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Thread: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

  1. #1
    bruce1s
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    Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    Just bought the G1/14-45 kit from B&H ($639.95 USD) and it will arrive very soon. In anticipation of receiving my new camera, I just listed my gear on the For Sale Forum on this site.

    However, in the process of writing up my posting, I realized I couldnít quite bring myself to list my ZD50/2 macro. I loved the ZD12-60 and the PanLeica 25/1.4, but I did not hesitate to sacrifice them in the interests of building my micro4/3 system. For my situation, they are simply too big to use on the G1. End of decision.

    The ZD 50/2 macro is a really good lens. I certainly loved using it on my E-510. In addition, several posters on this site say they like it on the G1. But is it really worth keeping the 50/2 for micro 4/3? Consider for a moment:

    1. I will need to buy a Panasonic WA-2 adapter for $120 which is aggravating.

    2. The 50/2 will essentially be a legacy lens on the G1 with no autofocus.

    3. As a legacy lens it needs to justify itself against other legacy solutions as well as new micro4/3 lenses like the 45/2.8 macro or future Oly offerings. (The price of the new 45/2.8 is one more proof of what a great value the 50/2 was).

    Therefore, please consider the following line of thought:

    1. I sell my ZD50 for ~$250-$300

    2. I donít buy the adapter and save $120

    3. I use the remaining ~$370 to buy legacy lenses to replace the ZD50/2. For instance, I could buy a Legacy 50/1.8 or 1.4 for portrait ($50-$200) and a 50/3.5 macro ($100-$150).

    So, for about $150-$350 I could replace all the functionality of the 50/2 on a G1 and still have $20-$120 to spend on more stuff.

    Do you agree or disagree?

    One last complication. Someone on this site (or some other site!) said that legacy 50mm lenses, especially 50/1.8 lenses, were designed for general shooting and are no good dedicated portrait lenses as they have bad bokeh. Anyone want to defend or attack that claim?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Re: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce1s View Post
    1. I sell my ZD50 for ~$250-$300

    2. I donít buy the adapter and save $120

    3. I use the remaining ~$370 to buy legacy lenses to replace the ZD50/2. For instance, I could buy a Legacy 50/1.8 or 1.4 for portrait ($50-$200) and a 50/3.5 macro ($100-$150).

    So, for about $150-$350 I could replace all the functionality of the 50/2 on a G1 and still have $20-$120 to spend on more stuff.

    Do you agree or disagree?
    Well, that's one option. Another option is to sell the ZD50 and buy the PL45 macro for a little more cash. So your ZD50 is worth ~$500 (lens+adapter), and for a few hundred more you can buy the PL45 which will AF and doesn't need an adapter. Godfrey and others rave about it, but they do also like the ZD50. I'd say if you were using the your ZD50 for more than just macro, it's worth getting an AF lens that can do both (and the PL45 can do 1:1 without extension tubes). If you're only going to use it for macro, keep it and use in in MF.

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce1s View Post
    One last complication. Someone on this site (or some other site!) said that legacy 50mm lenses, especially 50/1.8 lenses, were designed for general shooting and are no good dedicated portrait lenses as they have bad bokeh. Anyone want to defend or attack that claim?
    This has not been my experience. Legacy 50's are excellent for portraits. I use my Canon FL 55/1.2 for portraits, and I quite like it. I'd say whoever made such a general statement as to say ALL legacy 50 lenses are bad for portraits and produce bad bokeh probably doesn't know what they're talking about (or you misunderstood what they were trying to say).
    -Dragos
    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

  3. #3
    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    Two important questions about the 50mm that only you can answer:

    a) Was the 1:2 macro close enough, or do you want to get closer (i.e 1:1)?
    b) Did you use the 50mm for portraits with the E-510, and how did you like it?

    1. Buy the 4/3 to m4/3 adapter and use the 50mm.
    Positives: Cheapest solution. Superb IQ. Macro & portrait length in one lens.
    Possible Negatives: No AF for portraits & general work. OK, but not great bokeh. Only 1:2 macro.

    2. Sell 50mm, buy legacy adapter plus macro and portrait lens.
    Possible Positives: 1:1 macro (may need additional 1:1 adapter depending on legacy lens). Might get slightly better bokeh in a portrait lens (but may have to go to a more expensive legacy lens to get it)
    Negatives: More expensive solution. Two lens solution (possibly a two adapter solution) . You'll likely want to work with legacy glass at least one stop down from wide open (not an issue with the ZD 50). Still no AF for portraits.

    3. PanaLeica 45mm Macro
    Positives: Macro and portrait length in one lens. Excellent IQ. Small lens with internal focusing. AF and IS when needed. Lovely bokeh.
    Negatives: F/2.8 maximum aperture. Most expensive solution.

    My opinion? Adapt the 50mm. Save your pennies for the 45mm and give the 50 a try in the meantime. You may decide to purchase the 45 in the end (and sell the 50mm), or you might decide that something else is a priority.
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

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    Re: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    I tried the ZD 50/2 on my G1 and didn't like it much. I found the "focus by wire" mf mechanism too slow and tedious. I would invariably grab my Nikon 55/3.5 Micro mf lens instead, which has a real focus helicoid and takes fewer turns to focus from infinity to 1:2.

    If you haven't sold/packed your E510 yet, you might want to pop the ZD 50/2 on one last time and play with it in mf mode only. Focusing in mf will be easier with the G1 EVF, but the focus feel will be the same. Also realize the adapter will add 20mm to the lens length, so it will be a bit less compact on the G1.

    If the ZD 50/2 focusing/handling doesn't bother you, then keeping it might be the best choice.

    If it does bug you, both of your other choices have merits. You can get yourself a legacy 50/1.2 lens and 55/2.8 macro for less than the 45/2.8, but the 45/2.8 is a very good one-lens solution.

  5. #5
    Super Duper
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    Re: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    The Macro-Elmarit 45/2.8 ASPH OIS is a better fit to the Micro-FourThirds cameras, but the Olympus ZD 50/2 Macro is a great lens on the G1 too. I have used both and would prefer the ME45 ... but since I own the ZD50, and use it on my SLRs too, I can take my time about it.

    It's a better performer than any of the adapted 50mm lenses I've used.

    BTW, the adapter is the Panasonic DMW-MA1.

  6. #6
    bruce1s
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    Re: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    Thanks to all who responded to my query. I read all the answers carefully. I agree with the poster who said he or she did not like the manual focus characteristics of the ZD 50/2. I tried it in manual focus many times on the E-510 and did not like it.

    I was also impressed by the number of posters who thought the Pan 45/28 macro is a great solution.

    So, I will sell the 50 and buy the 45 when I work up the courage or the cash.

  7. #7
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    Re: Why keep the ZD 50/2 macro for a G1?

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce1s View Post
    Thanks to all who responded to my query. I read all the answers carefully. I agree with the poster who said he or she did not like the manual focus characteristics of the ZD 50/2. I tried it in manual focus many times on the E-510 and did not like it.

    I was also impressed by the number of posters who thought the Pan 45/28 macro is a great solution.

    So, I will sell the 50 and buy the 45 when I work up the courage or the cash.
    While I don't disagree with swapping it for the 45 with the G1 in mind, I'd recommend you try it on the G1 before you sell it. To me, focusing it manually on the G1 is far easier, smoother than focusing it on the E-1 or L1 manually.

    They're both excellent lenses, just quite different in several ways.

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