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Thread: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

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    Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Do Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 cameras conform to a uniform standard, such that lenses made by each will work exactly the same when mounted on the other manufacturer's body? I believe the answer is "yes", but I want to be completely clear on this point. Perhaps the mounts are physically identical but the contacts and electronics might not be the same.

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Perhaps the mounts are physically identical but the contacts and electronics might not be the same.
    The contacts are identical as well. Both have loads of plastic and flex wires inside (lot more than real glass, I think)- so no big difference there either.

    I opened the 14-42 kitzoom for an experiment and discovered an extra (free) screw inside. Left there like an extra button for a shirt or a jacket!

    One notable difference (that I know) between Pany and Oly is this:

    Pany puts a very thin O-ring to seal the mount (sort of a weather seal). Screws are screwed straight through the mount holes and into the plastic slots inside the lens.

    Oly lacks the O-ring but the metal mount covers (and seals) the lens. The screws are screwed through the mount's hole and through tiny brass shims before hitting the plastic grooves. This sort of cushions the mount. Old fashioned but effective.
    Last edited by Vivek; 10th November 2009 at 15:44.

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Do Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 cameras conform to a uniform standard, such that lenses made by each will work exactly the same when mounted on the other manufacturer's body? I believe the answer is "yes", but I want to be completely clear on this point. Perhaps the mounts are physically identical but the contacts and electronics might not be the same.
    If I understand this correctly, the answer is yes and no. The lenses from one manufacturer will work on the other's body...the mounts are physically identical and the contacts and electronics are compatible. So there are no compatibility issues.

    The 'no' is in regards to your statement "that lenses made by each will work exactly the same when mounted on the other manufacturer's body". It's pretty well established now that mFT bodies perform corrections for certain optical deficiencies. These correction parameters are applied both to the in-camera jpegs and are embeded in the RAW files (and are used by some, but not all RAW developer programs). The details of these corrections are contained in the individual lens' software. It appears that Olympus and Panasonic both correct distortion, but in addition Panasonic corrects CA. Vignetting is also corrected by Panasonic, but IIRC not for all lenses. Given these differences in approach, a given lens will not always give exactly the same results on bodies from the different manufacturers.

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Quote Originally Posted by CVickery View Post
    Given these differences in approach, a given lens will not always give exactly the same results on bodies from the different manufacturers.
    It is more complicated than I had expected.

    Should one then AVOID mixing and matching? Or is it "close enough" that one can mix them without significant problems?

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Mixing and matching is perfectly fine. As stated if you have an E-P1 body it will make fewer corrections than the G bodies.

    This needs a bit of an update but here is the best test I've seen so far.....However, these tests were done pre-firmware update for the Oly and Panny. There may have been some improvement in speed AF speed for one or both of the cameras but the relationships remain pretty much unchanged.

    about 2/3 of the way down the page is the test:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusep1/page13.asp

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Do Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 cameras conform to a uniform standard, such that lenses made by each will work exactly the same when mounted on the other manufacturer's body? I believe the answer is "yes", but I want to be completely clear on this point. Perhaps the mounts are physically identical but the contacts and electronics might not be the same.

    it is by definiition more the same at more levels than you would be able to think of in 5 minutes. There is a tight patent which governs it as I understand and anyone who uses that must conform to that

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Four_Thirds_system

    I guess that's why its a standard.

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Isn't the most obvious difference image stabilisation in lens?

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    Re: Are Panny and Oly m4/3 lenses fully compatible?

    Quote Originally Posted by sagarmatha View Post
    Isn't the most obvious difference image stabilisation in lens?
    Yes, that is a design factor that adds to the instability of a lens, making them fragile. Any elements/groups in the OIS portion, even if it goes out of whack by a micron, would be make the performance very noticeable.

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