I'm going crazy. Can't decide about new lens buy

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Gargamel, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. Gargamel

    Gargamel New to Mu-43

    Jul 15, 2015
    I'm using Olympus EPL-3 camera for 4 years now. I have a kit 14-42mm lens, 40-150mm lens and later i bought a prime Olympus 45mm 1.8 lens.

    I don't use 40-150mm, i hate to use 14-42mm, because 45mm gives me so much better result every time. Colors, sharpness, bokeh (on portraits), contrast - everything is much better. So 45mm became my go to lens for everything and 14-42mm was used mostly in city shootings when i needed a wide shot.
    I went for m43 from DSLR because i wanted COMPACT but powerfull package to work with. I'm shooting kids and people a lot + street/cities etc. 45mm is great for kids but it is too long for city or indoor shooting.

    Now, time has come for me to buy a new camera. I'll buy Olympus OM-D M10 or mark ii model if it comes soon and will be a good upgrade. I intend to sell 14-42mm and 40-150mm lenses and keep 45mm 1.8. I want to add another wider, fast lens with high picture quality.

    But i just can't decide. I still want a compact machine so zoom lenses are out and 14-42mm zoom pancake is just not good enough. After reading all reviews and forums, Olympus 17mm 1.8 just isn't as good as some other lenses out there so that one i out. Olympus 12mm is too wide for me.

    So now i'm choosing between two options:
    1. Panasonic Leica 15mm 1.7: great IQ, sharp, fast, expensive. Problem: Besides being expensive it is also large and 15mm could a little bit too wide (not sure).

    2. Panasonic 20mm 1.7ii + Samyang 7.5mm, 3.5
    Pany: great IQ, sharp, not so expensive, SMALL. Problem: 20mm could be a little long for indoors, but i think it is ok. SLOW AF (that could kill my kids shots, and i shoot my kids a lot).
    Samyang: i would use it for real wide shots, building indoors, streets,...

    Cost of both options is very close together. What would you choose? You can give other options aswell.
  2. svenkarma

    svenkarma Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    mark evans
    Hello Gargamel!

    If you think the O12 will be too wide, how often would you use the Samyang 7.5?
    The P12-32 is a very small and quite decent lens.

    Personally, I have the P25 which is a great lens. Also the small but characterful O17/2.8.
  3. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2015
    Real Name:
    The Pana 20mm is a great lens, but in low light the focus does hunt a bit and that can be challenging for shooting kids who tend to move around fast. Still it is a great lens.

    Alternative could be the oly 25mm, but if you think 20mm is too long then thats even longer. you are however not making things easy on yourself if 15 is too wide and 20 is too long and you are hesitant about the 17mm :) at what length do you tend to shoot your kit zoom, you can see what 15 mm looks like using that. A cheaper alternative could be the Pana14mm which can be had cheaply if you buy used.

    From what I hear the 17mm is very good and while maybe not on par with th 25/45 from oly it is still a solid performer.

    Samyang 7.5 is just a fantatisc lens which can be a lot of fun and it is cheap.
  4. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Real Name:
    O25 or P25 are both great. O17 is fine. I think the criticism's are overblown. I had one, but only sold it because I don't shoot that wide and prefer tighter shots (I'd argue that the 45 is perfectly fine indoors too for portraits, but to each their own). The 14 F2.5 is a solid cheap lens. Not quite as good as the 3 above, but good and tiny. Smallest/lightest lens in the lineup.
  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I happen to like the O17. It happens to fit right between the two lenses that OP is considering. It makes a nice combo with the O45.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
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  6. Egregius V

    Egregius V Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2015
    Massachusetts, USA
    Real Name:
    Rev. Gregory Vozzo
    It sounds like you've figured out that 17mm is just about the right focal length, but want to make sure that the sharpness/resolution of the lens is really high. The Panasonic 15/1.7 is said to be sharper than the 17; however, I've seen reports of missed focus with this lens on the E-M10, indicating that quality control is a bit lax. So if you go with the 15mm, just be sure to test it thoroughly within the window of opportunity to return/exchange the lens.

    I haven't owned either lens, but think they're both worthy of consideration. I know some people have not been satisfied with the 17mm - but at wide angles there's often a need to compromise one aspect of a lens for another - size, cost, resolution, sharpness, contrast, aberrations, distortion... I concur that this is not an easy choice!! May I ask: Have you looked at pictures taken with the 17mm lens at various apertures and locations, or are you just going by others' dissatisfaction and the fact that there are sharper lenses available?

    I do own the 20mm/1.7. On the E-M10, it focuses accurately and is very sharp. Just be aware of its limitations - slower focusing motor, banding in low light/high-contrast scenes (especially visible at high ISOs, but disappears entirely if you use the E-M5 II's electronic shutter). That said, you should be sure that this lens is wide enough for you. Its field of view is midway between my Panasonic 14mm and 25mm primes. Hope this helps.
  7. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    I would not rule out the Olympus 17/1.8 Small, fast focusing and a very nice optic.
    If you want a bit wider, then you might also like the P14/2.5.
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Real Name:
    The Oly 17mm f/1.8 is a little softer on the edges than the Pan 15mm f/1.7, but just. Are you sure the reviews / impressions you're hearing about the 17mm are of the f/1.8 and not the older f/2.8 Pancake? Another option for you would be the Panasonic 12-32 Pancake zoom. No it's not a fast prime, but it's really not bad at all and would cover the range you're looking for in a very small package.

    Here is a review of the 15mm that does a bit of a comparison with the 17mm f/1.8.
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  9. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I don't think it is a large lens.
    Hunt for a used copy to keep the price down?

    Also : do not sell your longer zoom : you may used it later and it's a good lens.
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The 15mm f1.7 is not large! It's only 36mm long and very lightweight. A lot of times you see it with the hood mounted making it look bigger, but you don't have to use that if you don't want. It's shorter than the 45mm and not much fatter, if at all. Same size as the 17mm f1.8 (0.5mm difference)

    I have the 15mm f1.7, 25mm f1.8 and 45mm f1.8. I like all of them. 15mm is a great all-around prime that does a lot of things well. The focal length is wide, but not very wide. Just a hair narrower than the wide end of a kit zoom. Pairs very well with the 45mm, giving you a fast moderate wide and fast moderate telephoto. 25mm is also fantastic. I really like it for indoor portraits (not headshots) and kid pics. However, as a companion to the 45mm, 25mm feels a bit too close. You aren't going to have vastly different usage scenarios for the 25 and 45 like you would a 15 and a 45mm. So for that reason, I'd go wider than 25mm. Same logic would apply to a 17mm, too.

    20mm f1.7 I owned for a week and didn't get along with it. The focal length seemed a bit neither here nor there to me. Not long enough to use like a normal prime and not wide enough to use as a wide angle. Of course that is personal preference. The real deal breaker was that it just wasn't keeping up with my kids in terms of AF and continuous AF is just not even possible with the lens. In video mode, it was even worse. I got tired of having to use MF for reliable results with the kids, so I traded it for a 25mm f1.8 and then added the 15mm f1.7 on the wide end. Of course that solution costs 2.5-3x as much as the 20mm.

    So, short story long, I'd say 15mm f1.7 is your best option, price ignored, to pair with the 45mm f1.8. 17mm f1.8 is a close second. 20mm is a good contender if you don't have kids.

    Size comparison of all the options: http://camerasize.com/compact/#382.93,382.383,382.415,382.30,ha,t
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  11. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    That is a good video review.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  12. MMouse

    MMouse Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2015
    The PanaLeica 15 mm is excellent, but the O17 is quite good too. A fisheye is something quite specific, don't you think?
  13. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Real Name:
    I never liked the 17mm (= 35mm FF), I end up with too many other distracting elements in the photo. That is my own lack of experience though.

    You have several options... I prefer the Panasonic 20mm, and 25mm focal lengths. 25mm is the sweet spot for me, but don't forget about the Sigma duo. 19mm and 30mm both are affordable and good.
  14. ddekadt

    ddekadt Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 30, 2013
    Cambridge, MA
    Real Name:
    In my experience, always buy the one best lens you can afford, rather than spreading the money out over cheaper optics. I would get the PL25 or the PL15. YMMV.
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  15. mjgraaf

    mjgraaf Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2014
    Real Name:
    Does the front aperture ring on the Leica work on an oly body???
  16. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    Olympus don't make bad lenses. I have the 17 f1.8 and it's a fine lens .... Night and day better than your zooms! Hell, I even have the 17 f2.8 and that is not all bad ..... It's certainly no Leica but better than I was lead to believe.
  17. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    Fairly sure it will not ... Doesn't on the Nocticron
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  18. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I find the P20 fine and not too long for indoor stuff. I have read that its a wide 40mm equivalent (maybe 38-39), and really it seems fine for shots around the dinner table. I have read where people say that its not great for photos of children though. By all accounts, the 15 is great and has the best optics in the standard wide range. The sample photos are great and it has the 3D pop and nice bokeh the PL lenses are known for. The PL15 and O45 make a great 2 lens kit (My current 2 lens kit is the P20 and O45, but have been thinking of replacing the 20 with the PL15). Someone posted a video a while back of a pro fashion photog who uses the PL15/O45 as his 2 lens kit... 45 for standard portraits and 15 for environmental portraits. I'll try and find it.

    tl;dr either option you posted is great, but I would probably go PL15
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  19. DolbyDan

    DolbyDan Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2011
    I can vouch for the 12-32, exceptionally tiny, very sharp, good contrast, electric AF, but the pitfalls f/3.5-5.6 and no focus ring. The 20mmf/1.7ii is a pancake lens, so small but AF is compromised, works fine on my GX7, very very sharp and fast. The 15mm is the daddy though, amazing build quality, smallish, comes with brilliant hood and cap, beaut rendering, very sharp and bags of contrast!!
  20. sdb123

    sdb123 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 25, 2014
    Northants, UK
    Real Name:
    No, it doesn't.
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