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Looking for some lens suggestions from E-PL3 owners

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by yhbae, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. yhbae

    yhbae Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2011
    I recently acquired Oly E-PL3 and I love it so far. :biggrin:

    Started off with 14-42 IIR kit lens, I've added Panny 20mm since then.

    I tend to do 90% of my shots on scenes, either during trail walks or within cities. About 80% of my shots are taken during the day but I do end up taking the rest of the shots during darker hours. I also like taking macro shots of flowers, etc, so I have a 5x diopter for this. (cannot justify the cost of the dedicated macro lens yet). I do not use tripod - too much bulk even in its smallest form.

    So far, I've been using 14-42 as a default lens most of the time and flip to 20mm when there isn't enough light. Pretty happy with the results so far. I don't seem to enjoy switching lenses in the middle of the walk, so I don't think a group of primes will work for me, even if that setup has an edge in IQ. I also use 20mm when I need a compact setup - in such trips, I would leave the bag behind and carry the camera either in a small pocket case or just in a coat pocket.

    I carry all of my setup in a light shoulder bag that is quite small. Very easy for me to just pick it up on my way out. I want to continue this with the new setup - no need to worry about what to bring and what not to. But the size of the bag needs to be as small and light as possible, hence I don't want to end up with huge number of lenses.

    Things I wish my current setup could do better:

    - 14mm appears to be a bit too limiting. I like panoramic scenes of nature views. I don't want to stitch photos all the time, and besides I can see where photos are stitched in most cases.
    - 42mm is also too limiting. Once in a while, I do encounter wildlife opportunities but with 42mm, it's hopeless. Heavy heavy cropping.

    This is what I am looking to do:

    - Get Oly 14-150mm, sell 14-42.
    - Get Oly 9-18mm (I want to try Panny 7-14 but it's so expensive!)
    - Also potentially looking at 14-42X lens when I still need some flexibility but not the bulk of 14-150.

    What do you guys think? Can anyone think of any alternatives?
  2. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Given your preferences and needs, there are only a few micro four-thirds lenses to go to - and you've named them. If I were in your shoes, I'd stick with the Oly zooms as opposed to the more expensive Panny glass. With Panasonic, you're paying for in-lens stabilization, which you don't need because you have in-body stabilization with the E-PL3 body. Plus the 14-42X zoom gains you nothing in terms of coverage ccompared your kit zoom - and your kit zoom may collapse down to about the same size as the X when you're not usng it.

    The 14-150 is a great deal for the price and would probably cover most of your needs on the trail. I honestly don't think you'd need much more than that and maybe the 20mm for certain situations.

    Now, the 9-18. If you can afford it, then great. But, to be honest with you, most people I know who shoot panoramic landscapes don't really use ultra wide-angle lenses. These people, and I am sometimes among them, are usually shooting with APS-C DSLRs with zooms in the 16-50 range. 16mm (which is 24mm in full-frame terms) is usually wide enough. That's because ultra wide-angle lenses tend to make subjects look too far away. Ultra wides are usually used when you are closer to your subject and want to fit more in - urban situations or group shots of people are two examples.

    Now, because we're talking about micro four thirds, it's not quite that simple. The 9-18 offers a field of view of 18-36mm in full-frame terms. So you may find that the middle of the lens's zoom range is what you're looking for. If you can get to a camera store where they have the 9-18 in stock, try it on your camera and see if you find this to be the case.

    Another option is Oly's wide-angle converter, which isn't that expensive and would give you an effective 22mm field of view - almost exactly what you might want:


    It'll mount on the front of the 14-42 lens without much loss of light. That would help keep your kit size down. But I don't know if it'll mount on a 14-150, so check on that.

    Good luck!
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I think you're on the right track if you want zooms rather than primes. My travel kit for a month in Europe in the summer of 2010 was exactly what you're contemplating - the 14-150 as the primary walk around lens, the 9-18 for the urban walk around lens, and the 20 for when things got dark. I also brought the 17 for street shooting and a second body so I could have the 14-150 and 9-18 both ready to go at a moment's notice. Neither was strictly necessary, but after all, sticking another EPL3 or EPM1 on the back of the second zoom doesn't add much to the size or weight of the kit - just a bit to the price. It was a great, great travel setup - one I'd use again. I tend to shoot primes almost always around my home territory, but zooms rock for travel photography...

  4. yhbae

    yhbae Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2011
    With the kit 14-42, I cannot fit it in my jacket - the lens sticks out too far from the body even when it is collapsed. 20mm works ok because although the diameter of the lens is much larger, it is thinner. 14-42IIR is small and light, but I want it to be more flat. I'm under the impression that the X lens will have this format...

    Pretty much what I am hoping.

    Is there a big difference between 24 and 28mm? At times, I want to fit more into the shot but 14mm (28 FF equiv) is just a bit too narrow. This happens both during close and far subjects (or scenes). Hence, I was looking for something with wider view naturally. But personally, I have never used anything narrower than 28mm, even when I was using compacts.

    It probably doesn't but I think its a pretty good idea. I'll look around and see if I can adopt other wide-angle converter. Perhaps Raynox has one - I use their diopter.

    Thanks and your suggestions are much appreciated. :smile:
  5. yhbae

    yhbae Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2011
    Thanks for your feedback. Good to hear that your lens combo worked out well for your trip.

    Do you also find 14mm a bit limiting at times?

    I don't think I will go the path of having 2 bodies - my current setup fits very tight in my current shoulder bag. I want to minimize both the weight and volume as much as possible. I will probably have to shop for a new shoulder bag but it will be as small as possible for the new equipment.
  6. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
  7. yhbae

    yhbae Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 19, 2011
    Thanks for the links, will check them out!
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