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Thoughts on "established" focal ranges for zoom lenses

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by With_Eyes_Unclouded, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    During photographic history a lot of focal ranges for zooms have been introduced, but it seems that, today, the most common "professionally accepted" ranges are very specific. Mainly 24-70mm and 70-200mm (35mm equiv.). It's no coincidence that Panasonic came up with this exact pair of equivalent lenses for their "pro" offering.

    Personally I don't feel especially comfortable with this pair of ranges and I'd appreciate your input on this matter. The 24-70 offers a good wide to "slightly longer than standard" range, but, for me at least, it is wider than I usually use and I can't use it as a standard portrait lens. As a walkaround lens, it's also quite limited IMHO. I'd rather have a 35-100 personally.

    The 70-200 is OK as a portrait lens but has limited far reach to be used a true telephoto. Again here a 100-300mm would be much more useful, always for my taste.

    So I'm thinking that perhaps a future 12-60 from Olympus, together with their rumored 40-150 f/2.8 would be a more suitable selection for me.

    I guess the crucial parameter is this: for your type of photography, if you only had two zoom lenses, what would be the pair that forced you to make the least amount of lens changes while shooting?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    For me, the 9-18 is very useful; either that or the 20mm is my 'default'. Maybe the new 17 will replace the 20.

    For longer, I like the 40-150. The range between 20 and 40 doesn't bother me: not wide enough, not long enough.

    I thought a while ago that I needed something in that gap, so I bought the Sigma 30: very nice lens, but I hardly used it. Just don't 'see' that way.
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I would love to have both of those lenses. I currently have a couple of kit lenses and the current 40 - 150 and it would nice to have two faster, better built Oly zooms. Everything else are primes.

    Edit - I use zooms when outdoors (primes for most everything else), zooming with your feet tends to spook the critters. A high-end Oly 12-60 and 40-150 would be an amazing 2 lens kit.
  4. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    The only zoom I consistently use is 7-14 and it honestly is mostly used as a 7mm prime, I have the 14-150 and works well if I don't want to use the primes(12/20/25/45). I'm wondering though about reference to a 40-150 2.8, who's rumoured to be making this? I've not seen any rumours referencing that.
  5. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I really miss my old 16-160mm cmount zoom. Before that was a 12.5-75mm ... seems like anything under 5x zoom ratio is kind of a waste.

    I have lots of other even more goofy ideas!
  6. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, it will be expensive but if they make it, it will replace my current O40 - 150.
  8. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer Subscribing Member

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    The 9-18mm, for me too, is definitely a "go to" zoom. I can't see myself living with only two zooms though.

    But a 9-18mm, 25mm, and 50-200mm kit would be quite ideal (hopefully this rumored 40-150mm f/2.8 is real).
  9. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    I am really struggling internally on moving to 'primes only', as I used to use decades ago. (Nothing to prevent having zooms in stock, of course, but gear dollars are limited and must be directed one way or 'tother; also it does affect shooting style, Thomas Wolfe and Bon Jovi not withstanding :wink:).

    But if I were limited to two zoom lenses...I'd pick the 24-70 and the 70-200, each in 2.8 max aperture.

    You can take the boy out of Nikon but you can't take Nikon out of the boy :biggrin:.

    Those two, in the past, have proven to work for me quite well.

    However, even Nikon have a "Holy Trinity", not a "Divine Duet" - so I would plead for a 12-24 2.8 as well based on historical grounds. And Nikon do offer 'doublers' and I found the 1.7 to be of value when matched with the 70-200. I'd like one of those too, please, if limited to two zoom lenses.


  10. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The 24-70 is really a 'event coverage' type of lens rather than a typical walk around. A 24-100'ish is more the typical for that, or even 28-200 equiv.

    That range is really a compromise, as the DSLR versions are already 2lb lenses. The m43 version could have been more ambitious, but designing such a lenses would require other compromises, so Panasonic probably chose to be conservative for the 1st 'pro' lens.
  11. A ~5x zoom starting at 18mm and finishing at about 90mm. It isn't as compromised (optically, size/weight, lens speed) by needing a broader zoom range to go as wide as 28 or even 24mm, and it would finish at a focal length where I would most likely not bother with a longer telephoto lens. Make it a constant f/4 or perhaps f/3.5-f/4.5. The wide end is covered perfectly well by the Oly 9-18mm UWA. This is basically the same setup that I had on my Canon 50D using the Sigma 10-20mm and the Canon EF 24-105mm f4L. The odd focal length range of the 24-105 due to it being designed for a larger format (~38-170 on the APS-C sensor) turned out to be an advantage IMO.
  12. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 18, 2012
    I dunno, i really like the 24-70 and 70-200 combo. They served me well on Nikon, i suspect the 12-35-100 combo will serve me well on m43.

    however, if olympus is putting out the 40-150 f/2.8, I would be one happy camper.
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Well if it truly comes down to the least amount of lens changes, the 14-140mm is a winner for me, provided there's enough light to use a slow zoom.

    Assuming we're talking a pair of fast constant aperture zooms using the 'standard' focal lengths, then I would agree with others that a 12-60mm paired with a 55-200mm would be a better pairing for me personally. I've got the 12-35mm and will be buying the 35-100mm eventually because they're quality lenses, useful focal ranges, and most importantly, actually available rather than simply rumors.

    However, 12-60 is much more useful than 12-35mm for me because it covers the classical portrait focal range. When it comes to telephoto, I have found 55-200mm would cover just about everything I've done except wildlife photography (where even a 100-300 frequently felt short!).
  15. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Haven't thought about the first part, but you are obviously right. In the context of, say, a wedding ceremony, if you have two shooters, one 24-70 and one 70-200 could cover all bases (or, having 2 cameras on hand, for one shooter). Same for photo-journalism.

    But I shoot, for example, live performances in clubs, and I really need the extra reach on-hand.... Going from ~35mm (always 135 equivalent) to 100-110mm is more common in this case...

    As you correctly state, this, and indeed, all, zoom focal ranges, are compromises.
  16. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I am mostly a tourist photographer. What I learned from owning the 14-45 and 45-200 was that I had to do too many lens changes. Outdoors there is lots of stuff where the 90mm equivalent is too short, and lots of stuff where it is not long enough. So, lots of lens changes. Plus, 28mm equivalent is very marginal for good interiors.

    So I dumped those and now carry a 9-18mm "inside" lens and a 14-140mm "outside" lens and I am a happy guy on most trips for most shots.
  17. LeeOsenton

    LeeOsenton Mu-43 Button Clicker

    Jun 25, 2010
    Hayes, Virginia, U.S.A.
    Lee Osenton
    Olympus m.Zuiko 9-18mm and Panasonic 45-175X. I don't miss covering the gap in the middle.

  18. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    I like that 24-70-200 pair if I needed a 2 lens only solution. That said I rarely walk around with that combo. My typical mindset is to pick up the camera and lens combos that fit my mood for the day.

    According to my wife, I'm moody.
  19. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I dont think i would be happy with the 24-70/70-200 combo. I think a 12-60mft would be ideal but who knows if we will ever see that. Last trip i took the 9-18mm and 40-150mm (with 20mm as needed). I thought the combo worked fairly well.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
  20. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    In addition to my micro 4/3rds gear I also have a Nikon DSLR, in the bag I carry a Tamron 70-300VC and a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 plus a Nikon 35mm f1.8 prime and SB400 flash.

    I find the extra reach and lighter weight of the 70-300 more useful than the constant f2.8 of the 70-200 zooms but YMMV.

    I have primes for micro 4/3rds currently but if I was to carry 2 zooms then I suspect the 12-50 Olympus and the 100-300 Panasonic would be my choice.
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