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Advise on lenses

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by silver92b, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Since buying my OM-D EM-5 camera with the 12-50 kit lens, I managed to get a 20mm 1.7, 40-150 zoom, 45-200 zoom and 100-300 zoom, in addition to a number of legacy lenses. Now I am thinking that I don't have one single lens that I could really use under most circumstances.

    My question is, if the was one lens that you could have that would serve for most occasions and that you could carry always to limit the number of lenses in the bag, which would it be? Is there a perfect lens out there (prime or zoom) that would be the "ideal" lens for all around use with the OM-D?
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Well you could sell the 40-150 and 45-200 and get a Oly 14-150 if you prefer Zooms, that would go nicely with your 100-300. I might sell the 12-50 if not for it's macro ability.

    But it really does depend on what you shoot.
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Depends on what you shoot and what you want out of pics. I prefer the primes, and if I could only have one lens, it might be the PL25.
  4. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    I need a lens that will allow me to shoot people in such places as house gatherings, parties, dances, etc. The lighting is often a problem and flash is intrusive.

    I just shot a number of pictures at my sister's birthday party. The light was insufficient for good shooting and the sources were incandescent and maybe those fluorescent bulbs. Her walls are painted in light earth tones and many pictures came out with a horrible yellow tint. Also, half way through, I increased the ISO limit to 16000 hoping to get non-blurry images. Unfortunately this resulted in over exposed photos :mad: 

    I shot in full auto and aperture priority modes. I used the 20mm 1.7 Lumix lens. I was pretty disappointed with my photos....

    The night before I shot a tango dance in a beautiful old mansion. The lighting was very dim so my pictures were again blurry and/or underdeveloped. I had better luck because I shot a lot with a legacy 50mm f1.8 Oly OM-1 lens. The problem is of course that the manual focusing is difficult to achieve, especially with moving subjects and with the f1.8 setting, the focusing is more critical... I wonder if a good AF, fast prime in the 30~50mm or a very fast zoom in the 12~50 or so range might be best...

    These are shots at the tango dance. You get an idea of the lighting. These were shot with the 50mm f1.8 OM-1 legacy lens. All were shot at f1.8 and 1/125






  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you liked the Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 except for lack of Autofocus, then try the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 instead.
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    20/1.7 and 50/1.8 are basically the same exposure, there is no reason one would work so well and the other suck so bad.

    It sounds like you need some more practice, and perhaps to read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen
  7. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    I will try to read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen. Although I have a decent understanding of the basics of photography I can always learn more. I started taking pictures as an amateur back in the 70's with a 35mm Konica SLR and have played with twin lens reflex cameras and even medium format SLRs.
    The DSLR cameras should behave similarly as far as aperture settings vs. available light vs shutter speed as the old cameras.

    The issue seems to be with the AF response and the shutter response. The 20mm 1.7 seems to "hunt" for focusing and often the shutter does not respond to a push of the button.... Those things never occured with the old film cameras. You framed the shot, focused the lens with your hand and depressed the shutter. It always, activated the shutter. Of course, several days and dollars later I would see what the results were...

    I probably need more practice and skill with the OM-D and with the best settings for the performance I'm looking for. The camera is very good but also extremely complex and the settings are mind boggling (to an old fart like me). Anyway, it's interesting to note that I got more consistent performance eg. photos per shutter activation with the old manual lens than with the native fully automatic lenses......
  8. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    If you find the 20/1.7 lacking in autofocus speed, the Olympus 17/1.8 might be a better alternative. AF speed is much better, even in low light. For me, the 45/1.8 is too limiting in terms of focal length. Even in the low light environment as you've shown above, I don't think ISO 16,000 is necessary. I have never pushed my E-M5 past ISO 3200, but if absolutely necessary, ISO 6400 coupled with the 17/1.8 should be sufficient. Image quality just deteriorates too much beyond that...

    As for a zoom option, the fastest native zoom available today are the Panasonic 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8, but if you feel that a prime with maximum aperture of f/1.7 is insufficient, you can forget about those zooms.

    My suggestion for you is to consider the 17/1.8 as a low-light go-to lens, while a 14-150 zoom should cover your day time use. More importantly, try to simulate those low-light environment at home, and practice taking shots under such condition to get familiar with the necessary camera settings. It should help you in deciding what kind of lens suits you best...
  9. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    With that low of light and movement, you need flash. Even if it's bounced. Zone focus in manual and fire away. But with a fast lens wide open, your focus will be hit and miss, ie really narrow depth of focus. Then hope you can pull something out in PP. If movement is limited, use a tri/mono pod and lengthen your shutter speed to 1/10s or longer. But flash, skillfully used, will give much better results. I shot some belly dancing with a 25 f1.4 with much better light and no flash and even the good ones had bad color/WB. I did it again with flash and a F2.8( mostly @ 5.6) lens in less light and most turned out well. I bounced off of a normal ceiling (8-9') which did not bother the girls. Like you, this was pretty new to me.
  10. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    There are two very good suggestion read "Understanding exposure" and get a flash with bouncing and tilt head. The flash can be a cheap manual one because when bouncing TTL is not effective.
  11. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    I guess i mixed up the two different situations. To clarify, some the photos that I took at the house party were the ones i was most disappointed with. I raised the ISO for that occasion to try to get faster shutter speeds.

    A prime with f1.7 should be perfectly good for my needs if I choose the right focal length. My 20mm f1.7 *should* be good enough. Why does it not focus and allow me to shoot? The old legacy lenses work perfectly, but are much more difficult to focus as there is not prism as in the old view finders.

    Thanks for the suggestions to practice. This is something I can definitely do. All I need is some usable parameters as an starting point :smile:

    I totally agree that using the flash would really make things easier. I have used bounce flash with good results (got good shots) with my Nikon D60 and the SB 600 flash I had. The problem is that the tango dances are not good places to use flash, even if it's bounced. People just don't like it when the flash goes off. I have also used a tripod in the past with my Nikon camera and have gotten some good shots even without flash. I'm sure the same could be done with the OM-D. I just got to find the way to do it :wink:

    I'm glad you bring this up. I just pulled the trigger on the FL-600R. I hope there are settings that will allow me to use it successfully for bounce. I actually have a number of old flash units (really old) that came with or are leftovers from the 35mm SLRs. However, I've read that trying to use those with the OM-D will just fry the camera!:eek:  What do you think?
  12. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Looking at this image, the EXIF is:

    P20mm, 1/40 second, ISO1250, f/1.7

    These conditions are very low light. If shooting film, this shot would be sooooo grainy. The blur is motion blur likely more than AF issues. 1/40 is too slow to stop motion of dancers.

    The other shots are at ISO4000(!) with shutter speeds of 1/80 second. Seems to be a legacy lens, so I'm not sure of aperture. 1/80 second is borderline to stop motion, plus if that's a legacy lens, it's below 1/FL rule, so hopefully IBIS is on, otherwise, there could be some hand-hold blur. Finally, if shooting a legacy 50mm wide open, they are almost always soft wide open, and need to be stopped down one to two clicks (usually 1/3 to 1/2 stop per click) to sharpen up.

    Simply put; more light is needed. It sounds like you are going in the right direction with the FL-600R. Bounce and/or diffusers will help to be less intrusive. A PL25 might help a bit, too, as it's 2/3 stop faster with surer AF, but I would go manual mode for conditions this dark, to cut out both the delay from metering, and also the variances of back lighting that are evident in one of the pictures.

    Don't know if this helps, or if I'm presenting things you already know, or have already addressed above. Ignore it if it's of no help.
  13. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    I used the YN 560 for this. It is non TTL but a good flash for the EM5. Tilts and rotates and was $75 new.
  14. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    silver92b, the 25/1.4 and the 45/1.8 will focus better in low light than the 20/1.7, but that doesn't mean they will solve your problem.

    I would go back to the MF 50/1.8 if you cannot use flash. Try the focus peaking trick if you are not already doing so. Makes a huge difference, especially in low light.

    1) Change the mode dial on the E-M5 to "A"

    2) Menu > Shooting Menu 1: set the "Picture Mode" to "ART 11 Key Line" (press right and choose Filter II). You may need to repeat this step twice to get the art filter setting to stick.

    3) Optional step if you want magnified view during focus peaking: Menu > Shooting Menu 1 > Set "Digital Tele-converter" to "On"

    4) Menu > Shooting Menu 1: select "Reset/Myset", then select "Myset1" and choose "Set"

    5) Menu > Custom Menu B: select "Button Function", then select "Fn1 Function" and choose "My1"

    6) Menu > Shooting Menu 1: set the "Picture Mode" to "Natural" (or whatever you started out with)

    7) Menu > Shooting Menu 1 > Set "Digital Tele-converter" back to "Off" if you set it to "On" in Step 3 above
    • Like Like x 1
  15. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Old flashes might fry your camera use with caution. In the link there is a list of flashes and their trigger voltage Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

    If you want to operate the old flash safely you can get Safe Sync from ebay or Wein Safe-sync

    Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe Flash Safe Sync with PC New Reductor de Voltaje Flash | eBay

    Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe (SSHSHS) 990-560 B&H Photo

    Another option is to get remote triggger from Cactus V4 and V5 support old flashes.

    I have just ordered from ebay optical slave when I get it i will report my conclusions.
    Rotating Hot Shoe Flash Slave Optical Sensor New | eBay

    By the way remote triggering is great fun and I do it allot lately.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehudlavon/8525348262/" title="Lets play by Ehud Lavon, on Flickr"> 8525348262_a8549e7b64_b. "842" height="1024" alt="Lets play"></a>
    • Like Like x 1
  16. PENpal

    PENpal Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 15, 2011
  17. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
  18. PENpal

    PENpal Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 15, 2011
    Elavon, I forgot to mention that it is the Thyristor 3500 and it shows a Yes (?) on the link you posted..Thanks.. can't afford to fry both cameras...My wife will kill me :biggrin:
  19. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I think you have to have realistic expectations of what just can be achieved in low light situations. If you are shooting at 1.7/1.8 and are hitting 1/60 of a second @40000 ISO everything is still too dark..... then possibly it is just too dark!!!

    Switiching to spot metering might allow you to get a more accurate reading for the areas that are lit, as opposed to metering the full frame, as this will try and bring up the shadows and bring down the shutter speed.

    Other thing is to perhaps sacrifice colour and go for B/W - that covers a multitude of sins... learning effective post production is also a big help

    here is an extreme example of this


    more example from the same low lit bar

    Hotsy Totsy Blues 01/13 - a set on Flickr

  20. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Thank you very much. I definitely did not know about stopping down the lenses to improve the sharpness. I will try this. Thanks also for the rest of the comments, I'm learning a good bit :smile: Just to make sure, where in the menu would I look for the IBIS?

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed input. I really appreciate it! :2thumbs: Even if it does not work for me as well as hoped, it's very clear and has a lot of explanation. Well done!

    To the other contributors, thank you very much as well. I need to hear about not only what I might improve or do better, but also that I might be attempting something out of the realm of possibility (with present technology). I do have control over the room lighting in that particular venue, so I might try to convince my partners to illuminate the scene a little more. Who knows, I very small increase in the light might make things much easier..
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