OM-D three prime kit suggestions

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by kponds, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    So I'm a DSLR shooter and I've test drove an OM-D and I'm about 99% ready to make the jump.

    I guess I'd consider myself an all-rounder amateur shooter, I generally do landscape, city, travel, portrait, family events (nothing professional and no weddings), and miscellaneous "fine art" (maybe not so fine) type stuff.

    I don't do sports or wildlife shooting.

    For my landscape and cityscape stuff, I don't mind doing panorama, so I think I'd be okay without a super wide angle.

    I'd like to get into street photography, but don't have any experience with it currently.

    I also should state that I live a block away from lensrentals, so if I need a long telephoto, macro, ultrawide or w/e for a specific project, it's pretty easy for me to pick up.

    I'm looking for opinions on building an OM-D kit based on three prime lenses. I don't really care for any of the zoom lenses. My total budget is around $3800, but that's inclusive of body, grip, flash, extra batteries and SD cards, and other misc expenses.

    I may be getting GASSY but I feel like the 75mm F/1.8 is a "must have" based on the images that I've seen with it.

    Currently looking at:

    -17mm, 45mm, 75mm. This is probably my #1 option at this point. Only thing that leaves me any doubt is leaving out a normal lens, but I feel like the 25mm is very close to both the 45mm and 17mm. Bonus points for being all silver :)

    -14mm, 25mm, 75mm. This gets me wider, gets a true normal, but there is a big gap from 25mm to 75mm. But this is a lot like an old-school SLR kit which often had 28mm, 50mm, and 135mm lenses. Or I could also leave out the 75mm and do 14, 25, 45. Or equivilent setups with the 12mm instead of the 14mm.

    -20mm, 45mm, 75mm. I like this idea but I feel like I would at some point want to go wider than 20mm.

    Any suggestions? Should I have my heart set on the 75mm, or is it more of a limited use thing?

    As a side question, for those of you who have switched from big setups, do you keep your monster tripods, or downsize into something smaller? Will a smaller travel tripod be able to stabilize an OM-D very well?

  2. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Real Name:
    Eric Cote
    17 isn't really wide enough for landscape for my taste. I would go for the 12mm or take the 12-50 which is quite good on the 12mm side.

    17mm is a focal length I like a lot so I would go with the O17mm f/1,8 or with the P20mm f/1,7.

    I love the 75mm. It's a very nice lens but it's long. I'm not using it as much as I would like. I know I will use it a LOT in weddings but for day to day, not that much.

    The O45mm is my favorite portrait lens. The optical quality is great and I like the working distance I get.

    If you really don't want the 12-50mm, I would probably go with 12-17-45 or 12-20-45 combo. If you get the 12-50, I would go with 17-45-x where x would either be a P25 or the O75.
  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    12, 17 & 45 is my choice for those subjects.
  4. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Are there lenses that you prefer with your current dslr set up? Assuming you use an APS-C sensor rather than FF, the crop factor is about 1/3rd more on m43. So the 75mm would be roughly the same as a 100mm on a dslr.

    I don't think you can really go wrong with any of the primes put out by Panasonic or Olympus. So I'd say go with what you are used to using and like the most (adjusting for the differing crop factor).
  5. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    Thanks. Maybe I should look at the 12-50 again. It's not so much that I want the sharpness of the primes, but more aperture choices before running into diffraction. When I looked at the 12-50, I guess I was really looking at the long end, where even at the maximum aperture you are already in diffraction territory, but I see that at the short end you have two f-stops (F/4 F/5.6) that you can shoot at.
  6. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    75mm is just stunning, but it is on the long side. I have to be on the opposite side of the room to photograph my 9 month old with it. If you are inside you'll probably be against the wall to get a full head shot of an adult. But it is awesome... On the other hand you say lens rentals is down the street, so maybe rent when you need. Or try it out first.

    You say you feel the 25 is close to the 17 and the 45. In film days did you feel a 35 was close to a 50? And a 50 close to 85? Some people did, others didn't. I presume you know which you are?

    I think you've outlined your existing options well. I'll throw a wrench into the works:

    14/2.5, 25/1.4, 45/1.8, 75/1.8

    The 14/2.5 can be had for less than $200 on E-bay. It is so stupidly small you'll laugh out loud the first time you hold it. It is so light you'll think the bastard on E-bay sent you an empty package - or I should say empty tiny padded envelope. The 17 isn't particularly great stopped down, so as a landscape lens it brings little to the table compared to kit zooms. The 14 isn't super fast, but it makes a fine landscape lens. This scheme gets you the best three primes in the system (25,45,75) and an inexpensive vanishingly small lens to cover the wide end for landscapes.

    Just a thought...
  7. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    I use a 17-70 zoom and 100mm prime on the aps-c DSLR. I do have other lenses, but those are the ones that i use 99% of the time.
  8. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Real Name:
    Pesonally (and YMMV), I prefer the 17mm FOV to the so-called 'normal' 25mm. I shot with a fuji X100 for a year (eq. to 17mm on m43) and rarely missed other focal lengths. But I do like wide, so I have a 9-18 zoom. Tried the 12mm, but the IQ difference isn't huge, and the flexibility of the 9-18 won it for me. The 45mm is wonderful: great for head and shoulders shots at a reasonable distance. I have just (today) taken delivery of a 75mm, but I see that as a fairly specialized focal length. However, the IQ is so good, I can't see why you wouldn't want it, as long as you can afford it.

    So my choice would be 17, 45, 75, but only if I had the 9-18 as well. If there were an 8,9 or 10mm prime, then WA prime, 17, 45.

    Analyze your existing photos to see what focal lengths you actually use most (ExposurePlot is good). That may help.
  9. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    Madison, WI
    Couple of thoughts:

    Do you have a sense of what your preferred focal length is in the 17-25mm range? You might start with that choice first, and then build the rest of your kit around it. I like the 25mm myself, so then the 14mm seemed like a good choice on the wider end.

    Have not shot with the 75mm myself, but I've used a legacy 85mm. For walking around on the street it can be nice to have the extra reach, but it is quite long. Perhaps too long for indoor/family events where the 45mm would let you shoot closer? If you do go with the 75mm, perhaps consider a legacy 50mm + adapter to fill the gap between your normal and the 75mm (or grab a kit zoom as a backup).
  10. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    Seeing that (m)4/3 sensors sport 21mm in diameter, the Panasonic 20mm would be your normal lens for this system.

    From a fiscal POV I always thought of two options:
    The expensive route: 12,25,45,75
    The "budget" yet excellent alternative route: 14,20,45,some 85/2 legacy

    Of course you can mix and match those line-ups depending on your preference for focal lengths (or colour for that matter ;) ), and throw in either the budget or premium version of Oly's 17mm to bridge the gap from wide angle to normal.
    The 60mm/2.8 macro could get you from 45 to 75 or even be an alternative to the 75. Although it gets mixed reviews, general consesus is that it's excellent.

    Note that both setups include the 45mm. I think it is the only "must have" for m4/3. A no-brainer at its price point. While my heart is on the 75mm as my next lens, I don't consider its focal length a must have. I borrowed it over a weekend and its output can only be described as magical. It's already a classic imo. I hardly ever shoot indoors, so an equivalent 150mm would come in very handy for outdoor (candid) portraits.

    As so many reviewers keep stating, there are only good lenses for m4/3, with a few stellar exceptions (25,45,75 come to mind). Isn't that great?

    P.S.: I do realize you asked for a three prime kit, but considering your budget you can easily buy all of those lenses.
  11. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    Hrm .... this is tempting. I don't know if I could swing it on day 1 (trying to get everything for what I get from selling my DSLR gear) but I think I could hold off on the 75mm for a while, or rent it.

    I have to admit that I've never actually shot film :(
  12. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 18, 2011
    Obviously this is a really personal decision, but I would go with either the 12 or the 14, the 20 and the 45. The 20mm I really like as a general walk-around lens, and the 45 fills another important niche for me. (Shots of musicians in small clubs and listening rooms) The 75mm sure looks like a stellar lens but it's not a FOV I use much. Either too short or too long.
  13. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Real Name:
    Marc Sitkin
    I started with an OMD, and Oly 17 f1.8, 45 f1.8, and 75 f1.8

    I use the 17 most often, for street work. Not wide enough for buildings for the most part. 45mm get's the least use, but it's a very sharp lens. I've used it for candids of people. 75 is good for a bit of telephoto effect, and is excellent. I've just added a 25mm .95 Nokton, which is really promising. You could get all four for your budget if you can catch some rebates.

    You might also consider filling in the long end with some inexpensive adapted lens selections, if you can get your head around manual focus.
  14. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    Hey speaking on the legacy lenses. I have a Rokinon 85mm F/1.4 in EOS mount actually. It's a razor stopped down and a cream machine wide open, but I never could get the hang of manual focus on Canon. Should I maybe hold onto it and adapt it for u43, instead of getting the 75mm? I bet manual focus would be easier with the EVF and that art mode trick (though I didn't try that out when I rented the OMD).
  15. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    I'd definitely hold on to any fast manual prime lenses to adapt them to your OM-D. Not only will they net you stunning pictures even wide open due to the smaller m4/3 sensors using the sharper center portion of the glass. Also, it would be a cheap test if you actually had a use for a mid telephoto lens like the 75. Last but definitely not least, it is a fine way to try out many great glasses from days of yore and enjoy the different ways in which they render - stabilized of course. It's why many ventured into Olympus m4/3 in the first place.
    Manual focus is a breeze. More so with magnification than the key line art filter trick, which imo is not worth to waste a button for. Granted it's easier to get distance objects in focus, but at close distances I trust my eyesight more than some art filter.
    I use a Zuiko 135/2.8 for my telephoto needs and I never had trouble achieving critical focus with the EVF. Just make sure you don't dial in diopter compensation by accident and end up with a bunch of oof pictures :mad:
  16. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    Do you get the magification automatically when you change focus like on native lenses, or do you bind a button to do magnification?
  17. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    No, you have to assign magnfication to a button. The sensor can't know when you turn the focus ring, thus won't switch to MF-help like with native lenses by itself.
  18. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    With your shooting subjects and budget I pick 12/2, 17/1.8, 45/1.8.

    Just looking at MSRPs:

    E-M5 $999
    12/2 $799
    17/1.8 $499
    45/1.8 $399

    Puts you at $2696. Add a backup body or some accessories on top or just call it a day here.

    Of course deals can be had if you hunt around.
  19. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    first of all you have to have the 75... its a very versatile lens... its much much more than a portrait lens

    Olympus 75/1.8 - a set on Flickr

    the last shot on that set was taken at close to minimum focus distance... so ignore the have to have your back to the wall to

    second, the 25/1.4 is an exceptional lens... even wide open

    at the wide end... harder choices.... the 12 is too wide for my tastes, the 14 is fun in good light, but the 17/1.8 hits the sweet spot

    Olympus 17/1.8 - a set on Flickr

    the 45 is very good too... but since i got the 75 its barely got a look in

    just my thoughts

  20. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Real Name:
    I've owned all of the primes at one point in time and finally settled on the 12/2, 17/1.8, and 75/1.8. It's all about knowing yourself.

    The 75/1.8 is just a must-have lens. I've gotten used to shooting kids from across a room but keep in mind that I personally prefer tight portraits. If you don't, the 45/1.8 is a cheaper, excellent alternative. The 17/1.8 is normal enough and will let you dabble in street shooting. If you're not into architecture then you probably don't need the 12/2. The 14/2.5 is a good alternative that is right at the cusp of normal and wide angle. The 25/1.4 had a certain Leica-like rendering that is just undeniable but I've found the 35mm FOV more versatile than the uber normal 25/1.4.

    So for you, I'd vote for with either 17/1.8, 45/1.8 and 75/1.8 or 14/2.5, 25/1.4, and 45/1.8. :)