My Search for the Perfect Micro 4/3 Zoom . . .
has no limits. I mentioned not too long ago that when considering mirrorless cameras, I made my judgements largely based on native lenses.
I do enjoy slapping an M-mount lens in front of my mirrorless camera once in a while, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t consider putting a large legacy zoom on an adapter mounted to a tiny camera a particularly useful endeavor.
I took a fair amount of email and forum criticism for that, from being called a weak old man (no argument from me) to being told I just hadn’t tried this or that favorite lens or else I wouldn’t talk that way.
One guy went so far as to say he owned over 50 lenses, and if I had his experience I wouldn’t limit myself. Now a more mature person than me would just laugh and move along. But age and maturity do not always arrive at the same time.
So I stomped into the back and asked the techs to give me the best possible zoom lens that could be shot on an adapter with my Olympus OM-D.
I was going to give this a fair trial. So here we go: The Red 18-85 T/2.9 PL zoom on my OM-D. Sharpest zoom with wide aperture, I said. That’s what they gave me.
Is it breathtakingly sharp? Yep, I believe so.
I say believe so because while I’m capable of handholding a 300mm f/2.8 for hours and a 500 f/4 for a shot or two, at 26-inches long and 9.9 pounds I was able to take, oh about three shots before I had to take some Motrin.
It vignettes a bit, but this extreme corner at T2.9 rivals any lens we’ve got for sharpness. This and a picture of the back of someone’s head were the two shots I took before I decided I should go do some testing.
Not that I couldn’t hold it longer if I really wanted to. More like I didn’t want to spend the afternoon at the minor med getting my shoulder X-rayed.
So did I learn anything today?
Yeah, I learned I was correct in saying I wanted to shoot native mount, AF lenses on my mirrorless cameras.
My Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 may only have half the range of the Big Red Zoom. But at 1/10th the cost and 1/15th the weight, with autofocus to boot, I’ll be content with it for now. Unless I can figure out a way to put a tripod mount on that Red Zoom.
Author: Roger Cicala
I’m Roger and I am the founder of Lensrentals.com. Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.