Are Micro Four Thirds Lenses Too Expensive?

Additional thoughts:

I think by now that everyone is already aware of my aversion to slow, variable aperture universal zooms, and it was disheartening to see just how many who picked up the Lumix GH5 decided to go with one of the slow zooms being peddled by Panasonic reps rather than picking up a fast prime or two. The difference between shooting with the Leica 12mm  f/1.4 compared to the wide end of the Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 is like night and day, and I haven’t seen any images from the 12-60mm f/2.8-4 that have blown me away as have either the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 or the Leica 42.5mm f/1.2. I’m not a bokeh whore by any means, but I’m not overly fond of the bokeh I’ve seen from some of these variable aperture zooms either – it’s busy and distracting. And I’m not at all convinced that a more moderate 24-70mm full frame equivalent lens is a disadvantage, especially after seeing some breathtaking images of Nepal shot with the Samsung NX-1 and 16-50mm f/2-28 the other day. As a matter of fact, what I am seeing too often by those with longer zooms is a certain timidity, a lack of intimacy, almost a determination not to approach and confront subjects, but to shoot them from afar: and the viewer is relegated to the position of an outsider rather than a participant. I mention in my vlog how scarce good videos shot with the premium primes are: on the other hand, there is far too much footage shot with these variable aperture zooms in harsh daylight where the user doesn’t even bother with an ND filter, so it’s even often difficult to fairly assess the quality of these lenses. I’m also seeing an over-reliance on IBIS or OIS or both, resulting in jittery footage, when at the very least, out of courtesy to the viewer, the poster could have brought along a lightweight yet sturdy monopod for support.

Field Test: Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 DG Nocticron

panasonic-leica-42-5mm-f1-2-dg-nocticron

When I did a search on YouTube, most of the ‘tests’ I saw of the Nocticron were of weeds and garbage (literally), with shutter speed set at 1/000 second (because the uploader didn’t want to shell out for an ND filter); or set exclusively at f/1.2 (WTF?), when stopping down to f/2.8 gives you 30 lines per mm more resolution; or shot in a studio by a reputable cameraman, but with the ugliest set and lighting imaginable. And this is already two years after the lens was released. Then I came across this lunatic who can go on for 15 minutes blabbing about the ‘8 best lenses without compare’, without even bothering to give any criteria or showing sample images, yet he has over 50,000 subscribers! I guess I have too much time on my hands…

To avoid focus ‘hunting’ I set my GH4 according to Gordon Laing’s recommendations:

The Lumix GH4 has three main focusing modes, selected with a dedicated collar on the back: AFS (Single), AFC (Continuous) and MF (Manual focus). The AFS mode is actually labeled AFS / AFF, with the choice adjusted in a menu and set to AFF by default. This means when the GH4’s AF switch is set to AFS / AFF, it may actually be operating in AFF mode and automatically switching between single and continuous as it sees fit. While this seems to work well in casual use, I prefer to set it to Single AF in the menus so I know there won’t be any unexpected hunting. There’s two pre-focusing options, one which refocuses as you recompose, and another which focuses on the AF area when you first bring your eye to the viewfinder. Both allow the GH4 to essentially focus on a likely subject before you’ve even had a chance to think about pressing the shutter. They certainly speed up the operation, although again I preferred to override this and turn both off.

Technical details: Panasonic Lumix GH4, iFootage Wild Bull T7 carbon fiber tripod, Hoya NDX8 filter, C4K, Natural, ISO 200, -4, -4, 0, -2, 0. Most clips shot at f/2.8 (where the lens is reaching the peak of its potential). No color correction or sharpening added in post.

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