First m4/3 camera. Suggestions for lenses?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by bbig119, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. bbig119

    bbig119 New to Mu-43

    Aug 27, 2012

    I just ordered my first m4/3 (and ILC) camera. My old canon P&S stopped working recently. As I was battling to decide whether to replace it or upgrade and buy my first interchangeable lens camera, I saw a deal that I think is/was too good to pass on. Amazon warehouse had the GF3 + 14 mm pancake used for ~$250. I read several positive testimonials from people who have purchased camera equipment through amazon warehouse. That being said, what kind of things should I look for in checking to make sure there aren't any problems.

    It looks like the GF3 w/ the 14 mm is quite small and easy to carry around discretely, and dare I say almost pocketable? Its not clear to me yet what other lenses I'll want/need have a good all purpose setup. Prior to ordering the GF3+14 mm, I was considering the sony RX100 or the NEX-5n, as well as other ILCs which, would have cost substantially more money. Given this, I figure I saved between $250 and $400 with this deal (crucial in convincing my wife) that I would like to use to shop for a lens or lenses. The question is what lenses?

    I like taking landscapes, but I think the 14 mm will work well for this, and I like that the 14 mm will make this camera very compact. How much bigger will it be with the 20 mm? In addition to having a smallish prime to keep the camera compact and hopefully be generally useable, I would like to have a reasonable ranged zoom lens, and this might be all that I need initially. The Pz 14-42 mm is an interesting lens that seems to get very mixed reviews, especially with the blurry images at specific shutter speeds. How much of a concern is this? This lens is interesting because I think it will work nicely when my wife wants to use the camera, its small and compact, and I understand is excellent (silent) when zooming in movies.

    Sorry for the long post. I'm excited about this, as I've wanted an ILC for some time, and I'm reading a ton to learn as much as I can.
  2. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    The 20mm is a fine lens, nice and small - only slightly bigger than the 14. Some folks feel it is slow to focus, but I think it works just fine. The kit zooms are a pleasant surprise for many folks - not outstanding but still pretty good as lenses go.
  3. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Bob is spot on. The 14 is a great LITTLE lens that affords very good image quality. The 20 is a world class lens in my opinion and ranks among the best lenses I've owned! Although there may be faster focusing lenses, I've never missed a shot using it! Both truly are tiny and very easy to carry around.

    It's important when shooting with either to use an appropriate lens hood (which can found on eBay or Amazon for less than $10)

    Good luck in your search! Now the fun begins! :thumbup:
  4. ChipThome

    ChipThome Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 8, 2011
    I have the GF3, great small camera. If you got one w/14mm for the $250 ish range, you got a HUGE deal on it !!! That lens has been selling used in the $160 ish range alone. So you have about $100 invested in a body and a lens worth the balance of what you paid !!!

    I have also had the 14-42 power zoom and IMO, the GF3 is the body that lens was designed for. It folds up nice and small like a pancake when the camera is off and extends out when you power up and are ready to shoot. I have had several of this lens, trying to find a perfect one. In 20/20 hindsight, I should have kept the first one I received. All were bought on Amazon from their warehouse deals, and each was a tad different from the one before it. Where I screwed up was in comparing the 14-42 to my primes. It's not as sharp as a prime, never will be. So if you go for it, make sure where ever you buy it, has a liberal return policy like Amazon does.

    Sigma has a smaller 19mm and 30mm for m4/3 that are decent lenses but not as sharp as most Panny primes. They also cost $200 each, so the cost difference equals the sharpness difference. Of the two, the 30mm seems to be the one that is better. I had the 19 and wouldn't consider it bad, just not as sharp as my 25mm.

    As has been stated the basic 14-42 kit lens is really pretty decent, but you lose pocketability with it's size. They are cheap, selling used for around $100. The 20mm is fast and tack sharp but it's auto focus during video is pretty whacked.

    From there the sky is the limit as to what you want to spend and get in m4/3 glass.

    Good luck with your decisions !!!
  5. emirabal

    emirabal Mu-43 Regular

    I own both (20mm and 14mm) and just used the 14mm yesterday for a day at the fair and really liked it a lot. So since you have it i would say great, I will second Bobs opinion because the 1.7 on the 20mm makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE and i didnt think it was possible. So if you want a second lens get that because The size is almost irrelevant.

    The only issue i ever had with is that i ordered the leather case for it (MY GF3 with the 20mm) and the case was specifically designed for the 14mm which is littereally a few millimiters in ACTUAL size difference so it did not fit when the 20mm lens was on (I returned it).

    I have gotten some of my best shots with the 20mm and had to force myself to take it off to put on the newly acquired 14mm which i got as a combo with the GF3 (which i plan to sell - i have 2 in the house now). I also own the kit lens 14-42mm lens and the 45-200mm lens and the only lenses i am missing i feel are the fisheye rokinon and maybe the 25mm 1.4 lens for portraits which i hear is great.

    Personally also want a 300mm just so i can shoot the moon better.

    Point of the story - 20mm as your next lens
    Then start worrying about the other lenses and start selling everything in the house to start getting them.
  6. bbig119

    bbig119 New to Mu-43

    Aug 27, 2012
    Thanks for the useful comments.

    Thanks for all the helpful replies. I'm quickly discovering how difficult selecting a lens to buy can be. I'm very interested in the 20 mm prime, but is it so different to justify buying this as a #2 instead of something around 40-50 mm? I realize that its faster, but I probably don't appreciate exactly how much of a difference there really is.

    In a couple of weeks I'm planning to take a weekend trip either up to Niagara Falls/Toronto or down to the beach in NJ or Delaware. Then a few weeks later I'll be attending a wedding in Cape Cod Massachusetts. Do I do better getting a zoom lens or would I be fine with 14, 20 and 45ish mm primes?

    Thanks again for all the helpful opinions and advice.
  7. emirabal

    emirabal Mu-43 Regular

    Going away, then jump on the 20mm. It's going to boil down to the camera you can take with you, and I feel the GF3 with 20mm combo is the way to go. You will probably want to carry a zoom with you in your backpack or satchel or hip pack or messenger bag, but I bet it won't come out just because the IQ on the 20 is good enough and it will be quicker to grab it and take the shot.

    Thinking about it now, I think I might invest in a small gorilla pod, sometimes I hate this forum because I always think of something new to buy. LOL.
  8. ChipThome

    ChipThome Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 8, 2011
    In my kit my #1 is the Panasonic Leica 45mm as it has OIS that the rest of the primes do not have. If your hands are rock solid, that shouldn't be an issue for you. If you are a bit like me.... get something with OIS. The least expensive way to get OIS is with a Panasonic zoom. I would suggest one zoom, especially for that wedding.

    Now on the rest of your list. The 14 and 20 are pretty close to each other being a 28mm and 40mm equivalent in 35mm. The 45mm is going to be like a 90mm..... now you have a long stretch between your focal lengths. You really should have something to fill in that a low cost zoom. :) 
  9. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    I think you should just shoot with the 14 for a weekend and see what you like about it first.

    For in-door weddings there isn't a very good fast telephoto zoom for m4/3 yet. Outdoors you would be fine with any of existing zooms: 40-150, 45-150, -175 and -200.

    It's tough shooting weddings with just primes.
  10. bbig119

    bbig119 New to Mu-43

    Aug 27, 2012
    I received my GF3 yesterday with the 14 mm lens and am very happy with both. I am considering a deal to get both the panny 20 mm 1.7 and the olympus 45 mm 1.8 used for $600. I think this is a very reasonable price. My main concern is the lack of image stabilization on the 45 mm with a panasonic body. I see many people raving about this lens, but not many people complain about the lack of image stabilization when paired with a panasonic camera. I'm tempted to take the deal and if I'm not happy with it, I can sell the lens for something similar to what I'm paying now I suspect. This would get me the 14, 20 and 45 mm primes. I suppose I would then ask for a zoom lens for Christmas (if I can hold out that long).
  11. theconejo

    theconejo Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 31, 2012
    I have a gf2 with a 14-45mm panny lens. I like the lens a lot and have been getting some good shots with it. Its cheaper than the other lens you listed, I got mine for $170, and you get the stabilization.

    I have a friend lending me his 14mm pancake. I know 14mm on both but size difference will make it fine by me. I might go for the PL 25 if I get further engrossed in photography, which will probably happen, hah.
  12. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    A slightly different suggestion for you: have a look at the Panasonic 45-200mm. It is good value, image stabilised and will open a whole new world up. To go along with that get an old manual focus lens for your fast prime. You should be able to get both these lenses for the same price as the 20mm.
  13. CapnJeffSparrow

    CapnJeffSparrow New to Mu-43

    Sep 1, 2012
    The 20mm isn't significantly larger than the 14mm, so if you want something for killer low light and a slightly narrower FoV, the 20mm won't disappoint! For a zoom lens, check out the 14-45mm kit lens. It's a bit more expensive than the 14-42, but is apparently one of the best kit lenses for the m-43 system!
  14. Loonylumix

    Loonylumix Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 30, 2012
    PL 14-45 lens is fantastic for 90% of the time
  15. bbig119

    bbig119 New to Mu-43

    Aug 27, 2012
    Thanks for the good advice. I did purchase the 20 mm/1.7 and the 45 mm/1.8. I got a good price. I'll certainly want to get a zoom at some point, maybe soon, but for the moment I'm going to have to get a feeling for what the 14, 20 and 45 allows me and then decide if I want something like a 14-45 or 45-200.
  16. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Those three primes should cover almost all of your photographic needs. Now go out and shoot!
  17. DrDesmo

    DrDesmo New to Mu-43

    Sep 11, 2012
    I'm a huge fan of the 20mm 1.7, I've had one on my GF-1 forever, and it almost always makes me look good ;)  Love the Bokeh - not a cream machine, but for the $? I'll take it!
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