Lens advice

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by judywisconsin, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. judywisconsin

    judywisconsin Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 25, 2013
    Just got my EM5 a week ago - what a camera!! I got it with the kit 12-50mm lens.
    We are taking 2 trips this year, one to Utah to hike some of the national parks; and the other to Russia and Finland (river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg).
    What lens(es) would you recommend to add to my bag? I generally shoot landscapes & flowers, and some grandkids. Also birds, but I already know I'll be looking at the new Oly 75-300 when it comes out to handle long shots.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
  2. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    How about ultra wide angle? O9-18 or Panny 7-14? Also, for interiors, a fast prime. PL25 or Oly 17/1.8.
  3. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    The 12-50 is a really good range for a travel lens, but that lens is pretty slow. I'd pair it with a faster prime in whatever focal length you'd get the most use out of. For me that would be the P20.
  4. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I would also recommend the P20. It is a fast prime with great IQ in a small package.
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The m.Zuiko 12mm/2, Lumix 20mm/1.7, m.Zuiko 17mm/1.8, Leica 25mm/1.4 Summilux, m.Zuiko 45mm/1.8, m.Zuiko 75mm/1.8, and m.Zuiko 60mm/2.8 Macro are all worthy faster primes to consider. Not all at once of course, as many of them are too similar to each other (especially in the 17-25mm range).

    If it were me, I would get a full range of primes but I would start out with the 75mm/1.8 as the first, in order to increase your reach from what you already have in your 12-50mm. Then from there you can see what focal lengths you use most with your 12-50mm to help determine which prime lens would be most useful next, or if maybe the 1:3 semi-macro is used most often, in which case you might want to look at a true 1:1 macro like the m.Zuiko 60mm/2.8 or Leica 45mm/2.8 Macro-Elmarit next.
  6. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    I have done a lot of travelling and when the point isn't solely photography, I find that the casualness of a 35mm (eq.) FL works really well for me... not to mention how much smaller it makes that camera dangling around your neck!

    My go-to travel lens is the Oly 17/2.8... stopped down it is really good, much better than the review sites would make you believe. When I get a chance, I'll post some of my recent travel shots from DC using this lens. I chose it mostly because I can trust it and it makes carrying my camera all day much more pleasant than large lenses (like your 12-50).

    If you like wider, the P14 is also a nice travel buddy... then there are the Oly 17/1.8 and P20...
  7. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Judy, for travel, I find a wide-angle indispensable. On the EM5, my recommendation would be the Oly 9-18. The 7-14 often has problems with purple blotches on the EM5, and the image quality is only marginally better, if at all. The Oly 12mm f/2 is a nice lens, but for travel, I think the versatility of the zoom is preferable. Both the 7-14 and the 12 are faster, of course, but for outdoor travel shooting, that doesn't matter so much. I've had all three, but the 9-18 is my keeper.

    For longer (say shots from the boat in Russia), the Oly 40-150 is a much underrated lens, and superb value for money. Again, it's slow, but again, that doesn't matter too much for outdoors.

    For an all-purpose low-light lens for indoor shots (museums, castles, etc), consider the Panasonic 14 or 20mm, or the Olympus 17 f/1.8. At a pinch, you can use the 9-18 here and shoot at higher ISOs, but the primes give better results.

    Enjoy your trips!
  8. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    The 12-50 (which I have not used) does seem to be a nice all-around travel lens, and the macro feature should have you covered for flowers for a while. A good travel complement would be a faster prime in the 17-25mm range, see what fits your budget and size/weight preferences. The 20mm is a classic for a reason, although I traded it for the 25mm because I didn't mind the size and preferred the focal length. You might also want to go longer, the Olympus 40-150 can be had relatively cheaply and is much lighter/smaller than the zooms that reach 300mm.
  9. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Sorry to post twice in a row, but BigTam's comment about ultrawide lenses reminded me that there are some spectacular travel shots in both the 9-18mm and 7-14mm Sample Image Threads. In particular, user DHart posted many from his cross-country road trips last year (he may have also started some of his own threads). If you like that kind of shot, a wide zoom may be more useful than the 40-150.
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  10. CarlB

    CarlB Mu-43 Veteran

    Hi Judy,

    The 12-50mm isn't quite as sharp as the primes, but it's pretty darned sharp just the same. I did a quick comparison for the 12-50 versus a few primes that I have, which you can view for yourself here:

    Oly 12-50mm vs. Primes - a set on Flickr

    So for sharpness, those great primes are better, but not "night-and-day" better.

    Unless you need a 12-50mm focal length at f1.4, f1.8, or f2.0 for bokeh, I'd go with Ned's advice. Get the 75mm next. It's a phenomenal lens from what I've read (probably the sharpest m43 lens ever), and will cover portraits (with bokeh) as well as a bit of telephoto.
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