This blog is a user's perspective on the Micro Four Thirds camera system. Read more ...

Lens Buyer's Guide. Panasonic GH4 review.

My lens reviews: Olympus 9mm f/8 fisheye, Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6, Leica 25mm f/1.4, Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8, Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm f/2.8, Sigma 19mm f/2.8, Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Lumix X PZ 45-175mm f/4-5.6, Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Leica Lumix DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro, Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8, Panasonic Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6, Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 fisheye, Lumix G 7-14mm f/4, Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye, Tokina 300mm f/6.3 mirror reflex tele, Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 circular fisheye lens
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Sunday 31 August 2014

Lumix 100-300mm vs Nikon 70-300mm

When Nikon launched their Nikon 1 mirrorless format, it was hard to understand why anyone should buy into it. The cameras were pricey, relatively large for a 1'' sensor, and did not have a good ergonomics.

With the launch of the Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, I think the format finally makes sense. This is the only 800mm equivalent lens which is truly portable and which can be handheld. It is a very good birders lens.

In my review of the Nikon 1 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, I was testing it with the Nikon 1 J1 camera, with a 10MP sensor. Since this time, I have acquired the Nikon 1 V3, which is a more suitable camera for a long lens, with the extra hand grip, and the EVF. The V3 also has 80% higher resolution, at 18MP.

With the V3 camera, I have re-run the sharpness tests. For the rest of the lens review, see my previous article.

I'm not sure if the image quality is better with the 18MP sensor in the Nikon 1 V3 camera. But the resolution is higher, which should make it better for an evaluation of the sharpness.

For a point of reference, I have compared the images from the 70-300mm lens with the Lumix G 100-300mm f/4-5.6 on the Lumix GH4.

Both cameras with lenses are pictured below:

As you can see, the Nikon system is much smaller, and should be easier to bring along for trekking.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Wide angle prime lenses compared

The classic 28mm prime lens is a natural part of any lens lineup. Most kit zoom lenses include the 28mm equivalent in the wide end, but you can also get prime (non-zoom) lenses with the same field of view.

Below are three such lenses, for three different interchangeable lens systems. How do they compare?

From left to right: Sigma 19mm f/2.8 (old style) mounted to a Sony NEX-3N, Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 mounted to a Lumix GM1, and Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 mounted to a Nikon 1 V3 with a user optional EVF.

LensSigma 19mm f/2.8Lumix G 14mm f/2.5Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8
AnnouncedJan 10th, 2012Sept 21st, 2010Sept 21st, 2011
System crop factor1.522.7
Equivalent focal length29mm28mm27mm
Maximum aperturef/2.8f/2.5f/2.8
Equivalent max aperture, in terms of DoFf/4.2f/5f/7.6
Filter thread46mm46mm40.5mm
Minimum focus0.20m0.18m0.20m
Lens elements/groups8/66/56/5
Hood includedYesNoNo
Focus ringYesYesNo

The lenses are laid out here:

Friday 8 August 2014

From the competition

Here is a summary of my take on the Micro Four Thirds competition.

Nikon 1

Nikon were quite late to the mirrorless party, with their Nikon 1 series. They took the rather bold step to use a fairly small sensor, the so called "1 inch sensor". Don't be fooled by the name. Just as the Four Thirds sensor is less than 4/3'' diagonally, the 1 inch sensor is less than 1'' diagonally.

This odd naming convention comes from the time when radio tubes were used for sensors: A 1'' sensor would be an radio tube with a 1'' diameter, while the actual imaging area would of course be much smaller than 1 inch.

Some speculate that Nikon chose to use a smaller sensor to protect their popular DSLR line. I think it was more due to a genuine desire to make the camera system small, which also differentiates it more from the DSLR cameras.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Pancake zoom lenses compared

Panasonic announced the Lumix X PZ 14-42mm pancake zoom lens (my review) in 2011. Since this time, a collapsible pancake zoom has become a must have kit lens for most mirrorless systems. I have previously compared it with the Sony 16-50mm pancake zoom lens, and this time, I am comparing it with some similar lenses from Nikon.

Below, I have the four lenses laid out:

From left to right: Lumix G 12-32mm (my review), Lumix X PZ 14-42mm (my review), Nikkor 11-27.5mm, and Nikkor 10-30mm PD

On the Lumix lenses, I have used a 37mm filter ring as a simple protection against getting fingerprints on the front lens glass elements. To make them, I got cheap 37mm filters, and removed the glass.