This article showcases the M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity of zoom lenses with a selection of handheld images along with some commentary. There is no intent in this posting to suggest to readers that they purchase these lenses, or change the camera system that they are currently using. As is often stated here… photographers should buy and use whatever gear best meets their needs.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Back in my full frame camera days I investigated the practicality of owning the f/2.8 trinity of Nikkor Pro zoom lenses. These included the 14-24 mm, 24-70 mm and the 70-200 mm. Without doubt all of these zoom lenses were outstanding choices.
For many years this Nikkor f/2.8 trinity of zooms had been the ‘go to’ lenses for many professional photographers who shot with Nikon gear. Those pros loved the fast apertures, focal length flexibility and image quality that this trinity provided. For many years I heard professional photographers extol the virtues of using f/2.8 zoom lenses, with them citing a number of different brands.
Fort as good as those Nikkor f/2.8 zoom lenses were, there was no way that I could cost justify the necessary investment for my business. The size and weight of the f/2.8 Nikkor trinity of zoom lenses was also a consideration. I decided they were too large and heavy for my needs. At the time the three Nikkor f/2.8 zooms weighed about 3500 grams in total (~7.7 lbs).
To Nikon’s credit, the weight of their new generation of f/2.8 mirrorless zoom lenses has been reduced by about 20%. That same trinity of pro f/2.8 mirrorless zoom lenses weighs about 2815 grams in total (~6.2 lbs.).
Cost, size and weight won out and I ended up using other Nikkor full frame lenses including a couple of f/4 constant aperture zooms and a selection of f/1.8 primes for a few years. In the back of my mind I always wondered what it would have been like to shoot with the Nikkor f/2.8 trinity of zooms.
In July 2015 I transitioned my business into the Nikon 1 system and shot with that gear exclusively for about 4 years. Then, in the spring of 2019 I faced another decision… transitioning my camera kit once again. This was brought on by changing client needs (i.e. 4K video) and the discontinuation of the Nikon 1 product line. I decided to seriously investigate Olympus M4/3 pro-grade equipment.
Fortunately I was able to qualify for the Olympus Pro Loaner program. This allowed me to field test some Olympus gear including a couple of M.Zuiko f/2.8 constant aperture pro zoom lenses, for a few months. There was no obligation on my part to write any articles about the gear. Or produce any YouTube videos. All I had to do was try out the equipment and discover its capabilities first hand.
After the first two weeks of rigorous field testing I knew I had found the right equipment for my changing needs. Optically the lenses performed wonderfully… allowing me to feel very comfortable shooting all of them wide open. Build quality, weather sealing, and handling were outstanding.
For the first time in my life all of those comments I had heard from professional photographers about the benefits of using f/2.8 pro-grade zoom lenses made perfect sense. Being able to shoot client safety video assignments at f/2.8, using an uninterrupted focal length range from 7 mm to 150 mm (efov 14 mm to 300 mm) was a huge game changer.
The M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity enabled me to reduce my onsite shooting time significantly. I could arrive at a client’s industrial facility with a medium sized shoulder bag containing an E-M1X and four lenses (i.e. PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8, PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8, PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8, PRO 45 mm f/1.2). I didn’t have to bring any studio lights or camera supports with me… as I could shoot everything handheld in available light. This was incredibly liberating… and very efficient.
My wife and I had spent some time discussing the potential shift to Olympus gear, and the required investment. Given my advancing age it was pretty obvious to both of us that I would likely stop doing client projects in the not too distant future. So, this purchase would probably be the last significant investment in camera equipment that I would ever make.
My wife has a way of bringing clarity to situations. She reminded me that we needed to look at this investment from two very different but equally important perspectives… business and personal. We needed to make sure any new camera system would meet our business needs for the next number of years.
And just as importantly… we needed to ensure that we bought camera gear that I would want to use for many years after our client video business ceased. Basically she was saying that it was the right time for us to make a larger investment if needed, and that she was comfortable doing so.
We decided to move forward with the transition to Olympus M4/3 equipment. Our initial purchase included an E-M1X, PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8, PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8, PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8, 60 mm f/2.8 macro, and MC-20 teleconverter. It was a significant expenditure for our small business, but we viewed it as a minimum 10 year investment.
We added some additional Olympus gear over the next year and eventually completed our kit of 3 bodies and 9 lenses. Our rationale for what we purchased is detailed in an earlier article, so I won’t repeat that here.
About eight months after we transitioned into Olympus gear COVID-19 lockdowns hit, and our client safety video assignments evaporated. As a result we ended up closing our corporation a few years sooner than we originally had anticipated. I began spending more time on this photography website and on some eBook projects that were in various stages of development.
I don’t have any regrets at all about making the investment in the M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity of zoom lenses. They provide me with more shooting flexibility than I’ve ever had before, with any other system I’ve owned. It’s hard to describe the feeling of absolute confidence that I have when I’m out with these three zoom lenses.
It wasn’t until I owned and used this trio of f/2.8 constant aperture lenses that I fully appreciated how important an extra stop of light can be… especially in indoor situations.
I appreciate how difficult it can be to reach into one’s wallet and spend a significant amount of money on camera gear. If I was to purchase the M.Zuiko PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8, PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 and PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 today, those three lenses would cost about $5,000 CDN.
This is quite a bit more than the original investment we made to purchase those three zoom lenses in June 2019. As we are all aware, the cost of camera gear from all manufacturers has increased significantly over the past 4-5 years.
Five thousand dollars is not an inconsequential amount of money, but it is still much more affordable than the comparable Nikkor f/2.8 zoom trinity or similar gear from other manufacturers. Those lenses would cost almost double that amount. And, the comparable full frame zooms would weigh about 40% more. This is similar to what other full frame lens solutions have been over time.
Folks who are interested in OM System gear today have the option of considering the M.Zuiko f/4 trinity of zoom lenses… the PRO 8-25 mm f/4, PRO 12-45 mm f/4 and the PRO 40-150 f/4. None of these f/4 PRO zoom lenses existed back in June 2019 when we began our journey with Olympus (now OM System).
In Canada these three f/4 constant aperture zooms would sell for about $1600 less than their f/2.8 cousins. Additionally, this trio of f/4 PRO zooms weigh about 38% less coming in at 1,047 grams (~2.3 lbs.) compared to 1676 grams (~3.7 lbs.) for the f/2.8 trinity.
If I could fast forward the past 4 years would I still buy the M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity of zoom lenses instead of the f/4 versions if I was buying gear today? Absolutely. I have become completely spoiled by the increased flexibility that the trio of f/2.8 constant aperture lenses provide.
During a recent photography tour of Newfoundland I used my M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS zoom lens extensively and wrote a hands-on review of this superb lens. While this zoom is a great one lens travel solution, the f/4 constant aperture does present some limitations.
Whether the additional investment to purchase the M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity is worth it to other photographers is a question only they can answer. For folks who want a lighter weight and less expensive option the M.Zuiko f/4 trinity can make perfect sense.
Do I have any regrets about not buying f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lenses when I was shooting with full frame gear years ago? Nope. Within a few years it became apparent to me that a full frame camera kit was not a good solution for my specific needs.
Investing too much money, too early, in a camera format can cloud our judgement. We can resist correcting a mistake because the financial penalty to do so is steep. Living with a mistake is seldom pleasant… and a mistake never self corrects.
I been using the M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity of zoom lenses for over 4 years. My appreciation for this equipment has only increased over time. Each of these lenses has become a partner for me in the creative journey that we all pursue as photographers.
Regardless of the brand of gear we may use, it is an amazing feeling when we find camera equipment that supports our creative instincts… rather than getting in the way of them. It allows us to operate in a “3 C” environment. Calm. Confident. Creative. That’s what the M.Zuiko f/2.8 trinity of zoom lenses delivers faithfully for me every day.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW or jpeg files using my standard process in post. This is the 1,324 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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