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Daily FTU Hints and tips: Differences between Panasonic/Leica and Olympus Zuiko lenses.

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No.5: A quick look at some detail differences between Panasonic Leica and Olympus Zuiko Digital Four Thirds lenses.

Panasonic Leica lenses for Four Thirds bodies are not very common, but they are highly coveted. Designed and manufactured by Panasonic's own engineers, in Japan, Panasonic's Leica-branded lenses need to meet tight optical quality standards set by Leica in Germany.

Not all Panasonic lenses are branded Leica, indeed only one Micro Four Thirds Panasonic lens is branded Leica, the forthcoming 45mm f/2.8 macro. One of the problems with Leica's stringent benchmarks is that for Panasonic's designers to meet the benchmark, the size of the lens may need to be larger than is ideal.

That's not to say that Panasonic's lenses that are not branded Leica are second rate. The most recent Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras incorporate a certain level of in-camera corrections to reduce optical distortion, vignetting (darkening in the corners of the frame) and fringing (colouration of high contrast edges). In-camera corrections like these only apply to JPEG files produced by the camera. RAW images are not corrected, but many RAW converters now offer manual adjustment of the parameters that can be corrected.

Many Panasonic lenses incorporate Mega Optical Image stabilisation, or Mega OIS. This employs gyro sensors and a moving lens element inside the lens unit to compensate for, in real time, the effect of camera movement during an exposure.

Mega OIS is different from Olympus' image stabilisation strategy, which centres around a moving sensor system. Both systems have their own advantages; Mega OIS is tuned to each particular lens, arguably benefits autofocus performance, and works on any compatible camera body whether or not it has in-camera stabilisation, Olympus' in-camera system works with any lens, regardless of whether it has in-lens stabilisation, including legacy manual focus lenses attached using mount adapters.

In general, if your Panasonic lens has Mega OIS and your Olympus camera body has a moving sensor stabiliser, and both are switched on, the lens stabiliser will make way for the camera system, as both cannot operate at the same time. However, if you switch in-camera IS off, you can switch to in-lens OIS, so you have the best of both worlds.

One final difference you will find with Panasonic lenses compared to Olympus ones is the direction of zoom ring (assuming it's a zoom lens!) which is opposite in direction to Olympus, so you turn the zoom ring to the right in order to increase focal length. It's rather strange if you are used to Olympus zooms!

There is no problem with focus action direction, as both Olympus and Panasonic employ fly-by-wire focus rings that can be set to work both ways via a configuration menu in the camera.


Tomorrow: The big deal about Four Thirds.

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Comments

  1. John Perriment's Avatar
    I never knew that the zoom ring on Panny lenses operates in the opposite direction to Oly lenses. I learn something every day!