E-M5 Kit or Primes

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by bobofgold, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. bobofgold

    bobofgold New to Mu-43

    Aug 6, 2012
    Jinju-si, South Korea
    Real Name:
    Daniel Lloyd
    I know there are plenty of other discussions on the go similar to this but wanted to get some thoughts here. I'm a long time reader and first time poster.

    I've been using an E-P1 for a year or two now and have the original kit 14-42mm (haven't used for nearly a year), the Panasonic 14mm f2.5, Samyang 7.5mm fisheye (wonderful little thing!), a Canon FD 50mm f1.8 (which is the lens I find myself using paybe 70-80% of the time) and a very crappy FD 70-200mm which I rarely use.

    I've gotten fairly used to manual focusing on the 50mm and actually find the 14mm frustratingly small to MF coupled with the E-P1's slow AF.

    I'm currently in the process of convincing myself to upgrade to the E-M5. It deals with pretty much all my issues with the E-P1 and then some. I'm mostly there but am still unsure of what setup I want. My girlfriend is going to have the E-P1 when I upgrade so I'll still have limited access to the other lenses but she'll be taking the 14mm and the 50mm.

    I'm fairly set on getting the Oly 45mm as this is the length I've become used to shooting at and it's so highly regarded but what I'm really stressing about is the kit lens.

    I'm fairly used to using primes now and don't have a big problem swapping lenses out but losing the 14mm for the most part will mean I won't have anything wide (apart from the fisheye). Having the 12-50mm does cover me there but obviously reviews of it aren't great. I'm just a little worried that it will go the same way as my original 14-42mm and I'll want to replace it with something else in the not too distant future. That something else is likely to be the PL 25mm but then that leaves me with no options wider than that. I don't really want to spend the money on the 25mm and I reckon I'd end up buying another 14mm on top of that as well or saving my pennies to get a 9-18mm. Either way it works out more expensive. Another option is the 45mm + 20mm which comes up a little more expensive than the kit + 45mm and I'm not sure if 20mm is wide enough for all my needs.

    Already having the old 14-42mm, how is the 12-50mm going to stack up against it? I think most of my problems with it on the E-P1 are the slow autofocus and next to nothing low light handling but I guess both of those would be somewhat resolved thanks to the E-M5.

    Anywho, as you can tell I'm able to talk myself round to all sides of this so some outside opinions would be much appreciated!
  2. TDP

    TDP Guest

    If you like primes the only reason I would suggest the 12-50 is it and the EM5 are water resistant. It is a kit zoom with a variable aperture, it does everything ok but nothing great. One exception is some folks here have some killer macros from it, if macros are your style.
  3. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Real Name:
    I've got several of the lenses you describe, and while the IQ of the 12-50 is not up to the level of the primes, it's still a good lens. Decent range. Fast AF. macro capabilities. Digital zoom for video. And as listed above, perhaps it's killer feature is that it makes the OMD weather resistant. Can't do that with the other lenses.
  4. Mijo

    Mijo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 23, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I bought an OMD with the 12-50 kit, last week, for all of the reason stated. I normally only use primes (8, 12, 25 PL, 20 or the 45 PL) but I wanted at least one weather sealed lens.
  5. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    It seems like the Olympus 45 should be your first priority here, judging by your 70-80% use of the Canon 50. You could also always use the 14mm f2.5, you already have and have your GF use the 14-42 kit lens you already have. The 14-42 isn't a significant loss in IQ over the Panny 14 and is only about a stop slower. If she prefers the prime then roll with the 14-42 yourself when you need the wide angles. With the high ISO performance and IBIS of the OM-D, I think you'll find that it might work okay if your using a wide angle for less than 30% of the time. Other than the weather-sealing the 12-50 isn't going to offer you a whole lot in terms of performance over what you have, and it is quite distorted on the wide end.

    The normal focal length is another discussion in itself. I would line up my priorities by what I used the most and add a 20 or 25 down the road. I personally use a PL25 90% of the time and that was my first priority when choosing lenses for this system.

    And with all that said, I'm going an expensive route and will buy the 12-35 sometime to have the weather-sealing + decently fast aperture for an all purpose lens. I opted not to get the 12-50 because I do a lot of low-light shooting.
  6. gordon1000

    gordon1000 New to Mu-43

    Jul 31, 2012
    Why not both?

    I bought my OM-D E-M5 with the 14-42mm II R kit lens. The lens cost not much more then just buying the body only. It is compact and sharp.

    I then got myself a Panasonic 20mm as well since I didn't spend much on the kit lens.
  7. Brownian

    Brownian Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    I got the 12-50 and I think it is a terrific lens and rather underrated. It might not be fast, but the E-M5 IBIS makes up for that. It's AF speed is very rapid in all but very low light.

    Here is a thread containing images taken with this lens: https://www.mu-43.com/f80/olympus-12-50mm-f-3-5-6-3-ez-image-thread-24326/

    I would say have a look at the images and if you find them of insufficient quality, don't get it.

    In the past I have been technically fussy about glass but the 12-50 has actually made me realise that great images can be captured with whatever is to-hand at the time an opportunity presents itself. Because it can do so much in a single package, it is a lens with a high chance of being on-hand, at least for me.
  8. bobofgold

    bobofgold New to Mu-43

    Aug 6, 2012
    Jinju-si, South Korea
    Real Name:
    Daniel Lloyd
    Hi all and thanks for the replies!

    Been having a look and think I'm going to go with the 12-50mm for now. I think the biggest advantage I'm seeing at the moment with the primes is the speed and if this is going to be less of an issue with the E-M5 due to IBIS and High ISO performance then it should be fine.

    I think some of the macro shots look great as well and I've not really tried much macro photography before so will give me a new way to play!

    Hopefully try and pick one up in Busan this weekend with a bit of luck!
  9. Joe777

    Joe777 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2012
    I have primes and zooms including the 12-50mm. There is nothing wrong with the 12-50mm, in my humble opinion it's under rated, and mostly by prime lovers.
    Why so many photographers still tend to dismiss zooms I don't know, they are much improved from the old days and so convenient to use.

    Put this on a OM-D and go out and have fun. Unless you are major pixel peeper it's all you need for a great day of just shooting and not worrying about every shot being the perfect image.
  10. Mijo

    Mijo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 23, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    That's the route I wanted to go as well, in terms of having a weather sealed lens, but I couldn't justify the price difference between the 12-35 vs. 12-50. I was even considering selling some of my primes (12 and the 45 PL) to help offset the cost of the 12-35, but like my primes so much i just couldn't do it.

    I also think that the 12-50 is under rated and i'd be inclined to use it more (as a walk around lens) if it was smaller. It'll get a work out next time I head out to HI and the South Pacific (which is why I got it in the first place).