A 5 Lens Kit

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Repp, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Lately I've been thinking about what direction I want to go with my photography, what would be the best kit for me, and what I need to start selling off. To date I've mostly enjoyed shooting primes and I find that my bigest reason for this is speed in low light shoots. That and their small size has made them idea for me since I spend 8-9 months a year living out of a small suitcase for work or backpack for travel. However, I often get tasked to shoot dinners and award cerimonies for work where having a zoom and a flash is pretty much mando, and I will admit that changing lenses fast to get a shot can be frustrating with primes in other situations as well. Most of what I enjoy shooting is travel, landscape, and some street photography. I'm also getting into some of the strobist techniques, but I think that wouldn't be affected by lens choice as much (or I could be horribly wrong...)

    So for the sake of size, I'd like to limit myself to a 5 (maybe even 6) lens kit + flash, and start cleaning house on everything else. Here's what I'm currently thinking:

    Prime kit:
    • Samyang 7.5/3.5 Fisheye (currently own)
    • Panasonic 14/2.5 (currently own)
    • Panasonic 20/1.7 (currently own)
    • Olympus 45/1.8 (currently own)
    • Olympus 75/1.8
    • And maybe keep the Panasonic 14-45 for event shoots?

    Mixed kit:
    • An UWA lens - I have the Olympus 9-18, but would probably replace it with the Panasonic 7-14 later down the road as I really don't like the oly. Or maybe just keep the Samyang 7.5/3.5 Fisheye for now
    • Panasonic 12-35/2.8
    • Panasonic 35-100/2.8
    • Panasonic 20/1.7 (for low light/small carry)
    • Olympus 45/1.8 (for low light/small carry)

    Lenses that would probably be sold off:
    • Panasonic 45/2.8 macro (I don't do enough macro to justify it over the Olympus 45/1.8
    • Panasonic 45-200
    • Olympus 9-18
    • Panasonic 14/2.5 (only if I went with the mixed kit, as the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 wouldn't be much of a change)

    Any thoughts as to which of these I should lean towards? Or what would be the best/smallest bag to carry everything in (I currently have a Hadley small, and a Lowpro Adventura 100, but often I just throw some lenses in a satchel when I'm traveling)? And finally, what kind of kit's is everyone planning for them selves?
  2. toshiro

    toshiro Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 3, 2012
    My current kit is the one you see on my signature but if I had to reduce it to only 5 lenses these would be:

    Oly 12 f2
    Voigtlander 17 f0.95
    Pana 25 1.4
    Oly 45 1.8
    Oly 75 1.8

    Yes, I guess I hate zooms :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Do you want a dedicated camera bag? Or a pack with a camera insert? I prefer the latter when traveling, and tend to keep a spare lens and battery in a pocket. I'm traveling with my full m43 kit right now (E-M5, GF2, 7-14, 14/2.5, 20/1.7, 45/1.8 and 12-50), with two spare batteries for each, and it really is a stupid tiny kit. Takes up maybe 1/3 of the volume of my 13 liter (tiny) ortlieb pack when packed in an insert from a fairly small crumpler shoulder bag. I think bags are so personal that you need to simply take your gear to a store and try out a few and/or figure out what works best for you. I'm currently leaning strongly towards simply making/buying a few custom inserts for various other bags.

    In terms of what glass suits you best, you're the best judge of that. My m43 kit will probably end up mirroring my EOS kit - selection of faster primes and a couple of good zooms. There are some situations where primes are simply too limiting or impractical, and others where the size and speed advantage (and in most cases, quality) of the primes wins out.

    My relatively compact yet complete 'dream' lineup for the two systems would be:

    - E-M5
    - 14/2.5 (it's so stupid small and light I don't see why I'd remove it)
    - 20/1.7 (until/unless someone comes up with a faster 17-18mm lens)
    - 7-14 (absolutely wonderful lens for cities and interiors, landscapes)
    - 12-35 (if it lives up to the promise)
    - 75/1.8 (if it lives up to the promise)

    I do like the optical quality and size of the 45/1.8, but I'm not overly fond of 85-90mm focal (full frame equivalent), while I very much do enjoy 135mm and 150mm FF equivalent fields of view (preference thing). For certain kinds of travel (wildlife) I would be tempted to add a tele zoom; still hoping for a higher end zoom that goes at least to 200, or maybe just get the 100-300.

    For the EOS I'd stick with 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 135/2.0, 24-105/4, 100-400/4.5-5.6 for wildlife. Really can get by with just the 24-105 and one prime in most situations.

  4. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    What I would keep/buy:

    Panasonic 14/2.5
    Panasonic 20/1.7
    Olympus 45/1.8
    Panasonic 7-14
    Panasonic 45-200

    Or, ideally, and what I'm aiming for:

    Panasonic 12-35/2.8 (general use)
    Panasonic 7-14 (UWA)
    Panasonic 25/1.4 (low light)
    Panasonic 45-200 (telezoom)
  5. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Mattia, I agree that bags are very personal, I still havent found exactly what I'm looking for yet. I'm interested in the Crumpler Haven insert though, as most of the time I just throw some lenses in a wrap and put them in my large Saddleback Satchel. Sadly I live in rural Japan and don't have access to a well stocked camera store.

    As for your lens choices, I agree that the 14 is great for how compact it is, but I don't see a reason to keep the 2.5 when the pany 12-35 is a 2.8?

    Toshiro, to date the zooms I own are my least used as well... but sadly necessary for things like inside event photography. I'm also torn on the 75/1.8 as it looks amazing, but I don't have a oly camera w/ ibis, and that worries me a bit.
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Repp: reason to keep the 14 is because of size over anything else. It's cheap, and turns both my MFT bodies into a coat pocketable combo. And I like moderate wide-angle lenses as walkarounds (35mm on full frame)
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    I think the kit you have as your "mixed kit" is pretty much spot on to what I would want for the scenarios you described. If it helps any, based on what I currently own heres the kit I plan on bringing on my next vacation (Alaska hiking and sightseeing trip):

    * 7-14mm - landscapes, aurora borealis
    * 14-140mm - general hiking/walkaround zoom
    * 100-300mm - on second body for wildlife shots
    * 25mm f/1.4 or f/0.95 - low light / indoors. Not likely to be needed much with 15-16 hours of daylight
    * 45mm f/1.8 - candid portraits
    * 12mm f/2.0 - aurora borealis, landscapes, large indoor scenes

    That's accounting for (hopefully) spotting some wildlife and doing some shooting of the Aurora Borealis. If not doing those two I would probably leave home the 100-300 and the 12mm.

    Projecting forward, I plan on likely be picking up both the two Panasonic fast zooms eventually and will probably have something like this for general travel use:

    * 7-14mm
    * 12-35mm - on body #1
    * 35-100mm - on body #2
    * 25mm f/1.4 or f/0.95
    * 45mm f/1.8

    The 7-14mm I don't use all the time, but I absolutely love UWA shots in the right circumstances. That said, 12mm is reasonably wide so the 12-35 zoom may mean I cut the 7-14 for some trips when I want to save space & weight. I may miss the longer reach occasionally with this kit versus my current 14-140, but it makes up for it in low light capability which is a tradeoff I'm willing to make most times.
  8. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I would keep: 7.5 fisheye, 9-18, 20/1.7 (for now), 45/1.8, 45-200. Then also get the 12-35/2.8

    I've started with the 14-42PZ, 45/1.8, 20/1.7, 7-14, 45-175, then sold the 14-42PZ and got the 12-35 & 12-50 (last one for sealed macro). Today I was walking around Boston, I brought along the 12-35 on the E-M5, 7-14 on the GX1, had the 45/1.8 & 45-175 with me. Two months ago I was traveling with the GX1, constantly switching between the 7-14, 20 and 45, some shots on the 14-42PZ. Today I have not switched lenses, shot only with mounted zooms. I only see myself using the 20/1.7 in the future when I would need more light than the 12-35.

    I would say:
    - Don't get rid of the 9-18 yet, it takes filters unhacked and towards 18mm the FOV is long enough to normal looking shots of people, less so at 14mm with the 7-14.
    - I don't see the case for the 75mm, costs as much as the 12-35 in Japan.
    - I agree with selling the PL45/2.8 & 14/2.5 and the 14-45 if you get the 12-35. I'm not sure what to say about the 45-200, I'd keep it until the 35-100 is out, see if it's worth paying for that. I got the 45-175 as it's lighter and a lot more compact than the 45-200.

    For strobist in my limited experience it's not really a matter of lenses at all... You're usually going for longer exposures, so you don't need very fast lenses unless the light is very low to begin with. The tripod is more important than the glass!
  9. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Real Name:
    From what you're saying about your photography needs, an objectively good plan would be the following. Please note I have added remarks in red to your quote:

    Personally, I'm waiting to see what's on offer at Photokina to decide on my future lens roadmap. From what I can see:

    • Either the Pany 12-35 or the Oly 12-60. The later could completely replace my 12-50 kit lens, esp. if it is weather proof. The former would partially replace it and both also replace the Sigma 19mm.
    • Waiting to see the rumored 25mm before I pull the plug on the Pany 25mm f/1.4. Apart from cost, there are also size and AF speed considerations on my Olympus bodies.
    • I'm seriously GASing over the Oly 75mm and I honestly don't see myself avoiding buying it... It shall depend on a number of paid jobs I may get from September.
    • I have no real need for a fast UW lens (like the 12mm Oly). I'd much prefer a fisheye or a UW toy/CCTV lens, just for special effect.

    All this boils down to 4-5 native lenses for me (including the Oly 45mm) that would cover 99% of my current needs.
  10. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    For your shooting needs this sounds perfect. 7-14mm f/4 + 12-35mm f/2.8 + 35-100mm f/2.8 is a classic workhorse kit for event photography. The primes will supplement the others nicely just as you said for low light situations and for lighter outings.
  11. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    12-35 f/2.8
    35-100 f/2.8 (if it is good, 45 f/1.8 if it is not)
    100-300 (for now until a better long lens is available)
    20 f/1.7
    75 f/1.8
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    A 5 lens kit is perfectly do-able and capable!

    I travel 7 to 9 months of the year. I'm working toward assembling this general-use, 4-lens travel photography kit:

    1 - E-M5 body (already have)
    1 - E-LPx (the next gen Pen to replace my E-PL3)

    Pany 7-14 - exquisite... can't imaging being without it (already have)
    Pany 12-35/2.8 - looks to be the killer general use lens (will be here this week)
    Pany 35-100/2.8 - not a lens I would use a lot, but likely to be a good, high quality lens for some reach
    Pany 25/1.4 - for good quality low-light and shallow focus (already have)

    This kit will cover a huge range of imaging opportunities with truly excellent IQ.

    I'll likely replace the 45/1.8 portrait lens with the 75/1.8 portrait lens - that would be the 5th.

    I pretty much never shoot my 14, so it'll be gone soon. Same with a number of legacy lenses.


    In addition to the 5-lens kit above, for alternate purposes, I'll keep the:

    Oly 9-18
    Pany 14-45
    Pany 20/1.7

    to be able to make up a versatile, light-weight, very compact kit for times when I want to carry a very lightweight and even more compact kit.

    I will likely keep the 12/2, as well, as a street photography lens. And the 14-140 for a one-lens, highly versatile optic.

    Personally, I have little-to-no use for a m4/3 lens longer than about 100 (200mm 135 equivalent). A 100-300 would be nice to have once-in-a-while, but I, personally, would not shoot with it very much.
  13. rjay

    rjay New to Mu-43

    May 18, 2012
    I like this 5 lens kit:

    Pany 7-14
    Pany 12-35 f/2.8
    Pany 45 f/2.8 macro (I prefer over Oly f/1.8)
    Oly 75-300
    Oly 75 f/1.8

    and for a 6th lens:

    Pany 25 f/1.4
  14. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    The only reason I've been iffy on the Oly 75/1.8 is that I'm currently using a GX1, would such a long lens be ok if it's not stabilized?
  15. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    So many 5 lens kits consisting of Panasonic lenses!

    I'm a bit more frugal. While it is unbeatable to have the fast zooms I know realistically I'll never be able to justify the expense.

    My planned kit is the following:

    12-50mm - macro, weather seal, least used lens
    9-18mm - ultra wide landscapes
    14-150mm - super zoom walk around, telephoto
    25mm - low light standard, waiting on Oly F1.8 though
    45mm - low light portraiture

    Any pancake for evening outings, bar events, portability. I picked up the 14mm for cheap on eBay for this purpose. 20mm would have been better but it'll be 2.5x the cost of my 14mm.

    If 12-60mm materializes and isn't outrageously expensive. I would likely sell the 12-50mm and 14-150mm for it, and add the 40-150mm for telephoto. It would need to be weather sealed though, I see the need of a weather sealed lens in my kit.
  16. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    My ideal five on E-M5 (for now):

    25/1.4 (don't have)
  17. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2010
    The beautiful northwest Georgia mountains
    Real Name:
    Dave Jenkins
    I've carried heavy loads of equipment on assignment to 27 countries on five continents. I don't want to do that any more. In fact, five lenses will be too many.

    My ideal outfit, for now, would be the Olympus 12-60 (if the rumors are true), which would live on an OM-D body. The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 would live on my E-PL1 body, and the bag would also hold an Oly 9-18 and 40-150 which would get very occasional use.
  18. chasm

    chasm Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    I've been thinking about this a lot and find it a really tricky question!

    And slightly unfair, as well, because for the price of a Panasonic 7-14mm or 12-35mm, or an Olympus 75mm, you can buy a selection of other really useful (and excellent) lenses, not all of which have to travel with you all the time.

    For instance, I sold my Olympus 9-18mm and even for the secondhand value (£360) I was able to buy, new, a Panasonic 14mm AND a Samyang 7.5mm (and have change!)

    I'm more interested in putting together useful pairs of lenses, ie one on the camera, one in the pocket, as one of the earlier posters put it.


    Panasonic 14mm + Voigtlander 25mm (or Holga 25mm!)

    Panasonic 14mm + Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f1.7

    Panasonic 20mm + Samyang 7.5mm

    Minolta MD 50mm f3.5 macro + Minolta MD 135mm f3.5

    µ4/3 gear takes up so little space I don't see why you should kill yourself trying to get rid of things! Each day brings different challenges and necessities...
  19. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    My kit would be:

    60 macro
  20. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    Of course it would. People shoot longer than that without stabilization all the time on other systems. For instance, the Canon 200 f/2.8 is a great lens, and reasonably popular (has been eclipsed recently by the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II), and it is not stabilized either. All you have to do is make sure you use a shutter speed of 1/150 or better, which should not be that hard.