Must have MFT lenses ?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by justa1972, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. justa1972

    justa1972 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    Hello all

    I'm new to MFT and just have the 12-60 kit lens that came with the G80. Although this will cover most of my needs I'd like to add a fast prime and a telephoto - afterall it was the availability of good cheap lenses that attracted me in the first place - along with weight.

    So I'm tempted by the 14, 15, 17, and 20mm primes - the 25mm might be a bit long for me...

    Telephoto wise I'm not sure as there are so many to chose from ! The 35-100 f4 looks good but isn't hugely different to my 12-60...

    The best bang for buck is what I'm after - so what do you recommend?

  2. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Only you can know what focal lengths you prefer - for me, the best bang for buck lenses are two short tele primes in the Olympus 45mm and the sigma 60mm, but these don't look to suit your style. From a wider perspective, the Panasonic 20mm is razor sharp and reasonably priced, but if you'd get more use from something wider then that might provide better value for you.

    For cheaper tele zooms, I'd recommend the Panasonic 45-150, although bang for buck you'd struggle to go wrong with any of the Olympus offerings or the Panasonic 45-175.

    Honestly I'd recommend shooting with the kit lens, work out what focal lengths you'd prefer and then you'll have a better idea of what to get.
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  3. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    I agree with @ionian@ionian

    But... will add that for dollar value the Panasonic 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 are hard to beat, as the 15/1.7 and 17/1.8 are a good chunk more money. The 14 is slightly faster than your kit zoom... I'd buy it for the size not the aperture.

    In telephoto, the Olympus 40-150/4-5.6 can be had for $100(US) on sale, new, if you're patient. So that's hard to beat for raw value.
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  4. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I certainly agree that the recommendation of shooting with your kit lens to determine what focal length you like and what your needs are is a good advice. Using your equipment and figuring out what you actually need that your current equipment doesn't provide is a sane way of approaching equipment. Though for many of us, GAS trumps sanity. Of the lenses you listed, I'd probably go for the PL 15 if it's in your price range. I have the 14 and I like it. But it's not super fast at f/2.5. IMO, it's biggest advantage is that it's super small, light, and inconspicuous when used on a small body. On the G80 I don't think the size difference between it and the 15 is big deal. Most reviews favor the PL 15 to the Olympus 17 in terms of IQ; I think on an Panasonic body it would be the more optimal choice. The Panasonic 20 is optically excellent but it was among the earliest m43 lenses and focusing speed doesn't match newer designs. It's fine for most stuff, but if you want to take full advantage of the really fast focus in the current Panasonic bodies, I think the 15 would be the better choice. And you're basically saying the 25 is too long, so I'll stop there. If I were picking one of the 4 lenses you listed, I'd opt for the 15.
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  5. HI @justa1972@justa1972
    I, like you have just joined MFT ( a week ago). I came from Nikon FF so I was wondering what you were using before when you also said you just joined MFT?
    Reason I ask is because when I got back into photography a few years back I picked up a slightly used Nikon FF D700... It seemed like a great deal because I also got 3 lens with it... all what you would call kit lens. The next piece of glass I picked up was the best piece I had with that system, a Sigma 105/2.8 macro. It outperformed the kit glass in many different ways. Before that I was envious the prime and fast glass that others were using, and the results they were getting. While I wasn't unhappy with my composition the photos were lacking in sharpness... until the Sigma!
    So when i started looking at MFT as an option I decided then and there that I would not settle for kit lens. I wanted something for travel, and while I haven't received it yet I have the Oly 12-100/f4 Pro coming soon. I also just purchased the Oly 7-14/2.8 after checking it out at a camera store and after reading many reviews. This piece of glass will cover landscapes, some macro and I'm hoping my coaching video work. I know it is a more expensive proposition but I'm convinced that going Pro is the way to go for me at least.
    That's what I asked where you were coming from initially, as, if you already have experience with other formats and desire better output options for screen or print better glass might be the better way to go. If you live near a camera store that rents glass you would be wise to try out several different lens before purchasing. Sadly, I live nowhere near a store so am "forced" to buy outright!
  6. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    As to what you should purchase next, that's hard to tell if you don't provide a bit more information about your favourite subjects and genres.

    Anyhow, as has been said, none of the cheap tele zooms is a bad choice (the tiny, yet capable Panasonic 35-100mm f/4-5.6 is one of the best, though its reach is ab it limited, and as you noted, overlap with your existing lens is considerable). But given you have a 12-60mm kit lens already, a fast prime might give you access to different approaches to photography. Of course, a tele zoom will do so as well - so yes, there are lots of choices out there, and it pays (as you have done!) to get a bit more information before choosing your next lens.

    I love wide-angle shooting myself, but honestly, I take better images with "normal" lenses (20mm to 30mm in :mu43: terms). Thus, the idea of checking your EXIF to see what you actually prefer and/or do best/most is a good one. Of course, at the moment you're limited to a medium tele FoV - so if you use the long end of your lens a lot and aren't able to restrict/compress the FoV to your liking, the tele route might be a more obvious choice.

    I'd also like to know the body you're on - some lenses offer different advantages depending on the body. For instance, on most Olympus bodies, optical images stabilisation (O.I.S.) is more or less redunant; and the aperture rings on some Panasonic lenses (like the 15mm) don't work on Olympus bodies ...

    Finally, a purely personal recommendation, especially if you like to shoot portraits: The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Contemporary is a great performer - about the size of your zoom, but very bright and sharp, really good optically. You get more than three stops of additional light gathering capability compared to your 12-60mm, and the slightly tighter FoV (compared to normals and moderate wides) makes this a great people lens for out-and-about photography.

  7. justa1972

    justa1972 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    Thanks for the replies - to answer a few questions, I shot fuji before and had the two kit lenses i.e the 16-50 and 50-230.

    I generally found the 16mm wide enough although I wouldn't mind getting an UWA.

    I tried various prime lenses and decided for me that 28-35mm FF equilivilant suited me best.

    I mainly take landscape,architecture and general travel photos - I travel to France as much as I can afford!
  8. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2016
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Rob Campbell
    I love my 14mm f/2.5. It was one of the first lenses I bought for m43 and I still use it regularly. Great for walking around, group shots, architecture, street...

    Has really pleasing contrast. You mention bang for buck, well this lens has it in spades.

    The 15 and O17 are nice, no doubt about it, but at over twice the price of the 14 they're in a different league. I have the 17 and use it quite a bit, have never shot the 15 but would love to try one. Especially if Olympus can get that aperture ring working with their bodies.

    For me personally, the 20mm was too frustrating. I do a bunch of low light stuff and the slow focus and awkward focus ring didn't work for me.

    check my photostream for more, but here are a few with the 14.

    eyes on the ball

    eye breem of ahi

    cards against humanity
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  9. SimonL

    SimonL Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    NW England
    This is by far the cheapest way to get the gear you need:

    1) Make your own mind up about the focal length you need. We have no idea.
    2) Buy the best lens of that focal length you can afford, using the kit lens in the meantime.
    3) Save up, don't be tempted to buy cheap since you'll almost always upgrade later to what you should have bought in the first place. Buying twice is a brilliant way to waste your time and money.
    4) Make your own mind up about the next focal length you need. We have no idea.
    5) Buy the best lens of that focal length you can afford, using that first fabulous lens you bought + the kit lens.
    6) Save up, don't be tempted to buy cheap since you'll almost always upgrade later to what you should have bought in the first place.
    7) Rinse/Repeat until the kit lens is no longer needed. Be content. :biggrin:
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  10. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
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  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    How do you use your images? If you routinely print larger than maybe 16" x 20," if you routinely crop tiny areas out of images or if you are a pixel-peeper, then you many need the slightly better sharpness of primes. If you routinely shoot in low light, you may need the speed available with primes but with the current generation of sensors, low means low. My GX8 shot at ISO 6400 produces amazing images. Blurring backgrounds can be done in post almost as well as it can be done with expensive fast glass.

    My current/only three lenses, after buying and reselling a number of primes, are (in usage order): Panny 14-140mm Mk II, Oly 9-18mm, Panny 100-300mm. I tried and resold the 100-400mm. Though it is a wonderful lens, it too large and heavy for me except in rare and special cases where I need its reach. I bought it for a photo safari in Tanzania and Kenya and will again buy one if I ever plan another such a trip.
  12. astrostl

    astrostl Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 4, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Justin Honold
    I appreciate the objectivity and theory in that. In practice, I find that almost everyone tends to shoot at the shortest and longest ends of their zooms unless they're specifically experimenting.
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  13. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Along with others I'm also going to say that the 14f2.5 and 20f1.7 are the two "must have" lenses which to me put the micro in micro43rds

    On a compact body like a gx85 or GF or epl series camera they are truly great and make for wonderful minimalist system

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  14. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    I don't want to drag this off topic and this is not aimed at you or meant as a criticism, but I think that if anyone finds themselves in this situation they may have the wrong lens. Any zoom is optically at its best in the middle of the range, so working around that middle point is ideal. For example, my O12-40 is mainly used around 18mm, but with the option of going tighter or wider as needed. If I find myself at 40mm then I know I'd be better swapping to a portrait prime. I don't have anything wider so I can't say the same at the other end!
  15. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    What's interesting is that I find on the "ends" of the lens, I tend to use the 12-35 at the 12 end and the 35-100 at the 100 end. But with my favorite photos, I'm more likely to use the 12-35 in the 20-30 range while in contrast with the 35-100 I use it much more at the 100 mark. I think thats probably from starting w/ the 20/1.7, I think my field of view leans towards more to it.
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  16. astrostl

    astrostl Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 4, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Justin Honold
    I think it's just human nature. Wide zooms get used at their widest, long zooms get used at their longest, for the most part. Feet still come into play.

    As for best "optics," I think it's a lot more complicated than aiming for the middle of the FL range. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40 mm f/2.8 ED PRO review - Image resolution - shows the highest resolution for both the center and edges at 12mm, albeit with higher distortion (easily correctable) and vignetting. The long end is the worst, by far. Panasonic G X VARIO 35-100 mm f/2.8 P.O.I.S. review - Image resolution - shows very similar results. I own and use both, and I lean hard into the FLs and apertures that maximize sharpness.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
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  17. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Re the 14 - totally agree.
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  18. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I shot the 20mm almost exclusively for the first year I used a m4/3 camera. It's a great little lens.
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  19. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    The thing with M43 lenses is that, since they are all quite modern designs, none of them are "bad", few are anything less than above average even. So it really comes down to, what focal length do you want, how fast do you want, how big do you want, and how much you're willing to pay. Once you figure those things out, the "must have" lens(es) for you are fairly easily to find.

    Must have is a very personal thing. For me, it's the 7-14/4, one of the 2.8 zooms (12-35 or 12-40), the 25/1.4, and the 42.5/1.2. These are the lenses I'm not getting rid of anytime soon, however, this isn't a kit I would necessarily recommend to someone else, unless I knew their shooting style, budget, etc, was the same as mine..
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    There are only 3 must have lenses as well as 3 must have TC's.

    8mm f/1.8 Pro Fisheye
    ZD 150mm f/2.0
    300mm f/4.0 Pro
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