Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade  (Read 25707 times)

PeterAit

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4561
    • Peter Aitken Photographs
Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« on: June 04, 2014, 05:33:07 pm »

As delicious as the super high grade lenses look, they are very dear. I don't need the wider aperture of the super-high, but are there differences in IQ or construction quality that might justify the price? Will be used with an Oly E-M1.
Logged

degrub

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1956
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2014, 09:38:06 am »

digilloyd has a detailed comparison of several of them with some of Leica, Zeiss, and a few others in his m4/3 section if you happen to be subscriber. Michael also did a review not too long ago.
Frank
Logged

Deep

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 179
Re:
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 06:14:37 am »

The Olympus SHG lenses are astonishingly good.  Really worth the money - you get what you pay for!  However, most of the HG lenses are very, very good too, though with slower apertures.  Don't take my word for it.  Look on something like Flickr for full sized files and you'll understand.
Logged
Don

Pete Berry

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 445
Re:
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 01:04:17 pm »

The Olympus SHG lenses are astonishingly good.  Really worth the money - you get what you pay for!  However, most of the HG lenses are very, very good too, though with slower apertures.  Don't take my word for it.  Look on something like Flickr for full sized files and you'll understand.

I've owned the 12-60/2.8-4 and 50-200/2.8-3.5 w/ 2X EC-20 for my Oly E-30. While the 12-60 was excellent on the wide end, it fell off a bit at the top. The 50-200, OTOH was excellent top to bottom, and even wiht the 2X extender still produced stunning wildlife images stopped down just a bit.

Much to my surprise, trying the lenses on my GH1 years ago w/ MA-1 adapter, there was considerable edge/corner falloff in the 12-60 up to 18mm, not clearing by f/8.  I've not heard of any similar problems from others after I reported it, but the same disappointment with the Oly 4/3 9-18.

I rejected both the Panny m4/3 14-45 and 14-140 at that time also for lacking uniform IQ, and settled on the simply superb Pana-Leica 14-150/3.5-5.6, which had the advantage of AF-S(S for slow, but accurate also) being contrast-focus adapted. And it has has lived on my successive GH's through the present GH4.

The P-L lens is rather heavy and bulky w/ the adapter, but surprisingly, slightly less so than the adapted 12-60. Even with the Oly 2X TC, the 14-150 gives very decent images - but at 300mm-f/11! - vs the 50-200's 400mm-f/7.1. And for Panny bodies, the OIS of the P-L is very good.

Pete
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 01:10:41 pm by Pete Berry »
Logged

zippski

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 44
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 11:37:04 pm »

I am a long time Olympus 4/3's guy (currently left wandering in the wilderness with Oly's abandonment of classic phase-detect DSLRs).  I own a full set of the SHG lenses.  Yes, the 7-14mm, 14-35mm, 35-100mm, 90-250mm, 150mm, and 300mm. With my 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters, that covers a 35mm-equivalent range of 14mm to 1200mm that I can still carry in one (huge) Lowepro trekker backpack.

I also own most of the HGs: the 8mm FE, 25mm Panleica, 14-54mm, 35mm and 50mm macros, and 50-200mm.  Oh, and for light duty, the 14-42mm, 40-150mm and 70-300mm SGs as well.  I guess you can say I have a lot of experience to rely on with Olympus lenses.

I can say this:  The SHGs are some of the best lenses ever designed.  Overdesigned, really. They are big, heavy, bulletproof and optically as near to telecentric perfection as you can get.  The SHGs are why you originally bought into the Olympus 4/3 system.

Yes, they are expensive, but you are buying a lifetime lens that will walk circles optically around any of the other Olympus lenses including all the new m4/3 lenses. 

The HGs are plenty sharp, but the SHGs have something tangibly much better about their image quality that is very visible, even to a casual observer.  Better bokeh, better colour, tonality, fidelity and separation.  Just better.  The phrase "3D" look always jumps to mind.  If you want to shoot longer tele ranges (I do a lot of that), the 300mm is just in another league altogether from the generally well-respected 50-200mm.  The 90-250mm is only a slight step down.  None of the SHG lenses visibly degrade when used with the TC's either.  I guess that's what should be expected for the hefty price premium.   

The 14-35mm and 35-100mm zooms and especially the 300mm "Big Tuna" comprise about 90% of my shots. YMMV. 

Here's a sample panorama shot with my 12mp E-5 and the 14-35mm.  It's really downscaled for the web but gives you a pretty fair idea how well these lenses work (I should post a full rez version sometime, somewhere, since this shot won a bunch of local awards for me:

 


Maybe some day I will buy into the micro system, but not likely with the EM-1 generation.  I'll wait until they get the phase detect system working a bit better first, or better yet, resurrect the DSLR line.  A DSLR with the newer 16mp sensor would be my dream.   

Leigh
zippski
     
Logged

GLJ

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 60
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2014, 07:22:40 pm »



Here's a sample panorama shot with my 12mp E-5 and the 14-35mm.  It's really downscaled for the web but gives you a pretty fair idea how well these lenses work

Hi, can you please explain what we are supposed to be looking for in this image. How does it give us a pretty fair idea of how well these lenses work?
Logged

zippski

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 44
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 10:06:11 pm »

Hi, can you please explain what we are supposed to be looking for in this image. How does it give us a pretty fair idea of how well these lenses work?


I suppose as much as an image that is 11,500 pixels wide can show, posted at LL's maximum posting width of 800 pixels. ;-)

Not sure if pixel-peeping a 100% crop is what you are looking for, or the nice tonal separation I was trying to demonstrate.

Here's a more "normal size" photo with that subtle tonal look (albeit still down-rezzed to what appears to be 800 pixels wide):

 


Leigh
zippski
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 10:07:53 pm by zippski »
Logged

Iluvmycam

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 533
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 10:17:15 pm »

The high priced M43 lenses I've used are outstanding.
Logged

zippski

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 44
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 11:01:34 pm »

The high priced M43 lenses I've used are outstanding.

Yes, some of them are fine lenses and I am sure you are quite satisfied with the IQ.....

......until you slap on a classic 4/3 SHG.

Leigh
zippski

 
Logged

GLJ

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 60
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2014, 11:00:43 am »

I suppose as much as an image that is 11,500 pixels wide can show, posted at LL's maximum posting width of 800 pixels. ;-)

Not sure if pixel-peeping a 100% crop is what you are looking for, or the nice tonal separation I was trying to demonstrate.


Its more a case of what are you are trying to show us.

You've posted two images now which are supposed to demonstrate the superiority of the SHG lenses, but I'm still unclear as to how we are supposed to be able to deduce this from the samples presented.
Do you have examples of SHG v HG images, which clearly demonstrate either a resolution advantage, or 'nice tonal separation' advantage, or even something else.
While I acknowledge that the Olympus SHG lenses are very good indeed, I often see them elevated to a status that I'm deeply suspicious of and I've yet to see a comprehensive set of comparisons that justify this mythical status they seem to have.
Logged

bcooter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1520
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2014, 03:55:55 pm »

Its more a case of what are you are trying to show us.

You've posted two images now which are supposed to demonstrate the superiority of the SHG lenses, but I'm still unclear as to how we are supposed to be able to deduce this from the samples presented.
Do you have examples of SHG v HG images, which clearly demonstrate either a resolution advantage, or 'nice tonal separation' advantage, or even something else.
While I acknowledge that the Olympus SHG lenses are very good indeed, I often see them elevated to a status that I'm deeply suspicious of and I've yet to see a comprehensive set of comparisons that justify this mythical status they seem to have.


The olympus 43 lenses are very good, not just sharp but have a beautiful look.    Autofocus is better with the em1 but not Nikon, Canon good, just better than none good.

It's kind of a shame that the lenses with full autofocus only really work with Olympus cameras, given olympus and panasonic are really the only two makers for this format.

I do wish they would collaborate a little more and make their autofocus and stabilizaiton work with both makers lenses and bodies, rather than go their own way with different focusing priorities.

If anything is going to hurt this format it's the limited amount of manufacturer's offering m43 or 43 and what it takes to get full use of a system.

Unless pana and oly get more convergence on lenses and in my world, faster lenses, given the size of the format, Sony's A type of system is going to take a lot of the market.

The A7s, is not the video camera the gh4 is, mostly due to the rolling shutter, but the ability to shoot in very low light for video and have a second body that shoots very high resolution stills is hard to ignore.

The only thing keeping the Sony from being a m43 crusher, is it feels like it's rushed to market with build quality and focusing abilities, especially compared to Panasonic.



IMO

BC


P.S.  But back to the topic, Zipski posted two pretty photographs and that really is the only goal.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 04:21:22 pm by bcooter »
Logged

scooby70

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 489
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2014, 06:30:42 pm »

It's kind of a shame that the lenses with full autofocus only really work with Olympus cameras, given olympus and panasonic are really the only two makers for this format.

If anything is going to hurt this format it's the limited amount of manufacturer's offering m43 or 43 and what it takes to get full use of a system.

Unless pana and oly get more convergence on lenses and in my world, faster lenses, given the size of the format, Sony's A type of system is going to take a lot of the market.

The only thing keeping the Sony from being a m43 crusher, is it feels like it's rushed to market with build quality and focusing abilities, especially compared to Panasonic.

Panasonic and Olympus have a wide range of lenses with some really nice ones in there and there are other people making MFT lenses and if you are willing to look at manual focus lenses your choice increases.

I'm not sure what your complaint is with Sony build quality, my A7 hasn't shown any indication of falling apart. I'm also not sure that any Sony is a MFT crusher at least not at the moment. The Nex series arguably can't compete with the MFT lens line up and the same is true of the A7 series. I think Sony have a long way to go if they're going to offer a MFT crusher, Fuji is arguably closer but MFT probably has the edge as a system for many people as it is now quite extensive with many fans and offers a good size and weight and image quality package.
Logged

bcooter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1520
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2014, 03:02:55 pm »

Panasonic and Olympus have a wide range of lenses with some really nice ones in there and there are other people making MFT lenses and if you are willing to look at manual focus lenses your choice increases.

I'm not sure what your complaint is with Sony build quality, my A7 hasn't shown any indication of falling apart. I'm also not sure that any Sony is a MFT crusher at least not at the moment. The Nex series arguably can't compete with the MFT lens line up and the same is true of the A7 series. I think Sony have a long way to go if they're going to offer a MFT crusher, Fuji is arguably closer but MFT probably has the edge as a system for many people as it is now quite extensive with many fans and offers a good size and weight and image quality package.



I'm not in the camera making/selling business so what brands do well, is of little consequence to me and since I shoot for commerce my first criteria in buying any camera is what will it do for me that I can't do today.

The A7 series, all I see is what does it do that is really that much different than a 5d2/3, other than size and going to video 4k which changes the form factor greatly with an added device like the Atmos, especially coming out of micro hdmi.  (nobody actually likes micro hdmi)

Now if the A series focused in stills and video like the panasonic gh3/4, if it had image stabilization and build quality of the olympus it would have a lot more interest, because an A7s for video an A7R for stills (which tethers) covers a lot of territory for anyone that produces both motion and still projects.

So my view if the A7 series is it doesn't do anything beyond my Canons and Panasonics, even my S2 Leica, so as much as I like the idea of a series of cameras with the same lens mount and different uses, I think the Sony needs a generation or two before I go forward, which is kind of a shame because I have cash in hand if it surprises me.

The build quality?  It might be fine, who knows with electronic stuff, but to me the A7 feels like the mockup to the olympus em-1, so your right Sony does have a ways to go.  

To be fair all cameras come with compromises, including, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Leica and REDs and all are very good at their main mission.  

I guess what I want is to consolidate equipment down from 4 or 5 or 6 cases to two and maybe that won't happen.

Camera forums are usually more about cameras and equipment, less about photography and as much as we all get wound up about the latest and greatest, once the press releases are out and the cameras finally ship I always realize that beautiful work can be produced with cameras that are new or generations old, with very little difference in final acceptance.



IMO

BC
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 03:08:11 pm by bcooter »
Logged

David Mantripp

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 826
    • :: snowhenge dot net ::
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2014, 02:58:42 am »

The SHG lenses are fabulous, but the downside is the handling. I don't own an E-M1, so I can't comment on that, but I have used the 150mm f2 with 1.4TC on a Pen E-P3, handheld, and that was quite comical. Indeed even on an E-5 that combination is a bit awkward, so I can only imagine what the 300mm - sadly way above my pay grade - is like. However I would concur that the tonality and micro-contrast of the SHGs is exceptional. I can instantly tell the difference between a shot taken with the 150 and the 50-200 at 150, or the 7-14 at 14mm and the 12-60 at 14mm, good as the HGs are.

Do they deserve their mystical reputation? I don't know, I have no personal benchmark having never used a DSLR system other than 4/3. It's sort of sad that during the 43rds system's heyday it was largely rubbished - even by Michael R, damning with faint praise - but now everybody's engaging in some serious revisionism. I don't think that the SHG, or indeed HG lenses are the second coming of Christ, but they're pretty good. And the E-3 and E-5 (especially) were/are far better "photographer's cameras" than most gave them credit for.

But would I buy a new SHG lens, now, to use on an M43 camera? Probably not.
Logged
--
David Mantripp

PeterAit

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4561
    • Peter Aitken Photographs
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2014, 09:42:33 am »

FWIW, I ended up getting the HG 50mm macro, 12-60mm zoom, and the 50-200mm zoom. So far I am very impressed!
Logged

Telecaster

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3686
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2014, 05:09:14 pm »

A resident of my property came up to me last evening, while I was in the backyard taking pics of day lilies with an E-M1 and Four-Thirds 50–200mm, and gave me the eye as if to say: "My, don't you look silly with such a tiny camera attached to such a big lens! Insecurity issues perhaps?"

(I've included a lily pic too, though taken this morning with the much smaller Olympus 12–40mm.)

-Dave-
Logged

stamper

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5882
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2014, 03:34:18 am »

The newly released Tamron 14-150 Four Thirds is a stellar performer on a Lumix GX7.  :)

zippski

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 44
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2014, 09:06:28 am »

FWIW, I ended up getting the HG 50mm macro, 12-60mm zoom, and the 50-200mm zoom. So far I am very impressed!

Interestingly Peter, the 12-60mm and the 50-200mm are my two least favorite HG lenses and the lenses that are outshone by the SHGs by the largest margin.  The 12-60mm as an odd and non-correctable barrel distortion at the wide end.  The 50-200m has in my opinion the poorest OOF bokeh of any HG lens.  Plenty sharp, but especially on objects like OOF branches in bird shots, the bokeh is brutally harsh sometimes.  I am really spoiled by the 300mm, which is worth every penny of its high price.

BTW, I find SHG handling to be excellent on the E5.  I shoot everything handheld, even the 300mm+TC20, which gives me a FEV of 1200mm.  It's easily doable at ISO1000 and above.  As the EM1 shoots relatively noise free at ISO 1600 and even higher, so that should be a great combo.

But yes, I can easily tell the difference, especially between the 50-200mm and the 150mm or 300mm. However, my favorite HG lens is the original 14-54mm I, which is dirt cheap right now and renders the best star points of any Olympus lens at small apertures.

Leigh
zippski
Logged

GLJ

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 60
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2014, 03:10:37 pm »

The olympus 43 lenses are very good, not just sharp but have a beautiful look.

What do you mean "a beautiful look" - have you got a fetish for the paintwork or something?
Some of the 4/3 lenses may be sharp, but have truly dreadful bokeh.

Quote
P.S.  But back to the topic, Zipski posted two pretty photographs and that really is the only goal.

Is it? he actually said:
"you are buying a lifetime lens that will walk circles optically around any of the other Olympus lenses including all the new m4/3 lenses"
Then posted examples that were in some way supposed to give us an idea of this superiority.
Well I'm still waiting for evidence that shows the SHG lenses "walk circles optically around any of the other Olympus lenses including all the new m4/3 lenses" because those examples don't show it.
Logged

Telecaster

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3686
Re: Olympus 4/3 lenses - super high vs. high grade
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2014, 05:01:14 pm »

Today's lesson in how to win friends and influ...ah, screw it.

 ;)

-Dave-
Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up