The main strengths of Olympus Four Thirds system are:
- great colours in jpegs straight from the camera no need for post-processing – arguably the best out there
- great edge-to-edge image sharpness and contrast even at f/2.0
- superb lenses designed especially for the sensor – my favorites include the unique ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD which I would never part with and which has features that are just not available on any other camera system – see my earlier blogs
- the best telephoto reach courtesy of the 2x crop factor – who else can give you a hand holdable 100-400mm f/2.8-3.5 (the ZD 50-200mm), a 180-500mm f/2.8 lens (the 90-250mm f.2.8), or a 300mm f/2.0 (the ZD 150mm f/2.0) or a 600mm f/2.8 (the ZD 300mm f/2.8)?
- in-built image stabiliser makes all of your lenses including legacy lenses image stabilised
- the ability to use almost any legacy lens ever made (except Leica M or Canon – but these work on Micro Four Thirds cameras)
So here is my wish list:
- 100mm f/2.0 macro (ie. 200mm focal length – great for nature work as well as portraits and the EC-20 will give you a compact 200mm f/4 lens with telephoto reach of 400mm – very nice indeed) – I believe this is coming very soon!
- upgrade of the superb 50mm f/2.0 macro – needs a focus range limiter and addition of CDAF for live view and on MFT’s.
- firmware upgrades as promised to add CDAF to the 12-60mm and 50-200mm lenses
- compact pro fast telephoto
- 200 mm f/2.5 (that is a compact hand holdable 400mm f/2.5 IS) for those times when the 50-200mm is just too big to carry around or is too intimidating at 200mm with the lens extended.
- 250mm f/3.5 (that is a compact hand holdable 500mm f/3.5 IS) or a 300mm f/4 (that is a compact hand holdable 600mm f/4 IS) for when you need more reach than the 50-200mm.
- in the 1970’s and 1980’s, wildlife photographers and even some fashion photographers bought 500mm or 600mm f/8 mirror lenses to get good telephoto reach in a compact size. NOW, with Four Thirds, a 300mm f/4 lens would give the same telephoto reach with better contrast (as there is no mirror obstruction), in much the same size and weight, with fast AF, better bokeh, ability to use filters on the end rather than drop in, and ability to stop down the aperture if needed. Please Mr Olympus, I would love one of these as the 300mm f/2.8 is just too big and expensive for me.
- compact high quality 10mm f/2.0 or f/2.8 wide angle prime with minimal distortion for landscapes and architecture
- an affordable, entry level 40mm f/1.4 for portraits (OK, it could be f/1.8 or f/2, but just make it at least comparable in quality and price as a Canon or Nikon 50mm f/1.8 or 1.4 lens)
- if we didn’t have MFT, a 20mm f/1.7 for FT, but the superb Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 MFT lens mated to an Olympus E-P1 will cover that very nicely indeed.
What else would you really like and why?
Now, before anyone criticises my 35mm equivalences and say that a 200mm f/2.5 lens does not give the same depth of field as a 400mm f/2.5 35mm lens, of course it doesn’t but you get the same telephoto reach (ie. angle of view) at the same aperture and thus ability to use the same shutter speed and ISO, and the wider DOF is actually an advantage at super telephoto focal lengths.
So please don’t bother raising any of those silly arguments – sure they apply to a 50mm f/2 FT lens which gives similar portraiture DOF as a 100mm f/4 35mm lens but at f/2 aperture, but for super telephoto that argument is not important – what is more important is telephoto reach, hand holdability or at least portability whilst hiking, and wide aperture to allow fast shutter speeds and the in-built IS.
It is much easier to wield a 1.8-2.0kg lens chasing a bird than a 6kg lens – and much easier on your hands and back, not to mention your pocket!