Why Buy Expensive Fast m4/3s Lenses when the A7 Does it All for Cheaper?


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Feb 20, 2013
I've always carried a compact cameras and used them wide (28-39mm). Even m4/3s was big to me. But after buying my PM2 (and later a GM1 which is smaller yet), m4/3s had me covered on small, wide lenses. For 5 years I enjoyed the small pancakes. The 12-32mm was small enough to go anywhere and wider than most compacts. The 14/2.5 is a lot of fun because you don't have to worry about zooming. The first DOF experiments started with the 20/1.7, which is also technically wide. Similar to the 39mm fixed lens of my old Canon sd20, which was awesome.

With the 3 small lenses above the camera came where I went. I never went specifically to take pictures. But I started to experiment with other lenses. Pentax or Konica 50mm f1.7, for example. Narrow DOF and a lot of fun. 135mm is fun on m4/3s too. I've rarely used the m4/3s 40-150mm. It's good but not fast and sucks out past 100mm. I mean to replace it with the Panasonic 35-100mm in silver to match the 12-32mm. Finally I got the Panasonic 42/1.7 (because the O45 isn't stabilized). This is small, sharp, and has narrow DOF and made me stop using most of the adapted lenses. Next up would be lenses with even narrower DOF.

But why spend $700 on an Olympus 75/1.8 or the Voitlander 42/0.95 when I could just buy a $1000 Sony A7 and have ALL lenses have narrow DOF?

Before buying an A7ii I had accumulated a good 25 legacy lenses, many of which I had, before buying the Panasonic 42/1.4, enjoyed on m4/3s. For example Canon FDs: 24/2.8, 28/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 135/2.5 (and others). Yes, the DR, high ISO, and IBIS are fantastic. But the wide angles are no better than what I can get with m4/3s. To be fair, I don't have native wide-angles for the Sony, but I'm not going to spend the money for something bigger than the adapted lenses I already have. The same Pentax 50mm f1.7 I used on m4/3s isn't as fun on the Sony (I guess I should buy a 100mm f2.8 to make it apples to apples though). The 135 performance is unsurprising. I haven't tried the Konica 135/3.2 because although I have the adapter the set up is too long to fit in any bag I'm comfortable carrying. On m4/3s, however, the legacy 50s and 135s are a lot of fun. The cheap Sony 50/1.8 is lackluster IMO (maybe not the lens itself, but my joy from using it is low). The kit zoom is big and slow. In fact, the only lens I really use on the A7ii is the Canon FD 85mm f1.8. I wish Sony would make an RX1 mVI with a longer lens. I'd for sure buy it!

Compare the above Sony and what kind of bag I'd need to hold more than one of those lenses; or the size of a one-size-fits-all F4 zoom. With m4/3s I can have the 12-32 or 14, 20, and 42 all in the bag at once. And all those plus the camera are around $1200. I've tried the Thinktank 20 or i25 or something (I tried 2) to try to get the A7ii to go with GM1 and a pancake. For one trip it worked but it was too tight. I want the bag over my shoulder on my right hip with the A7ii laying on its side with screen forward and 85mm or 50mm lens facing back; behind the lens a soft separator, then room for the GM1 with a pancake or else another lens for the A7ii. I had to return the bags though because the fit was too tight. Camera bags nowadays don't always have soft lining and that hard nylon can ruin the finish of lenses, etc, so if you do find one that fits you still have to worry about that. My inability to find a bag that carries the A7ii and another lens is why the A7ii has gotten so little use. The search continues but as it stands the 42/1.7 is starting to get more and more use again instead of grabbing a huge camera with a bigger 85mm lens on it. (I have looked at the Sigma FP but it's basically A7 size without IBIS or the prism.)

So, in short, the FF experiment might be coming to an end. I can sell the thing for what I paid for it as everything I buy new remains 100% perfect mint. I could perhaps use that money to finally try a used Sony RX1 (35mm fixed lens FF) for $700. I wish that lens were either wider or longer though! Or I could finally try any Olympus 75/1.8 which I see can be had for $600 new. Or that Voitlander 42.5mm f0.95 is around that same price. We'll see. But for now, the winner of the size vs narrow DOF is being won by m4/3s.
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