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Best first lens for Olympus EPL-1

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by boatman37210, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    I just purchased a new Olympus EPL-1 body only. It is a very beautiful camera, but that is coming from someone who knows very little about cameras and photography. I want to delve into photography as maybe a hobby, but have a very limited budget. Considered buying an entry level DSLR, but in my search stumbled onto the micro four thirds system. Not sure if I made the right decision to go micro four thirds rather than DSLR, but for now that is the route I have chosen. The EPL-1 has been around for a while and the price has come down. Many people think it is the best bang for the buck at this time and is the reason I purchased.

    The only cameras I have ever owned are small point and shoot. The one I have now is a sub-compact Polaroid and I have been very happy with it. Easy to carry and in my opinion gives good photos. It has been well rated by many users. However, from what I have read there are better pictures to be had from cameras with bigger sensors than the small point and shoot. Plus I would like to learn more about photography.

    I need to buy my first lens. From everything I have read, the Panasonic 20mm is a must have lens and probably should be the first lens anyone should buy. However, the price range at this point is $400 to $500 and even higher which is way out of my budget at this time.

    I have narrowed it down to two lenses. The Olympus 14-42mm II (second generation) and the Panasonic 14-45mm. The Olympus I can get for $150. The Panasonic $272. The Olympus is more in my price range, but willing to maybe buy the Panasonic if it is worth the difference. Supposedly the Panasonic is a little bit better, but some think choosing either would not be a wrong decision.

    Two questions:

    Is the Panasonic worth another $122?
    Should I consider another lens rather than either of these two?

  2. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    I would recommend a kit zoom for someone coming from the point & shoot world, however the value and quality of primes cannot be overstated.

    I would say that if you're willing to spend nearly $300 on a lens, pick up the Olympus 14-42 (II if you want to shoot video), and take the remainder of your budget and get the Panasonic 14mm that MajorMagee eluded to.

    I would also consider the Olympus 17mm, or the Sigma 19mm (used, of course) instead of the Panasonic 14mm.

    You'll have the flexibility of the zoom and the quality of the prime when you need either.
  3. brutto

    brutto Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Aaaargh silversx80 types quicker than me and puts it so much better... But I'd still start with just the 14-42. :thumbup:

    Great choice of camera! Yes, the Pana 20 is "worth the extra" in IQ terms but... you might want to consider starting with the 14-42 II; finding your feet with the camera; trying the different focal lengths it zooms too and then buying a prime a few months down the road.

    You might decide you need a wider prime (Oly 12/2 say) or longer one (Oly 45/1.8). It suits me to have an Oly 17/2.8 + 45/1.8 with my E-P3. If you can buy the 14-42 II second-hand, you won't lose anything when you come to sell it.

    Coming from a small P&S, I think you will be blown away by the results you get from the E-PL1 + 14-42 II. It's a great camera and very good lens - certainly as capable as the kit lens you would have got with an entry-level DSLR. The combo is capable of very fine photos and so much more convenient than a DLSR.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Those are good options to start with. If you can find the 14-42II secondhand, you should be able to get a good one for $100 or less. I'd not bother with the Panasonic unless you find a much better deal - it's a slightly better lens, but the money is better saved for other things.

  5. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    i prefer the stabilization in the panasonic lenses myself. i found it more effective than the epl1's in body stabilization, but everyone has their own preferences. my panasonic 14-45 is also a nice sharp lens, very good for the price, and very light for a stabilized lens, too.
  6. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    Consider getting the new 12-50mm that many members are selling from their new OMD E5 kits...
    it is wide, has zoom, and macro.....
  7. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    That is a very good idea about the 12-50, roughy the same cost as the 14-45 (comparing new ones).

    But the Olympus 14-42 II R can be found for about $100 new. Check out the Buy & Sell, if you're give it a day or two you're bound to find one.
  8. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    I agree, the only lens so far that has made me grab it instead of the 14-42R is the 14-150. The 12-50 might be a little slow at 50mm for a first lens, but I'd love that 12mm end!
  9. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I don't think a 14-42 plus 14/2.5 is a good idea. The 14-42 is a good lens to start with. Used copies are around for about $100. I would suggest adding one of the telephoto zooms for versatility. The Olympus 40-150 is available now for $150 refurbed or the Panasonic 45-200 is about $200 used. The two zoom lens kit offers a lot of versatility and opportunity to learn on a pretty low budget.

    After using the zooms for a while and learning what interests you you'll have some baseline to expand from. Adding a 14/2.5 to a kit zoom gets one extra stop at one focal length. The 14 is a great bargain, but would fit in better with a set of prime lenses which would require a much higher budget.

  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you can't afford the "must-have" Lumix 20mm f/1.7, then get one of the cheaper pancakes like the m.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 or the Lumix 14mm f/2.5. If you had a Four-Thirds mount adapter already, then the Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 would also fit in that price range. These are all faster and sharper than kit zooms. Your choices are far broader than one prime.
  11. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I have an E-PL1 and agree with Fredlong. Get the 14-42 II or II R first, then if you want more zoom get the 40-150 next. Get primes if and when you have alot more money to spare or if you do alot of indoor low light shooting

    To save even more money you could consider the 14-42 ED (the first version of the 14-42) as it had the same image quality as the II and II R, its just slower focusing and the focusing is noisy when shooting video. The 40-150 zoom focuses fast and silently under all conditions.

    A downside of the 20 1.7 is somewhat slow and noisy focusing and that's why everyone is hoping Pany will come out with a new generation version soon.
  12. atomic

    atomic Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    I have to agree with the 14-42 ii olympus kit lens. Save the rest of your photo budget and try to build that budget up while you shoot with the kit. After a few months look back at your photos. What focal length are you using the most? Do you often feel the need/desire for more zoom? Then either match your favorite focal length with one of the fantasic primes available, or add a telephoto zoom for more reach. Try not to get too caught up in all the lens talk in these forums or you'll end up with a bag full of lenses and an empty wallet pretty quickly. Ask me how I know ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  13. flipmack

    flipmack Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 23, 2012
    irvine, CA
    kit zoom first. the 14-42 II is a great lens - way better than the 14-42 I.

    Considering the EPL1's max 1/2000 shutter speed, the utility of a fast lens is somewhat diminished outdoors during normal daylight conditions. Other than the max shutter speed limitation, the EPL1 is a great camera. I still haven't found a reason to upgrade.

    I have three lenses with my EPL1 - the 14-42 II, the Sigma 30/2.8, and the ZD 35/3.5 macro (adapted using the DMW-MA1). It's a complete kit as far as I'm concerned.

    Also consider the VF-2 as a next purchase after the lens.
  14. 6x6

    6x6 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    The 14-42 is quite easy to get second hand and a good starting point.
    Then you can progress to a favourite affordable prime, be it 14 or 20 or 45.
  15. Jorg.S

    Jorg.S Mu-43 Regular

    I too think you should go with a used 14-42 II and maybe later get the 40-150mm zoom that can be had for $100 - $150 used.
    That would give you some nice range.
    If you need something faster later you can go for one of the legacy lenses with adapter or a 19mm sigma very cheap on the used market.

    I too have the Epl1 with the 14-42IIR and the 40-150 lenses.
    I did add the Olympus 45mm refurbished for about $300.00 and have a few screw mount with adapter.
    A good place to check for refurbished micro 4/3 stuff is Cameta.com
  16. boatman37210

    boatman37210 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2012
    Thanks everyone for all the great info. Ended up ordering the Oly 14-42 M2. There are so many different opinions and routes to go, it's hard to really decide. A limited budget reduces your choices, so this is the route I've chosen for now.

    I have another question. Saw this in a review on the Pan 14-45mm:

    "One curiosity is that, while Panasonic is correcting lateral chromatic aberration in software, Olympus doesn't seem to be following suit. This means that if anyone does choose to use this lens on an Olympus E-P1, they will see this fringing in their shots." I've seen in a couple of other reviews similar statements, but not necessarily about the Pan 14-45.

    This statement tends to make me think it is best to use Oly lenses with Oly cameras.
    Has anyone encountered a problem with using a Pan lens on a Oly camera where picture quality was worse than on the Pan camera?

  17. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    On an absolute basis, yes, you will get some uncorrected CA using a Panasonic lens on an Olympus camera.

    In picture taking situations, most Panasonic lenses don't exhibit enough of it to matter at all. If it is there, it shows up at the edges of the image and with wider angles. If you view at 100X, or make large prints of landscapes or cityscapes, you would see it.

    The Panasonic 14mm is well known for the above issues. Some people can't use it because the CA makes them sick. Yet there's a thread about it being the best deal, https://www.mu-43.com/f92/best-deal-micro-four-thirds-period-26310/

    Anyway, if you avoid Panasonic lenses, you will miss out on some great lenses that have no issues, and some great values that work in spite of these issues. This applies to any lens. The main thing is to enjoy your photos and not obsess over little details or imperfections.
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