Why are "consumers" lenses so good?

ac12

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The cheapies definitely can take a great pic. No denying that.
Mine all suffer from dust ingression.
They’re like vacuum cleaners the way they suck the dust out of my bag...

Unfortunately, most zooms today are extending zooms.
And to extend, they have to suck in air.

Even with the pro zooms, only the 40-150/2.8 and I think the 150-400/4.5 are internal zooms.
 

John King

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John ...
Unfortunately, most zooms today are extending zooms.
And to extend, they have to suck in air.

Even with the pro zooms, only the 40-150/2.8 and I think the 150-400/4.5 are internal zooms.
Have you looked at the enormous effort Olympus has put into sealing and prevention of dust incursion with the extending lenses?

I have no dust in any of mine, including the non-sealed ones, after 14 years ...
 

Paul C

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My four fav's in this group I own are : 7.5 FE, 14 (+ GWC1), 35-100 f4/5.6 and the 75-300 II (requires good technique).
I agree - but if you haven't tried it out, may I second your suggestion that the Lumix 35-100 f4/5.6 is amazing....both for design, portabiity, IQ and value.
Screen Shot 2021-05-06 at 08.44.45.png
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It gives a stabilised 70-200 equivalent lens weighing onlyt135 g (0.30 lb), and only 50 mm (1.97″) long.

Its 46mm filter matches the mark 2 14-42mm kit lens and 25mm prime

For the money you get 12 lenses in 9 groups,with 2 ED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lenses to minimize chromatic aberration and an aspherical lens helps achieve high optical performance while allowing dramatic downsizing of the lens unit AND you get AF and OIS. Just for a moment price that specification up for a Zeiss, Sony, Nikon or Canon !

In hot tiring countries, a 14-42, 35-100 f4/5.6, 42.5mm and 25mm primes with a single camera, two spare batteries, a composite material table top tripod, lens brush and 3x46mm filters makes for my basic kit. It is tiny and unobtrusive, and crucially doesnt weigh me down. The size and weight and image quality of that combination alone has meant that my Full Frame system and 6x6 cameras are now mostly idle. Yes, I can generate more lines per mm and 2 stops more exposure before noise - but that translates into perhaps an advantage in only 2-3% of my pictures - not enough to change my choice of what to pack most days.

Evcen the once crucial FF advantage of 2-stops of extra dynamic range for landscapes is mostly redundant when you have learned to master shooting bracketed exposure HDR images.

The Olympus designers and marketeers need to remember that while pioneering mirrorless cameras was a "first", it is the size and weight of the M4/3 system that sells it - and it is the affordability of the first steps into the system for young photographers that will keep it a viable and sustainable business concern long term. The same goes for camera-based photography in general - we have to signpost the affordable steps for young creatives into such a rewarding hobby (and employment for some)

This is one reason why the MU43 forum needs to keep posting reviews of cheaper cameras, lenses and accesories, and point to techniques and services that deliver great value. So other than the 35-100 promotion, my 3 added value tips of the day are to remind you all that
  • Aurora HDR 2018 is being given away free and full spec' as a way to tempt you into upgrading to the latest 2021 version - what an amazing step by a brave software developer !
  • Good quality table top tripods have become much more affordable and way lighter with the advent of modern composite materials - and create photo opportunities that would be otherwise impossible to capture for the cost of just 2 or 3 coffees to go. My "carry always" choice is a composite ballhead Ulanzi model that weighs only 143g.
  • Despite its low price of only 70 USD, the Xiaomi Yi 42.5mm F1.8 AF MFT lens is very high quality - is only 61mm long, has a great close-focus setting and weighs only 149g. As of May 2021 - it is the cheapest AF lens for MFT. Do have a look at a recent review by the excellent Robin Wong - https://robinwong.blogspot.com/2021/03/xiaomi-yi-425mm-f18-review.html
best wishes to you all - Paul C

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exakta

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It is fairly easy to make slow, non-rugged lens that sells in large quantities and is near normal focal lengths. That's why they are so good for the price.

They are only "slow" when compared to the crazy fast optics we've been spoiled with. Compared with 35mm film SLR lenses, they aren't slow. It's always been easier to design lenses with high IQ when not pushing the bleeding edge of max aperture.
 

ac12

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Have you looked at the enormous effort Olympus has put into sealing and prevention of dust incursion with the extending lenses?

I have no dust in any of mine, including the non-sealed ones, after 14 years ...

Yes they are sealed, to a point. But you can't extend a lens without sucking air into the lens. Otherwise the different air pressure inside vs. outside the lens would fight against you being able to extend or collapse the lens.
The better they can seal the lens and control where the air enters the lens, the better they can control and manage/prevent the entry of dust into the lens.
How they do that, I have no idea. I don't think that the lenses have air filters on them, but maybe they do.
 

GBarrington

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Even the kit lenses are fairly good anymore, at least the Olympus ones. I can't speak for the kits of other brands. I suspect it is partly that m43s is less forgiving of mediocrity than other formats. I feel, my m43s work has made me better if for no other reason than my tools required it.
 

ac12

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Even the kit lenses are fairly good anymore, at least the Olympus ones. I can't speak for the kits of other brands. I suspect it is partly that m43s is less forgiving of mediocrity than other formats. I feel, my m43s work has made me better if for no other reason than my tools required it.

My 18-140 APS-C lens is a pretty good lens, with a FL range that is beyond what I could even dream of way back in my early film days.
 

John King

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John ...
Yes they are sealed, to a point. But you can't extend a lens without sucking air into the lens. Otherwise the different air pressure inside vs. outside the lens would fight against you being able to extend or collapse the lens.
The better they can seal the lens and control where the air enters the lens, the better they can control and manage/prevent the entry of dust into the lens.
How they do that, I have no idea. I don't think that the lenses have air filters on them, but maybe they do.
They do have air and water filters, for want of a better term.

The Pro lenses have many O rings and seals and vents everywhere. I have a graphic somewhere of a 12-100. Must have about 25-30 of these! The Pro bodies have seals everywhere.

Olympus tests these by rotating the camera in a fine dripping device that emulates rain at about 4" per hour!

Every tear down shows their sealing works exceptionally well.

Search and ye shall find ;) .
 

Bushboy

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My 3 or 4 mths old 40-150R has an alarming amount of dust behind the front element already. Very disappointing. I wouldn’t get another just for this reason. On the other hand, a Panasonic model of the same creed, done me years of fine service. Go figure.
 

Generationfourth

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I agree - but if you haven't tried it out, may I second your suggestion that the Lumix 35-100 f4/5.6 is amazing....both for design, portabiity, IQ and value.

It gives a stabilised 70-200 equivalent lens weighing onlyt135 g (0.30 lb), and only 50 mm (1.97″) long.

Its 46mm filter matches the mark 2 14-42mm kit lens and 25mm prime

For the money you get 12 lenses in 9 groups,with 2 ED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lenses to minimize chromatic aberration and an aspherical lens helps achieve high optical performance while allowing dramatic downsizing of the lens unit AND you get AF and OIS. Just for a moment price that specification up for a Zeiss, Sony, Nikon or Canon !

In hot tiring countries, a 14-42, 35-100 f4/5.6, 42.5mm and 25mm primes with a single camera, two spare batteries, a composite material table top tripod, lens brush and 3x46mm filters makes for my basic kit. It is tiny and unobtrusive, and crucially doesnt weigh me down. The size and weight and image quality of that combination alone has meant that my Full Frame system and 6x6 cameras are now mostly idle. Yes, I can generate more lines per mm and 2 stops more exposure before noise - but that translates into perhaps an advantage in only 2-3% of my pictures - not enough to change my choice of what to pack most days.

Evcen the once crucial FF advantage of 2-stops of extra dynamic range for landscapes is mostly redundant when you have learned to master shooting bracketed exposure HDR images.

The Olympus designers and marketeers need to remember that while pioneering mirrorless cameras was a "first", it is the size and weight of the M4/3 system that sells it - and it is the affordability of the first steps into the system for young photographers that will keep it a viable and sustainable business concern long term. The same goes for camera-based photography in general - we have to signpost the affordable steps for young creatives into such a rewarding hobby (and employment for some)

This is one reason why the MU43 forum needs to keep posting reviews of cheaper cameras, lenses and accesories, and point to techniques and services that deliver great value. So other than the 35-100 promotion, my 3 added value tips of the day are to remind you all that
  • Aurora HDR 2018 is being given away free and full spec' as a way to tempt you into upgrading to the latest 2021 version - what an amazing step by a brave software developer !
  • Good quality table top tripods have become much more affordable and way lighter with the advent of modern composite materials - and create photo opportunities that would be otherwise impossible to capture for the cost of just 2 or 3 coffees to go. My "carry always" choice is a composite ballhead Ulanzi model that weighs only 143g.
  • Despite its low price of only 70 USD, the Xiaomi Yi 42.5mm F1.8 AF MFT lens is very high quality - is only 61mm long, has a great close-focus setting and weighs only 149g. As of May 2021 - it is the cheapest AF lens for MFT. Do have a look at a recent review by the excellent Robin Wong - https://robinwong.blogspot.com/2021/03/xiaomi-yi-425mm-f18-review.html
best wishes to you all - Paul C
The 35-100's are the most underrated lenses of M43. That f4-5.6 was perfect for backpacking and I'm hating myself for selling it because I have a UT backpacking trip in a couple of weeks. I'll be fine with the 35-100 f/2.8 which could already be considered a marvel at 400 grams! The 70-200 is such a popular focal range yet there really isn't many of them across FF and APS-C and they are all GIGANTIC. I doubt we'll ever see anything from FF that comes even remotely close to Panasonics offerings, I don't think it's physically possible, and this is why I'll shoot m43 forever.

I agree with everything you said, especially the bracketed HDR- The only time I need that extra dynamic range is during challenging landscape lighting conditions and I just do what all the serious FF landscape guys do- bracket.
 

Egregius V

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Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye: small, sharp, sturdy, cheap, and focuses very close to the subject. While manual focus takes some discipline, focus peaking and other aids in the camera help a lot.

Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6: the lens that got me started in micro four thirds. Tiny, takes filters, and can be quite sharp if you get a good copy and use it well. Not a cheap consumer lens, but can be found used or refurbished for a good price. Rendering isn't especially contrasty, but can be adjusted to taste using software.

Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6: there are some terrible copies in circulation, but get a good one for under $250 and you'll be smiling every time you look at it. Just focus on the farthest object you want in focus and click the shutter. Sharp and light.

Olympus 40-150 f/4-5.6 R: super cheap and super light. My copy is quite sharp edge to edge. Rendering tends to overemphasize highlights, but can be controlled easily enough. As others have mentioned, Panasonic zooms reaching 100-150mm are also worth considering and offer a nice balance of size and quality. Expect some decentering in at least one corner with telephoto zooms - but it's generally not a problem.

Panasonic 100-300 f/4-5.6 II: an outstanding long zoom. Generally more expensive than the Olympus 75-300 II, but also quite a bit better in my experience. Much more forgiving at long focal lengths, weather-sealed, has more accurate autofocus, and is very sharp in the center even at 300mm f/5.6.

Any of the Olympus and Panasonic 25mm primes is worth considering. So is the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7: very sharp and contrasty, though slower-focusing and with a lot of chromatic aberration at wide apertures. I don't know if the Sigma 19mm can be considered as good.

The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is a great lens for the money. The Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 is better in some ways but not in others.

While I like the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, and got mine for a great price, the Sigma fast-aperture telephoto primes are cheaper and still very good.

The Panasonic 12-32 f/3.5-5.6 is a great pancake zoom: tiny, sharp, and cheap. It's known to produce a soft right edge once in a while, and can break easily, but these issues can be avoided.
 

Petrochemist

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If they weren't pretty good few people would buy them.
I've picked up excellent legacy lenses for under £20 (alright the as new flektagon 35mm /2.4 was exceptional luck, but good legacy lenses for £50 are easy). To be attractive modern consumer optics can't be priced high.
 

doady

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The problem with modern lenses is their sterile and sharp images, they don't allow for much in the way of creativity. It's better to avoid modern lenses and just get some adapters to use legacy lenses. Legacy lenses allow images to have much more character and creativity compared to the lifeless and soulless images produced by modern lenses.
 

GBarrington

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The problem with modern lenses is their sterile and sharp images, they don't allow for much in the way of creativity. It's better to avoid modern lenses and just get some adapters to use legacy lenses. Legacy lenses allow images to have much more character and creativity compared to the lifeless and soulless images produced by modern lenses.

I personally think it isn't that modern lenses are 'soulless' so much as film photography and digital photography are two different mediums, but with superficial technical and cultural similarities. It is up to us to insert 'soul' into a photo, and some of us only know how to do it with film, and many others don't know how to do it at all! 🤳
 

spdavies

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The problem with modern lenses is their sterile and sharp images, they don't allow for much in the way of creativity. It's better to avoid modern lenses and just get some adapters to use legacy lenses. Legacy lenses allow images to have much more character and creativity compared to the lifeless and soulless images produced by modern lenses.
Is this serious or satire?
What is it that creates this creativity and soul you speak of in "legacy" lenses?
Soft images? Chromatic aberration? Decentered focus? Fungus?
How is a "sharp" image automatically "sterile"?
What is a sterile image, anyway?
And I always thought creativity was a function of the photographer, not the gear . . . :hmmm:
 
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PhotoCal

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The cheapies definitely can take a great pic. No denying that.
Mine all suffer from dust ingression.
They’re like vacuum cleaners the way they suck the dust out of my bag...

Do you vacuum the inside of your bag between uses? I do. It keeps dust to a minimum.
 

Bushboy

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No, but sometimes, when I’m looking for something, I tip it upside down and let everything tumble out. Usually all over the forest floor. Does that count? I swear that’s how I’ve lost my cable release just lately. And a pair of glasses...
 
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