close enough for that one that I could get later, or is the 45-200mm even cheaper by itself somewhere else.

    tl;dr: 45-200mm owners: do you thing the lens is worth 400€?
  2. everythingsablur

    everythingsablur Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    400 Euro? For a 45-200?? Heck no. You can get that for $200-250 USD (maybe 200 Euro) if you look around!

    Get the G3+ 14-42 kit, and if you want the 45-200, it would be much cheaper to find another source for it outside of the bundle.
  3. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    Comparing prices on Amazon, the best price is in the USA and UK is slightly less than Europe.

    At the USA price $275 is is excellent value (in UK terms).

    I got one from Amazon UK last year at £214 (includes 20% VAT) and I think that was a decent price for the UK

    As far as the lens goes I think it produces some nice results so I agree with everythingsablur about buying it separately.
  4. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    Thanks. I'll get the kit with one lens and look for the other (or similar) lens separately. It's just that for some reason or another, Panasonic (cameras) are deviously hard to find here. Locally none of the photography shops sell anything related to Panasonic. I guess I'll have to search around (and hope to get lucky and find one used).
  5. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Sell the kit lens, get the Olympus 14-150 and the wide angle adapter. You'll get a similar focal length as you did on the Sigma.

    Only draw back is no IS and you'll lack the extra bit of reach of the 45-200.
  6. c5karl

    c5karl Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2011
    Fairfax, Va., USA
    If you're mostly interested in the 40-200 range on your Sigma body, doing the crop factor math (I think this is correct: x*1.6/2), that translates into 32-160 for a m43 sensor. There are three m43 lenses that will give you roughly that range. If you can't find a good price on the Panasonic 45-200, check prices on the Panasonic 45-175 and the Olympus 40-150. With a Panasonic body, you won't have image stabilization with the Olympus lens, but it's very compact and, at least at USA prices, a good value.

    If you'd like to be able to go wider, the Panasonic 14-140 is a very nice superzoom (roughly the equivalent to a 17.5-175 on your Sigma), and it might not be much more money than that crazy 400€ price for the 45-200.
  7. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Sigma bodies have a 1.7 crop. But other than that, your conclusions are correct.
  8. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    The 0.5x adapter that I have on my Sigma has 52mm threads, so it'll fit straight to the kit lens of the G3. That'll give me a nice toy to play with, so I'm at least keeping the kit lens for the wide adapter. (Also, because almost nobody ever buys camera bodies only here, selling kit lenses is really hard. I remember when Canon 350D released, the 18-50(?) kit lens sold for about 30€... not really any point in selling at that price.)

    I looked at the 40-150 Oly lens (about 200€ here now one sale, 300€ normally). But the lack of IS is actually a quite big point. I'd really like to have an OIS lens to use everyday. None of my own lenses feature that, but the ones that I have used I've really liked. (The Sigma 100-400 EX OIS for Canon is a marvellous thing, but BIG!).

    (Thanks songs2001 for the crop factor correction, I was about to post that just now :) 

    My first goal is to find the 45-200 for cheaper. Failing that I'll probably pick up the Oly lens if the sale is still going. If not, well, I'll just have to wait and see if I'll come up with any used products.

    The Pana 45-175 lens is even more costly, at 499€... (but it's a PZ lense, don't know if you meant another lens without PZ).
  9. jff1625

    jff1625 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2012
    if you're selling the SD10, you may find you miss the Foveon (slightly) less if you get an Oly body, with those Oly jpeg colours.
  10. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    I think someone might've seen Foveon-produced images here.. :) 

    But, correct, I think I will miss the FX3 sensor colors (and probably sharpness, as in no aliasing) quite a bit. But the G3 will probably be so much more on other areas that I'll forgive it :) 

    Unfortunatly, I do love my viewfinders entirely too much, so there's not so much by Oly that I could go for. The cameras are not that much cheaper that I could get a PEN + the VF unit for the price of G3. (Also, I know I'm vain in this, but I like the "SLR-look" ;) 

    I tried to sell the SD10, but as it is quite old, nobody was that much interested in it. One shop promised 200€ for the whole package (body, three lenses, batteries, cards, chargers.. all.), but for that price, I might as well keep it and use it occasionally as a backup. Or on perfect summer days just for the colors ^_^
  11. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Your other option is to find a Four Thirds Sigma lens and adapt that, not sure how compatible it is with the M43 Panasonics and pretty certain it lacks on body IS.
  12. NettieNZ

    NettieNZ Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
  13. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    I just received my 45-200 from Amazon and paid $199. Panasonic also has the same price. I love the lens!
  14. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    I own a G1 and a G3 (you will love the G3 BTW) and I have the 45-200 and the 100-300 Panasonic lenses.

    First off, the focal lengths don't translate well between your Sigma and the m4/3 world - so get that out of your head. when thinking about focal lengths I always mentally double them for thinking m43 (so a 45mm in m43 is roughly the same as an 80mm in a 35mm SLR world.)

    I find the 45-200 to be an EXCELLENT lens for shooting people. Really some of my best portraits have been taken with this lens. Mind you, they were taken at a relative distance, but for shooting people, the 45-200 produces GREAT results.

    HOWEVER, I've been disappointed in the 45-200 as a "telephoto" lens. It has "ok" reach, but lacks the ability to capture images in that traditional "telephoto" style (sharp, compressed DOF, bright) but instead has the wonderful sharp/soft nature of the panny 20mm, but with great medium distance reach.

    Since I shoot sports often (high school skiing, running, motorsports, etc) as well as some wildlife and landscape, I added the panny 100-300 lens to my kit, and have been VERY pleased with it as well.

    Bottom Line: If you want a great portrait/people lens for daylight with reach, the 45-200 will do you well. If you really need a telephoto for m4/3 you have to step up to the 100-300.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. NettieNZ

    NettieNZ Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    Actually a question - the 45-200 is selling for $199 but I've just found a Oly 40-150 (refurb'd) for $159. Which do you think is the better value for money especially shooting at the 150mm end?

    Interested in comments. Thanks
  16. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    I see you are in Bend!! Cool.

    Would you have shots of the same thing with both lenses to see the telephoto difference you are talking about?
  17. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    I'm no expert but I live in the country and travel as much as I can and the extra reach is much needed for my style. Even with 200mm I feel I could use more and have already experimented with the in camera 2x and 4x zoom. I'd say go to a store and see if you can try them out on your camera. That should be the decision maker for you. I'd go for the 45-200mmm
  18. AnttiV

    AnttiV Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 19, 2012
    I don't doubt that for a second. I will regret the fact that I'll probably have to eat only bread and water for the foreseeable future because of the price :D 

    Actually it's not that different when coming from a DSLR world, especially from a Sigma. As stated earlier, Sigma's crop factor is 1.7x compared to m43's 2.0x, so it's not *that* different. A 45mm lens in a Sigma body is rather close to 77mm compared to 90mm in a m43 body (relative to FF cameras). If one just add's roughly 20% length going from Sigma to m43, the result is very close to reality. (It's actually 17.6%, but that's nitpicking.) It's actually easier to compare m43 to a 35mm world than entry-level DSLR, because m43 has a 2x crop factor and thus it's WAY easier to just double the lengths for a m43 lens. (rather than to multiply by 1.6/1.7x if using non-FF DSLRs).

    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the difference in behavior between "real" telephoto lens (say, 400mm) and a m43 telephoto lens of relative length (200mm, which is comparable to 400mm in FF world) in DOF can be attributed to the true lengths of the optic. The 200mm m43 optic will have the exact same DOF as a "real" 200mm lens would have, just due to the crop factor the image area is comparable to a 400mm FF-camera. Sharpness and brightness can probably be attributed to the larger lens diameter in the FF-lenses versus smaller diameter in m43 world. Also of course some materials are better in the FF-lenses as companies try to bring costs down when designing m43 products.

    I think, for my purposes, the 45-200mm will be a fine lens. I'll probably value the OIS more than better DOF options or higher price :)  Greater DOF is probably more desirable anyways, since I shoot more action than portraits.

    I a perfect world, I'd probably have four lenses. (lengths in FF.)
    * 4.5mm to 10mm /F2.8 prime fisheye/extrawide (I love wide photography, I'm just not so good at it :) 
    * 18-250mm/F3.5-> "superzoom" - preferably with OIS - for everyday conditions
    * 50mm/F1.4 prime for "serious" shots (or was it F1.2.. I don't remember, the Sigma EX one, I love the thing.)
    * 100-400mm zoom with OIS for telephoto work

    That would cover 99.99% of the conditions that my shooting habits would require and would minimize lens changing in regular shooting. The G3 kit 14-42mm fitted with the 0.5x wide adapter and the 45-200mm would cover most of those conditions, I'd only be missing the primes and DOF options that come with a "real" 400mm lens.

    EDIT: I think closest that I can come up with the "perfect world" list in m43 is this:
    * Panasonic G Fisheye 8mm F3.5 (800€)
    * Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 MEGA O.I.S. (870€)
    * LEICA DG Summilux 25mm/F1.4 ASPH (660€)
    * Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 MEGA O.I.S. (650€)
    It's not mm for mm there, but the situational use would be relatively closest this way, I think. ~3000€ for lenses is a bit too much for me, though :D  Maybe after lottery... ;) 

    Or replace the fisheye with this that I just found: Samyang 7,5mm F3.5 UMC Fish-eye Black (300€).. it's actually quite tempting :) 
  19. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    i love my 45-200 - it was nice on my gf1, and great on my new g3. i currently also have the 14-45 and the 14-42 (which i plan to sell on my gf1), plus i use a canon fd 50 1/4 on an adapter, but i find the 45-200 gets a lot of use.
  20. riveredger

    riveredger Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern NJ
    How does the 45-200 balance on the G3 body? I am seriously considering picking one up as well.
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