Ireland Lens selection: 12-40/2.8 with 25mm or 45mm prime?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Mmsean, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. Mmsean

    Mmsean Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2015
    Austin, TX
    Real Name:
    Hi everyone, I'm a recent purchaser of a E-M5 MkII and 12-40/2.8. I will be traveling to Ireland in October and decided to not bring my Canon 5D MkIII and 24-70/2.8 II but rather for a smaller kit. I'd like to pick up a prime and I've been tossing around either a 25mm f/1.8 or a 45mm f/1.8. However I'm not sure which would be more useful in Dublin and Galway. Any suggestions for either of these two or another focal length?

    By the way I'm not looking to buy a bunch of primes just one to supplement my 12-40 zoom.
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  2. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
  3. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    Of course this really depends on your preferences.
    A few to consider:
    75 1.8 if you don't mind the distance needed to your subjects.
    60 macro, if you like to get close. Also does killer portraits with both eyes in focus ;-)
    One of the Noktons for a great manual experience and low light fun.
    P20 or P14 for taking to the pub without upsetting the locals.
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    25mm, 20mm or 17mm make more sense because you are more likely to need the extra aperture and low light ability indoors and in the normal focal length ranges.

    TBH, I'd say 12-40 is enough and the prime is purely optional.
  5. DavidF

    DavidF New to Mu-43

    Aug 19, 2015
    First trip to Ireland? If so, you are in for a magical experience that will surpass what anyone can describe in advance.

    Dublin and Galway are both fun and accessible cities. But do try to get out in the countryside as well.

    There will be endless photographic opportunities. I agree that most will be well covered with the 12-40. (An important advantage is that it and your camera are weather sealed; in Ireland this will prove a not insignificant attribute!)

    The one situation where you might wish for a fast prime will be pub interiors and other nightlife, of which there will be no shortage of excellent choices, no matter where in the country you are! I think the 17 1.8 might be the most versatile option.

    Enjoy the trip. It will bring you many memories I am certain.
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  6. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    Real Name:
    I have the 12-40 and the 25mm. When the light is low or you want a very simple light kit, you can just take the 25mm!. It is a very versatile lens. The 45mm would be a bit long for some situations. Of if you like it wide, you might want to consider the 17mm prime.
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  7. DolbyDan

    DolbyDan Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2011
    I would say the 60mm as it gives you something different.
  8. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    It really depends on what you are after. The 12-40 is more than enough to do it all, however it is a heavy lens. For pub pictures, I would go fast, wide and light. Why wide? In Dublin pubs will be packed, they always are, especially in the more frequented areas like Temple Bar. In Galway, pubs WILL be packed, because the nicest ones are tiny and very narrow. I would quickly and cheaply buy the Lumix 14mm f/2.5 pancake for that purpose. An E-M5 with that lens fits into a jacket pocket. With a 25mm you can do a headshot of a person across the table, but not standing face to face, which you will be in the pubs :) If you want to try street photography, the 45 mm is a good idea. But to be honest, realistically the 12-40 will probably stay on the camera all the time. It's great for landscapes as well. AND it's weather sealed. And in Ireland it WILL rain. I have lived in Northern Ireland for seven years.
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  9. Johnny The Greek

    Johnny The Greek Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 19, 2015
    Everybody has hit the nail on the head. For pure portability and speed, I would stick with two primes. If money is no object, then perhaps:


    Option one gives you the chance to get serious wide angle shots anywhere, anytime, any conditions. But the nifty fifty for portraits or just regular everyday shots of architecture, people, etc. But its around 400 dollars more than the 12-40mm which is an excellent lens.
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  10. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Real Name:
    Like everyone has said, EM5II and 12-40 is a killer combo, really only need primes if size and low light are a concern and you want to maximize the available light. The 45mm does give you a touch more reach and subject isolation, but its not tremendous. You can pick up a used 45mm very inexpensively, and it packs easily being so small.

    Of course I just bought a 25mm 1.8 for travelling small and lower light use, so I have backed down from considering the 12-40 to be the one and only lens needed (my only negative thing to say about the 12-40 is its size)....
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  11. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Real Name:
    Primes, primes, primes. [​IMG] Just get the weather sealed 14-150 and leave everything else home. Your travel companions will appreciate it.
  12. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    There is nothing very special about Ireland that would dictate lens choice. It's more down to your style and what you like to shoot, neither of which are mentioned. I am quite sure that your zoom will cover you for most eventualities.

    As a prime lover I carry around the 14/2.5 and 45/1.8 and alternate between the two. I don't miss anything wider and my 75/1.8 only comes out for paid gigs where I know it will be needed.
  13. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    The 14-150 is super versatile, granted (I have the first version), but it's generally a "good weather" lens. And Indoors flash will be a must. But more than one person seems to have missed the fact that the OP already has the 12-40. Not much of a need for more than that I think.
  14. S28546

    S28546 New to Mu-43

    Feb 9, 2014
    I think on par with what you like to shoot is how you want to display the images you've captured. Do you do much post processing? Will you want to pixel peep your pub and castle pictures? Or perhaps print 4x6 with an occasional 8x10? Or just show them on a tablet or post to Facebook?

    Unless you are planning on poster prints, I think your 12-40 will be much more than you need in all situations. For convenience in having a small easily (jacket) pocketed system, I'd probably add the 14/2.5 for those pub nights that the 12-40 will just be too big to maneuver and plan to crop in PP if necessary, or just bring use your phone for those shots.
  15. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Real Name:
    If you want to take just one prime, I'd suggest the 17 f1.8. It's small, light, and is great it low light situations. Equivalent to a 35mm or so in FF, it's perfect for interiors and street shots in low light. Another prime that might be useful is the 60 macro, which can double for portraits, or the 75mm f1.8 for extending your reach and for headshot portraits or discreet street shots.

    As others have said, the 12-40 ably covers the wide to short tele range with a fairly fast aperture. It's my most used lens for travel too. Very versatile and being weather-resistant with the EM 5 II, you don't have to put it away when the weather isn't great. Just carry a soft microfiber towel in a ziplock bag to wipe things off afterwards.
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  16. gobeatty

    gobeatty Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2014
    And don't forget with your 2.8 zoom you also have the awesome ibis to keep ISO low for static shots. I've been very impressed what I can get with the kit lens indoors using the ibis. And, if shooting interiors (churches, etc), you will likely not want to shoot wide open anyway for dof reasons so a prime faster than your zoom is only lighter/ smaller to carry without other benefit unless you need the speed or narrower dof.
  17. Mmsean

    Mmsean Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 6, 2015
    Austin, TX
    Real Name:
    Wow thanks for all of the comments, I'm trying to stay within budget of $300 for a lens as I'm already heavily invested in Canon already. I've been torn between the 25mm which would be great for indoors and the 45mm where I could use more that's outside the focal length of my 12-40. Decisions decisions.
  18. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    But 45 isn't really outside your range of 12-40. 40 and 45 are so close as to be the same. It's a mere 12% difference. That's easily croppable, or honestly in most situations just lean forward with the 12-40! :) I would consider the Sigma 60mm f2.8 instead. That's 50% longer. You'll notice that difference.

    And as I said before, I still don't think you'll really need more than the 12-40 for the trip.
  19. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    To be fair, the 12-40 is very very close in optical Quality to the primes you mention ..... I'm from Galway and I think the ONLY place you might struggle is in pubs ! You cannot visit Galway without visiting Naughtons Pub and its dark .... I'd use my Nocticron but I realise its outside the budget.... you MUST visit the Aran Islands .... Innismor is awesome ! If I HAD to buy a prime I'd step outside the range of the 12-40 so I'd personally go 75 f1.8. You will have a great holiday and love the Guinness. Its TOTALLY different to Guinness anywhere in the world!
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  20. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The 12-40mm is an amazing lens, I would go for the 20mm f1.7 purely because it's so small and light. The only reason I would really want to take the 12-40mm off is to make the camera less bulky, one stop of light is rarely enough to make a difference in real world usage in low light so I personally couldn't justify a native prime for that reason alone (specialty optics such as f1.0 or speedboosted are special cases, the lack of autofocus precludes them from normal consideration imo).

    Edit: Enjoy the trip, remember to enjoy the moment without getting caught up in capturing everything for posterity. The bars and pubs sound like fun to me.
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