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Help with sensible prime choices

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by BigTam, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    A little background first: I'm a casual amateur. I have the two slow Panasonic zooms (12-32 and 35-100) for when I'm with family and don't have time to change lenses or choose a location. Perfectly happy with the pair.

    As far as focal lengths go, I seem to regard about 15-20 as 'normal' for me, with a slight preference for wider. I've tried many m43 primes in various combinations, and have just added the Panasonic 15mm to my Olympus 25mm and Sigma 60mm. I use the 15mm a lot, as I like the FOV, and the 60 is great for head and shoulders portraits.

    Since the 15mm, I use the 25 very rarely. I prefer to take 2 steps forward and use the 15. So I am considering selling both the 25 and the 60 for an Olympus 45. I used to have the 45 and it's fine for the head and shoulders shots I like.

    Any suggestions or recommendations? What about alternate 42-45 lenses?
     
  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Hmm. If you like wider lenses, do you find the 25mm to be too wide for the headshots you like? Getting the 45mm instead of the 25mm and 60mm seems like a compromise to me. One that has size and weight (and # of lenses) on its side, to be sure, but still...
     
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    tam

    you know my photography... most of it now is the 17 and the 75... go on treat yourself and get the 75 :)

    you wont regret it

    K
     
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  4. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    I have the P14, PL25 and O45 for my primes. I started with the P14 and O45 and added the PL25 later. I don't use the P14 for people very much, as I usually shoot tighter and getting close with the P14 isn't flattering. So, for me I'd have a hard time selling the 25 as I use that focal length regularly. If you don't, though. Also, while I love my O45, I sometime wish it focused closer. You may miss the close focus ability of the 60. I can highly recommend the O45 though. It is small and quite sharp.
     
  5. jin

    jin Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Jul 27, 2014
    Hi. I'm curious about your use of the 75mm. How do you usually use this lens and how does it combo with the 17mm? Many seem to agree that the 17 and the 45 are a better combo because of weight and size. The 75 is much bigger than the 45. The 75 is great for outdoor portraits but indoor, the 45 would beat it. It focuses better in door and requires less space to work with. The 75 on the other hand is slower to focus in dark places. It gives nice compression and is sharper (maybe only marginally), so I was wondering why you chose the 75 over the 45.
     
  6. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Ha! I had the 75, it was sensational, but too long for my taste. Sold it and bought the Sigma 60 ... poor man's 75 :)
     
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  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Jin

    I have been shooting m43 since it started, which coincided with a time where I could dedicate more time, energy and finance to my photography. Prior to that I shot 4/3, using mainly zooms, 9-18, 12-60 and 50-200, though I do also have the 25/1.4 and the 50 macro.

    I started with an e-p1 with the old 17/2.8 and then moved on to the 20/1.7 which I shot a lot, along with a variety of legacy lens from Olympus, Nikon, Pentax, Contax and Leica. I then added over the years the 45, and the 24/1.4 and then progressed to the OMD-EM5 and its kit lens, and then the 75, followed by the EM1. My last lens purchase was the 17/1.8 about 2 years ago, which I bought because I could, not expecting too much from it, and then was surprised that I shot it almost exclusively for several months.

    My photography covers a diverse range of things, and for the majority things I like to shoot and the situations I shoot in, I have found that the 17, the 25 and the 75 allow the framing of images that satisfy me, and those three lenses are the ones that are always in my bag or on my camera. I am not a big fan of wider than 17mm, just doesn't do it for me, and if I am doing wildlife or sports that needs longer, I still have the 50-200 for 4/3 which works very well on my EM1.

    With the 17 and the 75 I have the fast equivalent of a 4x wide to tele zoom, and my experience with zooms show that I tend to use zooms at the extreme ends of their range. By shooting these two primes, I gain speed and size over an equivalent zoom - if such lens existed. The 17 is my everyday walkabout lens, I take the 25 if i think I will need a bit more light, or the mood takes me, and I use the 75 to isolate elements that interest me.

    I don't obsess over the specs of individual lenses. All the micro 4/3 lenses are very good in terms of sharpness, way more than i need or indeed care about. They are all remarkably small and light compared to their DSLR equivalents. As for autofocus speed, well again its not that important to me. I see auto focus as an aid to convenient focussing, not something I expect to be 100% accurate in all situations without applying some additional thought and photographic experience. Autofocus needs contrast and edges to work with, and in low light you really need to work with the situation to find that, and the relative differences between focussing speeds in my experience are marginal and over hyped

    To me the image is more important than technical perfection. I enjoy the compactness of the micro 4/3 and the versatility of the platform. As a range the lenses are all very good, so at the end of the day the choice of lenses is down to what you want to photograph and your ability to work with the camera and lenses to achieve that.

    If you wish to see how I use the 17 and the 75 you can look at these flickr albums

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinparis2007/sets/72157632975120141/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinparis2007/sets/72157632812231252/

    Cheers

    K
     
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  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Focal length choice is a very personal choice. My own choice for the perfect quartet would be 7-14 (in lieu of a good UWA prime), 15 or 17, 42.5 or 45 and 75. I have a 25, but it doesn't get as much use as the 17 or 45.

    If you want a 45/short tele, it's worth looking at the new Panasonic 42.5/1.7 as an alternative to the Oly - some early reports say it's sharper (if that matters to you). I've recently let madness take hold and have ordered a Nocticron. I'm really hoping I like it!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
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  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Paul

    Agree on the personal choice thing. I get frustrated with the sometime obsessive discussion about whats the 'best' lens based on its technical specs rather than on what the lens will allow you to frame and capture.

    Nobody makes bad lenses these days, and while the upper reaches of perfection may be important for some, for the vast majority of photographers, they are irrelevant.

    Images that miss focus or are unsharp are more likely as the result of the photographers inexperience or lack of attention than a poor quality lens - I know thats the truth in my case :)

    K
     
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  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    BigTam - sorry for kinda hijacking your thread. back to your original question, I briefly had the use of the Panasonic 42.5/1.2 - its a very fine lens, but it is pretty chunky in size and weight, and indeed price. Not being a lover of the FL I passed on buying one

    K
     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think the PL15 and O45 make a terrific pair. Same for O17 (either one) and O45. But I like what I see from the Panasonic 42.5/1.7 samples and would be tempted to buy that over the O45.
     
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  12. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    I have the CV 17.5 which I use the most and love the build quality, but I'd be happy with the PL 15 or O 17. The 17.5 is wide enough for landscapes for me, and can also take portraits and is great for street photography. I have the Oly 45, but I don't use it much. I have a few vintage 50's that I enjoy using - more than the oly 45. The Canon FD f1.4 50 is very sharp and fast - cheap too. I also have the oly 75 which is incredibly sharp - but slow AF.
     
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  13. jin

    jin Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Jul 27, 2014
    Thanks for sharing.. I'll check these out.
     
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  14. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I post that I am a O17 & 45 user often. It really depends on how and where you shoot. I have other lenses and the 25mm is the prime that I use the least.
     
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  15. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Kevin, thx for this. Will definitely look at the 42.5 cf. the 45. Since I would be selling both the O25 and S60, might be worth it.
     
  16. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Now I'm thinking about keeping the Sigma 60 - it's really an excellent lens, very sharp - and just selling the 25mm. I don't mind somewhat larger gaps in focal lengths. I would have the 15 for wide indoors, and the 60 for head shots. Anyone compared crops of the 15 to the 25?
     
  17. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    There are now two Panasonic 42.5 lenses, Ron. The Nocticron 42.5 f1.2, which is indeed big, heavy and expensive; and the new 42.5 f1.7 which is about the same size as the Oly 45 but it has OIS. There are no formal reviews yet of the new f1.7 (at least that I've seen), but there are a few example images out there which seem to show that it's a tad better than the Oly 45.

    The Nocticron seems universally acclaimed for its sharpness and micro-contrast and I must say having used one recently it definitely does have a "look" to images from it that is rather stunning. I weakened and bought one at a good price on eBay (grey import). I hope I've done the right thing since I've had the Oly 45 for years and have always thought it was an excellent lens.
     
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  18. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    773
    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Just realized that the 1.7 is out there. Looks very good. I'll wait till I see a few reviews, but looks like a worthy competitor to the O45, which I had and liked.
     
  19. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    135
    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    The PL15 + O45 works very well as a two lens combo for me. The newer P42.5 1.7 has a closer focusing distance - if I was buying today (I got the O45 right when it came out years ago), I'd probably get the P42.5 1.7, which also gives OIS for Panasonic users. I've been using the 15/45 combo quite frequently for the last few months.

    That said, I also have the PL25, which, like you, I thought I simply preferred stepping forward with my PL15. But recently I brought it out again and realized how special it is on its own terms. Just a thought.
     
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  20. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I have both, and the PL25 always seems to look better, even without cropping the PL15. 15mm to 60mm is a huge gap, way more than I'd be comfortable with.

    I have all three, and agree wholeheartedly with all these points. There's a limit to how far I can step forward before there's too much distortion to the subjects head...
     
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