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Monday, 17 September 2018


Funny, my new Pentax 50mm 1.4 behemoth weighs almost as much as three of those Panasonic 35-100's and costs about the same. Panasonic is good at making small fast zoom lenses.

Lately I've been wishing Pentax/Ricoh would build a serious ASP-C mirrorless system, just to be different, and to keep the lenses a little smaller.

Mike, you're doing it on purpose, admit it. A poke at the shallow DOF crowd.

TBF, the Canon comparison ought to be, at the very least, the f4 zoom.

[Ah, you're trying to tweak me back, aren't you? ;-) --Mike]

I've got a Panasonic 45 - 150 f4 / 5.6. It came with a GX7 I bought and still use. At the time of purchase I also got a 20mm pancake. For years I didn't use the zoom as I thought I would sell it believing that it wouldn't be any good. I never sold it and then one day thought I would give it a go. That was over a year ago, since which time it has been on the camera as much as the pancake and I have to say I think it is spectacular. It works as an everyday carry as well, something that an equivalent for my Nikon FFs, even were there to be such a thing, would not. Highly recommended.

Ahh but Michael what you really want is a 12-100 f4 - ask Kirk about it

(Obviously it’s what I really want but ....)

Mike, you seem to have trouble understanding that the bigger, heavier, more expensive kit is obviously better because it's, well... bigger, heavier, and more expensive. That means it takes bigger pictures, so uh.... you're not limited to small subjects. And then there's the hidden setting on the cannon -- oops, I mean Canon that goes to "11." MFT maxes out at "10." Frankly, you should already know all this, but no worries; we all have a bad day from time to time.

Intermediate lens for APS-C, the Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR for X-Mount.

Hmm… I think this comparison is more apt:


Lens on the right is $115 and weighs 90 grams.

I'm convinced by this sort of argument. I still have my old Nikon V1 body, partly because of the 30-110mm tele-zoom that gives even more reach than the Panasonic and is smaller and lighter still. The lens stabilisation is incredible with that set-up.

Mind you, I also have an Olympus m4/3 body and the 12-100 pro zoom is oh so tempting. Big money though!

This is exactly the reason I've been migrating to Micro Four Thirds over the past several years. I can carry a body and full complement of lenses in a bag smaller than many women's purses - lighter too, probably.

One of my favorite set-ups for field sports is the Olympus OM-1 MK2 with the 100-400 Leica-Panny zoom. Don’t try to duplicate that reach (400 to 800mm equivalent) with full frame! I’m taking a long trip this fall, and plan to take two GX9s, with the Oly 12-40/2.8 on one, and the 35-100 2.8 Panny on another. No lens changing, just a wide camera and a tele camera. Compare with a 24-70 2.8 zoom and the 70-200 2.8 zoom on the smallest FF mirrorless. Those big lenses scream “photographer here!” while the M43 is discrete as an amateur with a point and shoot. I just weighed an a7riii with f/4 24-105 and f/4 70-200: 5 1/2 pounds. GX9 with the 2.8 zooms, 2 1/4 pounds. Half the weight, and an extra stop of speed.

I have got both lenses. The 12-35 and 35-100. And they are gems. Those two plus a small and fast one, something like the 1.7/15 (or indeed the 1.7/20) and that is really enough for almost anything.
Highly recommended.
I happen to have a (black) 2.8/70-200 from a different manufacturer somewhere at the back of my equipment cabinet. Not sure where as it has not seen any use in the past 3-4 years.

I have a Panasonic 35-100 lens and it's razor sharp. I did a portrait of a husband + wife + seeing eye dog and it was amazing. You could see the peach fuzz on the ladies cheek. Overall it had a pleasing 3D look I very much liked.

The extra depth of field is such a huge advantage. I love what can be achieved with this beautiful system. I don’t know why they don’t market that as an advantage more.

Like you, I also want the 35-100, but can't justify it. A much poorer mans alternative though might be the Lumix 45-150 f4.0-5.6. I'm really surprised by the performance of my copy. Although it's a bit soft at it's longest end, it is otherwise a very good lens. At 45 mm it is a bit tight at times, but considering the price (~$250) I think it's a great value. An added bonus is that it's substantially smaller and lighter than the 35-100.

The 70-200 f/2.8 is a worst case example (weight, size, cost, complexity, repair frequency) for full frame, but a valid one.

There are plenty of ways to make full frame more manageable but there are also times when we must throw caution to the wind and cry, “More Light”. You need a bigger sensor for that. :-)

Goethe’s final words: “More Light”. Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry. More light. Sunlight, torchlight, candlelight, neon, incandescent… Lights to banish the darkness from our caves, to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier’s Field. Little tiny flashlight for the books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and foot candles. Light is metaphor. Thy word is a lamp under my feet. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom. Lead Thou me on. The night is dark and I am far from home. Lead Thou me on. Arise, shine for thy light has come. Light is knowledge. Light is life. Light is light.

Northern Exposure TV Series – End Scene ">https://vimeo.com/151017533"> More Light
Character: Chris Stevens with help from Psalm, Dylan Thomas, John Henry Newman, and Isaiah…I think
Episode written by: Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

I do both. I have the dinky 35-100 Panasonic for my Olympus and the 70-200 for the Nikon, both fast and slow. With the Oly m43, three lenses, a mini-"Holy Grail"--Panasonic 7-14 f/4, Oly 12-40 f/2.8 and Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8, combined are smaller and lighter than a D800 with either of the 70-200mm lenses. Every bit as sharp and using pixel shift on the Oly on a tripod, comparable files for large prints. The bonus? It looks like a toy, makes no noise and I can pack them all day without fatigue! The first Oly I won from Olympus. The two shorter lenses were from eBay and the 35-100 from LensRentals.com. All three lenses and a second body were less than what I paid years ago for the 70-200 2.8. The m43 system with room to spare fits in a bag too small for carrying just the 70-200 2.8. For all practical purposes, the m43 and 16MP is fully adequate. For low-light, my soon-to-be vintage Oly is perhaps 2-3 stops less capable than my D3 or D800. However, I constantly use the Oly at 3200, 6400 and occasionally 12,800 and get fully printable images in a stealth-like manner. Sure, I love the gorgeous, high-dynamic images from the D800 and the gorgeous low-noise of my D3, but the older I get the less I want to be schlepping all that bulk and weight for a little gain in low-light shooting, let along travel.

Yup, both are fine lenses and the Panny is indeed much, much more diminutive.

But, in fairness, there are also some substantial differences in the broader design qualities between Canon's EF system and a micro 4/3 system. For starters, I wouldn't bet on, say, my GX9 and that 35-100 lens surviving and performing under the conditions that that EF 70-200 has been designed, indeed perfected, to withstand.

Interesting comparison, Mike. Size is one important reason why so many of us have left full frame gear. I use Fujifilm, and also switched to primes. This makes the gear even smaller. My photography has improved and I could not be happier.

The Canon 70-200/2.8 and Panasonic 35-100/2.8 are two very different lenses, not just in weight. A fact most obvious if you are at 200mm and f/2.8 to try to create shallow depth of field. The small Panasonic will give you a dof equal to f/5.6, as you know. If you often stop down to get sufficient dof, FF-gear quickly looses its advantage. The wonderful XF56mm f/1.2 gives me shallow dof when needed.

Researching medium format in advance of the rumored GFX50R rangefinder camera with it’s 45/2.8 wide angle lens I found this site to be helpful in explaining the lens equals approximately a 23mm f/1.6 lens on my X-Pro2 APS-C camera.


The Olympus 40-150/2.8 is bigger than the Panasonic, but not that much. Certainly nowhere near as big as the 70-200/2.8 ... and it's still smaller than the F4, even though the equivalent FOV goes a lot tighter.

It's also a crazy good lens.

But, if you want a real winner on the Olympus body, the 12-100 F4 is basically a whole kit in one lens. And the lens is really good too.

Mike, how dare you! The "photographers" on Dpreview can prove without a doubt that only "full frame" is capable of serious photography. What about all that equivalence, and well depth, and photons? And what if there is only one card slot? But don't show one of those medium format cameras; those are only for poseurs.

And if you're buying the Nikon or Sony 70-200/2.8 instead of the Canon it's a lot more expensive even than that.

What I love, though, is the Olympus 40-150/2.8 -- 50% longer reach, and only $1400 when I bought it less than a year ago. My experience using my film lenses on early crop-sensor DSLRs taught me that I really liked going beyond 200mm-e with decent aperture.

I will go you one better: the Panasonic 35-100mm f/4-5.6 . It is small, sharp and inexpensive. I got mine for ¥18,000* new (albeit in Japan). I know you like larger camera bodies (for m4/3s) but you gotta love small, sharp lenses.

* B&H has it for $397 but there most be something wrong with that price. Maybe it is Canadian dollars (since I checked B&H from BC.)

Using the smaller bodies like the 3 Olympus EM10s I own (1 infrared), you can build a capable 2.8 zoom travel kittravel kit in a bag that will have trouble containing more than a FF body + one 2.8 zoom.

I've replaced the big 40-150 2.8 Olympus lens with the Panasonic 35-100, the 9-18mm Olympus with the 7-14mm 2.8 Olympus and the small Olympus flash with a small Flashpoint (Godox) flash + controller, but you get the idea from this picture.

The Lumix 35-100mm f/4 - 5/6 is only 2 inches long...

It's all very nice, but the big elephant in the room is the difference in sensor size and consequent image quality potential.

Ah, you're trying to tweak me back, aren't you? ;-) --Mike

Not really - I shoot M4/3 myself, and picked up the two Panasonic zooms back when they were affordable.
I am occasionally tempted by the idea of a FF mirrorless to see what my collection of old Takumars would look like. Particularly the wider ones.

I know which one I'd prefer to schlepp, but I also know which one I'd prefer to shoot indoor sports with and it ain't the same one!

All valid if your photographic work is limited to a certain subset - street, landscape, weddings, portrait, etc. However if like me you can be shooting MotoGP one week, on a TV set the next, on location shooting vintage motorcycles in a portable studio setup tethered to a laptop on the other side of the world the week after that... only a DSLR (or two - 5DSr and 1DX in my case) fits the bill.

In my advancing years I wish I could reduce the weight of what I have to carry around, but I don't see that happening in the near future!

So, let's say you're shooting to capture details of a bird at the full zoom end of the lens. Would you rather shoot the bird with a resolution of 3,000 line widths/picture height or 5,000 line widths/picture height? That's roughly the difference in resolution between these lenses based on tests in Optical Limits (I substituted the Canon F4 lens on a 5ds because he hasn't tested the f2.8 lens yet). How much are you willing to compromise for weight and cost?

Don't worry, Stephen Cowdery, Panasonic has you covered for that, too!


(for what it's worth, there's actually 2 1/3 stops between 1/1.7" sensors and 4/3" sensors, and just 2 stops between 4/3" and FF sensors. But I don't want to get too technically pedantic here)

I haven't used the Panasonic, but I used the Canon, and its predecessor a lot for event and photojournalistic stuff. Sure it's big and heavy, but coupled with even modest Canon FF bodies like the orginal 5D I would be hard pushed to choose another lens if I needed a shot to save my life

I divide cameras into just two classes: those that can fit in a pocket and those that can't. Ironically enough, the trends towards plus-sized smartphones is pushing some of them into the latter category, and once you have to put a camera on a strap around your neck or in a tote bag on a strap around your neck, it suddenly enters a category where you will think twice about taking it with you.

That said, the cameras I tend to use with purposeful photographic intent are ones that don't fit in a pocket. As I get older, the weight of my gear I will take with me, not so much the size of it, gets to be more and more the deciding factor.

Andrew: Three stops slower, half again heavier, triple the price… not exactly equivalent.

Half a century as a photographer, and I've never owned a 70-200/2.8 zoom lens. Never, ever wanted one. It seems like a jack of all trades and a master of none. Back when I shot sports in the pre-AF film days (imagine!), I had a Nikon 135/2. Faster than the standard "pro" zoom, and brighter in the VF. Working events with two cameras, I'd have an 85/2 on one and a 35/1.4 on the other. For hiking, I'd find a 70-200 in the F4 range, such as the Minolta "Beercan." (My current 80-200, a Pentax-F 4.5-6.7 looks and feels like a plastic toy and fits in a cargo pants pocket, but it produces beautiful images in decent light.)

Meanwhile, every newspaper and wire service photog would carry the two Pro-ordained 2.8 zooms, plus a 20mm in their pocket, just in case. These were guys who worked fast, in varied events, who had to bring back something from every assignment. It made sense that they used these all-purpose lenses, and they had to be fast.. back in the days of K25 and E100, anyway.

My feeling is that any job can be better done with a faster prime, and it's easier to live with and handle a slower zoom... in the days of ISO 6400, anyhow. And the only way I tolerate the two-pound weight of my K-1 is that I usually have a lightweight lens on it.

"That's a huge advantage, since sufficient D-o-F is so often a headache with longer focal lengths."

When the framing of subject is same (subject fills the same size on frame) then the DOF is same with same F-stop. Ie. there is no difference is the lens 200mm f/5.6 or 16mm f/5.6 and DOF is same. The difference is the perspective (camera is far or close to the subject) and field of view (long focal length captures less background, making it less recognizable, short focal length captures more background and it is easier to recognize).

Want to blur the background in portraiture? Use a 200-300mm and use f/4-5.6, you get as bonus deeper DOF to get whole face in focus.
Want to capture the background (environmental portrait)? Use a 35-85mm and f/8-11 and you get the background with the subject.

Now do that same with a m4/3 system. 40-150mm f/2.8 @ 100-150mm f/4-5.6 or 35-100mm f/2.8 @ 100mm f/4-5.6.
Or 17-45mm f/1.8 @ f/4-5.6.

Problem is that you need to use ND filter to lower exposure in some cases when shutter speed doesn't anymore cut it at base ISO.
Or benefit is that you get to use faster shutter speed to freeze motion, and lower flash power to give you faster cycle time and more flashes from same battery, or you can even put flashes further from the subject if harder light doesn't matter.

It is just win win situation for most, if they would realize it.

First of all, “full frame” is kind of a misnomer. We’re talking about 35mm here. In the old days, 35mm cameras were called “miniature cameras,” and sneered at by “real” photographers. So it’sall relative, I guess....

I recently had a play with the Mk 1 (I think) 70-200 f4L, with my Sony A7II and Sigma adapter, and loved the experience. Your article has me tempted to buy the far smaller Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 to use with my E-M5. At 200mm equivelent, the wider DoF afforded by Four Thirds is, if anything, an advantage for a lot of my photography (but I loved the Bokeh and uncorrected loveliness of the Canon lens).

It is funny how many people think, or at least opine, that the Canon APS- (with 1.6 crop) is oh so good and nice, almost perfect. But the 4/3s crop of 2x makes it completely unusable. Maybe there is more to it than pure math and facts.

I've got the first version of the 35-100, back before the second version came out. It's actually a great lens; good uniform resolution across the frame, low CA, few abberrations. It works really well with a close-up achromat too.

I bought mine in Japan right around the time Abe started the devaluing of the Yen. It meant I bought the lens for about US$850. A damn fine bargain it was.

The key thing, in my view, is to get a set-up that works for YOU and produces the pictures that YOU (and any clients or other end-users that need to be happy) are satisfied with.

That is why I'm happy to grab a vintage OM1 or OM2n and shoot with fixies for film. In retirement, I'll find it increasingly difficult to pick up a Nikon DSLR full-frame bag full of kit (incl. zooms) and, much as I like a reflex view, a mirror-less kit will keep me shooting colour the way I want to for longer.

What's not to like?

Be happy & content for yourself with what works for you. Happy shooting everyone.

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