Question: Size/Weight/Convenience vs "ultimate" IQ

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Swandy, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Swandy

    Swandy Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2009
    I have the EM10 and absolutely love it's combination of size, weight, features and image quality. My current m4/3 lenses are the 14-42IIR, 40-150R, Panasonic 14mm/2.5, Olympus 17mm/1.8 and the two Body Cap Lenses. (I also have two older Olympus Zuiko manual lenses and a Lensbaby setup.)

    I realize that when I put the Olympus 17mm lens on the camera, to my eyes the IQ as far as contrast and sharpness is better than any of the other m4/3 lenses that I have. And because of that I have been thinking seriously about the Olympus 12-40 lens. (Actually tried it for a while at Adorama yesterday when I was picking up the Fisheye BCL and wanted to see the handling/feel of it on the EM10.)

    But I have also been thinking about either the Olympus 14-42EZ - if I like the power zoom - or the Panasonic 12-32 lens because to me size/weight generally trumps perceived "ultimate" IQ. That is one of the reasons - perhaps the main reason - that I JUMPED from Olympus' 4/3 line (and the "largest" of those bodies that I had were the E-3 and the E-30) to m4/3 when it was first introduced.

    And while I admit that I love what I have seen out of the 12-40 lens from pictures posted here and elsewhere (and my favorite 4/3 lenses were the 14-54 and the 12-60), I just don't know if I really want to give up that size/weight/convenience advantage of the smaller lenses to get that boost in IQ.

    What are your thoughts? Why did you come to m4/3 to begin with? (I know that my son-in-law, who shoots for the NY Post and carries around a backpack loaded with some very LARGE Canon "cannons" would laugh even at the size/weight of the EM10/12-40 combo.)

    Thanks, Steve
  2. Photorebel

    Photorebel Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 14, 2013
    Real Name:
    Jeff Mims
    I have both 17 and 12-40 f/2.8 and I don't see that the 12-40 is that much better in the 17mm FL. Very close…but it's not demonstrably better, IMO. Unless you need the convenience of a zoom, primes..are most always going to be sharper, lighter, faster. Mostly because there is more simplicity of design in primes, less glass, less moving parts..etc.
    That said..I really like the convenience of the 12-40…and it's really a toss up. Of course the 12-40 cannot be opened up to 1.8.
    It just really comes down to..if you want to carry one lens or several.
  3. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    Honestly to me, the kit lenses have plenty enough IQ for me. The primes have more DOF control and allow more light that I need.
  4. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    I came to m43 for a couple of reasons: good IQ in a small size, and no front- or back-focus issues suffered by the DSLRs I'd had. I love the small primes, and rarely use the kit zoom or 40-150. Using primes makes the camera more portable and makes me more deliberate ; and it's just plain more engaging to have to think about framing and perspective.
  5. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I use m43 due to small size/weight and good enough quality. Most m43 lenses are good enough for family/travel use. IMO, the difference is mostly in aperture. E.g., Panasonic 12-32mm makes more sense to me than a heavy 12-40.
    Bright lenses on m43 have f numbers < 2 so primes make more sense for low light shooting.
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  6. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I was shooting 43 and I was looking at changing systems. Really looked at cameras like the 7D, D7000, etc. When I really thought about why I wanted a new camera size and weight became increasingly more important considerations. I wanted smaller and lighter, not bigger and heavier. I wanted a camera that was convenient for hiking, walking in the woods, taking to the beach, walking around town, travel, etc. I've been so happy with the E-M5, overall. But I also used the 12-60 a lot when shooting 43 and frankly, the 12-50 kit lens was just hard for me to use after using the 12-60. Maybe I got a bad copy but just didn't have the snap and the slow aperture was a real limitation. I have a 9-18, PL25, Oly 45, Oly 60, and the 40-150. Got rid of the 12-50 because I just never put it on the camera. I just ordered a 12-40. When I go walking around locally with my camera I often just put one of the primes on and work with it. I think it helps me learn to see and I like the experience. But I've really missed a good general purpose zoom when traveling. I'll look closely at reviews of the 12-32 and 14-42 pancakes. I certainly understand the attraction and I may add one to my kit at some point down the road. It won't be a lens I'd use on a frequent basis. I just find the slow aperture of kit lens on a 43 sensor a real limitation. But it would make a body like an E-M5 or M10 pocketable (at least in a jacket pocket) and that would be useful for me sometimes.
  7. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Before the E-M5 I had no intention in getting into m4/3...I didn't want to switch from 4/3, and none of the m4/3 designs interested me. That was until the so reminded me oft he SLR I used for 20 years, both in size and design. I was also surprised how much IQ had improved from my E-3. Now I will eventually upgrade to the E-M1, but to be honest I'm in no hurry to spend the cash...maybe with my tax refund.
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    I am mostly a travel photographer. I find that the shots I get with my zooms have far better IQ than the shots I miss while digging in my bag for the perfect prime.
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  9. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    If you're thinking of 12-40 vs 14-42 the difference is more useful width at the short end and the faster constant zoom. Its not a dilemma at a imo.

    Speaking about IQ its my unpopular opinion that m43 (em1) isn't that nice at 100%. Obv my photos aren't observed / published at that scale, but when editing and optimizing , you want to start off at the best base and observe things at pixel level, and at that scale I'm never in-love with the image (sharpness and color noise) as I can be with aps-c and ff
  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ray, not Oz
    One has to remember that camera manufacturers general develop cameras and lenses so that they can produce the best prints possible at large sizes. If all that was required were images for the web, then a <2MP P&S would suffice; camera phones would rule. You can only really gain an appreciation for how good or poor a lens/camera combination is by doing prints, especially large ones. You can have a bag full of the best Leica lenses available, but if all you do is publish on the web, it really means zip. Conversely, you can have some of the cheapest kit lenses and do prints, and get very meaningful and delightful results.
  11. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    M43 files are very nice and have a lot of dynamic range, but they're not as smooth or clean as a well exposed 5DII file (let alone an A7r file) even at base ISO. But they're so close as not to matter to me, and I can't tell the difference in appropriately sized and processed prints.
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