Sunday, February 19, 2012

DxOMark Starts Reviewing 4/3 Lenses

DxOMark, which has been woefully lacking in 4/3 and Micro 4/3 lens reviews, has decided to fill that hole in their line-up. I'm assuming that the problem wasn't them, but instead was Panasonic and Olympus not sending them production samples. If that was indeed the case, I chalk it up as symptomatic of those two companies' complete disconnect from the photographic world and their resultant belief that only point-&-shoot buyers are interested in their products. As such, there is no need to send samples to a website that deals almost exclusively with the enthusiast/pro segment of the market.

They have only done three reviews thus far, but they are all of very interesting lenses: The Panasonic X 14-42mm, the Olympus 12mm f/2.0, and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. All three lenses perform very well as regards resolution.

The Panasonic is the real surprise. If it was faster, it would be a significant winner, but alas, it's not. It's still a great lens, just slow. I can't wait to see the tests of the Panasonic 14-45mm and 20mm f/1.7, both of which are gems that haven't left my side for two years. The 14-45mm is the best kit zoom that I have ever used and, based on my own tests, is noticeably better than the 14-42mm.

The two Olympus lenses put in the best performance that could reasonably be expected for lenses of their type. The 12mm does better than I expected seeing as I wasn't terribly impressed with its cost/performance ration when I first used it. I enjoy the speed, but when compared to the similarly priced and much wider Panasonic 7-14mm, its sheen dulls a bit.

The 45mm shines again, but their test doesn't tell the whole story. The contrast of the 45mm was where I was truly impressed. I like sharpness, but high-contrast at edges is what truly makes an image pop at most resolutions. The Canon 85mm f/1.8 is one of the best lenses on the planet, and the Oly stands up well. If you are invested in Micro 4/3 and plan on staying in it, the 45mm should absolutely be in your kit.

These reviews remind me why I like 4/3 and why I think the format has potential. If only the cameras could catch up to the lenses, the system would be truly great.

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