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Beginner looking for helpful lens advice

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Tuglife, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Tuglife

    Tuglife New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2012
    Hello all. I'm new to this forum and to photography in general. I've had multiple point and shoots but decided to try and take it a little more serious. I recently purchased an E-p3 with the 14-42 kit lens and am just starting to get the hang of things. I'm looking for advice on what other lenses to buy. Like I said I'm a novice so the general must haves to cover normal scenarios are what I'd like. Price is certainly a factor so something cheaper or readily available used would be preferable. I'm a merchant mariner working aboard ocean-going tugboats with a lot of great photo opportunities I also travel quite a bit backpacker style so the basic amateur staples are what I'm looking for. Also if you could provide an explanation of what the lenses are best used for and maybe where to find them cheap i'd appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Panasonic 20/1.7
  3. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    There are many cheap good primes and tele zoom.
    What type of photos do you take.
    If low light then the 20mm is great.
    For telephoto there are the P45-200 or the other 45-150 all are quit cheap.

    If you want to get even cheaper and willing to manual focus there are many legacy primes.

    The best place to look is in the buy & sell thread or Ebay.

    But before we can give you advice you need to chose the type of photographie you want to shot.
  4. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    In your situation I would wholeheartedly recommend the Olympus 14 - 150mm 10 x super zoom
    This covers wide to a good telephoto focal length, has good image quality and is very light and not much bigger than a standard kit zoom
    It's the most versatile walk around / general purpose lens you can get for the money it costs and will cover most eventualities and situations
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    you have to look at the photos you are taking... and the ones you think aren't working for you.

    if you are shooting at the wider end of your zoom, but the pictures are dark or blurry... then look to the 20/1.7. If you find your subject is too small then either learn to move closer or pick up a 45-200... but that wont help in darker situations

    photography is about compromises... fast lenses are never cheap... long lenses are never fast

    work out with the kit lens what you like photographing and then decide which lens will make your photography more satisfying... you will want faster or longer... sadly if you add inexpensive to the equation then you will have to choose one or the other

  6. Tuglife

    Tuglife New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2012
    Thanks, that's been very helpful so far. I guess my photography would be a bit of a dichotomy. On the boat, where I spend half my life, I'm shooting landscapes, or seascapes fwiw, mostly in full light but all natural so certainly changing constantly. My distance from subject is fairly non negotiable as we're generally pushing or towing roughly 2.1 million gallons of gasoline at a time so moving in for a closer shot of tanker ships or rocky coastline is unadvisable.
    On the other hand my wife and I own and operate a fine lingerie boutique so I would like to be able to take product shots for our website and promotions, photos of the store, and eventually maybe even live model fashion photography if I ever feel confident enough in myself.
  7. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I concur with idea of the 14-150 as the best cost-effective way to cover a variety of shooting opportunities. Best deal is usually at Cameta, $330 for a factory demo. You may find a used one for a few bucks less here or on ebay or FredMiranda.com.
  8. Tuglife

    Tuglife New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2012
    The 14-150 sounds like a pretty sound desicion for what I'll be shooting. Would that negate my need for the 14-42?
  9. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    For web publishing products and boutique pictures the 14-42 is decent if used with a tripod. So first get a tripod that will enable you to make clear product and shop photos. You do not need an expensive one, just get one with quick release and a ball head. Any medium quality that support up to 5lb from Slik, Manfrotto, Oben it should not cost more then 100$.
    Since you have covered the shop needs from wide to short tele range with the kit I would recommend a zoom from 45-150/200. You can get any of the lenses they are all good with the 45-200 has the longest reach but heavy. You can get most of then used on Ebay for around 200$.
    I would not go the 14-150 path because you have covered the low end and the cost is higher while the lens quality is lower.
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Please don't. Hire a professional to take your product and model shots. Just how much do you and your wife value your business? Your product photos are essential to your image and marketing. You're asking about upgrading from a kit lens, and I'm sure you don't know the first thing about lighting (to be realistic, please don't think I'm trying to be insulting!). Which is only natural for a person in your shoes. You're not a professional photographer and shouldn't expect to be - photography is not your job and you have a completely different, unrelated job... but you should not be entrusting the image of your business to somebody who is not a professional in that field.

    Think of it this way. If you were some stranger unrelated to yourself or your wife, would you ask yourself to take the product photos for your business, irregardless of the cost? If your answer is no, then why would you trust you to take those photos just because you're your wife's husband and partner? This is a BUSINESS, not a social gathering. Your relationship to your wife and partnership in the business should have NO bearing on your suitability to shoot and publish product photos.

    This is no lens advice, but I do hope you'll take to heart this advice from a fellow business owner, entrepeneur, and professional photographer (product and fashion photographer, at that). Don't cut corners where it counts the most!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    The Olympus 14-42mm is a good lens, especially if it is the "II" or "II R" version. My first additional lens was the Olympus 40-150mm telezoom, which I can recommend as a perfect complement to the 14-42. You can combine their ranges with the 14-150, but all that throw costs more money. Cameta prices for refurbished lenses (which I use and suggest to anyone on a budget) are $330 for the 14-150mm and $160 for the 40-150mm.

    I haven't priced the Pany 45-200, but I'd guess that it's more expensive than the Oly 40-150 because it's longer and it has image stabilization in the lens. You don't need image stabilization in the lens because Olympus put it in your camera. Also, I think you could get by without the longer reach because you can crop a 150mm shot to look like a 200mm shot on the infrequent occasions when you need it. I know, you lose resolution, but your sensor has resolution to spare. That's why I tend to shoot on the wide side, then crop for composition later.

    With your lens(es) covering the 14-150mm range, I think the next part of your photographic education would be learning how to process raw image files into jpg files, starting with the free Olympus Viewer 2 program. Post-processing is a huge part of digital photography, but a part that we don't talk about much in the gear forums.

    If you want to shoot in low light, I suggest you start with a used 50mm SLR lens, using an inexpensive adapter that fits the lens to your camera's micro 4/3 mount. Practice manual focusing (with a magnified LCD image) and using aperture to control depth of field. The lens and adapter will total less than $100.

    I do not suggest you buy any expensive prime lenses at this point. Better for you to play with your zooms and learn what focal lengths are best suited to your eye and your subjects. Experimenting with expensive primes is a rich man's game.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    ^^ Richard good points.
  13. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I would like to join Richard in his advise, especially on the the 40-150mm; the 14-150 would just double your 14-42 at quite a high price. Yhe only reason to go that way is if you would prefer to keep lens switching to a minimum (something I could understand on board; you don't want to switch lenses while standing in salt spray). The 40-150 would give you quite a full range for much less, and allow you to figure out what other lenses are needed.

    A wide angle zoom might come in handy if you regularly find yourself with your back pressed to the wall.
    Regular cropping of 150mm pic would steer you towards a longer zoom.
    If low light keeps you from getting what you want, one or two fast primes might do the trick, but take your time to figure out what you need by looking at the pictures you already made.
  14. Tuglife

    Tuglife New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2012
    @elavon, richardB and janneman - I appreciate the input. That was precisely my concern. As a beginner I've no need for redundancy with my lenses at this point especially where cost is affected. Given the choice I'd prefer to have two separate lenses for the low and high ends. A 40-150 especially at that price sounds great.

    @Ned - I completely understand what you're saying, no offense taken. I've got much much much to learn and I would certainly not want to sully our shop's image with amateurish hobbyist attempts at fashion and retail photography. As a Fine lingerie boutique appearing classy and legitimate is very important. I can promise you my wife will never let an image see paper if its not up to standard. At this point it is only a goal I'm working towards in hopes of eventually being competent enough in the future.

    That being said my wife and I were not professional business owners before we opened our boutique. We built our business from scratch with little to no idea of what we were doing. If we had waited until we were completely prepared or had to rely solely on those with professional experience it would never have happened. I've designed and completely renovated two now beautiful locations on my own despite being completely out of my range of expertise. There was no money to hire professionals so I learned. Such is the plight of small business ownership. If you're not willing or capable to do things for yourself they won't happen. In my life at least, when completely prepared, the outcome at best was what I had expected, often less. Only when in over my head, through trial by fire have I been rewarded beyond my expectations. My wife is from Russia where they have a saying, "Those who never risk never taste champagne."

    Despite all that idealistic BS ^^ I have a LONG way to go before I'll be even close to passing off my photos as professional quality. I'm excited to learn and try new techniques though and I have more than a couple professional photographer friends who are prepared to be annoyed by my questions and pleas for guidance.
  15. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    There is nothing wrong with trying this yourself. I started digital photography doing product shots a long time ago. Of course at first they were awful, but you have to start somewhere. I learned a lot by working with professionals and by teaching myself.

    I would advise working with a pro while you learn. You'll need to invest in lighting and a tripod more than anything. That is more important than a $1000 lens. There are tons of good books and classes you can take as well.
  16. Tuglife

    Tuglife New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2012
    I do have a tripod somewhere. Lighting not so much. I'm thinking despite learning on my own I'll see if I can hire some of my photographer friends to come do some shoots with my equipment, so i can apply it easier, and sort of instruct me along the way.
  17. Tuglife

    Tuglife New to Mu-43

    Dec 29, 2012
    While I have all your knowledgable attention I'd like to ask about an old non native lens I have that belonged to my mother. It's a Mamiya/Sekor Auto 1:4.5 f=200mm. It's in great shape as far as I can remember. I used to experiment with it years ago with the 35mm Mamiya body which has since died. Just wondering since m42 adapters were so cheap on eBay would it be worth trying out? Couldn't find much info on this online so no clue if its junk or not.
  18. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Little to risk. It will give you a long tele and the Olympus body will give you the stabilization. I do not own an Olympus but i remember that you need to set focal length in order that the stabilization work.
    Good luck on your projects.
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