Tired of waiting for the "fast Olympus zoom"...

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by With_Eyes_Unclouded, May 20, 2013.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    ... so I'm now thinking of getting an adapted FT zoom instead.

    More specifically the 14-54II.

    My thinking is as follows: the only fast midrange zoom for :43: is the Panasonic 12-35. I have no reason to doubt it's a marvelous lens (haven't used it myself) but there are several drawbacks:

    1) Cost; best price in Europe is more than 900 euros
    2) I'm totally indiferent on OIS since I'll be using it on Olympus bodies; this is a feature I'd paying for and never using
    3) Most serious of all: the focal range doesn't suit me very well.

    I'd like more of a "walkaround" type of lens, certainly going to 50mm at the long end although I don't mind that much on the short end (14mm is fine). I guess Olympus shall have such a native lens at some point, but this could be by the end of the year and would cost perhaps more than the Panasonic.

    So I was thinking. I can get a great used example of the 14-54II for 350-400 euro, including the adaptor. For the shooting I'm planning with it, breakneck AF speed is not critical. OTOH, the 14-54II is perhaps the fastest focusing FT lens available, and, if we believe Olympus' claims, FT lens AF is improved in the E-P5 already; and would improve even more in a future body.

    For me getting this lens would allow me to replace both Sigmas (19mm/30mm) and probably make some money against its cost in the process. I know I'll sacrifice some AF speed but, from what I've seen, no IQ loss.

    My concerns are twofold:

    1) I have forgotten back/front focus issues since I abandoned DSLRs for mirrorless. Is there a chance there are focusing accuracy problems with this lens?
    2) On a recent thread (https://www.mu-43.com/f40/olympus-zd-12-60-af-motor-failing-again-46438/), Dara talked about reliability problems with the 12-60 when used with CD-AF cameras. Would this be a serious problem with the 14-54II too?

    What do you guys think?
  2. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Front/back focus issues are generally not a characteristic of the lens, but of the phase detect autofocus system. However, if the camera can't control the lens accurately (and I don't know as that is a problem) then it's possible the lens could end up out of focus.

    Autofocus will be slow with ANY adapted lens with any body released to date. Our cameras (sadly) simply weren't designed to drive those lenses properly.

    It would be nice to see Oly build the system with lenses instead of simply releasing pointless body updates like the E-P5.
  3. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    No worries there with CDAF.

    The 12-60mm has a different kind of AF motor than the 14-54mm mkII. It shouldn't be an issue. The lens you're looking at is actually designed for CDAF and thus should work normally.

    This is partially true, but those lenses that were designed for CDAF (like the 14-54mm mkII, they're just as fast on μ43 as they were on the older four thirds bodies when using Live View. That's a result of the state of CDAF technology when the lenses were made rather than a result of the use of an adapter.
  4. timg

    timg Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    I have the 14-54 mkII and use it with my EP3, while it doesn't focus as fast as the newer m43 lenses it's still adequate, I'd say around as fast as the p20/1.7.

    It's my favourite 43 lens as it's such a good all rounder... pretty wide, pretty long, pretty fast, focusses pretty close... you get the idea!

    So long as you get the mkII version you shouldn't have any issues with it dying from AF, as CDAF was specifically added with the mkII version. Front/back focussing won't be an issues either as it takes the focus from the sensor...
  5. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    With the last m4/3 body E-pl3 and EP2 before I used a 14-54MKI and it worked well even if AF was on the slow side but notturtle slow:biggrin:
  6. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    I had one on the EM5. I'd say it was slower AF than the 20mm but not by a lot. It did the quick "back and forth dance" before locking. It would miss sometimes in lower light situations. All in all, it was very useable with the exception of low light with moving ( not fast ) targets. I shot an Odissi traditional dance with a flash and had about 70% keeper rate. It's large compared to m4/3 kits, then add the adapter. IQ is very good. Interestingly, it seemed to focus a little better on the G5.
  7. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Thank you all!

    Indeed choice of the Mk2 version is about CD-AF optimization over version 1.

    If indeed average AF speed is close/comparable to even the slowest native :43: lenses, this is quite fine by me. I do not plan on using it on candids. Weight and bulk will certainly be an issue I suspect, but OTOH this can replace 2-3 lenses in some scenarios.

    Thanks again, it seems there is a place for a FT lens in my bag in the immediate future. :wink:
  8. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Good to know, thanks!
  9. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    I should clarify though, I was referring specifically to four thirds bodies using Live View, specifically.
  10. mring1

    mring1 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2012
    Phoenix, Arizona
    John Taska
    That is THE best compromise m4/3s zoom...

    You called it right. I have the MkI version, and it's very slow to autofocus...1.5-2 seconds. I actually use MF about 90% of the time. I will say that the autofocus is very accurate. I use the RRS grip and it makes my E-M5/15-54 work like an extension of my hands. The balance is just perfect for me.

    I mention all of this simply because the two lenses are physically identical, and I wanted to emphasize...IMHO only...how nicely that lens and the E-M5 pair up. Yeah, I'd like to have the MkII, but if I really need fast focus I do have the 12-50. Ergonomically, the 14-54 is a great match with the RRS grip, and the HLD-6 if you own it. It does work, albeit not as gracefully, without the grip.

    I'm one of those folks who'd really like to see that true HG fast zoom released by Oly, but you're right, add the MkII and you have most everything you need. In addition, I would add that some of the criticisms of m4/3s lenses in general, ie, CA and the more-than-occasional edge softness, simply don't exist on the HG 4/3s lenses. Sharp wide open and great contrast. And by the way...a LOT cheaper than the m4/3s lenses.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    To expound on that a bit, the SWD motor used on certain later model high-end Olympus lenses is mechanically linked and can provide really fast AF on the higher end 4/3 bodies (like the E-30, E-3, and E-5) which are able to power them fully. The reason they are bad for m4/3 is that the mechanical motor can wear out since CDAF racks the lens in and out really quickly and repeatedly in order to find focus. Lenses like the 14-54mm (both versions) are fly-by-wire.

    On the other hand, the mechanical properties of an SWD makes for pretty nice manual focusing if you prefer to bypass AF altogether. :)
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Power has nothing to do with speed of the lens at focusing. The lens is just as fast (and in low light, as slow) on the BLM-1 based E-520 as on the BLS-1-based E-420. The E-5 uses exactly the same battery as the E-520, and yet achieves dramatically faster AF in low light.

    The problem is not the mechanical linkage, but the high torque applied by the ultrasonic motor. Even if the lens were focus-by-wire, the motor would still be making those extremely rapid adjustments.

    Back to the original question - in theory, the micro-motors used in non-SWD 4/3 lenses should not have these issues. On the flip side, I'm increasingly convinced that the number of people actually using these lenses with AF on m4/3 is vanishingly small, so I don't think there's a data to say anything definitive.
  13. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    This is interesting. Is there an equivalent Panasonic FT lens with oIs to use on Panasonic m43 body? Thanks.
  14. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Panasonic has a 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5. I can't speak for AF speed, though. Maybe someone else can. It's a huge lens, but also very nice.
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I never said anything about battery capacity, those higher-end bodies are built to handle SWD lenses. :) Incidentally, many also find the SWD lenses to work a little faster when using a battery grip on the E-3 or E-5 as well.

    You're pretty much saying the same thing, though I admit that is a more accurate description. :)

    Yes you are correct. I use the SWD version of the Zuiko 50-200mm on my m4/3 cameras all the time and I always use manual focus. I can lock in faster myself.
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Sorry. You wrote that they were more powerful, so I was under the impression you were talking about the battery. There's an oft-repeated fairy-tale that 4/3 lenses are slow on m4/3 bodies owing to the smaller batteries on the latter, so I'm a bit sensitive to claims in that direction.

    The E-5 and whatnot do in fact do better with the SWD lenses than the lower end bodies, but that is of course due entirely to more and better AF sensors.

    That sounds to me like an urban legend. It is actually true that the original E-1 performed slightly faster in C-AF (though not S-AF) when using the grip, but that's because the E-1's grip had a different kind of battery that actually provided the camera with more voltage.

    The E-3 and E-5 grip however does no such thing - it uses the same type of batteries, and does so in series, meaning the voltage is identical.
  17. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    As a sidenote to the discussion about FT lenses, I noticed this on the latest review on the E-P5, by Pekka Potka:

    (emphasis mine)

    The link is here: pekkapotka - Journal - Olympus PEN E-P5 w. VF-4 Hands On Preview, pt.2

    Since Pekka usually has inside info about future Oly cameras, this would probably mean the rumored "pro" Oly, capable of natively focusing FT lenses. Whether it's a new FT DSLR or a mirrorless hubrid is anyone's guess at this point and I'm sure Pekka isn't going to enlighen us, even if he has all the details. :wink: Just mentioning it for people interested in acquiring FT lenses.
  18. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    The only time I would ever wait for the next thing coming along is if I already am satisfied with what I have. I believe you can wait for new gear, or shoot photos. Stop waiting and start shooting. :)
  19. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    As long as you still have the old thing, I think its fairly easy to do both.
  20. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    One of the advantages of faster lenses is the ability to focus faster (because it can "see" better). I have used one 4/3 lens on my OMD and I was very disappointed in AF speed. I have a feeling that this lens could work better than my previous experience, but it would be a risk, and it is a fairly large lens compared to most of the Mu43 lenses we use. It would still be a reasonable test and B&H (and I assume most retailers) would accept returns if it was not a satisfying test.
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