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Most recommended zoom lenses for m43, including not native
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  • The Pentax K-mount SMC-A 28-135 f/4.0 zoom lens has caught my eye. It's two-touch, and supposedly has a constant f-number. From the design, I believe it should be parfocal, though I was not able to confirm that by searching the Internet. The 4.8x zoom ratio is about the largest you can find for a photographic lens with those properties, making it a bit more like a TV or cinema zoom lens.

    But the focus goes the wrong way, so I won't buy one. And I already have faster 5x zoom lenses, though they are they're huge. I can tell you that 28-135 on the GH2 makes an incredibly useful zoom range.

    373 x 384 - 46K
  • So I'm looking to get the Olympus 35 - 100mm f/2.0 Zuiko Lens.

    Just wondering if it fits straight onto the GH2 or if an adapter is required.

  • That's 43 lens. Get MMF-3 adapter from Olympus.

  • @stonebat - Cheers for the response stonebat.

    Damn, I thought it was going to fit straight onto the camera. I already have a Nikon adapter - do you know if there is a better zoom lens for the Nikon out there that I could get instead of the Olympus 35 - 100mm?


  • While testing some cheapo adapters from Minolta MD/MC to µFT for their tolerances, I found one (out of four!) that is pretty much spot on (don't ask for the brand – it has none).

    I thought it would be a good occasion to find out which older zooms myself and a friend had around are parfocal. I tested the Minolta 35-70mm 1:3.5, which I consider one of the best vintage zooms you can get, it's sibling 24-50mm 1:4 and two Tokinas. BTW, all of these are two-touch zooms, I'd never use a sliding focus/zoom ring for filming.

    The Minoltas hold focus just fine, while both the Tokina RMC 28-85mm 1:4 and the newer AT-X 28-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 changed focus considerably. Well, at least the older RMC has constant aperture (like the Minoltas) and the length doesn't change while zooming. The AT-X, while lighter and smaller, changes length and aperture massively and shifts the focus ring so much you'd never use it with an FF.

    The focus ring on the older RMC (which is more flare-prone) doesn't move too much, so this pretty heavy lens can at least serve as a variable prime if you like. But two or three faster primes might not be much more weight than this, so it comes down to fast re-framing when you can't move and have to react quickly.

    Both Tokinas can be found quite cheap, but I dig the Minolta 35-70mm for it's optical quality – really close to a prime. It can still be found for a reasonable price, but it changes length quite a bit too. BTW, the Minolta was copied for Leica at it's time…

    Hope this helps.

  • Some more tests: The Minolta 35-70 is biting sharp, the 24-50 not as much, both show some CA. The Tokina RMC is very soft in the corners, has low contrast and has similar CA.

    The Tokina AT-X is sharper to the corners than the RMC, comes close to the Minolta and has remarkably low CA. It is very much lower in contrast than Minolta, but that might be useful in some situations. The colors are very warm.

  • Surprised that you say that the Tokina 28-80 isn't parfocal as I have the RMC F4 28-85 and it most definately is. I also don't see any falloff in sharpness at the corners, although the lens needs to be at f5.6 or greater to get a decent image - wide open it is very soft and low contrast. It does suffer from flare if pointed toward a light source wihout decent hooding. See a demo of it here ...

  • Could be sample variation.

    But not the adapter, i.e. flange distance error, which I supposed before. On the adapter which shows the best match between witness marks and tape measure on all of my Minolta lenses the Tokina is not parfocal while the Minolta zooms are.

    For the price Tokinas fetch these days I might get rid of this and try another one, so thanks for the heads up.

    What I really like is the two-touch. If Zeiss Contax lenses wouldn't be one-touch, I would have jumped on their 28-85, which is optically fantastic.

  • @Energy80 I really like your video, also your lens performance. It is matter of personal taste probably, I don't like too sharp image and too high contrasts. The image has lots of details. Do you still remember did you shoot it in smooth mode, sharpness -2?

  • Not exactly wide on a m4/3r'ds but the Pentax SMC-A 35-105mm F3.5 Zoom renders beautifully. It is built like a tank and is somewhat heavy but the results are worth it.

  • @nomad

    I use the Zeiss 28-85 some of the time, and it's fine for most production workflow. The Angenieux 45-90mm f2,8 is wonderful for its constant aperture, and sharpness.

  • @tetakpatak

    No, it was shot in Nature mode with -1 contrast. I used to use a 1/2 black promist on the 14-140 but damaged it last year, so have been just shooting clean since (although I do use a polariser which helps colours to "pop" and gives me nearly 2 stops of ND). Incidently the tokina lens was £21 from Ebay. Am currently looking for more (slightly faster) parfocal zooms in the "under 100 quid" range! Oh, and I got a Tokina macro 28-70 for £3.52 - so there are bargains to be had!

  • Looking to rent out lenses now - if you had all the budget you wanted for a fast GH2 zoom lens to film cinematic looking images....which zoom lenses would you opt for?

    Would the Olympus 35-100mm still be one of them?

  • @nomad I recently purchased a Monolta MD Zoom 35-70mm f3.5, I believe there are a few different versions available. Mine does not have the Macro feature (I didn't realise at the time of buying) and it seems it is not parfocal.

    Here is an image from eBay seller Sogus: Minolta MD Zoom 35-70mm f3.5

    Am I correct in thinking that the red lines on the body indicate the change in focal distance depending on the focal length? eg. It might be 3m at 35mm but closer to 2.2m at 70mm?

    Or is my m43 to MD adaptor to blame for ruining it's parfocal abilities? Perhaps I should test on my XD7...

  • That lens should be parfocal. If it's not, it's because the lens back focus needs adjustment and/or your adapter is the wrong length. The red lines are focus marks for infrared photography.

  • @balazer Thank you for your assistance. I have found a PDF of the MD Zoom Manual which details the infrared focus, interesting.

    If the back focus is out, would it exhibit the same symptoms on my old Minolta XD SLR? I'd like to rule out the m43 to MD adaptor before messing with the lens. I have found tutorials & charts to adjust back focus and I think I saw a small hole with a grub screw on the bottom of the lens, I assume this is loosened to make adjustments? I will have a play when I get home from work.

  • After doing some research, I bought a Nikkor AIS 28-50mm f3.5 that I am very pleased with. It is a nice, practical lens for casual shooting.

  • If the lens's back focus is really off, then the lens would not be parfocal on any camera. But more likely, your adapter is just the wrong length, which makes the lens not parfocal on that camera while it could be parfocal on another camera. You just need to adjust the back focus to make the lens parfocal on whatever camera you intend to use it with. (if the lens has a back focus adjustment)

  • I'd suspect the adapter.

    I have two of the Vario Rokkors 35-70, one with and one without macro. Both great lenses and both parfocal with a Novoflex. But I've seen big differences with cheap adapters, only one out of three was about as parfocal as the Novoflex. But you can still buy 3 or 4 of them, keep the best and dump the rest – it'll still be cheaper than Novoflex. BTW, some adapters can be adjusted, the have three tiny screws which you can loosen, then there is a thread to shorten or lengthen the adapter (sorry, no brand).

  • @cray
    Correct, there are three models of 35-70 f/3.5 and only one has Macro function. But it should be parfocal, as it has the same optical formula, look here

  • They're not the same optical formula. Just similar specs.

  • @nomad @tetakpatak @balazer Thank you all. I was able to test the lens with my XD7 (I do not miss the old SLR split screen focus at all) and it is indeed parfocal. I might try my luck with some more cheapo adaptors. My current one is a generic from FoToCoLa on eBay, I'm doubting it has adjustment but I will inspect.

    Looking forward to playing with this zoom, it matches nicely with my Rokkor MD 50mm f1.7 and Rokkor MD 24mm f2.8. Now looking for a 100mm or 135mm (the 85mm is stupidly expensive) but I have taken this thread off topic enough as it is. =]

  • Don't go for the 100mm f2, it is easy to brake that. The 100mm f2.5 shouldn't be too hard to find and the 135mm 2.8 is dirt cheap. An alternative to 85mm might be a Tamron SP macro 90mm 2.5, it's a very nice lens for portrait too. Slightly different color rendering to Rokkors, though.