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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 Super Moderator 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

    Nov 18, 2011
    United States
    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.
    • Like Like x 1
  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.
    • Like Like x 1
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