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First prime for beginner?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by sammaritan12, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. sammaritan12

    sammaritan12 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2012
    What is the first prime in your opinion is for the beginner? I will probably try to use it more than the kit lens.
    I do a little bit of everything in photography and I also do video.

    Also, is the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 still worth buying today? Does it warrant a little premium compared to buying the Olympus 45mm f/1.8?
  2. 00r101

    00r101 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2012
    The first prime lens I would buy is the oly 45. It's a great deal and a great compliment to an m43 camera in size. Every time I shoot with mine I am amazed at the clarity.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    What focal length do you shoot the most with your kit lens?

    You want to also use this lens for video? What kind of video? Artistic? Documentary? Action?
  4. iGonzoid

    iGonzoid Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 6, 2011
    Tasmania, Australia
    Check out this current thread:


    I am a fan of the P/L 25mm f1.4, or the P/L 45 f2.8 macro —*very versatile for macro, portraits, though obviously two stops slower. I often use the P/L 45 as a walkaround lens — nice reach for candids without being in people's faces and if you spot something tiny [insects, flowers] you can go in for a macro close-up down to 1:1 — i.e. you can frame something 13mm x 17.3mm small. These were my first two primes because I love low light [25/1.4] and macro [45/2.8]. Both are good for video. Both relatively pricey but worth it, I believe.
  5. sammaritan12

    sammaritan12 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2012
    I usually use it near the wide angle and telephoto areas but not actually at that area nor the middle. So pretty much normal or almost normal.
    I create Youtube videos and I soon will make a narrated short film.

    Also the PL25 and the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 may be a bit too expensive for me.
  6. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    In the old days of only primes, the first to get would be a normal. For m4/3 a normal could be as wide as the Sigma 19mm or as long as the Sigma 30mm. Between these are the Panasonic 20mm and 25mm. I own both the 20mm and the 30mm and both are great lenses. The 30mm is super cheap right now as is the 19mm. The 25mm is the most expensive but has a very good reputation. The 20mm is good and isn't too expensive BUT it is noisy!

    If you tend to shoot wider the Panasonic 14mm is s great lens a very low price. There are also two very nice but rather expensive Olympus wides, 12mm and 17mm. Olympus also has a 17mm kit prime that supposedly is pretty good too.

    On the longer end the Olympus 45mm is a great lens that isn't too expensive. It is small and light. I love mine! However it is in the portrait range and I find I tend to shoot wider most of the time or need a longer tele so mine does not get used too much.

    The suggestion of figuring out at what focal length you use your kit zoom the most is a good one. The information is built into the EXIF data. You can view it in good photo software or by clicking the info button on your camera when in playback mode.
  7. sammaritan12

    sammaritan12 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2012
    Thanks! I will look through my photos and see what focal lengths I shoot the most.
  8. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    I just want to point out that true "normal" is 21.5mm and what you could acceptably call "normal" is really only about 19-23mm.

    A large part of the reason I hate people calling 25mm normal (which it really really isn't, just because the 35mm format farked things up for themselves doesn't mean everyone else has to) is because it has lead to people also calling 30mm lenses normal, which is beyond ridiculous.

    To put the problem in perspective, a 30mm lens is as much wider than true normal as a 15mm lens is narrower.

    In other words, if you are going to call a 30mm lens a "normal", then you must also call a 15mm lens "normal", and therefore you are saying that both are appropriate for the essentially the same purpose, which they obviously are not.

    The appropriate term, and the one that the 35mm format should have been using all along for 50mm lenses, is "standard", not normal. Normal has a definition, and 50mm is no where close enough to it to acceptably be called normal.
  9. Artorius

    Artorius Mu-43 Regular

  10. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    :doh: The "normal" nazis strike again!

    For 99.9 percent of photographers a "normal" is a lens that is at or NEAR what the human eye sees. First off people's eyes can vary to a certain degree so what may be a "perfect" normal for one person maybe a little wide or a little long to another. Please people, why do you have to rehash this over and over???
  11. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I would go for a panasonic 20

    its fast, small... and there might be some good used bargains as people trade in to buy the new 17 from oly :) 

    I have a set on flickr of images I took with the 20... which for a long time was the only lens i used

    Panasonic 20/1.7 - a set on Flickr

    • Like Like x 1
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Though you're technically right, common parlance puts anything between 40 and 50mm in the 'normal' focal range.

    As for first prime, depends what you like shooting. My first prime was a tele macro. Great portrait lens. On MFT I would consider the Sigmas if you're on a tight budget, the 20/1.7 or 14/2.5 if you've got a little more to spend and want a wide to normal angle of view, the 45/1.8 if you like things a little more compressed and/or really like portraiture, or the pricier Oly or Panasonic offerings (12/2.0, 17/1.8 or 25/1.4) if you have cash to spend, with the focal length depending entirely on what you enjoy shooting most.

    If I had to choose one, I would say the 14/2.5. It's tiny, sharp, moderately fast (aperture) with nippy autofocus performance.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    Panasonic 20mm if you can afford it, Sigma 19mm if you can't... IMHO.
  14. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    oh one more thing... I have never noticed the pana 20 to be noisy in focussing or even slow in focussing... of course every one has their personal tolerances. Noisy focussing is a nuisance if you are recording video with the built in mic... but if you are serious about video you would never do that.

    as for slow focussing... well nothing focuses fast in low light.. learn to live with it

  15. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Sigma do a 19 and 30mm both f2.8 for about the same as 1 of the above....just a thought, two primes for the price of one!
  16. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Panasonic 20mm 1.7
  17. Bob T

    Bob T Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Nov 8, 2012
    Knoxville, TN
    As another beginner, I agree....good lens, not overly expensive.:smile:
  18. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    The Panasonic 20mm is an excellent choice for a first prime, and the one I recommend to anyone moving beyond the kit.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. thon410

    thon410 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 11, 2011
    P20 or P14.

    My first and second primes. They stay on my GF1 most of the time.

    These 2 would probably be the best as starters and you can get them used too at a great price.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Unless you intend to do a lot of video, I vote for the 20mm f/1.7.
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