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Best New Lens for E-PL1? (+ noob questions)

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Gusnyc, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    Hi Everybody!

    I got my E-PL1 a couple of weeks ago. I really like it. I've been reading the posts about lenses and I got tempted to get the Panasonic 20mm/f.17.

    I am totally new to this exchangeable lenses thing, so I would ask for some suggestions. I saw that some people love their 20mm Panny lens and some others enjoy the Oly 17mm.

    My considerations are:

    -I would like a small lens to make the E-PL1 small enough to take it with me everywhere.

    - I love close ups/bokeh

    - My next purchase will be the underwater case. I am a scuba diver and I will be going to the Great Barrier of Reef for 3 weeks in May. I will need a flexible lens to use underwater (in that regard, the wider angle of the 17mm seems better, right?) This will be my first experience shooting underwater.

    - I would like a lens that will have good performance in low light.

    - I am not sure what makes a lens more "flexible", faster speed or wider angle.

    - I am afraid of a prime lens. Is that to restrictive (I know, I know, I am a totally newbie)

    I can see that this will be an expensive 4/3 journey. The camera was a gift, but now I am thinking about the lens, the viewfinder (I got used to use the viewfinder with my previous Lumix FZ50) and the underwater case. Oh my!

    Please, I would love to hear your suggestions.


    P.S. I pressed that damned "buy now" button in Amazon for the 20mm. But I can still cancel or change the order. I am trying to control my buyer's remorse.

    I apologize if this post should go in another category. I wasn't sure because of the extra questions.
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Gus, 20mm is a very versatile focal length for MFT, and the speed really comes in handy. You are unlikely to have buyer's remorse after using this lens. My advice is to wait for your new lens to arrive. You're going to love it.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. alans

    alans Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 28, 2010
    You may consider an UW flash to go with that housing as well or UW video light to shoot some video down there. Just a thought as you're going to be spending a good amount of time diving and you'll have great opportunities for stills and video. Sorry for the damage to your budget though...

    I have the 17mm and just got the 20mm yesterday. My first reaction after trying the 20mm was WOW. I think that you will like it.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. vietcam

    vietcam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2010
    I am using the 20mm on my new epl1 as well and I highly recommend it. I will have tough time taking pictures of my two kids in door if I don't have this lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    Thanks for the responses. So everybody here agree that the 20mm is a better choice over the 17mm?

    Alans, what made you say "wow"? Is the quality of the image? If you have to choose one or the other, would you go with the 20mm?

  6. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    The 20mm lens has a 1.7 f stop, while the 17mm has a 2.8 as its largest. This for some, is a deal maker because the 20mm allows more light in and is considered faster...which in certain lower light situations makes an important difference.

    There are plenty of people who love their 17mm, too.

    Each person has their own ideas about what's best for them. If you can go to a camera store like B & H Photo and look through any E-P and see these lenses in real life, I think it will help you make up your own mind pretty quickly. Not sure if you've tried this yet or not?

    Believe me, I know the "agony" of decision making when one does not have unlimited funds. If you were really bored, you could search my initial posts and you'd see my own angst at work.:wink::biggrin:

    P.S. I ultimately ended up buying the E-P2 with the 14-42 zoom and then the Panasonic 20mm due to its 1.7 f stop.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Gusnyc

    Gusnyc Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    New York
    Hi BBW. Thanks for your response. The 20mm has been shipped. I think I will get it tomorrow. I decided to get it because I think I prefer the idea of low light over the wide angle. I have a wide angle attachment for my FZ50, and I haven't use it as much as I thought I would. On the other hand I believe the bigger aperture will give me a wider range to play with bokeh, right? That would be a bonus.

    Unlimited funds. That would be fun. Specially this year. The iPad is just around the corner... ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  8. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I know. I have already begun my rationalization mode about the iPad. It will allow my husband a better way to surf the web, check his email, etc., rather than continuing to become frustrated and call out to me while he plugs away on an old, refurbished, can't be updated anymore ibook.:wink:
  9. Graham_of_Rainham

    Graham_of_Rainham Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 16, 2010

    When it comes to selecting a lens, I always advise people to do a very simple bit of analysis. Look at what focal length you use most and spend your hard earned cash on the best quality lens that covers those focal lengths

    To help with this analysis there is a usefull little program that will produce a graph of what focal lengths were used on the images that you have taken (Jpegs only) It also shows other settings used as well, so it can be useful when deciding if you need a body that has high ISO capabilities or fast shutter speeds.

    By using it, I'll probably go for the new ultra wide angle zoom (when it comes out) as this is where I tend to do most of my shots (with the E-System)

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