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Best "nifty-fifty" under US$350

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by CVigilV, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. CVigilV

    CVigilV Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Oct 14, 2013
    I would like to know which is the best normal lens for :43: under US$350.



    This will be THE ONLY lens i will have for a while (Going to buy the P35-100 f/2.8 in a future) so I want to have a good enough lens to be able to do landscapes, sport photo (Especially for longboarding and hiking) and macro (Imverted mounting).



    I have thought in:

    Sigma 30mm 1.8

    Pany 20mm 1.7



    Any other opinions? I can buy used lens, but they must be :43: in a good condition and be able to send them to Chile
     
  2. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    In terms of IQ, the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is hands down your best option under $350. The Sigma 19mm & 30mm lenses are good and cheap, but can't compete.
     
  3. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    What camera body are you putting it on? I really like my P20 a lot, but have heard it focuses noticably slower on Olympus bodies (also putting things on the front like hoods will slow it down). If you go with a native lens, you will be shooting wide open for macro, which already has a very shallow depth of field. I would suggest getting a legacy lens for this (could easily find one for ~$25) as you would be able to stop down the aperture. Before getting the P20, I used a legacy 28/2 (pretty close to the Sigma 30) and got some great shots with it as well. It was a bit tight for some indoor work, but nice outside when you wanted just that bit of reach over the 20. Longboarding will be pretty tough to do with a normal lens (that whole water thing), and not sure what you mean by "sport hiking". Landscapes could be done with either (not everything needs an ultra-wide). Have you used a ILC camera before? If so, did you fancy a bit less or a bit more than that system's "normal"?
     
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Actually, it depends what you need it for. I own both the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and the Sigma 19mm f2.8, simply because I got the Sigma in a good bundle of stuff, and haven't been inclined to sell it because I find it useful.

    The Panasonic's extra 1.5 f-stops is great for low light, and blurring background, but it's slow focusing can be an issue with rapidly moving subject matter. For ~$100 used in excellent shape, the Sigma is optically a great lens, and focuses MUCH faster than the Panasonic.
     
  5. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    204
    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    Martin
    If you have a PM2, PL5, EM5, GH3 and like to do high ISO shots (1600 or greater), the Panasonic 20mm is known to cause banding in the shadows. I have the PL5 and I had the 20mm and it ruined a lot of shots that I liked. I then switched to the Oly 17mm 1.8 and never looked back. Don't regret the switch at all.
     
  6. larsjuhljensen

    larsjuhljensen Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Jun 26, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I only have first-hand experience with the Panasonic 20mm, which is great. However, I find it hard to see how it will fill the roles you want. For landscape photography it can work fine.

    For longboarding, it depends a bit on what you mean. Are you talking about surfing or skateboarding? In either case I think you'd be in trouble. For surfing you need a much longer lens than a normal. And for longboard skateboarding you'd need a much faster focusing lens.

    As Cruzan80 pointed out, reverse mounting a native lens is also problematic. You'd be unable to stop down, which would give you hopelessly shallow depth of field.

    Just a polite question: are you sure a normal prime is what will serve you best? As much as I love the 20mm, I find it a suboptimal choice for what you want to do. When I do landscape photography, I usually shoot at f/5.6 or f/8, so a fast prime is not needed. For outdoor sports there is usually also enough light that aperture is no major concern. And for macro, you want to stop down to something like f/11 as you struggle to overcome the shallow depth of field.
     
  7. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I'd suggest a dedicated manual legacy lens for macro. They're cheap enough.

    Maybe get the Sigma 19mm for your main lens, and a separate macro lens. Budget-wise, you'd still be only in the ~$200 range for both combined.

    I could even get you a nice 3-prime set for within your budget:

    14mm f2.5 for landscapes ~ $150 used
    30mm f2.8 for stuff the 14mm is too wide for ~ $120 used

    Legacy Macro: 50mm f3.5 either Canon or Minolta or Vivitar 55mm ~$60 used.
     
  8. dadadude

    dadadude Mu-43 Regular

    156
    Jun 12, 2013
    San Carlos, CA
    David
    Go legacy. You can get a 50mm 1.4 for $50 or less. I don't understand the aversion to setting the aperture and manually focusing. Heck for $350 you can get a 28, 35, 50, 85, 135, 200mm, 50 macro w/tubes and an adapter.
     
  9. CVigilV

    CVigilV Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Oct 14, 2013
    Wow didn't really have a second thougth of it.

    The problem then is that I live in Chile and I'll buy the stuff thru B&H so I couldn't easily buy the legacy lens and adapters.

    And I like the challenge of the "high aperture macro" so reverse mounting is what I chose but I also have the chance to get the Oly 60mm macrp lens earning some money.





    Sent from my RM-825_eu_poland_261 using Tapatalk
     
  10. dadadude

    dadadude Mu-43 Regular

    156
    Jun 12, 2013
    San Carlos, CA
    David

    ebay for the adapters and lenses. Adapters are cheap as dirt from China. I especially like Minolta Rokkor MC lenses.
     
  11. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Hi Doug, you're right, of course, but please not that we're both right: I constrained my statement to image quality alone. The 20mm f/1.7 destroy bot the Sigma 19mm and 30mm in resolution, particularly on the frame edge, has less CA than either lens, and has less vignetting at comparable apertures (i.e. f/2.8). Those are IQ issues and the 20mm wins hands down there.

    Focusing is another story...
     
  12. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Hi Dadude.
    I don't mean to hijack....but my Minolta SR (MC/MD) adapter is coming today. I have a few Rokkor 50s (1.7s) sitting around and some zooms (kiron,etc), but have been looking around at other Minolta on fleabay/craigslist.

    I thought I read the MD had newer/better coatings than the MC....could you list a few of your favorites? (i've been reading the adapted image threads).
    Looking at 135mms and 40/50/57s mostly. I know the Konica Hexanons get raves too...so considering those as well....the Oly OM 135mm looks sharp and small too, but pricier.

    Thanks
     
  13. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    As a long time Minolta 35mm SLR shooter, I'll jump in here: Some of the MD coatings are better, but it's a very slight difference.

    The best wide is the 24mm f2.8 but unfortunately, this lens' greatness (so great that Leica licensed the lens from Minolta for the R-mount) is largely wasted on the 4/3 frame.

    The 16mm f2.8 fisheye is also well regarded, was also licensed by Leica for the R-mount, but the same caveat holds when cropping onto 4/3.

    The various 28 and 35mm lenses are all decent, nothing spectacular.

    Among the normal lenses, the 50mm f1.7 is the best, along with the cheapie 45mm f2. The 50mm f1.4 is one of those lenses that makes great dreamy bokeh wide open, but it sharpens and gets contrasty by f2.8, but it's never better than the two cheaper lenses I listed above. The 50mm f3.5 Macro is great, and can be found quite cheaply - I just bought one for $45 all in on the 'bay.

    Among the teles, the 85mm f1.7 is superb, but folks are on to it, so it's tough to get for less than $250 or more. The later 85mm f2 is smaller and lighter, but not any better, but can be gotten more reasonably.

    100mm f2.5 is an excellent lens, but it's reputation tended to be overshadowed by the Nikon 105mm f2.5. It's not easy to find, so it's not cheap either.

    All of the 135mm lenses are very abundant, and all are good, not spectacular. As a result, you can usually pick up a 135mm f3.5 for under $40, and a 135mm f2.8 for around $50.

    The 200mm f3.5 and the later, smaller and lighter 200mm f4 are also good and relatively inexpensive on the used market.

    Minolta also made a 250mm f5.6 mirror lens that's the smallest 35mm film mirror lens ever made (it's smaller and lighter than the 85mm lenses), and has become a cult item - selling for over $1000 nowadays.

    Minolta also made 500mm and 800mm f8 mirror lenses that were well regarded, but not the cult items the 250mm is.

    Minolta's 300mm f4.5 and f5.6 lenses are good, but conventional designs that didn't use high tech ED or LD glass, so they are not at the leading edge of what's out there from Nikon and Canon
     
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  14. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Only one he didn't mention is the 58 1.4. Dreamier than the 50 (at least from pictures), and sharp as a tack past about 4-5.6. It has gone up as more and more mirrorless are finding out about it (~$60-85, mint copies can get over $100, got mine for ~10). On APS it is just longer than 85mm equivalent, and on m4/3 it is pretty much portrait only.

    Highly second the 45mm option. Got mine as new old stock, and lives on my camera possibly the most, with the P20 and the Vivitar 28/2 as second. Something just works for me with this lens. Compact off the camera (though the MD 50/1.7 isn't much bigger). Love the 90mm equivalent FoV.

    On my MC 50 1.7 and MD 50 1.7, the MD edges out in contrast, but only at 100% crops, and nothing the contrast slider in LR couldn't correct for. I have found the MC easier to disassemble to clean, as well as am able to adjust the infinity stop on the helicoid for exact infinity on the adapter I use.
     
  15. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    Don't get a legacy lens for sporty stuff, unless you have patience and willing to have a high ratio of throwaway shots vs keepers.
     
  16. CVigilV

    CVigilV Mu-43 Regular

    30
    Oct 14, 2013
    That's a good point...

    Which sport lens would you recommend if I like to get into the action?



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free
     
  17. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    No idea mate. I have patience, tripod and a large sd card which kinda works well with a Nikon 300mm ie see this post.

    For a native sports lens your wish for a P35-100 f/2.8 could work well, but I have no idea on its focusing speed. For now, get the Sigma 30mm and a cheap legacy for macro. Then get something dedicated for sports later.
     
  18. Not saying that either is a bad choice, but both 20mm and 30mm really push the boundaries of what I consider as a normal focal length. The field-of-view of the 30mm is too restrictive for me, and my idea of a normal lens is one where you can start properly playing around with depth-of-field at non-macro focusing distances. I found the 20mm to just barely teeter on the edge of this criteria.
     
  19. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran

    572
    Dec 31, 2012
    BH Photo sells used (e.g., legacy lenses) and adapters so you can buy legacy through BH.

    For MFT specific lenses, it really depends on what you are planning to shoot. If you need a fast lens, the P 20mm is a good choice. If you don't need a fast lens, the Sigma 19mm and 30mm are inexpensive alternatives. If you can pay a little more, the PL 25mm is an excellent choice.

    Based on your budget, I suggest the P 20mm.
     
  20. dadadude

    dadadude Mu-43 Regular

    156
    Jun 12, 2013
    San Carlos, CA
    David
    Well as Doug said the MD coatings are slightly better, but I have a thing for all metal construction if possible. The 58mm 1.4 is just a fantastic lens as is the MD 50mm 1.4. The 45mm 2.0 is super sharp and nearly as small as the 40mm Hexanon that usually goes for two to three times the price. The 85mm MD 1.7 is awesome as a short tele photo, but yes they are expensive these days although I was lucky to stumble on one recently for $5 at a moving sale. I have both the MC 28mm and 35mm HG and they are quite nice for standard or portrait usage. Seriously it's hard to go wrong because most are so cheap that if you find something better you can sell and not lose money. On the other hand adapters are $10 on ebay including shipping. I recommend trying a few different types of lenses if you can find them. I love Hexanons, Canon FL, Takumars and Rokkors. I'm sure if I had some Zuiko, Yashinon and Nikkor lenses I would sing the praises of those also. I'm not a pixel peeper so take that into account although I have spent the last 36 years in the graphic arts world, imaging from some of the best commercial photographers in the country. I know this is the Native lens part of the forum so I will stop now before I get admonished.
     
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