Newbie to m43 with a lens wishlist needs advice.

dancebert

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The em5 started my interest in m43. I wanted light weight and primes, something I last had in '93 when my Nikon FM2 SLR gear was stolen. Played with an em10 for the first time last week and decided to buy - as soon as I had a personal road map for lenses. EM10 kits in my country of residence are body only, 14-42 EZ, and a twin lens of EZ and 14-140 F4-5.6. I'll also buy at least 1 prime. Getting it right the first time counts because here m43 rentals don't exist, ebay is export only, and the local expat forum classifieds averages about 2 camera listings a year.

Photo subject matter is a little bit of everything, except portraits, macro and sports. I'm retired and travel about 10-12 weeks a year. Details often interest me more than the whole. I've done a little street photography, but that will increase with fast short lenses and quick auto focus. So will shooting kids and dogs, both of which are frequently encountered. Few landscapes unless mother nature has turned up the saturation or drama. These two albums are typical of my work I like best: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98341917@N08/sets/72157634470548031/ , https://www.flickr.com/photos/98341917@N08/sets/72157634492744911/

3 1/2 years ago I ditched the all auto P&S and started fiddling again with exposure and manual focus. Recent cameras were a premium compact, entry level APS DSLR and mirrorless APS, all with zooms. Extracting and plotting the focal lengths used matched my memory. (Focal lengths are 35mm eq). About 20% of shots were at the short end (28mm), another 20% at the long end (88 or 108),there is a a peak around 35mm, with smaller peaks around 45 and 55. For many of the 28mm shots I remember wanting a wider lens, and wanting a longer lens for most of the 88/108 ones.

My first wish list was Oly 12-40, Oly 17 f1.8 and Oly 45. Then I tried the Oly 12-40 with the em10, found it too heavy and unbalanced. I also got to play with a friends Oly 40-150. After much thought, my second wish list is the twin lens box, replacing the EZ with the Pan 14-45 f3.5-5.6 and adding the Oly 12 f2. Experiences at the short end of zooms tell me I'd be happy with the Oly 12, though I've never shot anything shorter than a 28mm 35 eq.

Once I have the Oly 12 and Pan 14-45, I'll be able to see how the same subject looks at 12, 14, 17 and 20, then add prime(s) accordingly, or as the budget allows.

I've ruled out some lenses for now. The Pan 35-100 f2.8 costs too much. The Oly 75 is out because a fixed length tele needs a specific subject type, one I don't have. No interest in anything shorter than 12 until I see if I like 12.

Opinions, advice and slaps up side the head are welcomed.
 

GFFPhoto

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Since it sounds like you have to buy new, wait and see the reviews for the new PL15. Not as wide as the 12, (closer to the 28 you have shot before) a bit faster, and less expensive. For me, 30 equivalent would be a little wide for a walk around lens, but there are folks who use 28 as their preferred length, and it's great as a fast, nighttime/indoor lens. Also, if you often like details more than the whole, maybe think of one of the 25s. A 12mm (or even 15 or 17) is a lot of context. A 25 will isolate those details better.
 

spatulaboy

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Welcome! You have an excellent eye for composition! The great thing about m43 is the huge variety of fantastic primes available. You are sure to find one that suits your style. The upcoming Leica 15mm sounds right up your alley.
 

MichaelShea

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I own the 12mm f2 lens, but to be honest it's a bit of a luxury item because in truth, there are not many occasions when the field of view it offers is sufficient on its own. Paradoxically, I'd use the focal length more often if it featured as part of a zoom, but when I bought it, an affordable zoom option didn't exist. Bear in mind that at least a third of the price you would pay for the 12mm lens is towards its superior build. Optically it's very good, but not outstanding. I agree that you would probably get more mileage out of a 14mm, 15mm or 17mm prime lens.

The 14-45mm zoom is a very good one and is particularly impressive at the wider end. Although in part you'd be paying for a stabilisation function that you won't need. Don't rule out the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, although to be honest I've never really warmed to it myself and prefer the output from the Olympus 25mm f1.8.
 

dancebert

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I own the 12mm f2 lens, but to be honest it's a bit of a luxury item because in truth, there are not many occasions when the field of view it offers is sufficient on its own. ...
Agree it's a luxury and I don't expect to use it often. But when it, or any other focal length, is needed, it will be nice to have. I'm frugal by upbringing and habit. If there was another 12mm available here, it would take non trivial persuasion for me to buy the more expensive lens.
 

WasOM3user

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The two lowest cost ways of getting a 12mm POV are the Oly 12-50 (which also gives you a reasonable macro) and the P14mm with it's wide adaptor (which gives you a pancake lens).

Never had the second option even though I have the P14 but the Oly zoom is better than some would have you believe particularly at the wide end.

Even though I am a prime user I keep my 12-50 for the 12mm POV and weather proofing as I don't use this view enough to justify buying the O12mm prime.
 

dancebert

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dancebert

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... and the P14mm with it's wide adaptor (which gives you a pancake lens). ...
Y'all aren't going to believe the prices. I compared Thai prices to US (Adorama). Oly lens average 20% more. Only 2 of the nationwide retailers carry Pan lenses, which may explain* why they cost 60% more. So, a P14 + GWC1 that costs $442 at Adorama costs ~$687 here. Makes the O12 at ~$937 seem like the better value.

* If Oly has a factory in Thailand and Pan doesn't, that would also explain the price difference. Firms that build stuff here get a BIG break on duty.
 

dancebert

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This ;
and because it is a kit lens that came with most E-M5 kits, there are plenty on the used market for cheap prices.
Thanks, but I said in the OP:
... Getting it right the first time counts because here m43 rentals don't exist, ebay is export only, and the local expat forum classifieds averages about 2 camera listings a year. ...
 

WasOM3user

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Sorry about the pricing even in the supposed "rip off" Britain it would be $550 (and only $330 if imported from the Far East) for the P14 and adaptor.
 

tjdean01

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The 45 would be the most popular choice because of no negatives to speak of. And for me at least the FL is not too long. Many of the other lenses are great, but I'll list the negatives in parenthesis: 12 (too expensive for its advantages over the 14), 14 (only f2.5), 17/1.8 (have had complaints optically but I'd be happy with it, 20 (again, perfect for me, but people complain about AF issues, 25/1.4 (a little pricey and larger), 30 (only f2.8), 60 (only f2.8), 75 (too long, price, so sharp you'll never want another lens!)

If it were me, since you already have the zooms, I'd buy the optically excellent 20 and 45. If you need ultra wide you can decide later if you want the 14 + converter, something that has 12, or one of the fisheyes.

Where do you live, by the way?
 

bikerhiker

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The em5 started my interest in m43. I wanted light weight and primes, something I last had in '93 when my Nikon FM2 SLR gear was stolen. Played with an em10 for the first time last week and decided to buy - as soon as I had a personal road map for lenses. EM10 kits in my country of residence are body only, 14-42 EZ, and a twin lens of EZ and 14-140 F4-5.6. I'll also buy at least 1 prime. Getting it right the first time counts because here m43 rentals don't exist, ebay is export only, and the local expat forum classifieds averages about 2 camera listings a year.

Photo subject matter is a little bit of everything, except portraits, macro and sports. I'm retired and travel about 10-12 weeks a year. Details often interest me more than the whole. I've done a little street photography, but that will increase with fast short lenses and quick auto focus. So will shooting kids and dogs, both of which are frequently encountered. Few landscapes unless mother nature has turned up the saturation or drama. These two albums are typical of my work I like best: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98341917@N08/sets/72157634470548031/ , https://www.flickr.com/photos/98341917@N08/sets/72157634492744911/

3 1/2 years ago I ditched the all auto P&S and started fiddling again with exposure and manual focus. Recent cameras were a premium compact, entry level APS DSLR and mirrorless APS, all with zooms. Extracting and plotting the focal lengths used matched my memory. (Focal lengths are 35mm eq). About 20% of shots were at the short end (28mm), another 20% at the long end (88 or 108),there is a a peak around 35mm, with smaller peaks around 45 and 55. For many of the 28mm shots I remember wanting a wider lens, and wanting a longer lens for most of the 88/108 ones.

My first wish list was Oly 12-40, Oly 17 f1.8 and Oly 45. Then I tried the Oly 12-40 with the em10, found it too heavy and unbalanced. I also got to play with a friends Oly 40-150. After much thought, my second wish list is the twin lens box, replacing the EZ with the Pan 14-45 f3.5-5.6 and adding the Oly 12 f2. Experiences at the short end of zooms tell me I'd be happy with the Oly 12, though I've never shot anything shorter than a 28mm 35 eq.

Once I have the Oly 12 and Pan 14-45, I'll be able to see how the same subject looks at 12, 14, 17 and 20, then add prime(s) accordingly, or as the budget allows.

I've ruled out some lenses for now. The Pan 35-100 f2.8 costs too much. The Oly 75 is out because a fixed length tele needs a specific subject type, one I don't have. No interest in anything shorter than 12 until I see if I like 12.

Opinions, advice and slaps up side the head are welcomed.
To be honest, there is no such a thing of getting it right in the first place. I'm sure we all want to do just that in the beginning of all photo purchases, but eventually we end up buying and selling the gear which we thought were right in the first place and replace them with what we honestly like for our own use.

Just be honest to yourself and see which focal lengths you use the most and buy a zoom that matches your shooting style. It looks to me like the Olympus 12-50mm fits your bill more and get a prime of your favourite focal length for low light shooting and then you're set. There's nothing wrong with owning the 12-50mm. It's a good lens for what it is and as long as you don't incessantly pixel peep or print up to 20x30" or bigger and all your images end up on the web, any kit lens will do just fine.
 

dancebert

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Oh so by that you mean you can not/will not buy a common kit zoom second hand?
Can not because used camera stores trade in older Canon / Nikon FF and APS mount lenses, will not because the only warranty or guarantee that a foreigner here can count on is the manufacturer's one for new gear and all such shops require an overnight trip to inspect stock because they're not on the net, and if they're like most other small Thai retailers, they don't answer emails and don't speak English on the phone.
 

dancebert

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I'm back ....

Wishlist v3.0 is P14, either the P20 or O25, and the O40-150. I'll adjust as needed after shooting with this for a few months. I'll be in Japan in Oct. New and used m43 gear should be abundant.

Why the change? As much as I wanted the O12, I have better uses for the money. The light, fast primes are a big part of m43's appeal, so the P14-45 wouldn't get any use unless I really needed it. In that case, my EOS M and kit zoom would substitute until I buy the P14-45.

Only decision left is P20 v O25. Both are good lenses, so focal length may be the tie breaker. My first serious camera, serious as in full manual, learning B&W darkroom and studying elements of composition, was a Rolei 35 with a 40mm Zeiss lens. Getting another 40mm equivalent would be like going home.
 
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