1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

E-PL2 2nd lens recommendation for trip to Italy

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Zubz, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Zubz

    Zubz Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 13, 2012
    Hi all. I recently purchased an E-PL2 and I'm enjoying it along with the kit lens. I am new to photography so I enjoy the point and shoot aspect to it, along with the ability for me to learn more about manual controls over time.

    I will be spending 2 weeks in Italy and I am looking for advice on a 2nd lens that I can purchase and take with me. I would like to pack light while walking around / traveling. I am considering the Olympus 40-150 which can be bought new for $199 from Olympus at this time. This would be a nice addition to the kit 14-42. My other thought is should I get some sort of prime lens which seems would perform better in low light condition.

    I lean towards the 40-150 as I also think I would enjoy using this at sporting events. What do you think of this along with the kit lens as a travel combo. I'm open to any recommendations besides this lens. Thanks in advance!
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    Well.. I don't know what places you'll be visiting. I am assuming you'll be hitting the usual classic highlights. I was there not long ago armed with only a point and shoot Panasonic LX3, which has a 24-60 eq lens. I was pretty pleased with it as far as the zoom range goes. Most of the old towns are pretty cramped and I didn't feel limited.
    If I were you , I would rather go with a brighter lens to take photos in the evening instead of a long zoom telephoto. Panasonic 20mm or 14mm would be good. Even Sigma 19mm .
    That's the main thing that I didn't like about the LX3 was the poor evening/low light performance. With one of those lenses you should do great.
    Another option would be to get the Olympus 14-150mm which I understand is available refurbished for 329 from Cameta.

    Here's my Italy gallery, if anybody's interested:
    Zenfolio | Another Guy with a Camera | Italy 2011

    DMC-LX3    ---    5mm    f/5.0    1/1000s    ISO 80
  3. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Personally, I think the 42 will be long enough for you most of the time. If it were me, I'd take either the 12mm for those tight European interiors, or the 20mm for low-light/portability. (The 14 may be a good compromise on those two things, but I don't have one so I won't comment.)
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    When I go to Italy (Milan area, couple times a year for work), the 20/1.7 is on the camera most of the time. Inside churches, at night, on shaded narrow streets, food pix - the wide aperture makes a lot more possible, and the FOV is nice.

    That said, I now have the 12-35/2.8 and it is rarely off the camera at all, I'm sure things will be different on my next trip.

    Lastly, you're going to get a lot of wide angle and UWA recommendations. There seems to be a disproportionate amount of fans here. I'm going to counter that with a tele recommendation, namely the 45-200 since price seems to be a concern. You can always stitch a wide angle scene - its pretty tough to pull out those architectural details at the top of the Duomo without some reach ...

    For my Italy pix, see link below
  5. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    For that 199 price you just have to buy that 40-150. It's an excellent ad on to your kit lens. Dark places you can always handle with table tripod.

    Here's a few examples from italy with it.

    It's amazing how much details you can find with it and it's easy to crop nice parts from the scene with it.

    Attached Files:

  6. Zubz

    Zubz Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 13, 2012
    I appreciate all of the advice. My trip is not for a few months but I'd like to buy a 2nd lens right away. I think I may pick up the 40-150 since its priced right. Along this line of thinking, is now a really bad time to buy a lens with new products being announced in the next couple months? Or is this lens priced at 199 a good deal no matter what?
  7. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I think the 40-150 at $199 is almost a must have lens. For a lens that is so compact (though it gets long when zoomed in), light, and inexpensive it offers terrific optical quality, IMO. I think mine consistently gives better IQ than my 12-50. Now, that said, I think a lens like the 20 f1.7 would be very useful on your trip. My guess is that shorter focal lengths will be more useful than longer ones on this trip. The 20 f1.7 is going to be much much better in any low light situations.
  8. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I was in Italy (Venice, Lucca, small town in Ubria, Rome) last summer with that exact kit (EPL2, 14-42, 40-150), and I found it to be a terrific all-around, lightweight travel set up. Since then, I've added an ultrawide zoom (the Panasonic 7-14), two fast primes (the Pany 20mm f/1.7 and 14mm f/2.5) and a fast legacy 50mm to my MFT kit (with the Oly 45mm f/1.8 my next purchase). As others have said, all those other lenses have their uses, but I would go for a telephoto zoom like the 40-150 as my second lens after the mid-range kit. My next addition after that would be an ultrawide zoom like the 7-14 or Olympus 9-18.
  9. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    I went on a trip (not to Italy) with the Panasonic 14mm and the Panasonic 45-200, which covered about everything. Yeah, something a little wider and maybe a low light lens would have been nice but (at least for me) it sounds like you're on the right track for lens #2.
  10. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    The pl2 + 20/1.7 makes a great unobtrusive rig.

    NIKON D700    ---    60mm    f/8.0    1/60s    ISO 200

    The 20mm focal length is good for everything from people pics to scapes. You just have to move your feet instead of turning a zoom ring.

    E-PL2    ---    20mm    f/4.5    1/50s    ISO 1600

    E-PL2    ---    20mm    f/7.1    1/400s    ISO 200

    It has the advantage of being very fast... a couple of stops faster than a zoom.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. amalric


    Jul 24, 2012
    Rome. Italy
    I live in Italy, and apart from 'normals' my most useful lens is the 9-18. You must realise that historical cities have very narrow streets and cramped city centers.
    If OTH you were to visit mostly the countryside the 40-150 would be most useful. Ultrafast lenses are not needed because there is always plenty of light, even too much. So ND and PL filters can be v. useful.
  12. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    If you look my previous post, the picture in the middle is from Lucca. You can see the sign to Giacomo Puccini house ;-)
  13. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    I think all recommendations in the previous posts are valid with good arguments. You should have a big bag and fat wallet though. Okay, not so big bag ;-)

    On the other hand if you want to optimize your gears and money spent I still think 40-150 is pretty close to the best bang for the bugs. From my point of view the next option would be the 9-18 but it comes with much higher price. They are all sharp lenses, even the kit one. Don't get me wrong, there are always sharper ones too but much higher price. Lets say they are sharp enough for the purpose.

    I agree that 20/1.7 is a must, but IMHO you already have covered that focal length, so maybe its not your next purchase. Also 7-14 instead of 9-18 is as close to magnificent as it gets, but the price is... a lot. It's the only one I haven't owned, but it's my dream :smile:
  14. betamax

    betamax Mu-43 Regular

    May 7, 2011
    NSW, Australia
    I'm thinking of going down this path myself. When I want the best, I use my primes. From what I've read here, the 14-150mm is a pretty descent lens, and saves having to swap lenses.
  15. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I never been, but isn't Italy famous for its night life? :D  It would be a shame if you go out at night and not have a fast lens.

    There are lots of 20 1.7 lenses popping around the marketplace here for around $350, i'd say you pick one up. Maybe even the 25 1.4
  16. tomas

    tomas Mu-43 Regular

    Go wide rather than long

    I had the epl2 before the em5. It's a fine camera. If you're happy with the kit lens and just want to extend your range, then go for a telephoto. Eventually though you will not use them much once you get into the better lenses now available for m4/3. I learned that the hard way. The lenses you mention are good lenses but not that sharp or that fast or that wide. I owned a number of those lenses which I eventually sold at a loss on ebay. I went through the same process with the Olympus 4/3 lenses I owned earlier. I'll not be buying standard grade lenses again. For me it's better to save enough money to get a higher grade lens.

    None of the m4/3 camera bodies are that good yet with fast actions sports shots. I use my current telephoto zoom lens for little league baseball shots and other type shots of the grandchildren. They work well enough there.

    Some people hate to shoot with primes; some people hate zooms. You pays your money and takes your choice. My 14-150 was a great outdoor walkabout lens, but not that fast or that sharp. Now that I have good primes, they are my go-to lenses.

    For what it's worth:

    I had the 40-150 and the 100-300 I sold them--too soft in the last 50-100mm, just where I needed them most of the time. I bought the Pany 45-175 to replace them. It works well with my previously owned epl2 and my new em5's. The Panasonic ILIS automatically shuts off on the Olympus IBIS.

    If you can wait, Panasonic has announced a 45-150 which is listed for preorder at B&H for $300.00. It has an even better sharpness graph than the 45-175, which is no slouch. It's small enough that I might consider adding that to my trip kit for the handful of long shots I might take on trips if it gets good reviews when it is released.

    I also had the 14-150 but sold that once I bought my stable of primes. It too was a little too soft and slow.

    I don't usually take a telephoto zoom on European trips at all, unless part of the trip involves a river or ocean cruise where I take a lot of buildings, etc. at a distance. I very rarely use a telephoto in the cramped spaces of the old European cities--I bought the new 75mm for closeups, with a bit of cropping when needed. The Oly 45 is even more useful as a short telephoto, especially in low light venues like churches and palaces. I would get that before the 75mm, unless you had no telephotos at all.

    You could do quite well in Italy with your kit lens, the Oly 12 or the Pany 14 and a telephoto zoom if you wish. My kit for Italy if I could shoot only two lenses would be the new Panasonic 12-35 and the Oly 45. The Oly 75 is a more expensive option but could replace the zoom telephoto for a normal Italy tour.

    Every combination has its advantages and disadvantages.

    I generally leave the 12-50 in the hotel safe unless it looks like rain that day. It's a nice lens but also a bit soft and slow. It's my all-arouind backup, bad weather and macro lens.

    A trip involving wildlife would be different. Then you'll need a lens much longer than 150 most of the time. Remember that 300 in m4/3 is actually 600mm. At that range it's often necessary to have some support for the camera to avoid blur. None of the current m4/3 long telephotos are very fast, often a problem since much wildlife shooting is during low light conditions.

    Wide Angle:
    Most people have much more use for a wide angle than a telephoto lens.

    I would suggest going wide angle or low light in Italy, depending on where you tend to take more photos. It would be best to have one of each. Considering the money one spends on an Italian trip, the cost of a third lens is not that much, relatively speaking.

    I had the 9-18 but sold it to get the 7-14--specifically for a trip to Italy. The 9-18 is very good but the 7-14 is even better. That extra 2mm and constant aperture with the 7-14 makes a lot of difference, although I seldom use the 7-14 for inside shots unless it's not too dark inside. I got a virtually brand new 7-14 on eBay for about 1/4 less than the new price. The 9-18 is another option available on ebay every once in a while. That too is a good lens but it does tend to overlap the range of the kit lenses.

    I like the speed of the 12mm for inside shots. If I had to have only one wide angle lens, it would be the Oly 12mm. It's not too wide but it's sharp and fast. In a pinch I can make a panorama out of two photos with the 12.

    Low light:
    It's hard to beat the Pany 25. The Pany 20 is another good choice. If you have a wide angle lens, go with the 25, if not, go with the 20.
  17. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    [offtopic]you may as well leave it on the nightstand for all the security a hotel safe provides from the people most likely to steal something in your room
  18. tomas

    tomas Mu-43 Regular

    Safe Problems

    I haven't had a problem yet but I'll keep your warning in mind. Thanks.
  19. Zubz

    Zubz Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 13, 2012
    Again, thanks for the advice. It's interesting to see such differing opinions from everyone. I think what I decided is I will go ahead and start with the 40-150 to take advantage of the sale going on now. I will then keep my eye out for a lightly used 20/1.7. I do very much like the idea of having a low light capable lens while strolling the streets of Italy at night.

    I would have to think that if I add these 2 lens' along with my kit 14-42 I should be in good shape for quite some time. These should allow me to learn how to really take advantage of the camera, and down the road I can always upgrade if needed. Sound like a good game plan?
  20. jonh918

    jonh918 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2012
    San francisco,ca
    i would go with a panny 14mm f2.5 or 20mm f1.7... the panny wa conver works pretty good w/ both ... Making them 11mm and 17mm
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.