Regarding yesterdays post on the Olympus E-P2 and the Four Thirds 50mm f/2 Macro lens - I tried the lens on the Panasonic L1 and was disappointed with the results. The lens focused faster but the results were somewhat soft.
I tried it on my Panasonic GH1 but I found the manual focusing somewhat off-putting. These "focus by wire" lenses are not suited to manual focusing and there' a certain amount of "grinding" going on which I'm not happy with.
So basically it was back to the E-P2.
You may ask - why bother? Get something that works. I may well agree apart from one overriding fact - this lens is very very sharp!! Quite simply the sharpest lens I've ever used on m4/3. I did some real double takes looking at the images on the screen, and it is as good as many of the reviews say it is. But then again those reviews also mention that its not the most user-friendly lens either.
I am prepared however to attempt to work out some way to get round these problems. I'm very reluctant to discard a lens that produces images this sharp, even if it does seem to have a mind of its own on occasions!
One of the great things about it is its performance wide-open. At f/2 its razor-sharp across the frame with virtually no CA or fringing. It also has wonderful bokeh. This would single it out as an excellent medium telephoto lens for low-light situations. However the slowness and unreliability of the AF makes this difficult if a "moving target" is involved. I would be very happy to use it inside a dark church for example, but if there's a wedding going on the bride and groom would probably be on honeymoon before its focused properly!! OK huge exaggeration, but its not fast.
I very much see this a challenge! Its not as if I wasn't aware of the problems. There's an excellent review of it on Dpreview here:-
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_50_2_o20/ and in their conclusion section they say:-
"it's the nearest we've yet found to a technically perfect lens"
"Real world results not only bear this out, but also show that the lens maintains image quality across the entire focus distance range, making it suitable for macro, portraits and general-purpose short telephoto use alike - no mean feat at all. And in design terms it's compact and reasonably lightweight, yet solidly build and weatherproofed, providing a combination of features unmatched by any other manufacturer."
" Probably our biggest issue is with the focusing system, which is something of a let-down especially when compared to the internal-focus ultrasonic designs offered by competitors. The focus motor is relatively slow and noisy, and the lack of a focus range limiter switch can be a distinct irritation when shooting portraits. We're no fans of the electronic 'focus-by-wire' manual focus system either, as it's simply not as positive and precise as a well-designed mechanically-coupled focusing ring; overall this means the lens can sometimes be frustrating to use."
"Quite simply, every E-system user should own one."
Having read all this thoroughly before buying the lens, none of its "eccentricities" with regard to focusing are a surprise to me. I do sometimes find that certain problems with photographic equipment are somewhat less of a problem in reality. The IR problem on the Leica M8 was a case in point. I only ever got the "problem" in 2 pictures out of 1000's and in both cases it took seconds to fix, so I've occasionally been somewhat skeptical of people "talking-up" difficulties.
However in this case the reviews are spot on.
I will persevere. How often do you get the chance to use "the nearest we've yet found to a technically perfect lens" and there's no denying that when it gets the focusing right, the results are spectacular. You can be sure that this is not the last post on this lens!