Amateur looking for best "next thing"

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Mar 12, 2019
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Hi all,

I've been shooting for a few years trying to learn photography a little better. I'm currently deployed, so thought I'd pick up a micro-four thirds after having a Canon 70D for a few years.

My current equipment:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 (original - not Mark II) -- I got it used.
14-42 kit lens
45mm f1.8 (my favorite)
40-150mm zoom

Mostly I enjoy doing landscapes, and closeups, like flowers and stuff. I tend to take a lot of food shots too :) I'd like to do night photography, maybe more with people in the future.

I found out recently that I have a military entitlement I wasn't expecting, and I can budget about $1500-$3000 for an upgrade. That's where my question is.

I know with the lenses that I have that I'm hitting some technical limits. I don't really have a macro lens, and none of my lenses are "pro" models. I'm aware with the E-M1 Mark II that there's a high resolution mode with multiple captures for something like 50-megapixel which sounds amazing. Even just the stock 20-megapixel verses 16 seems like 25% more detail with the same lenses I already own.

For learning, and what I use the camera for, would it be better to get a used Mk II body, or get another lens? If a lens, any recommendations? I know the E-M1X was just announced - do you think that will delay an E-M1 Mk III (and hence a price reduction on the Mk IIs?)

Thanks,

Dion
 

christofp

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I think the 45/1.8 and 40-150/5.6 are really good enough and a bargain.

Weakest point is the standard kit zoom

You could enhance your current setup like this:

  • replace the 14-42 with a 12-40/2.8 PRO lens.
    Much better fit to your EM1, 12mm is significantly wider, much sharper and some nice close-up capability. Around 500$.

  • For even better close up, buy a +3 diopter close up lens for your 40-150.
    Either the +3 diopter Marumi screw in or the Raynox +4.8 dioter snap on. 50$.

  • You might want to upgrade to EM5 ii or EM1 ii, depending on your haptical perference. Both offer HiRes and both have less long term issues regarding dial failure. 500$ / 1200$. EM1 reolution is not this much better (12% linear resolution) but noise is significantyl lower (I am using Max-ISO 3200 instead of 1600).


 

DynaSport

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With your budget you could get an E-M1ii, a 12-40 2.8 and a macro 60 2.8. I wouldn’t be afraid of used from a reputable source.
 
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Hi and welcome. The 12-40 pro is a tremendous lens, also the 60mm 2.8 macro is another that's tremendous value for money. If I was starting out with m4/3 these are the two I would buy.
 
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Thanks all. Already just from the responses, I see some common threads - first the weakest link is my kit lens, and the consensus is I should get the 12-40 pro. I will definitely get at least that one.

I think previously I shied away from this one as I often depend on automatic focus, but when I do, most of the time I'm already using the 40-150. But another nice thing is if I do replace the camera body, I can give one of my kids the one I have right now with the kit lens.

This is probably a very amateurish question, but my thought was the 45mm fulfills a very similar role to the 60mm. Is this correct? One of the primary reasons I love m43 is the size of it. The fact I can get my camera and two more lenses in a small sack is nice :) I'm trying to avoid lenses with similar functions.

Finally on whether to get the body or not. I may be misreading, but I get the feeling that you all see the lenses as the more important upgrade than the camera. I acknowledge the note about the dial issue -- I wasn't aware of that. So sounds like ultimately I'll need to replace the body anyway. Perhaps a better way of looking at the question - would (did?) you upgrade an E-M1 to an E-M1 MK II? If so, what convinced you the upgrade was worth it?

Also, thanks for the comment about buying used. Frankly, I'm a public servant with four kids and photography is an expensive hobby. So where it makes sense I definitely don't mind going the used route. The used E-M1 is probably the best photography purchase I've made. One of the things holding me back is paying $1400 for a used MK II frame, if the MK III comes out soon, and makes the II $1000 instead. I suppose there's always the risk of that happening. I also have a diopter (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GUP572) but I've found it a challenge to use effectively.

Appreciate the comments, and please keep them coming...

Dion
 

gnarlydog australia

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"upgrading" to a more current body did nothing for my photography (and I certainly can not see much difference in my images) but getting the lenses I desired made a world of difference :)
 

Acraftman

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You will love the 12-40 like everyone has mentioned, I also have the 60 macro which is amazing little lens but I think a lot of folks like the 30? macro just as well and it may be a bit smaller. I shoot with 5mkll and have no complaints with it as a great all round camera and it seems to be a good bargain used.
 

betamax

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I can vouch for the Panasonic Leica 8-18mm as a great walkaround lens if you like wide landscapes/cityscapes. I could easily go out with just that, and the 40-150mm that you already have. The 40-150mm is a little slow, but I'm often impressed at how sharp it is for a budget zoom.
 

cdmicha

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I'm also a huge fan of the 12-40 2.8. Putting it on the E-M1 gives you a fully weather sealed kit- which is great for all sorts of non-ideal weather shooting. With your 40-150, you also might look into the raynox 150 or 250 conversion lenses for macro. Having a dedicated macro lens would likely be easier to use, but for the money, they are a pretty fun investment. If you go for a macro lens, the 60mm is pretty hard to beat. It's a little more expensive, but gives you a longer working distance and more AF options.

Regarding the bodies- what do you plan on doing with the images? I ask because while having more resolution can be helpful sometimes, most of the time it's not. I've got the G9, and even though it's 20mp, most of the time I'm downsizing them to share online. I've used the pixel shift mode, and in some situations, it's pretty cool, but I don't see in my workflow using it all that much (even with landscapes). For me, upgrading to the E-M1.2 or G9 is more about feature sets, buffers, and video options (maybe a flippy screen?). Still image quality side by side is pretty similar.
 
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@Dion Houston Sr. welcome to mu-43.com... you’ve come to the right place! Lots of good people here, all levels of photogs, and an unending stream of (really good) advice. You’ll enjoy this lot... a lot!

First thing I did when switching from FF Nikon to m4/3 was to get good glass... makes a huge difference imo. As you can see however from viewing any of the glass specific showcase threads here it’s the eye behind the lens that really determines whether the photo is a keeper or not! Good glass does help though.

I’ve stayed the course (as you can see from my siggy below) and am not unhappy I did. I started with a new em5.2 cuz the new (at the time) em1.2 was out of my budget... as was some of the other glass that I needed ... ok covered... GAS is rampant in this forum btw. However, a good deal of my kit has been obtained from our very own Buy & Sell here at $$ substantially below original market retail.

If you have a little patience you can pick up a very nice kit here over time... and save some hard earned coin in the process. This may be easier than ever before as members of the mu-43 community succumb to the FF Gas attack. Of course they will be back , but in the meantime they will probably have offered up there “old” gear here at B&S.
 
D

Deleted member 20897

Guest
Thanks all. Already just from the responses, I see some common threads - first the weakest link is my kit lens, and the consensus is I should get the 12-40 pro. I will definitely get at least that one.

I think previously I shied away from this one as I often depend on automatic focus, but when I do, most of the time I'm already using the 40-150. But another nice thing is if I do replace the camera body, I can give one of my kids the one I have right now with the kit lens.

This is probably a very amateurish question, but my thought was the 45mm fulfills a very similar role to the 60mm. Is this correct? One of the primary reasons I love m43 is the size of it. The fact I can get my camera and two more lenses in a small sack is nice :) I'm trying to avoid lenses with similar functions.

Finally on whether to get the body or not. I may be misreading, but I get the feeling that you all see the lenses as the more important upgrade than the camera. I acknowledge the note about the dial issue -- I wasn't aware of that. So sounds like ultimately I'll need to replace the body anyway. Perhaps a better way of looking at the question - would (did?) you upgrade an E-M1 to an E-M1 MK II? If so, what convinced you the upgrade was worth it?

Also, thanks for the comment about buying used. Frankly, I'm a public servant with four kids and photography is an expensive hobby. So where it makes sense I definitely don't mind going the used route. The used E-M1 is probably the best photography purchase I've made. One of the things holding me back is paying $1400 for a used MK II frame, if the MK III comes out soon, and makes the II $1000 instead. I suppose there's always the risk of that happening. I also have a diopter (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GUP572) but I've found it a challenge to use effectively.

Appreciate the comments, and please keep them coming...

Dion
The 45 and 60 are only going to be similar in the role of a portrait lens. In a macro capacity the 60mm is the way to go. The 45 has some decent close focusing, but it is not going to be a true macro lens. On the macro lens front, I say don't be afraid to pick up a legacy mount macro, as you'll be using it mostly manual focus anyway. I use a Fotodiox Nikon f to m/43 adapter and a Nikon 55/3.5 Macro. Super sharp and 1:1.

The EM1.1 is a great camera, but every failing the EM1.1 has the EM1.2 addresses, IMHO. Better AF, refinement of the features in the EM1.1. Better dials, better EVF, better responsiveness and better battery life.

If m43 is your long term photographic home and you love the EM1 form factor, then the EM1.2 is the sweet spot.

I also will bandwagon on the O12-40/2.8 Pro. bang for the buck on a fast zoom lens, the 12-40 is really one of the best out there, bar none. Close focusing, fast/accurate, weather resistant.

I'd stick with the 40-150/4-5.6R unless you have a need for f/1.8 in that focal range. I loved my 40-150/2.8 when I had it, but if you value size and weight, the Pro lens is massive in comparison. Still not a huge lens in my mind, but others might think it pushes the limit for their small/light kit.

Right now, I'm shooting P12-32 and O75-300 zoom lenses and supplement those with fast primes when I need that light gathering, which include the Laowa 7.5mm f/2, O17/1.8, O45/1.8, and O75/1.8.

I can' think of anything else outside of that which I would need right now.
 
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Wow, lots more great comments! I have purchased the 12-40 -- found a good price on EBay (sad thing @pondball is I didn't realize there was a marketplace here until I read your comment!). It's going to travel halfway around the world (Australia->US->Kuwait) so probably won't see it soon, but I'm excited. :)

@gnarlydog australia - I hear you - advice soundly received. When post-processing I hit resolution issues with some shots I take, so I was thinking upping the resolution might get me better with the same lenses I already have, but sounds like I may need to re-think that.

@betamax - did not know much about Leica, but I went to their store in the Dubai Mall the other day - I'll definitely take a look at that -- German engineering! I don't have much to compare the 40-150 too, but it's my go to for many things :)

@cdmicha - starting to re-think life choices - I'm not unhappy with my current camera. A lot of times where I see the resolution being an issue is in telephoto shots where my subject still is a small portion of the shot. At 16MP it doesn't take long before it's blurry. But what I'm sensing is the extra resolution of the MK II may not help as much with that. I'm also intrigued by 4K video even though I mostly shoot stills.

@pondball - full frame is awfully tempting. I mean even the other day my wife and I were at the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), and the APS-C sensor of the Canon 70D allowed her to get more of herself and the building in the background than I could with the M43. I imagine full-frame would be even better. But I love the size of my camera - I can carry it everywhere, and the 2x equivalence of 35mm is great - smaller and just as far :)

Anyone have both the 45mm and 60mm?
 

Mike Wingate

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Get an O60mm Macro. You will love it. It will open up a whole new world, as well as being a good portrait lens.
 

Wisertime

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12-40 or go 12-100 even. I wouldn't blow the money on a body. They depreciate fast and unless you need the latest features, you won't see improvements in your photography. EM1's used are a steal now. 75% less than the MK II.
 

LilSebastian

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Good choice on the 12-40 and you may find the close focusing capabilities will satisfy your macro needs until the 30 or 60 macro lens is purchased. Also, consider a bright aperture lens such as f1.7 or f1.8 with a single focal length of your preference to allow better low light and night photos. For example, a Panasonic 15mm f1.7 or Olympus 25mm f1.8 as I do.
 

cdmicha

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Anyone have both the 45mm and 60mm?
I used to own the 45 1.8, 60 2.8, and 75 1.8. If you are looking to shoot macro, the 60mm is the way to go for sure. Personally, I wouldn't get it for a portrait lens if you've already got the 45 1.8. It can double as one if you didn't have another option, but the size and IQ of the 45 is hard to beat. I ended up selling my 60mm (I just don't do that much macro) as I found for "serious" portraits the 75 was much better, and for a lighter kit and smaller size the 45 is amazing.

The 60mm macro is a great lens, no doubt- and it has the benefit of having weather sealing- but for me the 45 and 75 made more sense.
 

Mack

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Anyone have both the 45mm and 60mm?
I have both of the Olympus 45mm lenses and the 60mm macro.

Out of the three, my favorite is the 45mm f/1.2 Pro as it is super-sharp and focuses very fast even in the dark being a f/1.2. The smaller Olympus 45mm is what I bought for the drone's camera and my first Olympus lens too, but it was primarily because the drone cannot take a lens more than 350 grams and it provides a bit of a telephoto effect.

The 60mm macro I use the least as it is very slow to focus as it hunts back and forth before stopping, maybe 2-3 seconds so I have to hold still or use a tripod because if I move, the hunting continues. It has a four position distance range selector that helps to speed it up, but it too is sort of a pain if you are on the border of one of the ranges.

I think my next lens will be the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 since it's the only one close to the wide end that I have other than my 7.5mm Laowa, but the Laowa is manual focus and has a strong vignette too. Since the Laowa is not electronic to the camera, some software will not recognize it to make corrections in the exif data.
 
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Carbonman

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A lot of times where I see the resolution being an issue is in telephoto shots where my subject still is a small portion of the shot. At 16MP it doesn't take long before it's blurry.
The 14-42 and 40-150R are probably the limiting factors in sharpness, not your 16MP E-M1i. The 12-40 will change the way you shoot - it's very sharp, relatively fast at a constant f2.8 and it focuses really close. I would keep your current body for now (and get the rear dial repaired if it ever fails) and concentrate on lenses. The 40-150 f2.8 is one of my favorite lenses for everyday shooting; it's amazingly sharp at any aperture. The 12-40 and 40-150 Pro will change your thinking about needing a 20MP sensor; it's the optics that make the difference and simplify post processing (lots less sharpening).
 
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Well all, you gave me plenty to ponder on! So 12-40 is a done deal - seems almost universal consensus this is a must have lens.

I understand now that the 45mm doesn't really perform the same function as the 60mm besides "portrait." I think that's actually more-or-less the "macro" I've done to this point. This is one I took a while back at F1.8 on my 45mm (if I were to retake, I'd probably go a little higher to get more of the mouth in focus). I assume the 60mm would allow me to capture this from farther and wider right?

F1.2 is crazy open! I can't see getting one right now, but that is pretty cool :) I'd really like to do some night photography, but unfortunately the base I'm on is very well lit. In a few months I'll be in a very different environment, so I'll re-look that then.

I'm still on the fence about getting the EM1.2 (that's a lot easier to write than E-M1 MK II!). I found when I was in Hawaii that too often I didn't bring my Canon, just because grabbing everything was a significant emotional event. I take my Olympus practically everywhere I go now. And the quality of the equipment is undeniable. So on the one hand, the EM1.2 seems like a decent long term investment based on the improvements, but it's kind of hard to argue when I can take great pictures without it. Hmmm....

Thanks for reaching out to the newbie. I heard on a video that this was a really great site for M43 info... It definitely is.

Dion
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algold

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Don't get carried away with GAS, there are just too many great m4/3 lenses.
But it might be a good idea to add a small fast lens in the 15-25mm range to the 12-40/2.8 you've ordered already.
 

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