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Good mid-range telephoto prime for event photography?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by kadamnation, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. kadamnation

    kadamnation Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2013
    Boston, MA
    I'm going to be photographing a conference later this year, and I'm thinking it's about time to get something brighter than the Panasonic 45-200mm that's served me these past few years. I'd been considering finally springing for the Pany 35-100mm, but it would hurt the bank a little so I was hoping I might be able to make due with my Sigma 60mm and an adapted prime.

    Earlier this year I came across a Zuiko 135mm f/2.8, but unfortunately it was extremely fuzzy at all apertures, so it won't do for shots of conference speakers during their talks. I've got access to an OM speedbooster so I'm leaning towards something in the OM range, partly because the GX7's picky about stabilizing in between standard focal lengths so I'll probably be shooting handheld, stabilizer off, and will want all the speed I can get. I'm aiming for something in the 150-250mm range after crop factor math.

    Is there a good option y'all would recommend, or should I just grit my teeth and grab the Panasonic 35-100mm? (No way I'm springing for the 40-150, wouldn't fit in my bag :) )
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    If you are working inside and using flash is not an option, you'll need all the light onto the sensor as possible. If you want a zoom, get the Panasonic 35-100/2.8 or the Olympus 75/1.8 prime.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I use the Rokinon 85mm f1.4. Not real expensive, sharp, good contrast. I've gotten some great concert photos with it.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Oly 75/1.8 if you want AF is just silly-good. You'll make excuses to use it for many things that you didn't think 150mm was well-suited for.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nikon 105mm f2.5 + Nikon mount Speedbooster. As good as the Olympus 75mm f1.8 for all practical intent. Cheaper too. You could go real cheap and get a chinese designed focal reducer for ~$100. No idea on quality for that combo though.

    Given the quality of OM glass, I suspect that your 135mm f2.8 is wonky, and not indicative of the lens design. Might be worthwhile to get the lens serviced. Could be the cheapest option all around.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI

    If I need more, I'll grab my smc 135 2.5.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. kadamnation

    kadamnation Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Thanks for the ideas! Autofocus definitely isn't essential, since when you're bound by a podium you don't move too much in depth; I'm hesitant about the 75mm just because it's not a length I shoot very often, it'd be a lot of cash to drop just for one event (which I'm not being paid for, I'm just helping with photography in exchange for a ticket). I'll reconsider the 35-100, but I'll also look into the Rokinon. Thanks, and any other suggestions welcome too, I appreciate it!
    • Like Like x 1
  8. shermanshen

    shermanshen Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 28, 2014
    If money is an issue, I have to also recommend the Rokinon 85mm. It is an amazing lens and I found it perfect for events that I've shot (plays, concerts, recitals). With a GX7 and focus peaking, it really worked wonders. I always got my best results stopped down to between f2-2.8. This was always bright enough for the lighting conditions that I worked with. In fact I shot a school play and the lighting technician was amazed at the results I got, stating that the previous year's photographer couldn't get a decent shot with the lights the way they were. In addition, I found the GX7's IBIS to work perfectly well with this focal length.

    All of that being said, I found myself frustrated with a few of those missed opportunities because I just wasn't fast enough with the manual focus and I ended up springing for the 75mm f1.8. I also recently added the 35-100mm f2.8 to my stable as I'll be shooting more events in the future where the flexibility of the zoom will really come in handy. The 75 is also considerably smaller and lighter than the Rokinon. Along with autofocus, the Oly ends up being a far less taxing lens to use. If you think you'll be doing more conferences or it will generate some kind of income for you, I would consider investing in one of the more expensive lenses with autofocus. It'll be worth it in the long run. Good luck!
  9. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    This is not clear, I feel. Are you trying to say 150-250mm FF equivalent? If so, next time Just say "FF equivalent" when talking Focal length, it doesn't get any clearer than this.
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    I have been using a Canon FD 50-135mm f3.5 with a no-name $99 focal reducer in order to end up with a 35-100 f2.5. It's a bit bigger and heavier than I wish it was (probably over 700g when the adapter is included) so the handling on my tiny GX1 is a tad awkward. But it's surprisingly sharp for what it is, even at the high ISOs I typically end up using such a lens. In fact, one of my favourites photo series that I've taken in the last few months was with this lens.

    I managed to get it for $60 shipped on eBay, which is a screaming deal (apparently very few were made, and so it now sells more commonly for $200+). But you can find a Minolta MD lens in the same focal range for even less than that. Nikon also made one, but I'm not sure if it's as good.
  11. damienr8

    damienr8 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 12, 2014
    This is a fantastic response and I think the real kickers here are:

    1. If the original poster is comfortable with manual focusing
    2. If you are shooting the conference(s) to generate income.

  12. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    The 75mm is my all time favorite lens...however, that said, you either love or hate the focal length.
  13. kadamnation

    kadamnation Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2013
    Boston, MA
    1. I am, and
    2. I am not :) 

    That said, I really appreciate all the responses to this thread, and I'll be keeping an eye open for both the 85mm mentioned earlier, and for a secondhand 35-100mm during the weeks between now and the event—and if I can't land the "right" lens, I'll just fall back to my Sigma 60mm f/2.8 for now and gear up later. Fingers crossed!
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