Four Thirds Digital Lenses
Olympus E-series, Panasonic and Leica
see also my notes:
lenses from various digital camera systems (including Olympus) by use:
see also my experiments with the Olympus cameras:
see also on the web:
the superb Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 only narrowly beats an ZD 50-200mm on an E3
the ZD 7-14mm thrashes ANY Canon wide angle lens including their 14mm L lens
The Four Thirds System:
Lenses for the 4-3rds mount designed for Four-Thirds digital SLRs:
Olympus Zuiko Digital Lenses (ZD):
SWD = Supersonic Wave Drive auto-focus, Olympus' AF system introduced in 2007 to rival Canon's USM AF.
super high grade Olympus ZD:
unique 14-28mm equiv. lens but ~$A2700 and does not take filters
the widest rectilinear lens for ANY cropped sensor dSLR
minimal barrel/pincushion distortion, almost zero at 10mm focal length.
performs best at f/5.6-f/8.
this lens is so good & allows unique creative opportunities, I just had to get one :)
perfect for indoor work
seems to have an inbuilt polariser-like effect on blue sky - perhaps the Brewster effect?
a little purple fringing wide open outdoors at 7mm in high contrast situations at the periphery.
flare spots if you allow light sources to hit its convex outer lens.
the superb Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 only narrowly beats an OM 50-200mm on an E3
the very good canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro narrowly beats an OM 50mm f/2.0 macro
the ZD 7-14mm thrashes ANY Canon wide angle lens including their 14mm L lens for sharp, distortion-free images across the frame
ZD 14-35mm f/2.0 SWD (2008):
equiv. to 28-70mm lens
world 1st standard zoom with f/2.0 throughout zoom range
seems that some models have issues with gaining AF lock in low light with the E3:
released in 2005, it is the world's 1st lens to give f/2.0 over the entire zoom range
now this would make a brilliant available light portrait lens with nice bokeh ~$US2500 or $A4400
BUT weighs 1.8kg with tripod lock which is similar to Canon's 70-200mm f/2.8 IS but 1 stop faster.
77mm filter; close focus 1.4m;
in effect, give the telephoto reach of a 300m f/2.0
this could be one of the best lenses for astrophotography as well as high-end work if you can afford it
combined with a TC you get reach of 420mm f/2.8 (1.4x TC) or 600mm f/4 (EC-20)
plonk this on an Olympus E3 and you have one very light super telephoto system for sports or wildlife use.
I presume Olympus will be updating this to a SWD version soon.
1.61kg; 82mm filter; $A4300
with EC-20 2x TC it is half the price and weight, and faster focus with more DOF than the ZD 300mm f/2.8 but not quite as sharp, and f/4.0 wide open.
a fantastic lens for action or wildlife photography and unique at 180-500mm equiv. f/2.8 but ~$US6000 or $A10,000 and 3.27kg with 105mm filter
the longest zoom made by Canon is their 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS which weighs 1.36kg but 2 stops slower.
Canon make a 400mm f/2.8L IS lens but this is 5.3kg while the 500mm f/4L IS is 3.9kg and 1 stop slower.
a superb lens for birding, etc but is 3.3kg but it's the only way with any camera system to get 600mm telephoto reach at f/2.8!
high grade Olympus ZD (these tend to be about $A850-1350):
practically diffraction-limited optics with some CA but better than Canon 24-70mm L lens
72mm filter; ~$A1400;
12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD (mid-2007):
equiv. to 24-120mm lens
perhaps the BEST standard zoom for Four Thirds (and perhaps better than available for any dSLR) giving versatility and AF speed, a 5x zoom while still retaining excellent resolution comparable to the 11-22mm and 14-54mm at the expense of a little more barrel distortion at the wide end.
some complex distortion at wide angle (thus if doing architecture, consider the 11-22mm lens instead) but overall a superb lens.
72mm filter thread, does not rotate on focus; internal focus; macro to 0.25m; 0.58kg;
would combine very well with:
7-14mm, 50mm macro & 50-200mm SWD - a total of 4 lenses that give excellent quality and a focal range of 14-400mm in 35mm terms plus a macro/portrait lens.
AF fault identified in those with serial numbers between 230005416 and 230010688 - see free inspection & repair
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_12-60_2p8-4_o20/ - formal lens test
a standard zoom equiv. to 28-108mm; some vignetting at f/2.8 in extreme corners but less than the Leica; $A840
when compared to the Leica D 14-50mm (see here and open the pdf):
very similar performance but Zuiko has less vignetting and better corner resolution wide open at wide angle while the Leica has better corner resolution at wide angle at telephoto.
nice lens but some vignetting wide open; good bokeh; ~$A1400;
1.07kg; 67mm filter; close focus 1.2m;
50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD (2007):
similar to older model but adds faster SWD autofocus and improves color blur property
but macro flashes can no longer be mounted as lens hood mount is different
matches beautifully with either the TC-14 or TC-20 teleconverters
8mm f/3.5 fisheye
a brilliant diffraction-limited lens with almost no aberrations but you can get similar optical performance with a manual focus Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 OM lens if it is stopped down to f/2.8
BUT this is one lens you should have for portraiture, general use and macro work - I bought one.
hopefully Olympus will update this with a new SWD version with a focus range limiter switch to improve its AF performance.
alternatively, OM macro lenses for really close macro work where manual focus is preferred anyway.
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_50_2_o20/ - formal lens test
telephoto macro planned for 2008
1.4x teleconverter - ~$A750
EC-20 2x teleconverter - ~$A699
this is said to be one of the best 2x TC's ever made, and given the telecentric design of Olympus ZD lenses, it can be used on any one of them (unlike the Canon scenario).
macro-extender 25mm tube - ~$A320
see http://www.four-thirds.org/en/products/popup/extension_detail.html for focus range when used on various lenses
see also macro for more options
standard consumer quality Olympus ZD lenses (not dust sealed):
9-18mm f/4-5.6 ED (Sept 2008):
ultra-wide 2x zoom covering 18-36mm effective range;
280g; close focus to 25cm; 72mm filter; 7 bladed iris;
14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED
compact budget kit lens with E400/E410/E510; one of the best budget kit lenses around;
circular aperture for improved bokeh
sharpest at f/8 and 35mm; some CA wide open especially at telephoto and in corners; some vignetting in corners at 14mm;
58mm filter, non-rotating; IF; 190g; close focus to 0.25m;
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_14-42_3p5-5p6_o20/ - formal lens test
40-150mm f/4-5.6 ED
part of twin lens kit; front lens does not rotate; nice and compact;
circular aperture for improved bokeh
close focus to 0.9m via int. focus
25mm f/2.8 ultra-compact "pancake" lens:
announced March 2008
only 23.5mm thin & weighs only 95g; min. focus 20cm; 43mm filter thread;
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_25_2p8_o20/ - formal lens test
35mm f/3.5 macro
70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 ED (Nov 2007)
equiv. to 140-600mm with 1:2 macro; 127mm long & only 620g;
a great compact, light super telephoto zoom lens for bushwalkers;
best used at f/8, but is quite good wide open at the long end.
be aware though, like any 600mm lens, it takes some skill to use at the long end due to the shallow depth of field and magnification of camera shake.
appears to be based on the Sigma APO 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 DG Macro lens.
ultra-wide zoom 8-16mm (16-32mm) planned for 2008
older non-ED budget kit lenses:
14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 - budget kit lens but better quality than Canon's 18-55mm EF-S kit lens
17.5-45mm f/3.5-5.6 - budget kit lens but better quality than Canon's 18-55mm EF-S kit lens
part of twin lens kit; front element rotates; slow AF, a bit soft but minimal aberrations.
Panasonic / Leica Four Thirds digital lenses:
NB. the aperture ring on these do not work fully on Oly bodies and transient mode IS by pressing the shutter button as on a Panasonic or Leica body is not possible, and the Oly can't change the IS modes as this is done via menus on the Panasonic or Leica body.
NB. XSM is Leica's ultrasonic motor for silent AG.
28-100mm equiv. with Mega O.I.S image stabilisation built in, has aperture ring as well as zoom and focus rings. 72mm filter; 494g; closest focus 11"; $US950 at B&H Photo;
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm f/3.8-5.6 Mega OIS:
late 2007; compatible with L10's Live preview AF; 67mm filter;
Leica D 25mm f/1.4 (ie. 50mm standard lens)
macro to 38cm; 4 ED lenses; 510g;
avail. April 2007 at RRP £749.99
Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS XSM (ie. 28-300mm)
late 2007; compatible with L10's Live preview AF;
XS extra silent supersonic AF; 72mm filter;
coming in 2007/2008:
50-150mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS (ie. 100-300mm)
45mm f/2 macro OIS (ie. 90mm macro)
Sigma Four Thirds digital lenses:
Sigma lenses are fixed mount lenses so you need to buy the correct lens for your mount, unfortunately, the lenses are designed for larger sensors and thus do not make the most of the smaller Four Thirds sensor in terms of lens size.
HSM = hypersonic motor for quiet high speed AF and also full time manual focus;
EX = superior build & optical quality
DG = lenses for digital and 35mm
DC = especially designed for smaller digital sensors
OS = optical stabiliser
24mm f/1.8 macro - 77mm filter; £299.99
30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM - equiv. to 60mm; 62mm filter; 0.41kg;
18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC - equiv. to 36-100mm; 67mm filter; 0.46kg;
18-50mm f/2.8 macro - 72mm filter; 0.52kg; £369.99
18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC - 62mm filter;
55-200mm f/4-5.6 DC - 55mm filter;
macro 105mm f/2.8 EX DG - 58mm filter; 0.47kg;
APO macro 150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM - 72mm filter; 0.92kg;
APO 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM - equiv. to 100-1000mm! 86mm filter; 1.83kg;
coming in 2007:
coming in 2008:
10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
focus to 24cm;
77mm filter; 6-blades; 495g;
Distagon T* 25mm f/2.8 $US824 very sharp, macro to 50mm.
Distagon T* 35mm f/2 $US824
Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ~$US650?
Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 ~$US1300?
the fastest full frame macro lenses available:
Makro Planar T* 50mm f/2 $US1124
Makro Planar T* 100mm f/2 $US1749
Adapters for Four-Thirds cameras:
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