A Prime Dilemma

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Leo, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Leo

    Leo New to Mu-43

    Sep 2, 2012
    Hi everyone. Long time, no see.

    I'm in a bit of a predicament; you see, I'm planing on getting a few prime lenses for my bodies soon, but I'm not sure if I really need them. I'd just like to hear from you guys on what you all think is the better choice.

    One glass that's a definite on my list is the 45mm (you're all probably thinking, "He still doesn't have one?" so go ahead and laugh it up). Now, here are the glasses that I can't decide on which to get:
    • Oly 60mm f/2.8 Macro - I shoot a bit of macro here and there using my 12-50mm kit that came with my E-M5, mostly close-ups of small items, flowers, bugs, etc. and get pretty close and sharp results, but is this 60mm worth the $400+ to replace the kit?
    • Oly 75mm f/1.8 - sometimes, I shoot events in low-light areas and many of them have stages that I can't just get on that easily without guards booting me out, so this glass can be useful for its reach and light-gathering ability. It can also be very useful for portraits because at 150mm equivalent, compression on portraits would look nicer. Problem here is that I already own the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 for such situations and already have the 45mm on the list of must-buy for portraits. I know that even though the 75mm gets slightly more light and is a little longer, it costs an extravagant $800+ w/o a hood while my Sigma only cost a fraction of this and came with a hood.
    • Oly 17mm f/1.8 - this is a nice, fast and sharp wide glass that I like for street, scenic and landscape stuff; the problem is that I already own the Panny 20mm f/1.7 and would probably be redundant if I were to buy this.
    • Oly 12mm f/2 - even wider than the two above, but like the 75mm, the price tag also scares me, or at least makes me more conscious on whether I really need this or not.
    • Panny 7-14mm f/4 - possibly the widest non-fish-eye, but I see few uses for it aside from landscape and video stuff, the latter I don't really do much of too.

    Sorry for the post length. Thanks!
  2. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    You list five lenses and don't make any kind of a case for any of them. So you have really answered your own question. Buy the 45mm and go take some pictures.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    All of these lenses are nice lenses, but only you can really answer the questions you're asking. What focal lengths do you shoot at? Is the extra cost worth it over the lenses you have now?

    I own all of them, except for the Oly 60, here are my basic thoughts:

    The 75/1.8 is a very special purpose lens, if you shoot in this focal length a lot, its a fantastic lens. If you don't, its probably a waste of money. Keep in mind that 150mm is very long, its difficult to use it for much of anything indoors, unless you have a large studio space. If you do a lot of headshots or outdoor portrature, its a very nice lens, otherwise its hard to recommend, even if it is likely the best lens optically in the system. The 45, while not as impressive in certain ways (build, absolute sharpness for pixel-peepers), is a much better value and generally a more versatile lens (and is very good optically aas well). Also its worth considering that the Pana 35-100mm 2.8 doesn't cost much more, nor is it that much larger or heavier, but is a more versatile lens if you're looking for a high quality general purpose tele.

    The Pana 7-14mm is IMO the best ultra wide in the system. The 9-18 is smaller, lighter, and cheap, but 9mm isn't all that wide for an ultrawide. If you do a lot of ultrawide shooting, the 7-14mm is easy to recommend, if not the high price makes it hard to recommend.

    12/2 or 17/1.8, both very nice lenses. I have both, and the Pana 25/1.4, between the three I use the 17 the least. Really here its all about the focal length you like to use. Either lens is very good if you shoot with these focal lengths a lot.

    Oly 60/2.8, seems like a very good macro lens. If you do a lot of dedicated (ie 1:1 or 1:2) macro, its easy to recommend, if not, I'm not sure you're gaining much over the macro mode on your 12-50.
  4. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Real Name:
  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    45mm: It takes great pictures for a great price, and its plastic build isn't a problem as it's so small and light. The focal length is quite different to 60mm and 75mm, so even though the 75mm may be sharper it can't really replace this.

    60mm macro: Do you keep finding yourself needing to get closer than the 12-50 allows? If not, I'd skip it.

    75mm: Great specialised lens, quite different to 45mm FoV though. It seems you have some use for a fast telephoto (I haven't so far), so you could always get this and sell the Sigma.

    17mm: You've said it already - you've got the 20mm. That lens is sharper and a touch faster (but not as wide and slower to AF on Olympus bodies, and can give banding at high ISO with your E-M5). Try them if you can, pick your favourite and sell the other.

    12mm: Do you need a reasonably fast 12mm (i.e. do you like shooting street, etc, at 12mm)? If so you've got this or the 2 f/2.8 zooms. The new 12-32 is not as fast but at 12mm gives the 12-35 a run for its money (there's a comparison on this forum). If you don't need to go quite as wide, why not try the 14mm as well?

    7-14mm: Don't like de-fishing? Because the Samyang fisheye has a wider view and is just as sharp de-fished. Note that the 7-14 is prone to purple blobs with your E-M5 (which can be cured with a rear mount UV filter).
  6. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    Look at the EXIF on your favourite photos and/or all your photos, see what focal length they were shot at. Get a lens which complements your style.

    I love the 45 - hard to beat for the cost, but I tend to use the 20 or 14 most often with adapted macros (55 or 105) as the next most prominent focal lengths.

    Otherwise they're all pretty good and you'll get plenty of qualitative advice from forum members on the pro's & con's of each.
  7. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Real Name:
    Good advice: there are many freeware programs that analyse a whole directory tree and show you what focal lengths you use most. In addition, such an analysis lets you know if you need a fast lens or not (look at the apertures, but also the ISO and shutter speeds).
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    My regular lens kit is the 17, the 25 and the 75

    Both the 17 and the 75 have proved to be much more versatile than I would have thought. The 75 in particular to me is not a 'specialised' lens , but a very versatile focal length, both in tight spaces and in wider areas

    here are some 75 shots


    and here are some 17


    the vast majority of my shots on flickr over the last year have been with these two lenses. i don't think I have used the 45 since getting the 75

    but each photographer has their own way of working

    I would run into a burning building to save my 75....and a camera as well :)

    • Like Like x 2
  9. pix530

    pix530 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    75mm is the best
    I put 25mm and 45mm on second place.

    After a lot of thinking for me 25mm + 75mm is the best deal.
  10. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    Love your Oly75 shots!

    Back to the topic, I'd for sure skip the 60macro if you are not the "super-macro" type. Besides, you may have legacy glass that can be adapted very cheaply. For "super-macro", you hardly ever use AF anyways. What lenses other than kit do you own, if any? Do you have a budget? It is hard to make any suggestions without knowing. The 7-14,12 and 75 are all pretty pricey.