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Oly 45mm f/1.8 or panasonic 25mm f/1.4?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ryanlogic, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    The title says it all:

    Oly 45mm f/1.8 or panasonic 25mm f/1.4?

    I have the 12-50mm kit lens and the new E-M5. I'm very satisfied with the camera, but I really feel like I should have gone with a different lens. I don't want to get rid of the 12-50mm because the power zoom and weatherproofing have significant value for what I end up doing.

    I am should be able to buy a new lens by August.

    I want to be able to take clear portraits indoors with nice bokeh. Which draws me to the 45mm. But I'm afraid that if I go for it, I will still be frustrated with using the kit lens for low light, and indoor shooting situations. (night shots in the city, restaurants, etc...)

    I like the looks of the 25mm, it's more expensive, but the lens is faster... Low light performance is good... And it's a high quality all around lens. The only thing I am really worried about is having to get up in people faces to take decent portraits. I volunteer for an organization that does a lot of charity events and Banquets and stuff and I want to be able to take portraits of people giving speeches, being served food, interacting with each other, etc.

    I'm willing to spend a bit more If the lens will provide more versatility and quality. but I don't want to lose the ability to take portraits from a moderate distance.

    I think the ideal setup would be something like the 25mm along with the upcoming 75mm...

    I'm drooling over the upcoming 75mm, but I simply won't be able to afford it when it comes out... furthermore, I'm not positive that it will be versatile enough to be my only other lens.... I certainly won't be buying anything else for a whole if I buy it.

    is the 45mm a good middle ground? or will I just be limiting myself either way? I have a feeling that the 25mm is better for all around photography, and the 45mm is more ideal for portraits.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jmaher

    jmaher Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 7, 2012
    Sarasota, FL
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I wish I could recommend one over the other, but I like them both equally. And both are "must take" lenses when I leave the house. For me the 25mm doesn't usually work for head and shoulder type portraits unless I'm going for the look of working up close that it gives at those distances; on the other hand it's just about always right for half length or 3/4 length portraits.

    I'd take a look at the image threads here for both lenses and see how the examples fit your style of shooting.
  4. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Three thoughts come to mind.

    First, the speed difference between the two lenses is 2/3rd of a stop. Its not insignificant, but the 45 is about as fast as you are going to get next to the 25, with the 20mm being just a bit closer @ f/1.7.

    Second, you do not need to get in people's faces when using the 25. You can do "environmental" portraits. Its a different look than using the 45, but you can still make some amazing images. Its not like somebody replaced your 45 with a 14.

    Finally, you can use the 75 for portraits, but, IMHO, that is somewhat of a compressed "look" that used to be quite popular with fashion photographers. It may be good when you are photographer a speaker as you describe above, but I would not find it a useful focal length for other "grip and grin" shots. When I shoot this type of work with my Nikon, I use my 16-85 w/flash and my 70-200 when I need reach and have decent available light.

    Personally, I would try and see if you could eventually own both. They are two great lenses, and they compliment each other quite well.

    Good luck,

  5. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Thanks everyone!

    I will likely end up with both... But not immediately, so I want to make sure I get the lens that serves the greater portion of my needs first.
  6. dylandingo

    dylandingo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 12, 2011
    La Crosse, WI
    You have the 12-50mm lens, test it at 25mm and 45mm to see which fits better for what you want to do. If you don't plan on buying one of these lenses till August you have a good amount of time to give both focal lengths a try and it won't cost you a dime . I own the Oly 45mm and love it, I have used it for close up portraits to street shots. It is fast to focus on my E-P3 and is very good in lowlight, but from what I have read on these forums, the Panasonic 25mm is also an extremely quality lens.
  7. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    Deciding which to get first is probably a matter of choosing what situation is most important to you - if it's the head & shoulders portrait, get the 45 first. Otherwise, get the 25 first.
  8. Tincam

    Tincam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    Surely you know which focal lengths you use the most? If not, you can keep track of it with Lightroom. In August, buy the lens that most closely matches your most used focal length.
  9. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Really up to your focal length requirements. If you can't get too close then the 25 is a write off. The 45 may also be too short for at a distance portraits.

    Why don't you take your 12-50 kit and fix it at 25 and 45 to see what length suits you more for the type of shooting you require?
  10. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    You said "indoor portraits" right ?

    Then IMO it's the PL25. In my experience the O45 is just a little too long for indoor portraits in your regular room such as a packed bar or a party at a home with friends and kids all over..too often with the O45 i found myself backing into walls, furniture and other guests in order to get the shot, otherwise, I would've walked out with every shot being a tight head shot....the shorter focal length of the PL25 means I don't have to do that nearly as often, if ever, an i can achieve both tighter head shots AND with a step or 2 back I can get nice torso shots of 2,3 sometimes even 4 people in the frame.

    But if by indoor you are referring to larger rooms with much more space, like an office or bars/restaurants with a little more room and perhaps fewer people, then the O45 is a top bet.
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The IBIS should/will go a long way to compensate for the lack of fast glass in the 12-50. The IBIS cannot compensate for an optimum portrait focal length, extremely sharp lens and shallow DOF. The 45mm is perfect to get portraits when sitting across a table from your subject. Get the 45mm.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    thanks for all the advice, I will monitor my usage and see which focal length I use most.

    leaning towards the 25...it seems more of a jack of all trades.
  13. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oly 45 mm Oly 45 mm and Oly 45 mm 1.8
    If you are thinking about portrait length and portrait special lens then there is nothing which beats Oly 45 mm 1.8 . Now you do have 12-50 mm which seems to be quite decent and covers 45mm but 45 mm 1.8 obviously is a fast prime and has its own advantages . Now I had PL25 mm 1.4 for 2-3 months and It was a decent lens but nothing spectacular. PL 25 mm 1.4 is heavy , expensive and IQ is almost same as 20 mm 1.7 , so why would you spend more ? Another more important point is your fav focal length . I am quite comfortable with 45mm 1.8 but the focal length many not suit u . But if you want a portrait lens then there is no alternative to 45 mm 1.8 and 25mm 1.4 can't replace it . They are different tools for different jobs.
    HAve a look at this
  14. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    I second this. Having the 45 for a while and doing a lot of indoor shots I find it a bit too long. In a crowded setting it forces you to move too far away, taking away candid shots completely. The 25 on the other hand is perfect for some quick shots in confined settings, I find myself using it far more indoors. I believe that the PL25 has the best IQ of the three lenses I have and it works great at night (the 45 is no slouch though!!).
  15. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I agree it can a be bit problematic indoor but OP is after a portrait lens and PL 25 mm is no way a portrait lens . Now IQ of PL is not at all above Oly 45mm . When it comes to AF , sharpness , value for money and portrait photography , Oly 45 mm 1.8 truly shines . This the best MFT native prime which money can buy IMHO.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I own the 45; used to own the 25. Both are great lenses. If I had to just rank them outright on an absolute scale I'd give a slight edge to the 25. But for portraits I'd go with the 45 without question, unless you are expecting to be shooting in tight settings.

    As others have suggested, do a little recon with your 12-50 at both FL and figure out what will work for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    The reason I brought up the indoor situations is that he mentions it right after the portrait usage. I fully agree that the 45 is better for portraits if that is your intended use.

    However at the end of the post he says,
    "is the 45mm a good middle ground? or will I just be limiting myself either way? I have a feeling that the 25mm is better for all around photography, and the 45mm is more ideal for portraits."

    I think everyone should ideally have the 45 but as I stated previously it is simply too long for me for overall use. I've seen pictures from both lenses that amaze me. However all of my best pictures on this format so far have been taken with the PL25, including portraits (which will change as I take more with the 45).
    • Like Like x 1
  18. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470632888/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470632888_34009ed1db_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470628976/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470628976_95b86751df_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470631076/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470631076_d4080a1cb8_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470635304/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470635304_52a506124c_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470637300/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470637300_3aa697a09f_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470639350/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470639350_47f0b42fa7_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470626824/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470626824_d82e29472d_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470625054/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470625054_050bf6e8f9_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470622968/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470622968_4d93f14db3_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470620740/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470620740_07748b457f_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470618784/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470618784_a5f38e0e24_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470616858/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470616858_588a61459c_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a>
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  19. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470607848/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470607848_6bbb21e889_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a>
  20. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470640630/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470640630_92f7b2cc9b_b.jpg"768" height="1024" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470614996/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470614996_e500c31345_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjamesfahey/7470613100/" title="PD 06/29/2012 by ryanjamesfahey, on Flickr">7470613100_b6cd0b9f55_b.jpg"1024" height="768" alt="PD 06/29/2012"></a>