HELP: Panny 20mm + Oly 45mm VS Oly 12-50mm + 45mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by suoersta, May 23, 2012.

  1. suoersta

    suoersta Mu-43 Rookie

    May 23, 2012
    I am planning on getting the EM5. Should i get the Panny 20mm + Oly 45mm OR the kit lens Oly 12-50mm + 45mm ?? The reason i don't want to get the Oly12-50mm is because i have heard negative reviews about it, and i even i didn't like the sample photos taken by it which i have seen in flickr. IF i get the Panny 20mm, can it play the job as main all rounder lens despite losing the zooming capabilities(fixed focal) ??? Would it be inconvenience or losing any nice narrow angle shots due to its fixed focal compare to those zooming lens ?? and 2 prime lens without any zoom lens, is it adequate ??

    NOTE: It is my first MFT and lenses (never own any lenses b4)

    : I shoot mostly street, candid, architectures and mainly night event & portrait

    Pls advise me!! thanks !
  2. Pyro451

    Pyro451 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2012
    Massachusetts, USA
    Real Name:
    If you like to shoot at night and on the street (no flash) then you will want fast lenses. The 45 1.8 is great in low light, as is the PL25 1.4. I don't own the 20, so I can't comment on it.

    The 45 and 20 are both MUCH smaller than the 12-50 (not that it is large). That may make you less conspicuous on the street.

    The 12-50 does add decent macro capabilities if that matters to you at all.

    Since I picked up the primes in my kit, I really only use the zooms for daylight shooting. Even then, if I have a fast prime that covers focal length I want I prefer to use it over the slower zoom.
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yes, a Panasonic 20mm lens is a great "all rounder", and I think it's a good combination with the Oly 45. However, my advice would be to start with the Panasonic 14mm lens and Olympus 45mm lens. Then you have both wide angle and telephoto. Eventually you could add a Panaosonic 20mm or 25mm lens in the middle.
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    You'll want something wider than 20 (or 25) - The 45/1.8 is a great portrait lens, but it is pretty long. The 20/1.7 focuses well but not crazy fast, and the big point for me is size combined with sharpness - otherwise I would have gone for the Panny/Leica 25.

    I think the 14/2.5 is an absolute bargain and will work very well for street and architectural stuff, and works very well for fairly 'intimate' group shots (i.e. when you can get fairly close). The 28mm equivalent f.o.v. is a reasonable wide-angle solution.

    I have the 12-50, 14, 20 and 45. I don't see myself using the 12-50 very often outside of sunny days when on holiday where zoom is particularly useful. And when the 12-35 comes around, it's going.
  5. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    If you don't want the 12-50 then I think maybe the 20 + 45 is a better choice. Add the 14/2.5 when you can for a nice little kit.

  6. c5karl

    c5karl Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2011
    Fairfax, Va., USA
    I agree. A fast normal lens is both great for indoor shooting and for street/candid/tourism photography. At least for me, a less fast wide angle is less useful. There's a reason why entry-level SLRs in the old days came with a 50mm prime as a kit lens.

    That said, you can get the 14/2.5 or one of the many 14-42 zooms for about half the price of the 20mm. If you're on a budget, it might make more sense to start with a 14 or a 14-42 and save up to get a normal lens later.
  7. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Real Name:
    Russell Olaguer
    I have the 20 & 45. Add the 14 and you can cover most of your photography needs (street & portrait).
    I also have the 12-50 but not using it that much unless i need the weather sealing and macro.
  8. suoersta

    suoersta Mu-43 Rookie

    May 23, 2012
    Thanks very much for all the replies here!! As per you guy's advises, i would love to add 14mm, but i am in budget constraint and i can only pick two and which has to be the best two. That's y i planning to go for 20mm & 45mm. Anyway, picking panny 20mm for walkabout lens instead of zoom, would it be adequate ? i mean definitely zoom makes thing easier so just wondering does prime can perform the job well too ?
  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    my two cents

    The 12-50 gives you a decent walkaround zoom, and I'd get it just for the weather-sealed aspect (living in rainy Seattle makes me long for weather sealing).

    However, the 12-50 isn't particularly fast, so I'd complement it with a prime for low-light shooting. Personally, I don't think that any :43: user should be without the 20mm f/1.7, so I'd choose that as my second lens. It's just such a perfect combination of size/speed/FOV. Most of my night/low-light shooting scenarios are indoors, so I find that the 20mm focal length is much more useful than the 45mm f/1.8.

    From what I've seen the 45mm f/1.8 is a very capable lens, but it would be more of a specialty item for me that I'd hold off on purchasing.
  10. The Minimalist

    The Minimalist Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 19, 2011
    I have the 14, 20 & 45mm lenses that are mentioned on here. I use the 20mm lens the most, looking at your requirements I would agree the 20mm & 45mm would be a very good choice to start of with. The 20mm is a fine walk about lens, you could also carry the 45 in your pocket as it is quite small a lightweight as well if you need the extra length. That's the beauty of the M4/3 system.
    There are quite a lot of the 14mm lens on Ebay for less than half price where dealers have split the twin lens kit. That could also be one for the future.
  11. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Depends on which focal you prefer - the 14 and the 20 are at least equal in quality (both high), with the 14 being smaller, faster, cheaper, at least as sharp. I would take the 14 over the 20 as a 'single lens' option, although my 'ideal' would lie between the two (35mm equivalent focal)
  12. suoersta

    suoersta Mu-43 Rookie

    May 23, 2012
    Since most of you agreed with what i wanted then i decide to with the 2 primes BUT i am on budget and that 2 primes will gonna be with me at least a few years, so are they adequate and capable of delivering what zooms can deliver ?? (since they are fixed focal)
  13. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    You could add a 14-42 zoom for ~$100. It's not as nice as a prime, but it is a decent lens and adds the convenience of a zoom.
  14. Redridge

    Redridge Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 17, 2012
    not sure what your asking here but.... yes, the 20mm can deliver what a zoom can deliver.... the minimum focus distance is .2m or .66ft. You can get to a subject pretty close.... just gotta move your feet. You'll be happy with the 20 and 45 setup. Kit lenses are great, but if you shoot all day/night... fast primes is the way to go.
  15. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I would go for some sort of kit + 20mm at first. Is the E-M5 + 14-42 II R kit available where you are? That would be a good deal + a prime.

    The 45 was my first prime, but I now use the 20 a lot more than the 45. My vote is for the 20 before the 45 unless you specifically want to do a lot of portraits or must have easy bokeh.

    Getting just the 20 + 45 you're quite far from wide-angle... If I didn't have the 7-14, I would definitely need the kit lens for wide-angle shots.

    P.S.: It sounds to me like you'd get more use out of the 12-50 kit + a prime, if you're planning on only having 2 lenses for a few years. Otherwise I would recommend the 14 (from ebay for $160) + 20 + 45, but you may not want to swap lenses all the time.
  16. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Real Name:
    You can't really compare zooms to primes, they have different uses and suit different styles. If you've been brought up on zooms you will find primes very restrictive. However, if you get used to primes they can be wonderful. In time, you learn to zoom with your feet. When you have become fully familiar with a prime you start to see pictures forming in front of you, knowing what the lens will include and how the subject will be rendered before you even lift the camera to your eye. You will instictively know how close you need to be to the subject and this can make using a prime faster than raising a zoom to your eye then zooming in and out until you get a composition. However, this all takes time and lots of practice, practice, practice.

    If you haven't used primes before (and I'm guessing you haven't as you need to ask the question) there is an alternative. Initially buy the E-M5 with the 12-50mm kit zoom. That will enable you to familiarize yourself with the camera whilst benefiting from the undoubted convenience of a zoom. As you become more competent with the camera start to set your zoom to specific focal lengths, for example set it to 20mm and leave it there. Now practice visualising how the subject or scene in front of you will look before you raise the camera to your eye. You can gradually try different focal lengths that correspond to available primes and after a while you will become aware of which primes will suit you best. It will also give you the opportunity to find out if using primes really is your thing.

    Of course, if you do decide to switch to primes it will leave you with a redundant zoom that has wasted part of your budget. But wait, the 12-50mm is being bundled with the E-M5 at quite a discount. You shouldn't have any trouble selling it secondhand for at least what it cost you as part of the kit.
  17. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    During a recent trip I had two camera bodies, with the Panasonic 20mm on one and the Olympus 45mm on the other about 90% of the time. For me it would make a great starting kit. I think you already answered your question about the 12-50. You don't seem to care for it, so why get it? I found the 20 perfect for street shooting (even took a lot with the 45), and it was perfectly usable at night. For me the 14mm as my main lens would be too wide, so you have to decide how much you like working with wide angle, how much around normal (20mm, 25mm), and that's really a very personal decision based on how you see and shoot.
  18. suoersta

    suoersta Mu-43 Rookie

    May 23, 2012
    Does physically feet zooming with primes bothering ??
  19. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Real Name:
    It's a different way of working. Some people it will suit, some it won't. What foot zooming with a prime doesn't allow you to do (which, of course, you can with a zoom) is to change the angle of view, rather than increase or decrease the subject to lens distance, in order to change the perspective.
  20. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    No. Only in case you trip over something/somebody or if you can't physically move back anymore.

    I remember having to duck people running into me while they were composing shots of the Merlion & their family members. They were zooming with their feet, but some people are able to unstick their faces from the camera...