Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olympus Does Right

In my recent Olympus hate-fest, I forgot to mention where Oly has gone super-right: their new lenses.

The new 12mm f2 lens looks scrumptious, and the 45mm f1.8 looks like an excellent companion to the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. The most interesting test from my perspective will be comparing the 45mm to Leica/Panasonic's 45mm f2.8, which was overpriced and unimpressive. The 45mm lens does suffer from a lack of stabilization, because Oly uses an in-camera method, but with a 35mm-equivalent of 90mm, and a fast aperture, stabilization will likely not be much of an issue.

The sharpness of the new Olympus 40-150mm lenses is also rather important, but I have doubts. If these lenses underperform in comparison to Panasonic's offerings, which include an upcoming 12-50mm f2.8, serious photogs in the 4/3's market will need to own a hodge-podge of Olympus and Panasonic gear, which only generally work well together.

The Panasonic 7-14mm is better than Oly's 9-18mm. Oly's 12mm will likely be amazing and much better than Panasonic's 14mm, but Panasonic's 14-45mm and 20mm lenses are much better than their Oly counterparts. The Voigtlander 25mm is in a class by itself, and if you have serious aspirations, your only choice is an adapter and Oly's Zuiko lenses. I don't even know where to put Panasonic's new 25mm f1.4 Leica lens. What a mess.

Regardless of any of that, this 12mm lens seems to indicate that Olympus has finally decided to move into the enthusiast market with some degree of gusto. Panasonic showed some interest in that regard with their early Leica-branded lenses, but nothing much came of that. We have the 7-14mm, which is good but not great, and the Leica lenses which all disappointed. So this is really the first sign that these manufacturers are starting to realize that, for success, you start with the high-end enthusiasts and work your way up and down from there.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All posts are moderated, so it may take a day for your comment to appear.