At the other end of the lensalicious spectrum from the great but cheap Sigma 60mm, both the Fuji mirrorless system and the Micro 4/3 system feature "cornerstone" short teles—superlative, beautiful lenses which could help form the foundation of a lens collection of which anyone would be proud.
Both have angles of view equivalent to 85mm. Both have large maximum apertures of ƒ/1.2. They're both about the same size and weight.
...And the equally desirable Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm ƒ/1.2.
The Fuji lens could give slightly shallower depth of field on the larger sensor; but the Micro 4/3 lens has IS. But the one for the smaller sensor format is just a little bigger and heavier. Small differences? You must decide.
Ah, but it should enter into your calculations that the Fuji lens costs $849 and the Panasonic/Leica lens costs $1,499 (shipped from Japan; shipped from the U.S. and it's nearly a C-note more). That's a (calculating...calculating...) $650/~$750 difference!
If you aspire to own one of these incredible short teles (and really, why wouldn't you?), this choice alone could have a significant impact on the cost of your whole camera system.
It's an issue. To me it seems a pretty big win for Fuji, although I've been feeling troubling glimmerings of Fuji fanboyism deep within my addictive personality and perhaps I'm not being altogether objective.
Which should you choose, if you were getting into mirrorless afresh? Or have you already bought one or the other?
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Craig: "I used to use Micro 4/3 in the form of an Olympus E-P2 (which I still own, but haven't used in a while. Nice camera, but not usable beyond ISO 1600). When the time came to buy something new, I almost bought the OM-D E-M5 (did I get that model name right? What a monster), but instead went for the Fuji X-E1 [current iteration is the X-E2 —Ed.] with its 18–55mm ƒ/2.8–4 kit lens.
"I have been really, really, happy with this camera, and I haven't even felt the need to buy prime lenses because the kit zoom is so good, though I may buy one of the primes to participate in your digital one camera/one lens/one year experiment. Fuji, I think, is really the company to beat when it comes to making a great photographer-friendly digital camera with a great selection of lenses."
Wolfgang Lonien: "None of the two—the Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm ƒ/1.8 is it:
"For the amount you'll save, get the Panny 20mm and 14mm lenses, and you're back to the classic 28-40-90 set. The difference to the PanaLeica means that there's still some change for a camera left."
Mike adds: And the gray market version of the 45mm only costs $264, quite a price drop. But only three left at that price.
Alberto Bengoa: Apropos Fuji short teles: don't disregard the Fuji XF 60mm ƒ/2.4 Macro. I originally got into the Fuji system enticed by the 56mm ƒ/1.2, at a sub-$1K price—but when I was actually doing my shopping research, the 60mm won. It's cheaper, it's lighter, it does semi-macro, and it is optically superb, regardless of the aperture you shoot at. And in some online comparisons the quality of the bokeh is shown to match or even surpass the one from the 56mm (when shot at the same apertures, of course)—it's slightly smoother on the 60mmm. It's a lens that has grown on me during the last year. If you're looking for a small and light Fuji kit, you should look very closely at the 60mm."
Trecento: "Gee, I'd have a hard time paying for either lens. Now, the Olympus 45mm ƒ/1.8, that's really on sale now! Check B&H, they have it for $350! One of the best deals I've ever seen for such a great lens.
"If I had the kind of money you need for the Nocticron to blow on camera stuff, I'd have to think pretty carefully. I don't like the idea of carrying around a camera/lens combination I couldn't easily afford to replace if I break it or lose it."
Dave Jenkins: "Neither. I don't need that much size, I don't need that much weight, I don't need that much speed, I don't need that much expense, and I could care less about fanatically shallow depth-of-field. In fact, I generally prefer photographs that are sharp front-to-back. I can't imagine needing any more lens in that range than the Olympus 45mm."
BH: "The Fuji 56mm is my mirrorless Canon 135mm ƒ/2L. I don't shoot much at longer focal lengths, and this lens is the least used yet most expensive lens I own for this system. Sometimes you just have to take a proper portrait, so you might as well suck it up and get one in the bag."
Mike replies: Finally, someone wants to talk about the lenses I actually wrote about!
Andrew C E: "Is this a test of temptation for your readers who are mulling over doing a OC/OL/OY excercise with Fuji or Micro 4/3? :-) . And after your glowing comments about the Fuji 23mm, woe to the gearhead Fuji shooter trying to commit to a normal lens. After my year with a film Leica was considerably shortened due to the impracticalities of setting up a darkroom while living on a 24' sailboat, I'm thinking about doing some variant of the excercise with my M8 and 35mm Summicron. So please just don't post about some excellent, must-have M-mount Voigtländer or Zeiss lens! A year is hard enough to commit to as is. People often tell me that when I'm out of my 20s the years will start flying by, but right now a year feels like a very long time."
Mike replies: A year is a very long time. It's most likely more than 1% of all you have—never take one lightly no matter what age you are!
Godfrey (partial comment): "I went for the Macro-Elmarit-DG 45mm ƒ/2.8 ASPH, which is a lovely performer from wide open, infinity to 1:1 magnification, and cost me about $750. It's about my favorite Micro 4/3 lens, overall."
Mike replies: That's the short tele I own, for Micro 4/3.
Mike Peters (partial comment): "As for the Nocticron, I have it, and it is worth every penny, but really because the AF in the GH4 is that good. I also had the Olympus 45mm, and wide open it was OK but not wonderful. The Nocticron is wonderful. I like wonderful, so for me, it was worth it."
Angelique: "I adore my Fuji X-T1 (I like using the Fuji as much as my vintage Leica that was my grandfather's, which is saying a lot), so I wouldn't hesitate to get the Fuji lens if I could afford it."
Roy: "Ah, here we go again—the Leica mystique. I can't comment on the Fuji gear since I don't, and likely never will, own any. But I do have the Olympus 45mm plus the Panasonic 20mm and 14mm lenses which, altogether, cost me less than the pretentiously named 'Nocticron.'
"Personally I've found that what I point these lenses at tends to be the factor that determines the quality of the snap by a couple of orders of magnitude more than the price I paid for the lens. In fact I'd have to say that a couple of the nicest pix I've, er, 'captured' in the last few years have arrived via the much-derided 12–50mm kit lens which came with my ergonomically atrocious OM-D E-M5. Unless I'm exceptionally bored, the gear fails, or a bunch of unanticipated money falls from the sky in my vicinity, I'm through with the hysterical obsession with acquiring more hardware."
The hysterical obsession with acquiring more hardware replies: I'll be back.
M. Guarini: "To the guys that still do manual focus, don't forget the Voigtländer Nokton 42.5mm ƒ/0.95. Between ƒ/2 and ƒ/2.8 is almost a match with the Nocticron in the center and better in the corners. I have the small and beautiful 45mm ƒ/1.8, but I tend to use the Voigtländer most of the time."