|µ4/3rds Zoom Lens Comparisons|
|Panasonic||7mm @f/4||14mm @f/4|
|Olympus||9mm @f/4||18mm @f/5.6|
|Olympus||12mm @f/3.5||50mm @f/6.3|
|Olympus||14mm @f/3.5||42mm @f/5.6|
|Panasonic||14mm @f/3.5||42mm @f/5.6|
|Panasonic||14mm @f/3.5||45mm @f/5.6|
|Panasonic||14mm @f/4||140mm @f/5.8|
|Olympus||14mm @f/4||150mm @f/5.6|
|Olympus||40mm @f/4||150mm @f/5.6|
|Panasonic||45mm @f/4||175mm @f/5.6|
|Panasonic||45mm @f/4||200mm @f/5.6|
|Olympus||75mm @f/4.8||300mm @f/6.7|
|Panasonic||100mm @f/4||300mm @f/5.6|
I was motivated to do this chart to your right by all the moaning and groaning coming from the Great Photography Forum Commentariat about how Olympus is releasing all these slow zoom lenses for µ4/3rds. So I meandered over to the Micro Four Thirds Lens Produce page and cobbled up the chart to your right.
Allow me to outline a few quick notes.
- I've only included the zooms, not the primes. The primes are a good stop or more faster at their given maximum aperture, but then they're fixed focal length lenses.
- I've not included every single iteration of a zoom. For example, Olympus has three versions of the 14-42mm 1:4-5.6. This is a chart about zoom types or classes as much as individual zooms. Oh, and Panasonic has two in that range.
- This chart includes the announced but not-yet-delivered Olympus 12-50mm and covers several Pansonic X series lenses.
What I didn't include, because I didn't feel like looking them up, were the dimensions (size and weight) of all the lenses. That would have been real work. And then you the reading audience would have wanted to compare them with the closest 4/3rds and/or competitor lens, and well, that would have been even more work.
No, the reason for my chart is to take the heat off of Olympus and spread it evenly over to Panasonic, which appears to be as in lockstep with Olympus as Olympus is with Panasonic.
Once the Commentariat get going with their complaints about the slow maximum apertures, then they get going about perceived flaws with the lens performance. For that, I'd like to show you a photograph by Bryce Bradford, a rather excellent photographer who has gotten to like µ4/3rds rather much these days.
|M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 Sample|
By Bryce Bradford
E-PM1, 300mm, f/6.7, 1/1000s, ISO 400
When you click on that photo selected the full size and look at the head of the robin. Note the crisp detail around the eyes, bill, and neck ruff.
I have the OM 300mm 1:4.5 fixed focal length lens. That lens is almost as large as my ZD 50-200mm. I've used it, even with the E-P2 (with suitable adapters). The 75-300 zoom is only a stop slower but about five times lighter than the OM 300, and from what I can see, the optical quality of the M.Zuiko is superior to the older OM 300mm. The only reason I don't own one is that at the time of its initial release it was $900. At that price I felt it should have had environmental sealing, like the newly announced 12-50mm will have.
If you're not hung up on weather sealing like I am, based on the excellent IQ I've seen from this lens, and considering that the price has now dropped to around $750, the Olympus 75-300mm is at least worth considering. And if you feel the need for a "better" lens for APS-C or larger sensor cameras, go to a store where they'll let you hold one of those little monsters and think about carrying that largish lump of metal, plastic and glass around for more than five minutes. The Pen system might not be perfect, but it's certainly pointing in the right direction of small and efficient photography.
As for myself, Santa is bringing me new µ4/3rds gear for Christmas; an Olympus 45mm lens, another Olympus 40-150mm R zoom, and a Panasonic 20mm lens. I might even break down and purchase an E-P2 kit with VF-2 and 17mm that Amazon is showing for $700. That's less than the cost of the E-P3 body only. I've been going round and round about what to invest in and after looking and holding for some time now I've decided to continue to invest in the µ4/3rds system, with some equipment from Olympus and Panasonic.