choices and more choices....

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by semma, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. semma

    semma Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    I want to buy a M/FT system after having owned a D-SLR that I never used. The reason was just: too heavy to carry around and take with me wherever I went.
    I own now a walk-around PanaBridge FZ38 (FZ35), but want to take better pictures under all conditions, and do not need that long range zoom, I never use it, and the Bridge will be a present to my daughter.

    Finally, I will travel to Asia in March for 2 months, just from town to town, from small city to city, and I want a better digicam. But I never want to give up the portability of my Pana, so, I think a new D-SLR is out of the question, I am not going to take 5 kilo of photographical material when I am in the streets of Bankgkok, Chiang Mai, Sri lanka, Manila, ... .

    What am i searching? Well, I want a system that suits streets photography in Asia, and also I wanna do some kind of street portraits of everyday-people, and some landscape shots and the normal stuf like sunset, bla bla bla.
    But my goal is to buy a system that is NOT heavy and that take good quality pics, and there has to be a good walk around lens on it. That is my goal, to get info on that on this board in the first place.
    I can be wrong, but i like fixed apperture lenses more, or at least lenses that start with f2.8 in the wide range, and go no further then 4.0 in the zoom range. So I can fix the cam on f4.0 and close the lens more when I want, not being restricted by the lens aperture.

    So, I just love Panasonic, and know a bit how the Pana-system work, and the body don't has to be mini-mini for me, so I tought to buy the PANA G2 as body.

    I was reading also a few good things about the 20mm f1.7 lens to shoot in the streets, and as a portrait lens. I've always been told that a lens under 50 mm will give distortion of the faces because you have to get to close to the person you photograph. So 'big noses and no ears' will be my part when I take portraits with the 20mm? As the 20 mm is a 40mm in 35 mm, can i get a decent answer on this?

    And then the 'walk-around' lens. I think it is important to have a good lens, even if it cost me a little bit more. I am not interested in the long zoom range end, not at all, I never zoom in more then to 105mm with my bridge, so I think it is more important for me to stay in the middle(or even small)-zoom rage.

    I tought about the ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-54mm F2.8-3.5II. It is not a M/FT, I know, but all advice is welcome. It is the low apperture that I am interested in. I was reading a lot, but is this the best walk around lens for my needs (ok, I will have to buy the adapter, and the lens and adapter together are a bit pricy, but I want to pay a bit money for a lens that will probably stay most of the time on the cam). Or do you people say that a Pana lens-kit or with a lower aparture will also do the job very good? I am really curious about this one, because a kit lens is rather cheap, compared to the Zuiko 14-54 II. Once again, I like the 2.8-3.5 aperture on this lens.

    I can tell, that the MFT has lenses that can stay almost all the time on the system, and I cannot tell that about the D-SLR, or you miss the wide-range, or the lense is simple too short. My 24-105 had an overall aperture of 4, but I sometimes missed the wide range, and with a 14 on F/MT (x2, I know), I think it is just ok. And for the moments that I need the very-wide range, I can of course buy a lens in the future that suit my needs, low aperture and ultra wide (that is the advantage to a bridge, adn I do not need to buy al at the same time, better good stuff spreaded over some time, then bad /not so good lenses all at once).

    Please let me know what you think about my choises, all help is welcome.

    So, I will buy the PANA G2 (or is that a bad choice?)
    Do I buy the 20mm f1.7? As portrait/street lens?
    Do I buy the Zuiko as walk around lens, or is it better to buy a less lightstark walk around and invest in one macro (45mm/50mm).
    What is another good lens for outdoor and indoor portraits?
    I was reading a lot on dpreview, and to be honest, sometimes it just confuses me all. I never used a M/FT, so I really do not know what to expect. Especially the D-SLR communities are talking about the bad results on higer ISO, I do not think I have to get higher then 800 ever, we have also light that we can use indoor, and outdoor, well, I better hear it from the community here.

    I look forwards to your opinions.

    Thanks already a lot.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    A warm welcome to you and hello from Scotland.

    The G2 is a lovely camera with great ergonomics and IQ. I think you will get a lot of enjoyment from it. I will leave the technical questions to others more knowledgeable than me, but I can say that the f1.7 20mm is a superb lens.

    All the best,

  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Welcome to mu-43!

    I don't know if you've already handled the G2 or other MFT cameras, but you should know that all of them will be significantly larger and heavier than your FZ38, though way smaller than your 24-105 and whatever SLR you had that on :smile:.

    The Panasonic G2 and 20/1.7 are a great choice for your needs. Th 20/1.7 is just a fantastic lens for a wide variety of situations. You will get some perspective distortion (widening of facial features) if you use this lens for traditional head/shoulders portraits, but not if you use it to take portraits of people in their environments.

    As a more traditional portrait lens, I recommend the Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 unless you are interested in experimenting with manual focus lenses, in which case there are many, many good options.

    My one hesitation for you is the Olympus 14-54 II. While an excellent lens, it is large and heavy for what it does on MFT, and you may be disappointed with the autofocus performance when used on a MFT body, and it will not give you image stabilization on a Panasonic body. I think you'll be better served by the faster autofocusing, stabilized, much smaller and lighter 14-42/3.5-5.6.

    I recommend one of the following kits (based on what you said):

    • G2 with 14-42 (kit) + 20/1.7, with or without 45/2.8 macro
    • G2 with 14-140, 20/1.7
    • Like Like x 1
  4. silverbullet

    silverbullet Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 10, 2010
    Hi, here I am (again)....

    1. Pana G2 - absolutely ok including your background
    2. yes, yes, yes...
    3.Zuiko as 4/3 - I have no experience, but somewhere in my memories I remember that focussing speed is not on par with m4/3 lenses (but you need more informations from people who use these combinations...)
    4. a Leica Macro 45mm is on the same level as the 20mm Pana.

    5. my choice as a wide-angle shooter is the 9-18mm Oly lens. A very critical member of a German forum recommends prints from clean (tripod) shots with this lens up to DinA2!

    When you start with the new system just use at the beginning the 20mm and the standard zoom as this is mostly added for a very low price in the packages. Then you easily know what is missing.....

    We know that a certain small assortment of lenses in different lengths will educate by it's limits (which actually are no limits at all).

    My philosophy in photography is easy: good photographs from a very limited range of lenses instead of low level shots with a wild mix of a huge number of lenses. OK, there might be pictures in our head that really need this or that lens and after the exposure is done we see whether it worked - or not....
    • Like Like x 1
  5. semma

    semma Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    thank you

    Thanks, once again, both of you.
    Yep, I had the G2 in my hands, and it fit perfect, feels confortable.

    Well, then it is an easy one, G2 plus 20mm, and for facial portraits I will consider the 45mm f2.8

    Nope, I am not interested in manual focus (of course I want that possibility, but also want the autofocus possibility).

    I tought that the kit lens was really not that good, that is why I considered the Zuiko lens I mentioned in my first posting.
    With the money I do not have to spent for the adapter and the Zuiko, I can buy me the 45mm and save 200 euro (nice)
    So, then I have the 20mm for street photography and street portraits.
    The kitlens as a walk around lens (covers till 84mm in 35mm)
    And the 45mm for the more head portrait work, but that will be after the trip, first things first, and I am not going to carry more then 2 lenses with me.

    you are both right, and that is also my filosophy about photography. One walk-around, that is on the cam most of the time, and then one or two more lenses, that covers my needs.
    I start with the kitlens plus the 20mm, will shoot shoot shoot 2 months in Asia, and then see what range I am eventually missing, or not.
    What you both stated, is my main reason to choice the M/FT, good quality in a small and handy package, and after all, that is what MFT offers. And if i will be only half enthousiastic after my trip then you both are about M/FT, then I will not regret the purchase one moment.

    Going to order already the kit plus the 20mm, so I can shoot shoot shoot and learn how to use this, for me, new concept in photography.

    Perhaps one more question, is the build-in flash in the G2 good enough for fill-in light in daytime outside?

    Thanks, once more.
    This is a great board.

  6. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Real Name:
    Richard Elliott
    You can't go wrong with any of the m4/3 cameras out now - I would just say get them in your hands, see how they feel. I just picked up a used G1 and love it - even more than the GF1 I was using.

    If street shooting is your game the articulating screen on the G2 would be great for allowing you to hold the camera away from your eye, even waist level, and take pictures less obtrusively.
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Um, might want to check the price of that Panasonic-Leica 45mm/2.8 macro again.

    I don't think you will save any money buying a $900 USD lens ...

    But, every time I see images from it, I want one very badly, regardless the cost.

    If you are going to be indoors or on shaded streets, I would be highly tempted to carry the 20/1.7 and the 45/2.8. The 20/1.7 is just an amazing light gathering machine - I have been amazed at the images I can get properly exposed without flash.... I am very much becoming a "buy only bright lenses" kind of person!
  8. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    You said all conditions, if low light is a concern. The G2 does not shoot well pass 1250iso. So you may want to look at the GH2. It shoot well at 3200iso form early samples. The 6400 and 12800iso seems to be really pushing it.

    I have been to the locations you have mention serval time, and it does get quite dark at night. I am going to be heading for a month long vacation in dec to bangkok, hong kong, hanoi, saigon, and singapore and visiting a bunch of little towns. I will be only bring my m4/3 camera, leaving my canon dslr at home. And the 20 1.7 is something you will really want to have. Also the 14 2.5 is another good for landscapes, as you will be taking allot, so the wider angle will be useful. For daytime, the kit lens will do, and give you some reach, especially if you plan to visit the royal palace in bangkok, and the temples.

    The thing about using a 4/3 lens with an adapter, it will AF slower then a m4/3 lens. If you are taking static shots, not a big deal.
  9. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    The 45mm lens is a wonderful lens, but it's not inexpensive.
  10. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    you can go with the oly 35mm 3.5 and adapter. It does not focus as fast as the leica, but it can be had with the adapter for under 300
  11. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2010
    I have a 14-54mm mk2 and it AF fast (on e-p2), maybe a little bit slower than kit, but not much.

    a good low light lens is the Panasonic Leica summilux 25mm f/1.4. it's a 4/3 lens so you need an adapter, but with the latest firmware I think you can AF just fine. it's not exactly the portait lens at 25mm, but it's the fastest AF-supported lens for m4/3. it would cost you around $800 usd however.
  12. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    Pity you're not interested in manual focus; the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton is quite a value at $429.

    I may pick one up as an adjunct to my 45mm for lower light situations where manual focus isn't an issue (or where I want to use it on my Leica).
  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    From the researching I have been doing, the Olympus 50/f2 macro with adapter seems to be the next best option to the PanLeica 45/2.8
  14. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    While in most respects I think the G2 is very suitable for your needs, the Panasonic flash implementation is pretty poor. You have limited control over the flash and it doesn't have a "fill" flash option (at least, I couldn't find it on the camera or in the specs). If you're used to working with a flash and want to continue doing so, the Olympus E-PL1 is a much better option. The G2 has lots of other advantages though (nicer handling, built-in EVF, flip-out LCD etc).

    With regard to lenses, I've recently purchased an E-PL1 with 14-150mm zoom (kit) and a 20mm Panasonic. I expect the 20mm lens to stay on the camera, but the zoom will cover me for other focal lengths. Outside the USA, the E-PL1 + 14-150mm is around USD$1000. They don't sell this kit in the USA as far as I can tell. If you really don't want the zoom, you can buy an E-PL1 body-only for around USD$500.
  15. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    In the US the epl-1 with the kit lens is only 530 dollars. And with the flash on the epl-1 you can bounce the flash by using you finger it works well in low ceiling area of 8-10ft. Also the built in flash can also be used as a master for of camera flash with ttl
  16. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    I won't offer any conflicting recommendations and confuse you further but as an ex-4/3 user a couple of comments:

    The 14-54 Mk II is one of the newer Oly lenses supposedly configured for CDAF and is optically faster than any :43: zooms. Its AF on Pen bodies should be OK. The compatibility may not extend to Panasonic bodies.

    The 50mm macro will be slow to focus on any :43: body. I sold mine for the PL 45mm.

    Footnote: Contrast detect auto focus (CDAF) is used by mirrorless cameras. DSLRs use Phase difference auto focus which until now has been faster. The new GH2 is supposed to focus much faster than earlier :43: cameras.
  17. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    To further the CDAF issue: some of the Panasonic bodies can't use the Olympus non-CDAF lenses except as manual focus lenses. For the 4/3 (not micro-4/3) lenses, the CDAF-enabled lenses are listed here.
  18. semma

    semma Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010

    I have to thank you all for your advice.
    But i want to say that i already made the choice about the camera, and it will be the Pana G2, just for a few simple reasons, wich I will explain to you now and here :wink:

    First of all, I am not a professional photographer, and have not the intention to become one.
    Then the Panasonic and why i love the brand.
    I had long time ago a Panasonic 'point and shoot', or call it one of the first bridges I think it was the FZ5, I am sure it had 5Mp. I took pictures with it over 2 years, just on occasions, in the street, with the daughter outside.
    It is a shame that I saved all on an external hard disk and a laptop, and guess what, they got stolen (3 years ago), so I cannot show the pictures as I took them. i only have one picture that I took a snapshot of with mwschnap, so, the quality of the picture is lost, and it is just a snapshot, but I attach it here, because it shows what I like on Pana. It was taken outside, in May, on a good weather day, and I had just my daughter, my old old Pana, and played a little bit with the aperture (altough it was a point and shoot).
    Here it is (attachment1, name 2.jpg), nothing specail, but I like the result and that counts for me. I remember that I used aperture f:3.5, and the rest was automatic settings.
    Since that moment I am almost in love with Panasonic, for me it is easy to use, easy access to the settings.
    Then another picture I took was with the Pana Bridge FZ38, just in the central station, aperture open at 85mm (f3.4) and on 1/40sec.
    The file is called antwerpen.png and also attached.

    Ok, so far, I am NOT a professional, and never do post processing, I wanna take pics and not be a specialist in photoshopping.

    So, further on the Pana G2, it may sound crazy, but I think this stays in my head, on the pana G2 the control dial is on the back, it may seems a detail, but for me a very important one, because that is the button that i gonna use most.

    Like dpreview states: everyone who hates menu-driven control systems will love the G2. i think I am one of those haters of menu-driven control systems, I love the buttons, where I can quick decide without going trough the menu.

    Ok, more then enough about my choices so far. Do not misunderstand me, I just say that for me 9and of course it is a personal choice) the G2 is a much better choice then the Oly. And I never will say that the Oly is a bad choice for others.

    Now that that is clear, let's concentrate more on the lenses.
    I hear that it is a pity that I do not want a manual focus lens. Ok, I wanna learn, I know that that lens mentioned here is half the price of the 45mm, but what advantages it can give me.

    to make me more clear, my choices so far are the Pana G2 + kitlens (in kit it costs 50 euro more then the body alone) + the 20mm f1.7.

    The other and last decision is, a lens in the range 40-60mm (80-120 in 35mm).

    And once again, thank you all for your comments, it is highly appreciated, I learned already a lot about M/FT. This is, I cannot repeat it enough, a wonderfull community.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  19. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Do you want a zoom covering that range, or just a prime anywhere in that range? ... And for portraits, correct?
  20. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    Semma, nice pictures, no need to apologize for them. I think your choices are good for starting out.