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Thread: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

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    Default Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    The ffice:smarttags" />lace w:st="on">Olympuslace> range of lenses there is nothing above 300mm and the semi-pro lenses there is nothing above 200mm. Of course, when you take in to account the 2x “equivalence”; 400mm and 600mm sounds very respectable and indeed Olympus seem to have specifically reduced the focal length of their lenses to take account of the 2x. But do you think this is the right thing to do when we are talking about telephoto lenses? I get the distinct impression that there are a lot of semi-pro lace w:st="on">Olympuslace> owners out there screaming for something more than a 200mm lens. Olympus going on about "equivalent to" doesn't seem to be working..?? or is that just my imagination.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    Give it some time.

    Olympus have launched some ~20 4/3 lenses, all performing very well, during the 4 years since the system was introduced. Sigma is catching up with converting their lens line-up as well. All-in-all, I can't see any shortage of lenses in the +200 mm range except for a weather sealed lens. On the other hand a 50-200 plus an EC-14 makes a pretty respectable 70-280/4.0-4.9 fulfilling all the criteria that are expected in the mid-range of lenses. Soon, we will have the EC-20 and the new SWD 50-200 which gives us a 100-400/4.0-7.1 in that segment - a bit slow but IS is here to save many of those dark days and it will be weather sealed and I'm sure the IQ will be upp to the snuff.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    I think it all depends on what you expect.
    I think it was a cry of yesteryear but not so much today.

    Including a couple of variants of the kit lenses and Sigma's and Leica's range of lenses there are approx 33-34 available lenses - a respectable number. (22 are Olympus 4/3rds - inc variants)

    Add to this the fact that you can (if you want to - and if you are prepared to settle for manual focus and aperture) use almost all your old lenses on a 4/3rds camera.
    Got a favourite lens - then you can still use it !

    One of the beauties of the 4/3rds system is that its open, but it is also relatively new and new lenses (from at least 3 brands in all) are now being released regularly.

    So we don't have to rely solely on Olympus for choices of 4/3rds lenses.

    Sigma have the 50-500 and 135-400 lenses that nicely cover the range you have suggested in the semi-pro league, also the more expensive 300-800 as well. You can add the 1.4x to all of these, and soon the 2.0x.

    Sure the 12 Sigma lenses (and more) are also available for the other brands, but the fact is the breadth of focal length is now reasonably well covered
    We don't have a plethora of lenses to choose from but what we do have (especially in the Olympus range) is an optically superb range of lenses and there are almost no optical losses by using the 1.4x adapter.
    refer to current thread about adapters http://fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=14609
    As someone pointed out add to this fact that with the new bodies with IS - all your existing 4/3rds lenses are now effectively image stabilised without any expense, so does that double the range of lenses ? !!!

    If you are expecting the much wider range of legacy film lenses that Canon and Nikon have for their cameras then you may be missing the entire point of the 4/3rds lens design and the very reason why Olympus redeveloped its lenses for digital from the ground up.

    Like all photography - there are many different perspectives.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    My question was not really whether the 4/3 lens range has enough lenses, it was about whether Olympus has misread the market. I just think there is a glaring omission in the Olympus range in that there is nothing above 300mm ( 200mm in the semi-pro ). I get the idea that, because of the "effective 2x", they didn't see the need for anything above 300mm. Sigma, on the other hand, certainly did see the need; they have no less than three lenses of 400mm and more ( which is a lot considering that there aren't that many 4/3's lenses ). I believe that the 4/3 Bigma sells so fast that Sigma just can't make enough of them. They sell everything they make in double quick time.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    I, for one, am at the other end of the spectrum as I shoot, primarily wide to normal and Olympus has certainly delivered in this area.
    While I don't, yet, have the 7-14, examples and reviews are all excellent and a challenge to other manufacturers. The 8mm FE is an awesome glass. My primary lens is the 11-22 and it's cemented to one of my E-1 bodies.
    For "long" I'll use the 14-54 and the 40-150 kit lens. In all my years of shooting, the 40-150 is the longest lens I've ever owned and more than I, typically, need.
    Just a different perspective.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    I think there's a definite hole in Oly's mid-range lens line up which screams for a 300mm zoom - something like a 100-300/f4. The Sigma 50-500 and 135-400 are OK but they can't match the 50-200 for IQ and of course they're not weather sealed.
    Best wishes

    Paul

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    Did they misread the market? Only Olympus knows for sure.

    Having a "pro" camera like the E-1 come out, and not having a lot of "long" pro like lenses might not have been their original idea. Portrait type photography may have been.

    I think Olympus being a huge sponsor for years, and again this year, of the US Open Tennis tourney is good for the "pro sports" world, and it is a good sport to shoot with "pro" lenses like the 90-250 or 300mm prime.

    Like others have said, they have introduced a lot of lenses, and most are geared towards amateurs or big hobbyists, but nobody complains as much about their lenses as they do about some of the cameras performances. They have addressed a lot of the performance with the 2 new bodies, and hopefully the last new body will take the rest of the complaint list.

    I am pretty positive, released, announced, or not, the "pros" that will be given Olympus gear for the US Open will be sporting the new E-P1. They may be the guinea pigs, and hopefully they approve.

    White lenses are good, and popular, but lets see some Oly glass...

    So, in answer to the original post title question, YES, I think they are. maybe slow for some, but Rome wasn't built overnight, either. And it is a fine city.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    My experience with a 400mm lens on 4/3 (legacy Nikkor) is that it's not easy to use. Just about demands a tripod, because movement is so magnified. Even with IS, you'll have trouble just composing, with things moving around so much. Very shallow DOF, thank heavens for 10x LV. Fussy about aperture. Perhaps the 300 2.8 is more predictable, but I found a 400 supertele was a handful, both size and use. It falls into the 'seldom used' category, as it pretty much dominates your day.

    Considering the 1.5x-2x advantage that Oly has with 4/3, 200-250 is about as high as I can casually use. I suspect that there isn't a lot of market for a 400-600mm lens on 4/3. Focal length lust aside, when you actually use them, you find that they're tricky items to work with.

    So I wouldn't lose sleep over Oly not turning out a 500 or 600. From what I've seen with the 410 and 510, and upcoming lenses, they have read the market fairly well. The low end 70-300 is just about perfect for people who want more reach without major bucks.
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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    Less than a year ago, I thought they were missing an opportunity by not having any lenses over 200mm that cost under $5000. It looks like they're addressing that.

    Even those Sigma lenses in that range have only shown up in the last year. The 50-500 f4-6.3 was announce for four-thirds in Feb 2006, and the 135-400 f4.5-5.6 and 300-800 f5.6 were only announced last September.

    So I think they're aware of a couple of gaps, and something like a 300 f4 might be one, but it may not be a priority yet. It seems they've been focused on filling out their their zoom ranges in more common focal lengths first. Right now, they're extending the consumer range by adding an ultrawide and ultrazoom, upgrading the "Pro" intermediate range with SWD lenses that will bring them "up to speed" (literally) with the best comparable Canon "L" glass, and filling an obvious gap in the "top pro" range with the 14-35 f2.0.

    Keep in mind also, with the smaller sensor, the glass does need to be sharper to get the same resolution. That is, if lens sharpness becomes the limiting factor, in order to truly get a 400mm "full frame 35mm" equivalent from a 200mm lens, your 200mm lens has to be twice as sharp as that 400mm lens you're comparing to. At more standard lengths the ZD glass often is sharp enough and then some, but it gets more costly to achieve that level of quality at longer focal lengths.

    So given the challenges of the longer zooms, too tough to handhold without IS, and maybe costly to build with typical ZD quality, it probably made sense until now to address this need first with TCs. Now that they have an IS equipped body, and the rest of the lineup is looking more complete, it is making more sense to add something there. And I think either the Sigma 100-300 f4 or 120-300 f2.8 lenses should be candidates to be made available for the four-thirds mount.

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    Like you Bill, I shoot mainly in the wide angle realm; of which there isn't a whole lot of economical choice; although it's good to hear that the 8mm performs well. It would be nice though to see more economical offerings in the wide angle/ fisheye range.
    E-500 with 14-54mm 40-150mm

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    Default Re: Is Olympus convincing people about 4/3?

    I think that Olympus have got the top end nicely covered, if you look at lens speed, optical quality and price. There would be a tiny proportion of users who would use (or could afford) longer lenses, as hinted above. For me, the big gaps are the lack of a prime portrait lens (specifically a 45mm f1.4 or thereabouts) and a compact wide in the 10-12mm range (to get that, I have to buy a large, expensive zoom, but at least I have two options!). No, I think that Olympus employs some clever people and that they are looking several steps ahead. I wouldn't like to play chess with them!

    Don.

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