Saturday, 9 November 2013

long live the king

First a story
Once upon a time ... there was a king, I think the king was named Wu (or something like that it was a long time ago now) and this king was king because while he had only one eye, all else in the land were blind.
you know the gig, in the land of the blind the One Eyed man is king ...

He had a son (as Kings often do), who he named Wang. Sadly Wang was born blind, just as was everyone else in the Kingdom (but only Wu knew). Wang grew up envious of the power of his father and noting that all others were blind arranged in a Machiavellian way to have his father removed from this world (after all, who would see?) so that he, Wang could be King.

While his father led with his peculiar one eye'd vision Wang led by convincing the others that (like his father) he could see and know. Since all the others were blind, they could not see Wang was actually blind too, so they happily followed him.

Much like the people from London are Londoners the people from the Kingdom of Wang can also be thought of as Wangers. To this day Wang the King (in some languages this is abbreviated to Wanking) remains the King of domains of the blind such as the Internet.

Panasonic I suspect know their market well, and having myself participated in the discussions of camera gear for some years I know that many posters are from the Kingdom of Wang; I think Panasonic know this too.

I was interested to read that they had released a new version of their classic (but over priced) 20mm. I quickly toddled over to a major online reseller to see the prices. A screen grab is below and shows that the new lens is had for the bargain price of  just $79 more ... (not less as you may expect)

So, were there any changes to the lens?
Did it now have OIS included? - nope,
was there a changed optical design? nope

According to the Panasonic site the main difference is:
High Class design increases the joy of ownership and further enhances LUMIX G cameras.
The joy of having it in your hand ... no kidding ... see for yourself from this screen grab from the Panasonic site on the new lens

Oh Kay ... so do they throw in a years supply of KY and some tissues?

The old lens page is almost identical, but of course without the appeal to the Wangers:

I can hear somone calling
Ok ... enough with the sarcasm ... they must have improved it.

Well sorry, but it seems not ... nothing added at all, in fact it seems that according to DXO things are actually slightly worse in optical performance than earlier. Also, production seems to have moved from Japan to China to keep production costs down ... I mean to ensure higher joy of ownership.

Great ... so all this new lens has in its favor after the upgrade is an appeal to how it feels in your hand.  Mmmm ... look and feel ... Its a got to be a compelling buy to wangers now.

The majority are always right in the kingdom of Wang. (although I suspect these sheep are not blind)

Being well and truly sick of the Wangers telling me how well priced the original lens was citing such compelling reasons as
*other 20mm lenses are more expensive
* its so cool looking
* its so fast

I tire of pointing out that:
20mm is not wide on 4/3, its comparable to a 50mm on full frame.
A 50mm AutoFocus lens of similar fstop from Canon or Nikon will cost you about $100 and be a harder lens to make because it covers a greater area.

Like Duh ... that's why MF and LF lenses are so expensive, because they have to cover a greater area.

Now, before you argue, if you are unable to grasp this point, go look at reviews of Panasonics fine LX 7 camera which has a beautiful zoom lens and the entire camera costs with a lens about what this new 20mm lens costs.

I guess that its not hard to tell that I'm disappointed with the direction of m4/3. I just wish some one else out there could see.

So the king is dead ... long live King Wang
All hail the king ... where is he again?



Unknown said...

I always thought the 20mm was over priced compared to others. It's not even particularly fast. If it were f1.4, I would understand.

On a serious note, have you ever thought of becoming a comedian?

Charles Maclauchlan said...

when I bought a used Lumix I was offered a 20mm at a discount. I think it's a pretty good lens but most "normal" lenses are pretty good and as you point out, easier to buy. I never fell in love with the camera, had it converted to IR and at that point became less than satisfied with the 20mm. Detail often escapes this lens in the IR spectrum. I wasn't sure if it was the lens or the sensor but a friend lent me her 45mm lens (Oly) and it is quite spectacular in IR.

obakesan said...

Charles, don't get me wrong, I don't think its a bad lens, just that when it was introduced I thought it was too dear. I expected that with the 'reissue' and nothing done at all that the price should have come down, not gone up.

Nice to hear the experience on the Oly 45. I've regarded Oly as a sound lens maker for decades. I see that the Panasonic 12-32 is a sound performer.