I can't decide on a camera/lens combo

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by aaronlongphoto, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. aaronlongphoto

    aaronlongphoto Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2013
    Louisville KY
    Aaron Long

    I am in the process of switching all my digital equipment back over to Olympus and I can't decide which direction I want to go.

    I have narrowed it down to EM5 mkI + Oly 12-40mm or a EM1 + Oly 17mm 1.8

    For 90% of my photographic career I have been a prime shooter so my brain immediately tells me to go for the em1/17mm. On the other hand, I have been shooting alot more landscapes and nature related pictures so the EM5/12-40 combo sounds good with the weather sealing.

    I do enjoy shooting in lower lit situations so the extra light on the 17mm points more to that direction. Anybody with the 12-40mm find themselves looking for more light with it being a 2.8?

    I know that in the end this will be decided on my personal preference but I am just looking for everyone's thoughts and experiences with similar combos.

  2. If you do landscape, I'd suggest the EM5II with it's Hi REZ mode - 63mp raw or 40mp JPEG. In low light shooting, you may want to get something faster than 2.8. EM5II also has better IS than the EM1

  3. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    The body and lens are two separate choices there, so I wouldn't necessarily combine them. Are you picking the E-M5 II + 12-40 vs. E-M1 + 17/1.8 because they're about the same cost? Because in most ways, the 17mm lends itself better to the E-M5 II than the 12-40, and vice-versa with the E-M1 due to the way the grips are built and the overall form factor.

    And the E-M1 is not a strict upgrade over the E-M5 II. The high-res mode and the IBIS are superior on the E-M5 II, so unless you're using old 4/3 lenses or doing a lot of high-speed action or wildlife photography, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the E-M1 over an E-M5 II in the first place.

    I would decide on your body first, then decide on your lens...

    But in general, if that's your choice, I would pick the E-M5 II and the 12-40mm. Even among M4/3 lenses, the 12-40 is a truly great lens, whereas the 17/1.8 is a competent and enjoyable one that mainly stands out from the competition for its field of view and quick autofocus.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I have the second combination (E-M1 and 17/1.8) and am very pleased with both. However, as a long time user of the old Olympus 12-60mm lens on 4/3rds bodies and now also using it with my E-M1, while I do really enjoy the 17mm prime and sometimes leave the house with JUST that lens, I think I would miss having the versatility of a wide angle zoom over time.

    But if you are one that prefers primes, I might suggest the second combination AND also adding the 45/1.8 which is even smaller than the 17mm/1.8 and if you don't mind buying second hand or refurbed is often available for $250 US and less. This will give you two different focal lengths that are far enough apart to be useful without stepping on each other's turf and the one you don't have mounted fits in a jacket pocket.

    But again, the 12-40mm lens being as sharp as it is throughout its range is like having 29 different f/2.8 primes. ;)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. aaronlongphoto

    aaronlongphoto Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2013
    Louisville KY
    Aaron Long
    I am deciding between the original EM5 not the MKII. The MkII is out of my budget.
  6. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014

    Well, in that case, it's a much more open question, and much trickier to answer. The E-M1 is definitely better-featured than the original E-M5, so that's the one I'd pick. But I'd also pick the 12-40/2.8 over the 17/1.8 almost any day.

    Given how affordable the original E-M5 can be found these days, I'd invest in the 12-40, and by the time the E-M5 body is feeling like it's really out of date, you can upgrade it and keep using the 12-40, which will be a good lens for as long M4/3 is around.
  7. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I am a fan of minimalism (and primes) so I would choose the E-M5 and the Olympus 17/1.8...in fact I made a very similar choice in that I picked up and E-M10 and Panasonic 20/1.7 (I like the FL better)
  8. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Or, the E-M10 II + O17. That combo does not have weather sealing but it is a nice little package.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    You'll eventually get both lenses, so decide which one you want to start with now. I find the 12-40 very convenient and useful...but getting extra light to the sensor is something that the 17/1.8 is always going to have an advantage.

    Pick the one that you'll use the most first, then save up and get the 17 after. I went primes first, but use them only when I really need the light gathering of those 1.x apertures.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  10. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    gryphon1911 makes a lot of sense. The 12-40 will click a lot of boxes and if you only have 1 lens I'd go with the zoom. If you are a big prime fan the 17mm will be waiting for you down the road and you can rest assured that its' price won't go up. The 12-40mm currently has a $200 discount!
    Bobby :coffee-30:
  11. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    Agreed. When I bought my 12-40, I sold my 45 f1.8 as I rarely used it and I as sure that the o25 f1.8 would also be sold. But it hasn't - there are times when I just want something quicker, or a little less depth of field ( not that it's hugely noticeable ) but the 12-40 is on the camera 90% of the time due to its convenience.
  12. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I just got a 12-40. It is super convenient, IQ-wise it can keep up with the primes but f/2.8 is definitely lacking compared to f/1.8 when indoors at night. For capturing candids of people, a reasonably high shutter speed is required, and the difference between f/2.8 and f/1.8 means the difference between ISO3200 versus ISO800. AF is also faster and surer with the primes in darker conditions.
  13. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I love primes (half my lenses are primes), but I would say go with the E-M5 and 12-40 combo. Having a single focal length for a format, to me, sounds way too limiting. You could live with just the 12-40 for a long time and be very happy...it'll cover you for everything from travel to architecture to portraits. The 17 (as nice a lens as it may be) would just get boring/too limiting for me after a short while.
  14. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Aaron, I'd definitely go with E-M5 + 17/1.8 and 45/1.8. I think that is pretty close to price neutral vs the 12-40.

    To answer your question without changing the choices, I'd go with E-M5 + 12-40. The E-M5 is a crazy value on the used market. I'd take advantage of that. Maybe try to find someone ditching their Panny 25/1.7 for close to the $100 they paid for it if you need something for low light.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I will be the contrarian. I have primes from 12 - 45mm and the 12-40. All are great. For those who have their 12-40 glued to their camera, do they carry their camera every or most days, or take it out a few times a week to shoot. I find the O12-40 too big and heavy to carry daily as enthusiast. Do you shoot in the evenings, indoors, or other low light conditions? I find that the primes work best here as well. Do I like the O12-40? Yes, it is a fantastic lens when I am camping, hiking, traveling, etc., and I do not know what to expect. I carry the O17 & O45 90% of the time.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. It all depends on where you are shooting and what, so only the OP will know what is right for him/her - I have the 12-40 on most of the time because I shoot daytime and live in a rural area. Much more convenient to use than primes. And the combo isn't "heavy to carry around all day - I once held a client of mine's D700 with a battery grip and some kind of zoom. Now that was crazy heavy.
  17. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    @50orsohours@50orsohours Yes, when I am rural areas I frequently have my O12-40 on as well. Since the OP said that for 90% of his photographic career he used primes, I thought that I would suggest that primes are a very good option with m4/3's as well. Zooms will always be more popular.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  18. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Coming from a Nikon FX/DX background, the 12-40 is down right small. The EM1 and 12-40 could be carried by me everyday if I needed to do so. It's a relative thing and very personal to each person.
    Today, I was walking around with a TT Retro 10 carrying the EM1, 12-40 and 40-150/28 lenses. A non-issue for me. Other days, I might have the Nikon Df with the 50/1.8D and 28-85/3.5-4.5. I know some that don't want anything bigger or heavier than a Fuji X100T.
  19. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    While I do not shoot primes often and I find them inconvenient because out in the field you never have the right lens on the camera when an opportunity presents itself and having to quickly change lenses leaves you acting like a circus juggler, the weight of a heavy zoom can be a major concern that most shooters do not think about especially on the 4/3 systems. In facing a similar decision I went with the lighter, slightly smaller Panasonic 12-35mm lens. Plus I liked the way it felt on the camera better than the Oly 12-40mm lens and it uses a 58mm filter. Both are f2.8
  20. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I just bought the EM 5, and am deciding what lens to add, (as well as collect the funds). I have an adapted OM 50mm on the G1, and broken O14-42II, that only works on the short end. The wife has the P20 on her GF-5, that she is happy with. So, I'm thinking the add the P 42.5 to my EM-5. Between us, have things covered, for inside/outside except for telephoto.. 12-40 is just outside my means, but would seriously consider it otherwise.