If You Could Have Only 2 Lenses...

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by tjdean01, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Just a fun scenario. Maybe you've been spending too much money and your wife says you can only have two lenses. Or maybe you get a job as a world traveler and two will fit in your luggage. Either way, regardless of what body you have, these are the only two lenses you're allowed to use for the next couple years.

    Do you take the versatile 12-35mm and the delicious 75mm? Or maybe you prefer a wide 7-14 or 12mm with the 35-100mm? Or you could get a 14-150mm and use your second pick for the 60mm macro? Or how about two primes? Or a favorite legacy lens? Or a pancake? (List of m4/3s lenses). If you're like me you'll soon realize that you want more than two! :2thumbs: Go!

    (And, in case you're wondering, as of right now, although I do have a few cheap lenses, I'm only allowing myself to spend the money for two new good lenses.)
  2. noohoggin1

    noohoggin1 Instagram: @tomnguyenstudio

    May 21, 2012
    Real Name:
    Funny, I've been thinking about this lately. I've noticed that when I go out for some street shooting, I often carry the 14mm pancake for my wide (usually already on the camera), and then stuff the 45mm/1.8 in my pocket for my moderate zoom/portrait/low DOF shots. That is often all I will need (and ultra portable--that is key) despite the fact I have a boat load of lenses.
  3. Nordiquefan

    Nordiquefan Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2013
    12-35 & 35-100 would seem to offer the most versatility, however a PL25 & Oly 75 pairing sure would give some consistently lovely results.

    I think I would have to choose the latter pairing but only because the only one of the four I've used is the PL25 and it is spectacular. If I had spent some time with either of the first two I may lean that direction solely for the versatility. They seem to be well regarded.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Mu-43 mobile app
  4. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I always wanted a basic SLR to take good photos when needed, but my experiment with the SLR-sized Canon Pro1 proved it would get very little use! But would a large-sensor Rebel or D5100 inspire me? This year I needed a replacement for my P&S. Canon s110, Panasonic LX7, Coolpix A? Instead I revisited my SLR desire and opted for a PL2. The 14-42 lens, the case I chose, the neck strap, and the size and weight above a P&S all annoyed me. I returned it.

    Then I discovered the existence of the PM2 and that it accepts Panasonic pancake lenses. Not only is the PM2 + 20mm lens + wrist strap as small, light, and pocketable as a P&S LX7, but it beats a Canon Rebel or Nikon D5100 (I would have just used the cheap kit lenses) in terms of sharpness, speed, IBIS, etc. And at 40mm equiv, who needs zoom? So, this pretty much means that I bought one camera to suit two needs. Win!

    Lens 1: Panasonic 20mm f/1.7.

    The next lens is a toughie. I was thinking about the wide angle option but after shooting at 14mm for a while I realize that it's not wide enough to be dramatic, yet too wide for normal shots. The 20mm is better for me in most situations. So I rule out wide. Since I love shooting with a 50mm legacy maybe the 60mm macro? Macro is nice, but the lens is too big for me; and 60mm is a bit long. The 50mm legacy can be almost completely replaced by 45mm. But not the Pany 45mm macro because I'd rather have the faster, smaller, lighter Oly 45. It accepts the macro adapter anyway. And again, who needs zoom? I rarely take photos of things far away. Finally, going back to the above, there's not a $600 SLR + kit lens in the world that can compete with the PM2 + 45mm.

    Lens 2: Olympus 45mm, f/1.8.

    With these two lenses I'm a superstar! :thumbup:
  5. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Real Name:
    O12 - P25. period.
  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    for me 25 and 75.... but would probably sacrifice packing a few pairs of sock/underpants to justify bringing the 17/1.8 along too

    those 3 lenses are my go to travel lenses... and could live without the 17

    did a week in tokyo recently, my first pure travel trip for a while with just these three lenses and never found myself lacking anything more

    wandering thoughts

  7. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    Much as I would miss the delicious primes, I know that my imaging needs would be spectacularly met with the 7-14 and the 12-35. Covers everything from dramatic wide, to scenics and landscapes, street photography, architecture, general use, travel use, close up, and portrait... all with exceptional IQ. I wouldn't miss the longer reach focal lengths anywhere near as much as I would miss the wide FOV. And though the 12-35 isn't exactly a speed demon, it's a reasonably fast lens, throughout the entire focal length range, and when combined with today's best high-ISO performing sensors and IS... it can perform quite well in lower light levels.

    If I were limited to primes only, I would pick the 12/2 and the 25/1.4.
  8. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Of my lenses, the 2 that I use 90% of the time are my Oly 17/2.8 and Sigma 30. Very happy with this set. I guess if money was not an option (IE. I had to spend someone else's money), I'd have to go with the Oly 17/1.8 and P/L 25... but really, I'm happy with the 2 cheapo lenses I already have.

    I don't use my Oly 45 enough to warrant the price I paid and barely ever shoot my P 14, but it was so cheap off ebay, I think I'll just hold onto it.
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    35mm/2.8 as your longest portrait lens and longest close-up lens? o_O Definitely not for me. I don't love distortion that much.

    I would go with the 25mm/1.4 and 75mm/1.8. Second choice would be the 7-14mm/4 and 35-100mm/2.8. I'm not one for mixing primes and zooms. I always build my kits with one or the other.
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    Nothing wrong with your choice in lenses, if they meet your imaging needs! And you don't have to agree with my choices either. :wink:

    But sorry, Ned, the criticism you make regarding distortion at 70mm EFOV and the inability of the 12-35 to do close up work is in need of correction. Do you have this lens, BTW? Ever shot weddings with the 12-35 or a 24-70 on a DSLR? Great for portraits! Drop into the 12-35 image thread for a look around.

    Awesome portraits with NO apparent distortion can easily be done with the 35 on m4/3.

    It may not be one's ideal choice for portraiture, nor your choice, but to say that it renders undesirable distortion in portraits is :rolleyes:

    In this dramatically restricted scenario where one must choose only 2 lenses for ALL of one's imaging applications... the 12-35 makes a perfectly suitable portrait lens, in addition to so much more! (I say this as a life long career portraitist, BTW.) This isn't to say that the 45/1.8, 75/1.8, and 35-100/2.8 aren't great portrait lenses, because they are awesome and I love them too!

    I selected the 12-35 for all of the different applications that I stated above, including portraiture, not specifically for portraiture. It's versatility is the key here with this very restricted choice!

    As for close up work...
    The 12-35 focuses plenty close enough for excellent close up work... MUCH better than either of the 25/1.4 or 75/1.8 that you claim is better for close up.

    I just tested twelve native m4/3 lenses for close-up use and the 12-35 trounced them all, quite dramatically! (The lenses I have that I tested include 7-14, 9-18, 12, 14, 20, 14-42, 14-45, 14-140, 12-35, 25/1.4, 45/1.8, and 75/1.8. The 12-35 was quite clearly the best of these choices for close up work!)

    Do you have the 12-35, 25/1.4 and the 75? Take them out and see what you can do for close up work with the 12-35 at 35mm and with the other two lenses. Then please, tell us what you find! :wink:

    The 75 is a fine quality lens and I love mine, but to have it as one, of only a two-lens kit... no thanks.. its too much of a one trick pony for me and how I shoot! For me, the 45/1.8 is probably the more versatile, yielding nice portraits and being suitable for more general use as well.

    The lenses I have selected may not be your choice or preference, but your criticisms of distortion and inability to do close ups, regarding the 12-35, are wrong. This is a very versatile lens which at 35mm can create wonderful portraits and very good close-ups, at 25 superb standard focal length applications, and yielding superb IQ at the 12mm focal length and good low light performance. Its arguably the best lens in our system for wide ranging versatility and very high IQ.
  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Definitely the 75mm for the long end.

    At the short end I think I'd do the opposite to kevinparis, I'd take the 17mm F/1.8 rather than the 25mm. It would have to be one of those 2 but I think on the basis of field of view I'd go for the shorter focal length.
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    12-35, 100-300. The one covers almost everything, and the other is ideal for areas with wildlife, which I do very much enjoy traveling to. The 100-300 wouldn't get a whole lot of use, tis true, but still.
  13. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Real Name:
    I only have two lenses
    1. PL25
    2. P14 (since 5 days ago)

    50mm and 28mm is perfect IMO
  14. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Real Name:
    Being allowed only two means they have to be good. So that actually makes them more expensive. (Dear.)

    P14-140. (I need long stuff too.)
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    Ian... excellent choices from my perspective, as well. I almost selected the 14-140 myself, as I love mine and the IQ is excellent! Personally, however, I just don't shoot at that long end much at all and opted for the speed and 12mm end with the 12-35. Either way, can't really go wrong.
  16. Anthon

    Anthon Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2012
    7-14 + 25 1.4
  17. greenlight

    greenlight Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2012
    Real Name:
    Colin B
    Recently I've been carrying just the 17mm f1.8 and 45mm f1.8, which is a great "people" combo, and I would be pretty happy living with just these two.

    I'd occasionally miss something wider for landscape, but I don't think I'd trade the small size of the 17mm for any of the zooms that run wider, on the basis that portability is a big factor for me. I've made some nice landscapes with the 17mm so I think I'd manage.
  18. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Preferring primes over all others, if I was forced to choose just two lenses then I would probably go with a 12mm and 25mm.
  19. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Real Name:
    I have 3 zooms that I am constantly swapping as the different subjects and scenes present themselves. And it's getting on my a-hooga! Which is why I've ordered the 14-150.

    I suppose I do a different sort of photography than you "prime huggers". And for landscapes I like to pick out different scenes with a longer lens. Maybe I can be cured?

    Ian. (a zoom hugger)
  20. greenlight

    greenlight Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2012
    Real Name:
    Colin B
    I could definitely live with that combination too.