Posts Tagged ‘lineup’

Zuiko Hole

18 May 2009

Dear J-

There’s those that will always bemoan the lack of a ___ lens (insert your favorite type here; I like to pick on the lack of a shift lens in the Zuiko Digital line although pretty much any other lens that strikes my fancy is already there) in any lineup, never mind that it’s usually an exercise in mental aggravation — if you gave them that lens, would they buy into the system anyway? It came to me this way:  the lens that makes the most practical sense for most wildlife photographers (and some sports folks) is something like a f=400mm f/2.8 lens on 135-format film.  It’s generally just long enough, and are designed to work well with teleconverters, so for a relatively nominal price, you’d also have a f=560mm f/4 and a f=800mm f/5.6, most of the reach you’d need, reasonable quality (maybe not as good as the equivalent primes would be, but good enough for most purposes).  After all, there’s a reason that the Modular APO-Telyt-R system comes in 280/400/560 and 400/560/800 lens heads; they’re classical trios of telephoto focal lengths.

So, in 4/3rds land, where does that put you?  The DOF snobs would have you believe that more DOF is a handicap, and that your equivalent lens should be a silly f=200mm f/1.4; let’s ignore them for now and concentrate on the real world.  Truth is that depth of field wide-open on a f=400mm f/2.8 lens is nearly useless (not everyone wants to make things look like a Martha Stewart product shot, thank you).  No, a sensible f=200mm f/2.8 (or if you insist on the exotica, a f/2 lens) would do the trick nicely.  No one who’s had to lug a f/2.8 exotic into the field sneers at the f=400mm f/5.6, which would provide the same coverage and DOF as a f=200mm f/2.8 would on 4/3rds.

Problem is that it’s a serious overlap with the existing prime f=150mm f/2 exotic Zuiko, as well as the 50~200 f/2.8~3.5 and 90~250 f/2.8 zooms for that system.  It’s probably the reason Olympus hasn’t come out with one yet, despite the relatively low investment needed to design a superior f=200mm f/2.8 lens (such lenses having been around, in one form or another, since the 1936 Zeiss Sonnar “Olympia” for the ’36 Berlin Games– here’s some trivia for you; Olympics always bring out interesting lenses); too close, too much overlap.  And, as I’ve noted before, probably too much lens if they slot it into the SHG lineup; still, though, with the high-quality teleconverters available in the system, it seems like a natural fit to me, and one with a better price (I’d hope) than the existing SHG exotica.