It is always important to consider lens compatibility before buying a new camera body to avoid downstream disappointment. Many photographers are very excited about the introduction of new camera models as they often provide some performance upgrades and new technology when compared to previous generation cameras.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. Photographs have been added as visual breaks.
It can also be important to exercise some caution mixing older generation cameras with new lenses. For example, when I was using DSLR equipment I had an auto-focus performance issue when I purchased a third party long telephoto zoom lens.
At the time my main camera was a Nikon D800 and I had a D7000 as a back-up camera. The new 150-600 mm zoom I purchased at the time worked flawlessly with my D800. Unfortunately there was a noticeable auto-focus lag with my D7000.
The auto-focus hesitation significantly reduced the functionality of the lens to the point where it was not practical for me to use it for birds-in-flight. Even after firmware updates, the 150-600 mm never performed as well on my D7000 as it did on my newer generation D800.
Various equipment manufacturers face this issue as changes in technology and the physical components inside cameras and lenses simply sometimes overshadow older generation equipment.
I think this issue will become even more prevalent in the future as more manufacturers integrate computational photography into their products. These technologies will become key points of differentiation between products. I think it is unrealistic to expect manufacturers to work together to ensure A to Z compatibility with other brands that may share the same lens mount.
The vast majority of M4/3 owners already know that mixing cameras and lenses from different manufacturers doesn’t always give them a full compliment of features and/or performance. Depending on the type of photography being done these issues may not be material in nature… or they may be deal breakers.
Many folks are very excited about the technology and performance offered by the new OM-1 camera introduced by OMDS. Not all of the features in the OM-1 may work with the existing M4/3 lenses that a photographer may own.
For example, when using Pro Capture SH2 it is possible to shoot at 50 frames-per-second. There are 6 lenses that are compatible with this feature. The M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS is not one of them.
I don’t think there is anything nefarious going on. It is likely that the auto-focus motor in the M.Zuiko 100-400 simply isn’t fast enough to handle Pro Capture SH2 at 50 frames-per-second.
We also need to realize that the weatherproofing provided by our camera body and lenses is dependent on the lowest rated component. Using the IP53 rated OM-1 with an IPX-1 rated lens means your gear will perform at a an IPX-1 level. Obviously using a non weatherproof lens on an IPX-1 or IP53 rated body means the combination simply isn’t weatherproof.
The key point is to identify your key ‘must have’ performance criteria from a new camera body, then do some research to ensure that your current lenses will be compatible.
Those of us who shoot in RAW are aware that we often need to upgrade our post processing software when we purchase new camera bodies or lenses. So the issue of backwards compatibility with what we currently own is nothing new.
As computational photography becomes more ingrained in new products from various manufacturers it will become increasingly important for photographers to consider compatibility issues.
When we moved into the Olympus M4/3 system we did not consider any lenses other than M.Zuiko. And, most of the lenses we chose were in the PRO category as they offered the most overall functionality with the computational photography features offered by the Olympus bodies we purchased. 🙂 but… that’s just my decision. You may choose to mix and match. Based on the work you do it may be a sound decision for you.
To get the most out of our camera and lens investments we need to look beyond today and consider potential compatibility issues in the future.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,138 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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