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New E-PL1 - Now what?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by pboga, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. pboga

    pboga Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Dec 6, 2010
    Brazil
    Hey guys!

    So, i've been a p&s user for quite some time, and a couple of years ago i got an lumix lz8 with some manuals controls.
    After getting tired of all of it's limitations, i decided to get something with more freedom.

    So, i chose an 4/3 instead of an DSLR mainly because of the size and, from what i've been researching, IQ can be just as good... or even better in some cases.

    Anyway, my question is:
    After getting the normal kit, what else should i look for?
    I love to take indoor and nights photos. Does the kit lens do the business, or should i get a new one? Which do you recommend? I've seen a lot good reviews for the Panny 20mm, but it's quite expensive. Is it worth it?

    So, that's it for now.

    Cheers everyone
     
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    For low light situations, it hard to argue with the f1.7.

    Your only other "native" choice is the Voigtlander 25f/0.95 and it's manual focus (and heavy)

    Otherwise, you could go the legacy lens route with an adapter and get something like a 50f/1.4 or f/1.2
     
  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    • Like Like x 1
  4. systemid12

    systemid12 Mu-43 Rookie

    pboga. for indoor or any low-light shooting, definitely go with the Pany 20mm.

    I guess the only downside to this lens is that it does not have in-lens IS. But since your putting it on an E-PL1, you can use the in-body IS to compensate for it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    543
    Aug 18, 2010
    I have the 14-42 kit lens and the 20/1.7 for my E-PL1 and the 20 stays on my camera 95% of the time. Yes, it's worth every penny.

    If you want to do indoor available light (no flash,) photography, the kit lens won't cut it. The aperture range of 3.5-5.6 just isn't fast enough. You really need a prime -- either the 17/2.8 or the 20/1.7. Obviously the 20 is faster so you will get a faster shutter speed. The 20 is also better optically although the 17 is supposed to be excellent as well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    574
    Aug 16, 2010
    Australia
    What Todd said. :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. pboga

    pboga Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Dec 6, 2010
    Brazil
    Awesome!
    Thanks so much for your quick replies.


    I've seen a lot of comments like these: People who bought the 20mm/1.7 lens and use it almost every time.
    So, in what occasions do you think that i may use the 14-42 kit lens?
    I mean: indoor and low light = 20mm.
    And what about street, landscapes,...?

    Cheers
     
  8. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    249
    Jun 21, 2010
    I think the Oly kit lens is actually quite a good "all rounder" on m4/3, it might not focus as fast as the panny kit zoom, but it really is small; and from what I have seen the image quality is very good. The apetures available are of course smaller, so you will always have more depth of field (for landscapes and street). The lens can take respectable macros too (0.3x).
    Incidentally, whan taking macros or landscapes, you will be using a small apeture anyway; it is necessary to get everything in focus!

    I think it's only drawbacks are the limited apeture; which affects all m4/3 zooms, and slow focus speed. But if you have good light (really any sensible sort of daylight is fine) and don't mind carefully (or) pre-focusing you will not find these drawbacks for you at all. Check out the m.zuiko 14-42 image thread


    I, like many others enjoy the 20mm, my reasons are as follows in order of importance (for me)-
    keeps the camera small, it almost looks like a point and shoot
    the lens is very sharp
    20mm (40mm equivalent) is a nice focal lenght, and being tied to it makes you "look" harder for pictures
    f1.7 is very nice to have when I want it


    The first three points could just as well apply to the m.zuiko 17/2.8 lens, which is cheaper, and gets ignored a lot, not because it is bad, just because the panny is a little bit better.

    Welcome to the forum, and show us what you've been taking!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. pboga

    pboga Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Dec 6, 2010
    Brazil
    Hey, thanks for that!

    My mainly doubt is:
    Since i'm coming from an p&s, this "lens" thing is all new to me.

    I've been reading about it in the last weeks, so i got a little info about it.

    Anyway, what i mainly whant to do is to take night, indoor pictures, and also indoor and some landscapes.
    Do you think that i'll be well served with the 14-42 kit and panny 20mm?
     
  10. DjordjeJ

    DjordjeJ Mu-43 Regular

    103
    Dec 19, 2009
    Belgrade, Serbia
    These two lens will be just fine for lots of thing. Like other said use 20 for indoor low light, in bars some environmental portraits, and 14-42 for shooting in good light or when using flash. For landscape use 14-42 with mini tripod.
     
  11. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    249
    Jun 21, 2010
    I would stick with the kit lens for a good while yet.
    Before you rush out and buy a new lens, get used to the one you've got.
    Since you have just come from P&S, I hope you don't mind me briefly going over some basics?
    iAuto will work most of the time, but is liable to make mistakes. So it's worth understanding what the camera is trying to do.

    You are probably used to a zoom lens. Zooming and focusing are two different things.
    To "Zoom" means to change the focal length ("Zooming in" makes things bigger, if you are standing still).
    Focusing means to move the point at which the image is sharpest (towards you or away from you, if you are standing still).

    The focal length of the lens is fixed for a prime lens like the 20mm panasonic, ie. you cannot zoom. If you want something to look bigger, you must walk towards it.

    OK, now the three variables of exposure should get a quick mention.
    Apeture, shutter speed, ISO.
    All three of these directly contribute to your exposure, but they are easy to understand, and relate to each other quite logically.

    The Apeture is measured by an "f number" the smaller number, the bigger the apeture, and the brighter the lens.
    The "f number line" is: 1 1.4 2 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16 22
    It continues at either end, but this is the relevent range.
    Each number is 2x as bright as its neighbor, this concept of doubling and halving will soon become quite familiar.
    i.e. f2 is twice as bright as f2.8, or f8 is half as bright as f5.6. Remember lower is brighter.
    The f number is an important variable, and one which you probably want control over.

    Shutter Speed also effects exposure, it measured as a fraction of a second and displayed on the camera as a whole number. "500" means 1/500s (i.e. one fivehunderedths of a second.)
    The faster the shutter speed, the less light gets through.
    So it should follow from above that a lens set at f2 will allow you to use a shutter speed twice as fast as a lens at f2.8. (e.g. if you were photographing a bird that kept moving, using a faster shutter speed would allow you to "capture the moment" without it blurring, but you would need more light to do so)
    Controlling the shutter speed becomes important if you are capturing high speed movement.

    ISO, this is basically the electronic gain on the imaging sensor (like the volume of an amplifier) as it gets higher things get less refined.
    ISO200 is the base ISO of the E-PL1 camera sensor, and the one at which you should get optimum image quality, it goes up to 6400. But most people try and keep the ISO as low as possible, and ideally stay below 1600.
    Each doubling of ISO acts exactly like a halving of shutter speed. (well, except for the extra electronic noise)
    So, for example, if you were photographing a bird that was constantly moving, your lens was already open at it's maximum apeture, and you could not decrease your shutter speed without the birds movement causing motion-blur; then you could increase the ISO.
    The E-PL1 lets you set and "Auto ISO" range, so that it will automatically select the lowest ISO within a user defined boundary, for a given exposure.


    All OK?
    Sorry if this is a bit basic, but someone might find this useful.

    The Apeture of the lens (the f number) however does more than just let you know how much light it lets through the apeture also changes the depth of field; the two go hand in hand. If you use f1.7, you will have a lot less depth of field than f4.

    This is neither good nor bad. It just is.
    (Hyperfocal Distance and Depth of Field Calculator - DOFMaster is a good website for calculating this, if it takes your fancy)

    Meaning, if you wish to take landscapes, you will need to use higher f number (f5.6 or even higher). Naturally, you will also need to use an appropriate shutter speed.
    The m.zuiko 14-42 lens is just fine for landscapes, some people like to use very wide angle lenses, but its a personal taste, and the 14mm end of the range is still quite wide.

    You have said you mainly want to take night, indoor and landscape pictures.

    Available light night portraits with this lens will require unrealisticly slow shutter speeds, but the E-PL1 does have a flash just for this purpose! There is nothing wrong with using a flash, http://neilvn.com/tangents/ this guy is amazing at flash photography.

    Night landscapes are just like normal landscapes but with really long shutter times (several seconds) so again the kit lens is fine, just put it somewhere nice and stable (or on a tripod) and set it up for a lovely long exposure, these are great fun.

    Indoor photography will be the hardest. Not impossible, and not bad, but just harder.
    This is really where large apetures start to earn their keep, as indoor backgrounds can often be cluttered, using the wide apeture to keep the depth of field small (and therefore put emphasis on the subject) as well as keeping the shutter speed up and the ISO down. You can always use flash, but sometimes indoor candid portraits are tricky to take with the flash firing away.

    Just enjoy the camera you have for a few months. When you start to find the limitations, and want to move your own photography in a certain direction, that is when to start buying new gear.

    Hope this helps!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. pboga

    pboga Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Dec 6, 2010
    Brazil
    Hey akulya.
    Thank you so much for this info. It will so helpfull.

    I think i'll just do as you said.
    Stick with the kit lens for a while and latter get one that suits what i need.

    Thanks agains.

    Cheers
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    574
    Aug 16, 2010
    Australia
    I use the kit lens for a lot of stuff. It's surprisingly good!

    Product shooting:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Landscapes:
    [​IMG]

    People:
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    While akulya did a great job of summing it up, to get the full lowdown on the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO - and how to know which to select depending on what you want the photograph to portray, pick up a copy of "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    akulya, I think you did a superb job on your descriptions of the most important technical aspects of photography...so much so that I've started a new thread in the Image Works forum: A Primer on Aperture, f stop, ISO and EV compensation. It would be wonderful if you'd like to add in a bit about "ev compensation".:wink:

    When I first began in digital photography back in...um February 2010, I think it was, I had no clue what "ev compensation" meant.:redface: True!

    Great thread, systemid12!
     
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  16. pboga

    pboga Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Dec 6, 2010
    Brazil
    Read a lot of good reviews about it.
    Thanks for the indication. Just ordered it from amazon.

    Cheers
     
  17. Keeper

    Keeper Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    Dec 10, 2010
    Very informative read, thanks for the info.
     
  18. OPSSam

    OPSSam Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Dec 18, 2010
    NC
    Also, you could buy the FL-36R flash, and then you can also take the flash off camera. The built in flash controls the remote one, allowing you to switch from Manual to TTL to FP (shutter speed above normal flash sync limits). I'm not saying you have to buy one, but it allows for some creative uses of a flash not found on a p&s camera. It is only available on the E-PL1 (and the SLRs of course), not the previous 2 PENs.