Feb 102011
 

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Micro 4/3 Mania!

Just some miscellaneous madness for the day to break away from the contest madness for a bit! Today I will be talking a little about Micro 4/3 which seems like it is finally starting to take off. I remember when Olympus announced the first PEN, the E-P1. They teased us with those retro vintage 1960’s looking ads that tempted us all to want to buy one of those cute little cameras as soon as they hit the store (or online) shelves!

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The original Film Half Frame PEN Camera…

I also remember many “pros” stating that the E-P1 would not give acceptable results for anything but snapshots. Well here we are today with quite a few Micro 4/3 bodies that have been released from Olympus and Panasonic and it seems like the popularity has started gaining momentum for M 4/3 as Olympus has just announced they will be releasing a “PRO LINE” set of M4/3 lenses. THIS IS AWESOME! They displayed a mock up of one of their pro lenses on a silver E-P2. Pretty nice huh?

Pretty sweet huh? The all new “Pro” Micro 4/3 Lenses from Olympus are supposedly coming soon…

I can’t wait to see what Olympus does with these “Pro” lenses. I also happen to have it on good authority that they are not only releasing Pro lenses but a PRO Micro 4/3 PEN body to go along with the lenses. If this is the case then I think Olympus is on the right track and will take over the lead from Panasonic with the sales of bodies. Panasonic, IMO, took a step backwards with their GF-2 camera. The G-F1 was brilliant for what it was and is still a fantastic camera. The G-F2 does not improve picture quality or high ISO as it uses the same sensor. Basically all they did with the GF-2 was dumb it down to a smaller size with less control. Yea, it’s smaller but for serious shooters the original was small enough! This is why the idea of a “PRO” E-P3 really interests me. I think the E-P2 is a classic. I have one with a black 17mm Olympus lens and it’s a fantastic little combo. The E-Pl2 is also nice but get ready people…Olympus will soon give us what we want (or will they)?

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The all black E-P2 set consisting of the Black E-P2, Black 17mm Lens and Black Flash - $899 at B&H Photo.

What is also cool is that Sigma, Zeiss and Schnieder have announced they will be making lenses for Micro 4/3! Voigtlaner has already started making glass with their 25 f/0.95 lens which is ALWAYS SOLD OUT! (I want one, if anyone knows where I can find one in the USA, let me know) and even SLR Magic has created the fun Toy Lens. Maybe Zeiss knows about this upcoming “Pro” camera and they find it worthy of their glass and name? Either way it is exciting times as always for us camera and glass nuts. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of the Micro 4/3 format so as always, when a new lens or body comes out I WILL REVIEW IT! I look forward to 2011 to see what comes our way in the Micro 4/3 world. My crystal ball says one major camera company will be joining Micro 4/3 this year…Hmmmm.

Panasonic 14mm 2.5 Micro 4/3 Lens 1st thoughts…


Fun fun fun! Man, I love it! I get to have so much fun every day. When I am not writing for this site I am out taking pictures for the site! When I am not writing or taking pictures I am unpacking boxes of new gear that gets sent my way for review. I feel so lucky to STILL be doing what I love to do each and every day.

Just yesterday I received the Panasonic 14mm 2.5 lens for Micro 4/3 to try out. I will have a full review soon but today I spent a few hours with the lens on an Olympus E-P2 (yes, the E-P2 not the E-PL2) and had loads of fun with it. So “just for fun” I wanted to post some fun shots from yesterday that I snapped while out and about. It seems like another great lens and I did some side by side tests with my new BLACK Olympus 17mm 2.8 lens and the 14 seemed to have killed it in the sharpness dept. The 14 is also more contrasty. Hmmm. It’s also TINY :) So far so good… but keep an eye out for the full review soon. The shots below are all just for fun and are personal so yea, I did some color tweaking via Alien Skin Exposure 3. Enjoy :)

Just hanging out. All at ISO 1600. Used Alien Skin Exposure 3 for the color effects and some of my usual processing that I have not done in a while :) Just having fun..seems like that is what the PEN is all about. It can be fun, but also get serious if needed :)

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BELOW: ISO 1600, WIDE OPEN AT 2.5

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Taking a drive…

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BELOW: ISO 1600 IN COLOR :) AT 2.5

  44 Responses to “Micro 4/3 mania! The Panasonic 14 2.5, NEW PRO lenses from Oly! Sigma, Zeiss and Schneider join!”

  1. Wonderful update! This is the reason why I come to this site everyday, besides checking up on the contest; to enjoy the wonderful pictures and new reviews on awesome glass and new cameras coming out!! Woot!

    Thanks Steve~!

    • Steve:

      Another great job!
      I love your reviews….

      If I’m looking for the best of breed in the 4/3 camera line, grab and go. Would it be prudent to wait for the new Olympus Pro 4/3 with its compliment of lenses when it arrives? I was leaning toward the E-P2. But, after your report, patience seems to be a prudent choice till new products trickle through the pipiline. I already own a Canon 7D with L lenses for heavy duty lifting. Am I on the right track?

  2. “Fun fun fun! Man, I love it! I get to have so much fun every day. When I am not writing for this site I am out taking pictures for the site! When I am not writing or taking pictures I am unpacking boxes of new gear that gets sent my way for review. I feel so lucky to STILL be doing what I love to do each and every day.”

    Congratulations, Steve! You have what everyone wants: complete life with what we like.

    The new Olympus looks fantastic!

  3. I’m so excited about these new Olympus primes I can hardly contain myself. I have to assume their upcoming high-end body will also match the look and build of that prime mock-up. If so, I think I will finally have the camera I’ve waited years for. As much as I covet an M9, there is no denying it has many shortcomings (no AF, ultra wides and telephotos are problems, no wireless flash system, low res LCD, etc), this new Olympus could finally be what I’ve always wanted…a reincarnated Contax G2 for the digital era.

  4. Panasonic 14mm is nice lens, but overpriced, the same story as 20mm lens. I hope Sigma will make cheaper lens, will see.

    • $360 is overpriced? I don’t think so. When a 28 Summicron costs $4000 I think a 28mm equiv lens for M4/3 that performs very very good at $369 is actually a great price. Of course the 14mm Panasonic is not equivalent to the Summicron but its also over $3600 cheaper! It’s also a better lens than the Oly 17 which is $250 and slower/noisier. IMO it is priced accordingly. Great lens so far, even for video. Thanks for your opinion though!

    • Also depends on what you want. In good light the panny gf1+20mm resolves sharper details than the $2000 x1.

  5. Now that Sony has made available e-mount specs, and, as of a couple of days ago, Zeiss, Cosina, Tamron and Sigma are all expressing interest, I wonder what affect this will have on m4/3?

    Do you think that those companies will design a completely new line of lenses for both m4/3 and NEX, or will it be more cost effective to design the same the lenses for both, but with different mounts? If the latter is true, m4/3 may get the short end of the stick, because the lenses would be larger than they need to be, and the focal lengths may not be ideal.

    Hopefully, the development of the lens lines will be separate, but I have doubts.

  6. looks like you have a few reasons to be happy, Steve ;)

    Congrats. I am guessing that she’s a medical person, based on the scrubs!

  7. Olympus is coming out with pro lenses and a body? Hmm, I had my sights on the Fuji X100, but if there will be some pro micro 4/3 cameras and glass coming out, I might wait! Still looking for that perfect travel camera…

  8. Everything I have read suggests that native zeiss lenses are meant for video.. rather than stills :/ Do I have it wrong?!

  9. Shoot, I meant to add… what we need from the new mft generations are just ONE STOP more iso performance.. then.. wowza!

    Sorry for the double post.

  10. ISO1600 in color wtf??!!
    I mean, I know that sample is small, but anyway seems great performance!

  11. That black Olympus is one sexy beast. That lens would be nice on that camera. One thing I wish Olympus would do though is put an APS-C sensor in the camera. Or make an Olympus with that sensor.

    • Yea, it is :) I have one in front of me now as I type this, lol. Oly will never put an APS-C in to the PENS as the M4/3 lenses would no longer be compatible. But yea, the design, size and look of the black E-P2 with a larger sensor..that would be awesome.

      SO many cameras are coming out these days. All good ones. The NEX-5, the M4/3 bodies, the GXR, and now the Fuji X100 and rumored Pro PEN? Enough to drive a gear head mad!

  12. I got my Voightlander F0.95 25mm from Jean @ Leica Boutique! He’s great to work with and always there to answer questions. Give him a shout… even if he’s in Montreal, Canada.

    https://www.leicaboutique.com/shop.php?CUR=1&IDC=3&ENC=1a9299427a5aa95ac924b70f3d2876df&IDSC=57

  13. Hope the “pro” Pen has an improved sensor. IMO, the sensor in my NEX is just far superior to the sensor in my EP2. Hopefully, Oly has some new tricks up its sleeve.

    • Agreed, but that doesn’t matter much if one wants autofocus as the lenses for mft are pretty far ahead.. in prime light, mft is a superior IQ imo.. but that will change as the better lenses come for sony, or for those with nice glass!

  14. Maybe someone with more know how can answer this, but would it be unreasonable to increase the four third sensor in the vertical plane, thereby using the same micro four third lenses and it’s entire image circle to increase the sensor real-estate ? Then we can get proper square format, not just cropped options.

  15. My Girlfriend is looking at getting a GF-2, a move up from her Canon p&s but also largely to take advantage of good quality video. The kit option here in Hong Kong with the zoom is only US$128 more with the 14mm as well. I might be paying that to get the little pancake. That will be nice on my E-p2!

  16. Steve, are these mainly jpegs?

    • Yea, mostly. The three 1st ones may have been RAW because I shot in B&W Grainy and wanted color. But they are small and had some filters run through them. They are all ISO 1600.

  17. Steve- I hadn’t read anything about your personal life, but had inferred a lot from the absence of your wife in the new posts. Congratulations on a happy new beautiful relationship! She seems to be a good sport with the photos! I’m recently in a similar situation so I can appreciate how great it is!

    • Yep, after 15 years of marriage we divorced. 7 months later I met Angela who you see in some of the recent photos. She is fantastic and we seem to be an amazingly perfect match. Thanks!

  18. Steve, a small correction: It’s “Schneider”, and not “Schnieder” which sounds a lot like “Schniedel” (google for “schniedel” for the meaning but be prepared for 18+ pics) Great page and great blog. Keep on!

  19. You could give a million bucks to charity and some idiot will still complain.
    You don’t need to make any excuses Steve. Great contest and site.

  20. Glad Ashwin broke that ice.

    The lady and the lens both look terrific. Something new and exciting around every corner!

    gg

  21. EP2 + Old Minolta primes folks… I just started playing with these combos, purchased a bunch of Minolta MD&MC lenses ( 50’s, 1.4, 1.7, f/2 ) ( 24 2.8 MC 28 2.8 MD ) ( 45 f/2 ) and looking to buy more as soon as they become available, particularly the 85 f/2 MD and the 35 2.8. IMO, these are the best lenses i have shot with today, they are awesome on the EP2, small and compact. So good that i am considering the silver EP2 for one of the Minolta lenses, it will be sweet! These Minolta primes are sooooo good on the Pen EP2 M4/3, i am simply blown away!

  22. Hey Steve, very good! One comment apart from photography: I like when married couples still kiss after some years of marriage, keep showing that love to your wife!

  23. And I just decided to buy the Finepix X100. Back to start…
    (A small pro interchangeable lens system: mouthwatering!)

  24. Hi Steve

    Would mind to tell us what actually setting did you use for the”sparkling” effect? Was going through exposure 3 opotions but couldn’t find anything what would give effect like this?

  25. Steve if you and me have a little time of could we go to Japan and slap the people at Pana around with a certified rotten trout for a bit. The GF2 is the laughing stock of the micro 4/3 crowd while the GF1 truly rocks deeply (after I’ve come to grips with the color issues in the JPG’s by using RAW only). Were they thinking when they invented the GF2? And if so what were they thinking. Something along the lines like, it has to be smaller than a Sony Nex, end of story. So Pana lads and lasses forget the blunder…….let it pass, concentrate on the essential and crossbreed a GH2 with a GF1 and call it the GF3. Price it as a GH2 (so make some Yen on it as well) and you don’t have to worry about western style Ninja’s armed with overdue marine produce anymore.

    And mr. Schneider please put your euro’s were your mouth is, Bad Kreuznach is a lot closer than Japan…….wonder what Oly will be doing, their 9-18 rocks as well (pro enough for me). Zeiss can do great optics too. Sigma could very well retrofit the Sigmonster for micro 4/3 360-800 = 720-1600 (anyone for bellybutton Paparazo shots miss Hilton).

    Greetings, Ed

  26. Steve is there a new camera manufacturer joining the m4/3 party?

  27. AzX1 mentioned the possibility of the Zeiss being for video, rather than stills. I’d actually welcome this kind of lens, to keep the cost down. For example, some really REALLY fast lenses, with the same control over depth of field as very fast 35mm lenses, but with enough resolution only for web or small prints. I.e – perhaps somewhat better than “toy” lenses, but less than full quality. Btw, I really LOVE the photos I’m seeing from the toy lenses, and this kind of thing is making me very interested in MFT!

    So, what I’m saying is that I’d welcome a “resolution” spec to be included with the lenses as well. If my sensor is 16mp, but the lens is only suitable for, say, 2Mp, and the cost is right, then I GOOD.

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