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Plastic, Premium, Pro lenses--a serious question:

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Johnny The Greek, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Regular

    119
    Aug 19, 2015
    First off, I'm an avowed m4/3 user and fan of the format. I love what I have, and I only occasionally suffer from G.A.S. But a couple of things confuse me.

    1) if the purpose of the format is to take nice photos but carry less weight per gear, don't the pro lenses defeat that purpose?

    2) If professional photographers claim that they use FF cameras to get the kind of D.O.F. that m4/3 cameras/lenses can't offer, why does Olympus bother developing these pro-lenses if it's a battle they can't win? Just to offer weatherproof lenses to dilettantes? Or are they more interested in winning a stylistic war against larger machines?
     
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  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    That's a very good question and one I think that the Execs at Olympus discuss a lot (or I hope they do). IMHO the Pro lenses are too big for u43. Paired with an E-M1 the overall kit is no smaller or lighter than an A7 kit and given that there is no substitute for sensor size, this is a big problem for Olympus. I think Olympus needs to continue to embrace the small and light aspect of u43. Trying to complete with FF by building bigger and bigger and faster and faster lenses won't work.

    What we need is an updated sensor that delivers better noise and DR. Coupled with the already excellent body performance and features and the existing lightweight primes, this would give Sony something to think about.
     
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  3. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    1) the purpose of the format, like any other format, is to make nice photos. Not but at the end. Some photographers choose smaller formats because of weight.

    "Pro" lenses offer more options in any format, so no, they don't defeat the purpose of m43.

    2) Some photographers may choose a particular format primarily for shallow depth of field, but probably not a large percentage. Most choose based on whether a format will get the job done.

    "Pro" lenses offer more variety and an ability to cover more ground. That's needed in any full-range system.

    Fred
     
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  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    1) The size/weight advantage is still there when you compare m43 PRO lenses with FF PRO lenses with same aperture and equivalent focal length, for example: Oly 12-40/2.8 vs Canon 24-70/2.8 II

    2) I think that few professional photographers use FF cameras for the thin DoF, it's more an amateur obsession. Thin DoF is sometimes a plus, other times an hassle that forces you to stop down the lens to keep everything in focus (group shots or architecture for example, but it's quite common). For classic landscapes the more DoF the better.
    Where the thin DoF is usually appreciated is with portraits, but again with an 85/1.4 you may want to stop it down anyway to provide some context or at least nose tip and eyes both in focus. A portrait with an 85/1.4 gives you 7mm of DoF (here) and you not always want that.

    Anyway you have f/0.95 lenses and the new f/1.2 so it is not even true that the format is so limiting. You can see here a DoF/blur comparison, it's less then many expect:

    MIRRORLESS BATTLE! Micro 4/3 vs APS-C vs Full Frame!

    So why is Oly making PRO lenses? Because they are faster and higher IQ then the others m43 lenses and are plenty capable of delivering professional results in most situations, I do not think is a direct competition with FF system, it's just the usual PRO offer that most systems have.
     
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  5. pogipoints

    pogipoints Mu-43 Regular

    46
    Oct 6, 2015
    Neil M
    IMHO, while they may look big for u43, the pro lenses are still smaller and lighter than equivalent lenses for FF, and the price points are lower.
    Newer, better sensors would definitely help.

    Sent from my SM-N910P using Mu-43 mobile app
     
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  6. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    Yep, as others have said here, the Olympus PRO lenses are smaller than their equivalents in FF systems. Even more surprising is that there are no real equivalents in any system.

    There's no such thing as a constant aperture, 24-80mm f2.8 lens. I guess the new Leica 24-90mm would be the closest thing, but it's variable aperture. There are some DX lenses that cover this range, but they're variable aperture as well and not as fast.

    The 40-150mm f2.8 is an 80-300mm equivalent, constant aperture lens. Again, there's a nikkor 80-300mm but it's very slow, has a wide-ranging aperture and nowhere near as sharp.

    I believe the PRO lenses offer something no other system has. They are very good.
     
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  7. Tony Rex

    Tony Rex Mu-43 Veteran

    275
    Apr 6, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Tony Rex
    I was genuinely intrigued by that statement, so I googled around and found out that my E-M1 12-40mm PRO combo weighs a few grams less than the new SONY 24-70mm f2.8 GM lens. Just the lens.

    Here is the size comparison. Compact Camera Meter

    Edit:
    And I'm quite sure that one SONY cost more than three Oly PRO lenses.
    SONY 24-70 GM A$3500
    Olympus 7-14mm + 12-40mm + 40-150mm PRO = A$3700
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
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  8. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.46.30.

    ... and you lose an equivalent 10mm of reach.

    edit: because physics.
     
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  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Even the 24-70 f/4 is bigger / heavier than the Olympus f/2.8 while being 10mm shorter.
     
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  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    The trouble with size/weight comparisons is that you can choose combinations to prove whatever point you wish. I read a post recently where someone compared the E- M1 plus 7-14 f2.8, 12-40 and 40-150 f2.8 to an A7 with 16-35, 24-70 f4 and 70-200 f4 and IIRC, the weight difference was minimal. Of course the Sony lenses are all slower, but the argument is that the bigger sensor with its better ISO handling and DOF separation "advantages " compensates.

    Personally, I don't use the Oly Pro lenses because the 7-14 and 12-40 are too big (prefer to use primes or the smaller Panasonic equivalents) and I have no real interest in big tele lenses like the 40-150 or the 300.

    An e-M1 with a bag consisting of the 12, 25, 45 and 75 primes plus the E-M1 though is quite a powerful and small kit that the A7 couldn't get near in terms of size and weight.
     
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  11. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    289
    Jan 10, 2016
    Toronto
    Rob Campbell
    did you just make a size/weight comparison to prove a point? ;)

    Comparing any of the 42.5-45mm lens options to any 85-90mm lens options for full frame puts the size argument into full relief. Just for kicks, I put the Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2 on the EM1, the new 85mm f1.4 on the Sony A7Rii and the 56mm f1.2 on a Fuji XT1.

    Compact Camera Meter

    Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 12.12.34.

    it's starting to look a bit more confusing now.
     
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  12. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    While I agree you can create a compare to prove almost anything. I do have to point out the poster seems to have also discounted 2mm wider and 100mm longer. If he were to use the Panasonic Pro level lenses (to get eq focal lengths) the difference is about 2lbs (a little over 720g) and the Panasonic 35-100 is smaller and lighter than any one of the Sony zooms.
     
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  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Agreed - like I said, you can choose combinations to prove both sides of the argument. I think what is plain though is that if you compare modern lens designs, produced for mirrorless cameras natively then the following is true:

    - Modest aperture short prime lenses can be small in ether mu43 or FF - e.g. Oly 17/1.8 vs Sony 35/2.8 or Pana 15/1.7 vs Sony 28/2.0 or Pana 25/1.4 vs Sony 55/1.8. The FF lenses are slightly bigger, but not significantly so. The u43 primes might be a tad faster, but the FF sensor size advantages generally nullify (or exceed) the differences

    - Large aperture u43 primes are big - e.g. the Pana 42.5 f1.2 or the CV f0.95 primes. Large aperture FF lenses are even bigger!

    - Large aperture u43 zoom lenses are big. Modest aperture FF lenses are similar (e.g. Sony 70-200 f4 840g, Olympus 40-150 f2.8 880g).

    - Large aperture FF zooms are enormous.

    On balance, I think you could put together a Sony A7 kit with modest aperture lenses (prime or zoom) that would be not significantly bigger than a u43 kit "Pro" kit. Given the sensor size difference the results probably wouldn't be too different with perhaps a slight advantage to FF. OTOH, if you put together a "Pro" FF kit, then you'd be looking at something significantly bigger than anything you could do in u43, but you'd be getting much better resolution, noise handling, DR and with a sgnificant hole in your bank account!

    Choose your poison.
     
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  14. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew

    The purpose of any camera is to take pictures. There are some characteristics of the system that are a benefit/hinderance. That is true for any camera system. The pro lenses(of any system) provide a level of build quality, performance that generally are not found in the entry level or prosumer versions. Not every photographer requires the capabilities of the so called "PRO" lenses, but if you do you know you do. A professional gets the right tool for the job. Anything else is pretty much GAS.

    The problem that a lot of people get all torqued up in a lot is that they think that their needs are the industries needs or every other photographers needs. You can't think that way. Your needs/requirements are great for how you shoot but not for everyone. Another issue is that a lot of people bemoan the "lack of shallow DOF" capabilities of m43. I counter that and say that most of the time, those crying over that point don't understand or are not taking the time to learn how the gear works. 100% of my clients don't care that I use a Fuji X100T, Olympus m43 or Nikon DX/FX camera kit. All they care about is that they get quality images for which they paid. I have all those cameras for specific reasons and I use them accordingly. Some people love to do macro work. I'd much rather have an Olympus/Panasonic m43 and 60mm macro than a Nikon FX camera with 90mm macro. Why? Your focusing distance makes the DOF razor thin. Even with stacking and/or stopping down to f/11 or f/16 - the better tool for getting more of the macro subject in focus could be argued to be m43 here.

    The laws of physics are what they are, and there are only so many things that can be shrink down to a specific size given our current technological state.
     
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  15. VooDoo64

    VooDoo64 Mu-43 Veteran

    240
    Jul 17, 2010
    Zagreb - Croatia
    Davor Vojvoda
    ypu all forget that 12-40 is 12-40mm not 24-70mm, we have 4x smaller sensor and beacuse of that "handicap" we have 2x crop factor that makes lens have different from what is written on the lens, and beacuse of the size of sensor you cannot compare lens in the way - 12-40mm f/2.8 is 24-80 f/2.8, ok it is like 24-80mm but than it is also like f/5.6, also the same in 70-200 or 70-300 if you want, so now compare the difference in size..

    IMHO Olympus is going in wrong direction, Panasonic made 12-35 and 35-100 far smaller and lighter and it even have OIS in lens, Olympus is should made same but without stabilization, so even ligher and at least 20-25% cheaper because of no OIS in - but no Olympus made double size (40-150PRO), more expensive with with disgusting huge hood, and now again with abnormally expensive 300mm :(
     
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  16. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I think it's equally easy to argue that Sony and Fuji are going in the wrong direction, too. The new G Master FE lenses are bigger, heavier, and more expensive than the DSLR lenses they directly compare to. Sure, they might be optically better, but no one has really been complaining about the output from the high-end A7 bodies. And the latest Fuji zoom lenses are almost comically large. The 16-55/2.8 weighs 70% more than the 12-40 and more than double what the 12-35mm does, and it doesn't even have OIS. The 50-140/2.8 weighs nearly 3x more than the 35-100/2.8 it competes against. The Fuji 100-400/4.5-5.6 weighs 40% more than the Panasonic-Leica version, in exchange for...1/3 stop slower at the short end, and 1/3 stop faster at the long end. And obviously has a shorter equivalent range in that comparison.

    So while Olympus lenses may be bigger and heavier more expensive than you'd like them to be, every competitive option out there is even bigger-er, heavier-er, and expensiver-er (to coin a few words).

    I know Sony and Fuji are trying their hardest to desperately claw upmarket and be seen as direct competitors with FF DSLRs, but from where I'm standing, I'd much prefer that they focussed on making optically good, compact, slow lenses. f2 or f2.8 primes, slow variable aperture zooms, and some pancakes.

    ...but I have a strong suspicion that the fact that Sony has released no pancake lenses for the FE mount may indicate that it is a physical limitation of the lens mount. Too big a sensor with too short a flange distance and too small a throat diameter. Almost every lens they make seems to be a big retrofocal DSLR design with almost a built-in spacer adapter at the lens mount...
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
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  17. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I love having the Pro lenses. If you want something small, light, and are willing to give up a little aperture and IQ, you can always get the consumer grade lenses, of which there are many. If you want to get the best IQ and widest apertures, you have the Pro lens line. Love having the choices available! :)
     
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  18. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    Pro lenses in any system serve the same purpose luxury models of cars do - they perform better, smoother and more comfortably/effectively than their budget-priced counterparts. They also provide a specific cachet to the brand. Lots of Chevy, Buick and GMC owners would love to have a Cadillac but won't spend or don't have the funds to buy one. They do, however, recognize that their brand (GM) is capable of producing "the best" and have their small satisfaction in buying something that rubs shoulders with it.
    Audiophiles and photographers are even more fixated on these factors, hence this spirited thread.
     
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Pro lenses are also environmentally sealed. So even if your M4/3 + f2.8 zoom costs the same, weighs the same, and takes similar pictures to an FF camera with a slower zoom, you'll be able to take it places you can't take the FF rig. An E-M5 II + 12-35/2.8 is probably the smallest, highest quality weather-sealed combination money can buy right now.

    ...I'd compare it to a Sony, but they don't have a single mirrorless body that they're willing to call splashproof at any price point, not even the $3200 A7r II.

    (Aww heck, I'll do it anyway: Compact Camera Meter)
     
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  20. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    Interesting observation... wish I understood the science of optics better... there seems to be sweet spots where focal length, aperture and flange distance and sensor align to make small fast lenses... and then if you stray from that it all seems to go crazy.

    If anybody complains that the micro 4/3 Pana Leica 25/1.4 is big... I will show you the 4/3 version... Two lenses... same FL, same aperture, same manufacturer, same sensor, different flange distance, and maybe 5 years difference in philosophy in how you make lenses for the digital age.

    Not sure what I am getting at beyond the fact that lens design is a complex set of compromises

    K

    P2040063.
     
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