Thursday, June 14, 2012

Schneider micro Four-Thirds lenses announcement

So, you may have seen elsewhere an announcement from Schneider-Kreuznach that they'll have a micro Four-Thirds 14mm f/2.0 lens available in the autumn of this year and two more lenses available in 2013.

Does this seem a disappointment?  I don't believe so, but what's interesting is that, from what I've read, they have an intention to produce the lens for the Sony E-mount also.  What's missing from the announcement is Samsung's NX-system, given their working relationship with the company.  I might be seeing more than there is but it seems too quiet.

My first thought was that Zeiss promised several lenses, all of the cine variety, but what Schneider-Kreuznach will be making has full electronic contacts and auto focus--at least, the 14mm f/2.0 shown today.  I suspect the other two lenses will be equally gifted.  Zeiss will remain the top choice for video with some amazing lenses allowing a lot of precise control.

I've already seen a few comments about the 14mm f/2.0 being too close to Olympus' own 12mm f/2.0.  Supposedly, the distortion on the 12mm is rather significant, although raw development software may compensate for that.  Personally, I think the current group of micro Four-Thirds lenses are very low end to satisfy the small and light crowd.  If you compare the Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4 lenses for Four-Thirds and micro Four-Thirds, you'll see what I mean.  It may still be a great choice for micro Four-Thirds, but it's obvious which one is better overall.

I continue to see reviews and impressions of the Olympus E-M5 body, comparing it to dSLR bodies 3 times the price, favourably.  That sounds great, but are we to use adapters to have amazing lenses?  I'm unconvinced and keeping my money safe.

On the other hand, Nikon just introduced a budget 135 format lens: 24 - 85mm f/3.5 - 4.5.  This seems to confirm a budget 135/FX format body, the D600.  I guessed that the price would be around US$2000, but that now seems relatively high and I'm thinking more about $1700.  That will really push the D300s successor down and likely eliminate most of the economy bodies.  The only bad thing I'm expecting about the D600 is that it probably won't be weather-sealed.  Budget-minded people won't notice.

Returning to micro Four-Thirds, does it seem that Panasonic and Olympus have done the impossible?  They've taken the Four-Thirds system, put it on a diet, and made it tasty--so tasty that even professionals are biting.  Lens mount adapters help, of course, but between the E-M5 and DMC-GH2, micro Four-Thirds is being used in surprising places.

Update 2013.09.04: Still waiting for any Schneider lenses for micro Four-Thirds.  Since the other lenses available already are mostly mediocre (except for the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, 45mm f/1.8, and 12mm f/2.0), and the Zeiss film-making lenses, the format could really use some great optics.

Update 2014.03.10: Still waiting almost two years later, and the world is moving forward.  Tamron hasn't produced their 14-150mm lens either.

Seeing my earlier update, it's amazing that we have three different OM-D series bodies now and the D600 has already been replaced, and there has been no D300s successor.

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