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Cannot decide on a lens :mad:

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by colbycheese, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    378
    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    My birthday is coming up, so i was going to buy a lens on b and h. My birthday is
    about a week away. I wanted to get the 45-200 mm Panasonic lens (Panasonic 45-200mm f/4-5.6 G Vario MEGA O.I.S. Lens H-FS045200)
    The 20 mm 1.7 (Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Aspheric G- Series Lens H-H020 B&H)
    orPanasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm 1.4 (Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Micro 4/3 Lens)
    and finally, The olympus 45mm 1.8 (Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 Lens V311030SU000 B&H)
    Out of these lenses, which one do you think is the best value. I cannot decide between a fast prime lens or a slower telephoto lens. I have tons of birds in my area that i really want to photograph. I really want better performance in low light to. My budget is kind of tight and I am going on my trip soon so i have to pick only one.
     
  2. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    What lenses do you have now?
     
  3. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    378
    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    i only have the kit lens for epm1
     
  4. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    You obviously understand that you can't get both in the same lens. I think it comes down to what is more important to you - the extra reach or low light performance. Your kit lens + the 45-200 would give you a full range of focal lengths for travel (you mention you're going on a trip soon), but if you're traveling anywhere that you'll be wanting to take photos indoors or in low light situations you'll be out of luck unless you're willing to use a tripod, flash or are extremely competent in hand holding longer exposures. The 20mm or 25mm would give you a standard FOV lens with low light capabilities for general purpose shooting, but you'll be limited in your reach with the kit lens only going to 42mm. It it were me, I'd rather have the faster prime, but I'd go with the 20 or 25 as opposed to the 45 because the 20 or 25 are more versatile focal lengths.
     
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  5. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    So, the 45-200 would be a better fit, which would allow to pursue bird photography. You can always bump up the ISO for low light--I have done a lot of work indoors and in low light with f/5.6 lenses.
     
  6. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    If you only have the 14-42mm then I'd guess the most value for you would be a fast aperture general use lens like the 20mm f/1.7 or 25mm f/1.4 - the 25mm would be my preference over the two for everything except compactness. It's sharp even wide open, renders beautifully, nice bokeh and fall-off, and overall a great lens. The 20mm is a good value for the money though and offers very good performance in a tiny package, if size/price are bigger factors in your decision.

    The 45mm f/1.8 is more of a niche lens for portraits, and your kit lens can already do close to that focal length (albeit at a smaller aperture with deeper DoF). The 45-200 is a decent lens but if you really want to do wildlife shots you might want to consider the 100-300, as the extra reach is definitely noticeable for that use. That said, the 45-200 is a great bargain right now since they're going for < $200 if you shop around. The price may also drop even further in the near future with the new Panasonic 45-150 coming out, so you might want to wait a little longer.

    EDIT: Just wanted to add, for what it's worth my original lens duo was an Oly 14-42mm and the 20mm and I took a lot of photos with just those two. Looking back, I found the 20mm spent a lot more time on my camera due to the image quality and low light capabilities. I suspect you'll really enjoy having at least one fast prime in addition to your zoom.
     
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  7. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I feel like a "fast normal" (20/1.7 or 25/1.4) is nearly always the best choice as a second lens after the kit. It's just great for so many situations.

    However, if you're really into birding then you need a longer lens. Maybe you could find a decent/lightweight ~200mm f/4 legacy prime to use for a while until you can save up for a native lens like the 100-300 or something?
     
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  8. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I agree with what Eric, Will and particularly fin said: go with the "fast normal" lens. If your budget would accommodate the PL25, then I'd suggest you buy the P20 and spend the balance on a legacy tele for the birding.
     
  9. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    The trouble with duplicating the same focal length with a faster lens is it does not change what you can photograph. If you mostly shoot at 14mm, then a 20, 25, or 45 lens is not going to be used much. Since you have suggested that you are really interested in birds, the 45-200 zoom is going to give you something you cannot do. An adapted 200mm prime is not going to have AF. And with that reasoning, you could adapt a 50mm prime rather than get 45mm--but it still costs money.

    I find focal length is a more important quality than the speed of the lens. When you have a choice of focal lengths, then aperture can be a defining quality. Buying a lens because it is fast regardless of focal length does not make a great deal of sense to me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    280
    Jun 1, 2010
    UK
    How about the 100-300mm for birds and either 20 1.7 or 25 1.4 as a prime ?
     
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  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I agree that the 45-200 will give him a good deal of focal length coverage that he doesn't currently have with the 14-42, but I disagree that that is necessarily more valuable than the flexibility added by a fast lens. It may be for some, but I find the increased low-light ability, portability and focal length of the P20 to be invaluable.

    For another thing, I'm not certain that 200mm is really enough reach for birding. I think that if I were interested in getting serious about shooting birds, I'd want a 300mm lens. I have a hard time recommending the US$500 P100-300 to someone who doesn't seem to be totally into birding. He'd be better off in my mind to spend $50-100 on a decent legacy 300mm prime or 100-300mm zoom (and yes, I realize that he won't have autofocus) and then get the P20 for general use.

    Just my two cents.
     
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    The OP needs to figure out what he wants to use the equipment for. Without that, any advice is close to meaningless.

    Is long reach outdoors more important than shooting in fairly low light indoors, or vice versa? The 45-200 won't be much use for indoor shots of your friends or your children, the 20 and 25mm primes not much use for shooting wildlife, unless you're on very, very good terms with said animals.

    For low light work, I'd recommend the 20mm over the 25 simply because you're budget seems to be limited. The 25mm is a bit better, but I don't think you'll really notice the difference unless you print very large or crop very heavily, and it's quite a bit more expensive. The 20mm is only 1/2 stop slower, which isn't a very big difference. The 45, while very good optically, is more limited indoors. It's perfect for shots of individuals, but not so good for interiors or groups. The only thing that would make me conseder the 25 or 45 over the 20 is if you plan to shoot a lot of moving subjects, like kids or pets. The AF is noticeably faster on those two lenses than on the 20.

    If you want a longer lens for outdoor use, I'd again probably recommend the 45-200 over the 100-300 because it sounds like budget is a concern. The 100-300 is somewhat better, but also a lot more expensive, bigger, and heavier. And a FOV equivalent to 400mm (full frame) is plenty long. Lot's of people did birding with 300mm lenses on 35mm cameras. To be honest, though, regardless of which lens you mount m43 isn't ideal for birding, nor is a camera without an EVF. I think you'll find it very challenging to track fast moving birds with your E-PM1. For shooting large, stationary birds you'll probably be OK.
     
  13. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I only recommended the legacy telephoto option since aside from birding the OP specified limited funds and desire for better low light performance - depending on how limited the funds are the 20/1.7 and legacy telephoto could be a good value combination for now until more funds are available for a native telephoto. It's true that a 200mm is probably not long enough for really great bird photos but would be a significant improvement over the kit lens. If there wasn't much additional weight obviously a 300mm would be better.

    As with most lens recommendation threads, we don't really know how much weight the OP gives to the different factors/goals. I guess the only thing we all agree on is that the Oly 45 should not be at the top of your list for now!
     
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  14. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Many bird photographers have used lenses with the same field of view as a 200mm on a m4/3. Where are you going to get a decent legacy prime for $50-$100???

    But you are not really tempering your advice to the OP who is just starting out in photography.
     
  15. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    How about a Canon 300mm f/5.6 for under $45? Or a Nikon 300mm f/4.5 for just over $50? Want more reach? How about a Tokina SD 400mm f/5.6 fo just under $100? Obviously, there are brighter, more expensive lenses out there, but acquiring a long prime in the $50-100 range is certainly within the realm of possibility.

    I realize that other photographers have taken great pictures of birds with 200mm or shorter lenses. However , I feel that the extra reach would be welcome.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this comment or exactly what "tempering your advice" might mean. As others have pointed out the OP doesn't appear to really have any idea what he wants. Obviously no single lens will satisfy both his desire for longer reach and his desire for a brighter lens. My thinking is that by going with the P20 and an adapted telephoto he can achieve both these ends and can do so for less than the price of some of the other lenses he is considering.

    Obviously you differ and that is fine, but please don't make it seem as though I am not considering what the OP was asking for.
     
  16. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I started by adding the 17mm Oly then several legacy primes as I found good deals on EBay. Later I replaced the 17 with the 20mm, bought a 45mm and then the 100-300mm Panny. Of the lenses you mentioned I would recommend the 20mm as it is a very versatile lens. It works well indoors in low light. The suggestion to try legacy lenses is also very sound - they can be lots of fun. I've gotten some decent bird photos with a legacy zoom. Then, save your money, watch the buy/sell thread here and pick up different lenses as time goes on.

    Bird881amu.JPG

    Taken with an OM 200mm f4.0
     
  17. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    That is good to know (200mm is decent for birding). Maybe I was foolish but I sold my Konica Hexanon 200mm last year for about $60, it seemed like a reasonable price compared to eBay at the time.
     
  18. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Ditto. Fast normal is the way to go unless you do more birding than any other kind of shooting. The PL 25 is just about perfect.
     
  19. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    IMHO, the 45-200 is the best deal in m43-dom.

    I could live with the 20 and 45-200. I'm awful glad I don't have to though!
     
  20. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    201
    Dec 26, 2011
    The 100-300mm is a better birding lens, but it is more expensive and heavier than the 45-200 and probably needs to be on a camera with an viewfinder. My shots are generally good enough to ID birds, but not really great bird shots that often, but the 45-200mm was affordable and the 100-300mm was $300 higher when I bought the 45-200mm on sale.