Do you think the 14-42mm II is a reasonable starter lens?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by kundalini, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2011
    I want to dabble into a smaller footprint / lighter weight system. I'm rather heavily invested in the Nikon dSLR gear (FF & APS-C) but recent travels and planned future events have me wanting to go small. Initially, my thoughts were a high end P&S like the Canon G series, but shutter lag put me off, but more so, was the lack of interchangeable lenses (read old school).

    So I came across the 4/3 format, read many reviews, saw many images and to be honest, this platform seems to fit the bill for me. I think the latest Oly offering of the E-P3 is what I'm likely to go with. In fact, my cart is sitting on "Proceed to Checkout" at Adorama. The problems is the lens choice. Do I go with the kit 14-42mm variable aperture lense, which should give me a reasonable introduction to the system or should I go with my gut and get the (probably better quality) 17mm f/2.8?

    I despise variable aperture zoom lenses in the dSLR, so it seems the same would be true in the 4/3's. But OTOH, it's all new to me and I could easily pick up the primes later if this works out.

    Thoughts, opinions or other considerations? Thanks for your input.

    BTW, I've kept the same username that I use on other photo forums. So if I annoyed you on those sites......... Hello! :rofl:
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Don't know how your funds are...
    But another viable option is this.

    Cameta is selling an E-P2 body for $329 USD. You could get that body & the 17 ƒ2.8 if the 14-42 isn't really your style....
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion RT_Panther.

    The funds are not an issue.

    Initially I was looking at the E-PL2, but the size was an issue (too small). From my bit of research, the E-P3 seemed to be a better choice, feature and IQ -wise, even though the price difference is a jump.

    One other question though. I use PCB Cybersync triggers for OCF. I have several Nikon SB flashes and PCB White Lightning monolights. Does anyone know if the Cybersyncs transmitter will work on the Olympus hotshoe?

  4. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    If funds aren't an issue...then an E-P3 with the 12mm or 45mm might be more you're style *if* I'm reading you correctly...
  5. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    My opinion, in a pinch : don't bother with the 17mm.

    At length :

    Be aware that many people do like this lens, though, and that I still use mine in spite of what I wrote. So take my words with a grain of salt.

    But you should consider that set @17mm, the kit zoom is optically as good as the pancake, and just half a stop slower. Price being almost the same, the only remaining 'pro' for the 17 is the size.

  6. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I would recommend skipping the kit zoom and pickup the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens. It is a fantastic all around lens and very small and light.
  7. tjhcom

    tjhcom New to Mu-43

    Aug 3, 2011
    I will tell you this - I got the E-P3 with the zoom lens and liked it. However I purchased the Panasonic 20mm lens and have never taken it off. I agree with krugorg. Sorry no option exists to get this lens bundled..... but what I really wanted was the best experience. Thanks!
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    I wonder if kit zooms have become victims of their reputation from the not-too-distant past i.e. plastic, poor quality, poor performance, etc.

    The plastic is still there, the quality of construction and materials can sometimes be questioned, but performance-wise they are better than ever.
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    A fairly fast prime always wins over a slow kit zoom, in my eyes. :) Particularly being a pancake prime, for this small form factor of camera, it really brings out the compact nature of the system.

    I would definitely go for the 17mm f/2.8 pancake kit over the 14-42mm zoom kit (assuming you won't be upgrading to another prime in a close focal length anytime soon, like say the Lumix 20mm f/1.7, Leica 25mm f/1.4, or Lumix 14mm f/2.5). However, all Olympus kit lenses are very good quality and as such you shouldn't be disappointed in either. The 14-42mm has a unique retractable design which is actually quite nice. It retracts into a very compact form for a zoom of its focal range.
  10. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord

    Nov 4, 2010
    Real Name:
    I'll recommend to get the kit lens. I have the same opinion as Nic. Performance wise, its okay. I mean it almost has the same IQ as the 17mm.

    With the kit, youll be able to feel what do you want afterwards (a longer prime such as 45mm 1.8 or wider like 12mm f2 or 14mm 2.5)

    Sent from my iOS using Mu-43 App
  11. Pen F

    Pen F Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2011
    I'm comming from a dslr (and a bunch of film cameras). What I did was buy with the kit lens, as at the time there is no choice. Also I baught the panisonic 20mm 1.7 Then sold the kit lens and put the money towards the Olympus 12mm. When the 45mm comes out I will get that to compleat my basic kit. A bit expensive, but I plan to use this camera for at least a few years before upgradeing. Then I will only have to buy boddies.
  12. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    Get the kit lens, it's way better than I was expecting. I then bought the 20 1.7 and the 2 make a perfect combination for me, can't see me buying any other glass.
  13. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Real Name:
    Daniele Frizzi
    What kind of image do you want to shoot?

    The 14-42 olympus is a nice all-around lens.
    Olympus 17mm, Panasonic 14mm and Panasonic 20mm are all small and nice lenses, the 14 is good for street and the 20 is great for candids and low-light.
    The Olympus 12 is nice for street and landscapes, but is bulkier and costs more than the 20mm + the 14mm.
    If you want "head and shoulders" potrait you need the kit zoom unless you get the panasonic 45macro or wait for the olympus 45
  14. mguffin

    mguffin Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 10, 2011
    Westwood, NJ
    I got the E-PL2 with the kit and added the Panasonic 20mm. Don't bother with the Olympus 17mm, f/2.8 isn't that fast. The 20mm is fantastic.
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Everyone is singing the praises of the Panasonic 20 and I agree its a fine lens. BUT..... you just got an EP3 which is as fast an auto-focussing camera as there is in this class. The 20 is about the only lens that makes it feel relatively slooooow on the uptake. You may want the 20 or 25 for low light if low light is a priority, but the 17 is quieter and faster to AF (and, for me at least, has a more useful field of view, but that's clearly personal), the 14 is quieter and faster yet, and the 12 is the quietest and fastest of the bunch. The kit lens, for all of its supposed mediocrity, and also pretty fast and quiet in operation, if not the best low light lens.

    So, get the 20 if it meets your needs, but it actually counteracts the greatest selling point of the EP3 (relative to earlier Pen cams) - it slows it down. Not fatally, but notably. Just something to be aware of.

  16. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2011
    Thanks for all the suggestions and some sound advice. After reading up more on the lens, I decided to go with the 14-42mm to get me started. By all appearances, it seemed good enough and it'll help decide which focal length primes to pursue later...... and I just wanted to click the purchase button. :biggrin:

    I ordered the Silver finish. It looked more retro and having another black system seemed boring to me.

    Researching gear is a fun pasttime for me, so I look forward to that. Of particular interest, is finding out what the hell a pancake lens is. :lol:

    I wasn't sure if it would be in bad form to post the photos or not of my current gear, which is non m4/3. I know that people are hesitant to click on a link of a new member (well, I am for sure). So if the mods or you good people would prefer, I can change to links. I just wanted you to know that while I may be slightly irreverent on many topics and love a good laugh, I am serious about photography.



    Thanks again for your help.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Real Name:
    I would recommend the E-P3 with the 14-42 zoom lens. The 17mm lens is not optimised for the fast focus of the E-P3. It will focus reasonably fast on the E-P3 but the combo of the E-P3 and 14-42 is the fastest focussing 'live view' combo of any camera on the market. It also costs next to nothing over the cost of the body alone. I find the IQ quite good.

    I have the Pansonic 20mm f/1.7, Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 and Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 to go with my E-P3. I also have the Panasonic 45-200mm zoom but never use it.

    I thought the Panasonic f/1.7 a better proposition than the Olympus 17mm pancake.

    I have an order in for the 12mm f/2 mainly for its mechanical manual focus and speed for a wide angle lens.
  18. johnyates

    johnyates New to Mu-43

    Aug 30, 2011
    Saskatoon, SK
    avoid the kit lens

    The olympus kit lens is less than adequate. It's a piece of s**t.
  19. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I bought an EP1 and now EP2 both with the 17mm but this was more due to price than anything, the 17mm kit was cheaper at the time.

    Having said that the shots I've seen in the 14-42 sample thread on the forum have actually really surprised and impressed me to the point where I might consider picking up a cheap kit lens for those times when I want to use a zoom!
  20. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011