Help with lenses setup

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by OMDave, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. OMDave

    OMDave Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 27, 2015
    Hello everybody,

    I'm a very happy owner of a Olympus OMD EM1 and a PEN E-PL5. I've first got the Pen in 2013 and then last year I've sold all my Nikon gear to get the EM1 and I'll never regret it. :)
    I currently have the following native lenses:
    Oly 12-40
    Oly 17 1.8
    Oly 14-42 EZ
    Pana 45-175

    Since I've purchased the 12-40 I can't live without it and it usually sticks on my EM1.
    On the PEN (which I admit I don't use very often since I've upgraded to the OMD) I usually have the 17 1.8, which is my go-to lens when I go out street shooting. I actually use it quite often on both bodies.
    I'm using the 14-42 on the PEN much less than what I thought initially, but I'm keeping it as it serves together with the PEN as a versatile option for my wife.

    What I'm missing:
    -More reach for sports and wildlife
    -More reach for shooting portraits of my 1 year old baby
    -A good travel lens

    What do you suggest to do?
    As a first move since I'm planning to attend few sports events this spring here in Chicago (horse races in Arlington, White Sox and Cubs games) I was thinking to get the Oly 75-300 and trade in the Pana 45-175.
    What do you think?

    Other 2 lenses I'm looking at are the 75 1.8 and the 14-150 ii, but I can't afford to get both of them this year.
    What do you think I should do?
    I do have 2 old legacy lenses as well. A Oly 50mm 3.5 macro and a juniper 50mm f2.0. I don't them very often. The first one for Macro, the second one for portraits of my wife.

    Let me know your thoughts!
    Great forum by the way!

  2. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Welcome to the forum :)

    An easy one is to consider the Sigma 60mm as an alternative to the 75mm.

    If you need more then 175mm there are not many alternatives at a comparable price. There is the Pana 100-300 that is a little brighter.
    Other options (swd 50-200, 40-150/2.8+TC, etc.) are in a difference price and size range, but could be reasonable if you consider that these could replace the 75mm.

    About the 14-150: do you think you would be willing to leave the 12-40 at home to take this? Or is a replacement for the 14-42?
  3. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    Personally I would go with the O75, because it does double duty as a short tele for travel (12-40+75 as a two lens kit).

    And as Klorenzo mentioned the 50-200 would be a great sporting lens and very cheap.
  4. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Hi & Welcome!

    Many users seem to find the 75mm long for indoor portraits (kids, etc.)
    If you find 50mm is a good focal length, but need A/F, consider the 45mm Oly or the 60mm Sigma.

    Travel: I've been using the following:
    Oly 9mm BCL Fisheye (tiny, always stays in side pocket of my bag)
    Oly 12-40mm Pro (my default lens)
    Oly 40-150mm R f4-5.6 - for wildlife, etc. Cheap, good, relatively compact.
    Oly 17mm f1.8 - mostly night & indoor (malls) street / travel photography, but I occasionally use it during the day if I'm tired from carrying the 12-40mm all day.

    If all of that seems like too many lenses, the 12-40mm + the 40-150mm R would cover most daytime photography, or you could get one of the 14-140/150mm lenses instead (but they're a lot more expensive than the 40-150mm and you already have the 12-40mm Pro)

  5. OMDave

    OMDave Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 27, 2015
    Thanks for the replies! This is extremely useful input for me.
    @Klorenzo@Klorenzo: interesting point around the Sigma.
    Let me seriously consider it. Reg the 14-150, yes, it would be a replacement for the 14-42 EZ. I'm trying to leave home the 12-40, but simply can't and I agree with you: I dont believe I'd leave it at home for the 14-150.
    All of this said:
    Let's talk about the differences between the Oly 75-300 and the Pana 100-300. I've read mixed reviews and can't decide. The Oly is slower, but it starts from 75. The Pana is faster and bulkier (which in this case being a 100-300 could be a good thing).
    Honestly I'm not that satisfied by the 45-175. It's not as sharp as I thought and I'm seldom using it.
    Basically I could replace it with the long one (either the 75-300 or the 100-300) and get the Sigma 60 to cover the missing focal length by giving up the 45-175.
    Now: Pana or Oly?
    @barry13@barry13: I dont think the 40-150 R is a good fit. In that case I'd rather prefer keeping the Pana 45-175. What do you think? What I liked about the 14-150 was its weather sealing, but at this point I consider my priorities as follows:
    1. long telephoto (oly or pana)
    2. covering the missing focal length between the 12-40 and the 75-300 (or 100-300) with a fast prime (e.g. the sigma 60 2.8)
    3. substituting the 14-42 with the 14-150 (could be next year)
    @nstelemark@nstelemark: what's the pricing of the 50-200? I dont think I can get it as cheap as the other being faster, right?

    What do you think?

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  6. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
  7. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:

    The 50-200 and possibly the 75-300 may be large for (air) travel, but it depends on your priorities.
    I have the 4/3 ZD 70-300mm and consider it big for anything but certain road trips where I know I'll need the length, but the m.ZD 75-300 is somewhat smaller.

    For birds, sports, etc. I consider the 70-300mm to be rather slow and prefer the 40-150mm PRO +mc-14 (or the 50-200mm should be fine), but a lot of length is given up.

    You may still want a smaller tele zoom for travel; either your Pana 45-175 or an Oly 40-150 R.

  8. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Real Name:
    The 75 is one of, if not the best, lens in the m43 lineup. But it is fairly large and heavy, and difficult to use indoors. I sold mine and substituted the Sigma 60. Almost as sharp, almost as fast, a fraction of the price, and considerably smaller and lighter.

    If you can try both, do. But if you can't, get the Sigma first. If it doesn't work for you, your resale loss is minimal (or zero, if you buy used).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. wushumr2

    wushumr2 Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    It sounds like you honestly don't have the money to get EVERYTHING. Before you start buying, I'd sell the 45-175 and the 14-42 EZ. The first lens is sharp but mainly for video and you can sell it to pick up an equally good lens like the 45-200 for cheaper. The 14-42EZ is the worst of the 14-42 lenses optically, and if you sell it and pick up the Panny 14-42PZ you'll be up at least $50, and more like $100 if you buy the Panny 14-42II. The main reason to keep the PZ lenses is video, a consideration in which your 1-year old I'm guessing played a role. But again, swap PZs and gain back $50.

    Now that that's sorted out, was your ranking above in order of importance?

    -More reach for sports and wildlife [75-300, Panny 100-300, which will set you back about $350 used]
    -More reach for shooting portrait s of my 1 year old baby [1-year-olds don't move so quickly that you should need more lens than the 12-40, right? Otherwise go with the 45mm 1.8]
    -A good travel lens [If you're not bringing the 12-40, get the 12-32 and the 40-150 or 14-150 mk1]
  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    The 50-200 goes for about 500$ on ebay, you can check the "sold listings" in the right menu. It is a "pro" Four Thirds lens and works fine with the E-M1 AF. The price is low because it is a half-discontinued system and many are moving out. I expect that Oly will keep the support for Four Thirds lenses in the next versions on the E-M1 cameras too. You will need an adapter to use it.

    On the *-300 zooms. From reviews, forum threads and comparisons I thinks the IQ is similar for both lenses. I suppose that sample variations and other details play a big role and this is why you can find a lot of different conclusions around. The speed difference is half-stop: half stop of extra noise for me.
    The biggest issue I see is that both start to quickly loose resolution after 200mm and at 300mm they probably are the bottom of the m43 lenses. At the same time in practice the samples at 300mm are not bad and you can find good ones around for both lenses.
  11. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Real Name:
    I have the 50-200 (non-SWM) and the 1.4 TC on my em1 and use it for kids sports. I'll usually have a tripod due to the weight, but it's a great lens and works well on that camera. For baseball, I find I'm usually shooting well inside the 200mm limit. I shot lacrosse Sunday for the first time and had the 1.4TC on, which helped at some cost in IQ. Soccer or football would probably be the same.

    The used price is great, and it's not depreciating after you buy used so you can experiment for not much risk.
  12. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    I've shot lacrosse with the non-SWD 50-200 as well and it works well:


    I will say I prefer the 150f2, but it is a whole lot heavier and more costly.

  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I had been using the 50-200 SWD for wildlife but today my 150 ƒ2.0 arrived in the mail, along with the EC-20. Only got to mess around a bit this evening but the weather is really crappy so nothing to brag about. Looking forward to putting it thru it's paces in the next day or so. It is pretty heavy, but I think what makes it fell heavier then it really is is just how small that thing is (well short, it is a fat little thing).
    • Like Like x 1
  14. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    The 150f2 with the EC20 is a very nice setup but definitely heavier than the 50-200 (50% or roughly 500g)

  15. OMDave

    OMDave Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 27, 2015
    Thanks for the interesting replies.
    A couple of points:
    1) despite recognizing the poor quality of the 14-42 EZ I'll keep it. It's sitting almost exclusively on the PEN and combined with the automatic lens cap it gives it a slight compactish look I was looking for especially when it's used by my wife
    2) I've read reviews and pixel peeped and I think I'll go for the 75-300. It's the right combination of size and weight for me. The 100-300 is 100g more and also I'm worried about the AF speed on the EM1, the 50-200 is also too bulky for me right now. I'll give back the 45-175 PZ. So long with the PZs for the moment. I thought indeed I'd be doing more videos indeed.
    3) I'm really tempted and intrigued by the 60 2.8 by Sigma....

  16. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    Given what you already have, I'd get the Oly 75-300/4.8-6.7. On the EM1, it will work wonderfully given that you have enough light to satisfy its hungry aperture.
  17. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    I would sell the 14-42 pz for the Panasonic 12-32. Why? 12mm vs 14 is more than you might think it is, it's better optically, it's lens OIS is better than that of the E-PL5. I even use the auto lens caps from the 14-42 on the 12-32.

    The Sigma 60 is definitely worth consideration, I also sold my 75 and replaced it with the 60.
  18. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    Check DXO for best lenses with your camera. I pay attention to the perceived resolution stat = sharpness. There is actually a wide dispersion between lenses. No point using a lens that delivers 5MP of resolution from a 16MP sensor if there are better options within budget.

    Most of us would agree with their general rankings I think though we may swap a couple of favorites.
  19. pix530

    pix530 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    - For sports you need telezoom, 40-150 would be nice choose, plus excellent addition to 12-40. I shoot with 35-100, its small and nice one.
    - For portraits I use 75mm indoor and outdoor. Love this lens.
    - 12-40 is a good travel lens. IMHO. And u do have 17.

    My shooting is about same - baby, sports and travel. I dont shoot wildlife, but I do posed portraits (natural and art light).
    My setup 17, 75 and 35-100. I am happy with it.
  20. OMDave

    OMDave Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 27, 2015
    Too teased by the Sigma...
    I've order one without waiting further. Suddenly changed priorities. :D
    Regarding the super telephoto I'm still torn between the Oly and the Pana. I'll probably go for the first one due to weight and size.
    Also, I do have the (maybe wrong) idea that on the EM1 the Oly would fit better than the Pana by all means.
    I'll wait for the travel lens and keep the 12-40 for the EM1 and the 14-42EZ for the PEN.
    The first one is too amazing to live without it, whilst I don't think my wife would be happy of using the 12-32 while traveling. She doesn't care too much about the 12 vs 14, whilst she surely cares about 32 vs 42. So the 14-42 is still a better fit. I could think of exchanging it for the Pana PZ, but I'll pass this time.
    Also, usually the 14-42 is for when my wife uses the PEN. When I'm going out shooting with 2 bodies I never have the 12-40 on the OMD and the 14-42 on PEN. On the PEN I usually keep the 17 1.8 or the 50mm macro, now I'll probably have the 60 2.8 on it to try some street portraits. Let's see.
    Also, the 14-150 is still teasing me for travel now being splash proof, maybe next year. Let's see.
    Thanks again for all the interesting replies. :)