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Slow "Pro" zoom lenses

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by hwan, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. hwan

    hwan Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 20, 2014
    St Louis, MO
    It seems that zoom lenses of all brands and systems are either slow and small, but not so good image quality; or they are fast and big, with very good image quality. Why can't there be slow and small lenses with "pro" grade image quality? Is there really no market for such lenses?

    For example, the 40-150 f4-5.6 costs $150, is 190 grams and 83mm long. The image quality is not bad but not great either. The 40-150 f2.8 costs $1500, more than 4 times the weight and twice as long, but superb image quality. Would you buy a 40-150 f4-5.6 that weighs 300 grams, is 90mm long, weather-sealed, costs $1000, and has the same/better image quality than the f2.8 version at the same settings?
  2. hoodlum

    hoodlum Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2012
    Toronto Canada
    I have always wondered that myself but the manufacturers seem to think that it would have a limited market. Nikon recently introduced a high quality 70-300mm f4-f5.6 lens for their Nikon 1 system so we'll see how that goes.

    The problem with slower long lenses is that higher ISO will be required more often and the end result is that you cannot get the most out of the lens in these situations due to greater NR. Also AF speed is directly related to the lens aperture so a PRO lens would be limited there as well.
  3. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Canon does... The so called "F/4" L lenses is one case. For example, the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L versus the Canon 70-200 f/4L. Another is the 24-70 f/2.8L versus the 24-105 f/4L.

    Each seems to have found their own target market. For wedding photographers, the 24-70 f/2.8L is the bread and butter of equipment. While the 24-105L provided better focal range, packaging, and IS. 24-105L seems suitable for the traveling/journal person.. the typical consumer who is looking for something better than out of a kit lens. I had both, they both have their purpose.

    They also have similar arrangements for primes. There is the 300mm f/2.8L and the 300mm f/4L
    • Like Like x 1
  4. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    Where some of the 4/3 zooms pro quality but variable aperture? I can see a lot of use for say a 12-60 f4 or similar high quality lens, though I can not really complain about the IQ of Panasonics 12-32 lens and the 14-45mm was very good considering. Though I find myself drawn to primes, just like working with them a zoom is a very useful thing and would not want to be with out one, just do not want to lug or pay for an f2.8 one.
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The 4/3 system had the Super High Grade (SHG) and High Grade (HG) lenses on offer. The SHG lenses had a fixed aperture throughout the zoom range and the HG lenses had variable, usually f2.8-3.5, in their zoom range. Neither range were necessarily small and light. Physics/optics comes into it and you often have to give up one aspect to gain in another.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    A mentioned previously, Canon has done this and so have Nikon. There are lines of constant f/4 optics out there. Just compare the cost/size/weight of say the Nikon 300/2.8 to the 300/4. Looking at the IQ, the f/4 is every bit as good as the 2.8 for what most people would use it for. There is a place for it, but as with anything complex, there is a cost associated with it.

    For general shooting, most people would be just fine with a variable zoom. If you need a constant aperture zoom, you know why and you buy it. Sadly, a lot of people buy into the marketing and image hype that they need that sexy fast "professional" optics at all times.

    I do love the m43 fast primes, the zooms I do have are about their reach and FOV. When I use them, I have no issues with the 40-150/4-5.6 or the 75-300/4.8-6.3 wide open at their respective focal lengths. That is because I am realistic in what I expect from them, know what I want and how to get it with the gear I have.
  7. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Go and have a look at the 40-150 f2.8 before you dismiss it on size and weight. It is tiny in comparison to the 50-200 f2.8-3.5. I was very impressed by it.
  8. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2012
    I'd love to see a semi-pro 12-50mm f2.8-4 if it were around the same size or smaller than the Panny 12-35mm 2.8 and also cheaper (but similar IQ :biggrin: ). A m43 version of the 4/3 Oly 14-54 could possibly work for me if it was small enough, but I won't hold my breath for either.
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I think that it's important to note that the 50-200mm is 50mm longer and less than a stop slower at the long end, and that will make for a huge difference in size and weight. I suspect that if Olympus had tried to replicate the 50-200mm in m4/3, the size and weight may not have been significantly different. In fact, size wise there's no real difference between the two and weight wise it's only 200g.
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    I agree. I think a lot of people would love to see a stronger kit lens to go with the new E-M5 Mk. 2 coming out in February. An F2.8-4 aperture is still reasonable. Fuji makes quite a good one, after all.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    The 40-150R is superb from about 70-110 at 5.6 Not just great, but out of sight great.
  12. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I personally would love a line of high quality f/4 lenses. For landscape photography, which I do a lot of while hiking, f/2.8 is just unnecessary and a lighter f/4 lens would be appreciated. Nikon, for instance, makes a 70-200/4 which gives away nothing on IQ to its big 2.8 brother. A 12-35/4 and 35-100/4 pair would be great. 100/4 requires only 25mm of diameter for the aperture, compared to almost 36mm for 100/2.8.
  13. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    With the TC the reach & speed is pretty similar and the 40-150 feels a lot smaller. I had my 14-35 with me and it is a lot bigger. I was quite impressed by this lens. Given that I was not particularly impressed by the 12-40, I was surprised how much I liked the 40-150 and how small it felt mounted.
  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    With constant technology development, I would expect that newer lenses would show improvements over lenses design at least 10 years ago and for an entirely different system. However, the following statement was made by Olympus:


    The interesting thing is that they say it's their 'goal', indicating that they've not achieved that level of performance etc, yet.
  15. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    I'm constantly amazed at the " i want a small light but bright zoom lens" because i shoot xyz... (example landscapes) when in most cases the goal for the style is usually greater dof that is usually right in the sweet spot of the normal kit lens, making the F4 or faster aperture a waste of time and money.
    If people wanted a sharper/better quality that just happened to also faster then that's a different ask.
    I would put forward though that for 99% of system owners the current kit lens serve perfect duty providing photo IQ they could only dream about 10 years ago whilst the 1% that desire the faster glass can actually have it in the small/light and very very good primes.

    We don't all need fast glass, desire it yes but need it not always

    I do agree that since the original 4/3 kit lenses with the E300 that the kit lenses did get slower over time and that doesn't seem limited to Olympus... Can/Nik and others all seem to make slower kit zooms than they used to...
    No doubt the $10 per lens saved adds up in volume and the change is driven by cost
  16. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I can say with confidence the 14-35 is better than the 12-35 or 12-40. I can't say much about the 40-150 and the 150f2 but I would wager the 40-150 outperforms the 50-200 in a lot of scenarios.
  17. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I would agree that the new 14-150mm f2.8 would, and should, perform better than the 50-200mm f2.8-3.5. I'd say that it would most certainly trounce the 50-200mm when it comes to AF, and if it didn't do that, then there'd e cause for concern. Optically, I think they'd possibly be neck and neck in many cases, the 50-200mm lens was very, very, good. What is surprising is that the latter still commands a high price when new.
  18. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I honestly would be happy if Oly had more lenses along the lines of the 12-50, which is kind of along the lines you're talking about.
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    Isn't that sort of the point of this whole post, though? The author doesn't need a bright lens, but wants the optical quality of something higher end than the kit lens. The trouble with the current kit lenses is that you can't really stop them down much before you run into diffraction limits on M4/3, so if you're shooting landscapes you want it to be stellar right from f4 or f5.6.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    The IQ is one thing, the build quality is another.
    I would also like a 7-14 f/4 + a 12-40 f/4 + a 40-150 f/4, all with good IQ & weather sealed.
    The 7-14 f/2.8 & 40-150 f/2.8 are too big & expensive for my use.
    I prefer having zooms that are good & not so fast but no too big & heavy, and some fast primes in complement, than big heavy lenses that I don't take with me.

    Maybe the m43 market is not wide enough to have too many lines of products.
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