One lens to rule them all

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by bozer, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. bozer

    bozer Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 4, 2013
    Hi all,

    I'm going on a trip to India for business in December. I have an Olympus OMD-EM10 and want to bring just one lens with me as I probably won't have much time for photography anyway. Suggestions on one lens that I should bring? I have the 20mm panny, 45mm oly and 12mm oly. I was thinking about buying the 25mm oly to bring. Thoughts?
  2. CarlG

    CarlG Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2013
    Tampa, FL
    Real Name:
    12-40 f2.8 pro
  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I'd want the 12-40, but if a prime is the option then the 20 or 25 would be my pick.

    Honestly, I'd take my Canon G7X and trade off some IQ for compact size and versatility.
  4. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Real Name:
    20 1.7 out of the lenses you have.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I'd bring the 20. I think the 25 will be too long as an "only" lens. When I was in India I had an *ist D and a 20-35 zoom(30-48 equiv) which worked pretty well. In truth, I would bring the 12 and the 25 and swap. Sorry, make that the 12 and the 45.
  6. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Real Name:
    Richard Elliott
    I am always afraid in a situation like this something will happen and I suddenly have a lot of free time ;)

    It depends on what you like to shoot. Buildings and landscapes? I would bring the 12. Street? I would likely user 20 or 25. Portraits? Obviously the 45.
  7. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    Of the lenses you mentioned, I'd go with the 20.

    Given any choice of a single prime, I'd probably take the 15/1.7.

    My one lens to rule them all is the 12-35. Versatile, great IQ, relatively compact and light weight - given the nature of the lens. If wanting to go very compact... the 12-32 really has a lot of appeal, I'm eagerly awaiting mine.
  8. dombi

    dombi Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2013
    Another vote of the 20/1.7.
  9. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Real Name:
    If you owned a 25 1.4, I'd say that...but since you don't, the the 20 1.7. I shot for about six months with just an EPM2 and 20mm...It's a great tiny combo.
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    20/1.7 is a pretty superb single lens.

    For me it's the Goldilocks focal length. Better than either 35mm or 50mm.

    That said, I use my 14-140 the most if I don't know what kind of conditions I'll be encountering. Having a telephoto with you just lets you get shots you'd never imagine otherwise. You can always stitch to make a wide angle.
  11. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    Real Name:
    Out of the lenses you have, any of those would be fine as a single travel lens, but would lean on the wider side personally. I have traveled with a 20mm as my only lens a number of times, and it works well for most situations, but I almost always wish I had selected something wider at some point on the trip....

    If you can buy or rent a lens, then a wide zoom is where its at! Oly 12-40 2.8 or Pan 12-35 are as good as it gets; the Oly 9-18 or Pan 7-14 are great if you prefer wider views. The 12-32 would be great if size/weight are a concern, and any of the 14-42 zooms will get you a lot of focal lengths for cheap. The 14-1XX zooms are pretty convenient too, but feel they trade too much low-light ability for more range (and I rarely use any telephoto when traveling unless I know specifically there will be something that needs a lot of reach).
  12. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    You have about the smallest kit that M43 has to offer.
    I think you would be silly not to take all three lenses.
    Take two back-side caps and glue them together to hold the two lenses that are not in use and keep them in your pocket.
    No need to deal with a bag.
  13. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama, USA
    Real Name:
    If I could carry only one lens it would be the Olympus 12-40. It covers a range that any "normal" focal length would be plus you've got a wider view and a closer view when you encounter a photo opp that the "normal" focal length just won't do. To me it's like three focal lengths in one, wide angle (12mm), normal (20mm or 25mm), and short tele for portraits (40mm). It also has amazing close focusing at all focal lengths. I'd have trouble touching all those bases without such a great zoom. Yes the primes are faster but with modern cameras we can get away with higher ISOs'.
  14. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I'd bring the 12mm on the EM10. There has got to be room for the 20mm pancake somewhere in your luggage on the airplane. It fits in your pocket when you get there.

    Mount a slim line rear cap on it, not the thick one that came with it. .
  15. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Real Name:
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    The comments here are all pretty much spot on. The 12-40mm is the best choice for "one lens to cover almost anything" as long as you don't mind the extra bulk. Meanwhile, a 20mm or 25mm prime will be smaller, offers a faster aperture for low light shooting and shallower DOF, and is a "normal" focal length that gets the job done in most cases.

    As for owning both the 20mm and 25mm, I had the 20mm and bought the 25mm ... then I never used the 20mm anymore and sold it. Those lenses are so close in focal length that there really isn't a need for both. I currently use the 12mm, 25mm, 45mm, 75mm and 12-40mm lenses with my M4/3 gear. As I said, I did have the 20mm and the 17mm primes, but I found I usually grabbed the 12mm or 25mm and didn't want the 17mm or 20mm most of the time.
  16. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I love the renderings of my 20/1.7, and enjoy it on occasions when I have the time to be deliberate, but found it frustrating as a walk around lens. Too many missed or out of focus shots due to its slow/inaccurate focusing, particularly in low light where it's prone to hunt. I solved the problem by adding an Oly 25/1.8 to my kit. Like most modern lenses it produces very literal images, which IMHO lack the charm of the 20/1.7, but my capture rate with it is excellent, and I can always add a splash of charm in post. As far as the fov is concerned, preference is a personal matter based on subject matter bias, but a 50mm fov has long been the gold standard. That's why there were 50 billion of them shipped with slrs. For my interests, the 25 makes the ideal one lens travel solution.
  17. gobeatty

    gobeatty Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2014
    If you are willing to stitch photos, you can shoot several shots in vertical format and get wider shots with a longer lens. Good trick to know when traveling with just one lens especially if the lens is a prime.
  18. plaatje

    plaatje Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2012
    If it had to be one lens that it would be the 25mm PanaLeica, but I would keep my XZ-2 in the pocket of my coat . . .
  19. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus Loser

    Nov 16, 2010
    I would take 17mm 1.8 but from OP's lenses it is an easy pick: Panny 20mm. For landscape you can stitch and for short tele you have enough sharpness to crop!
  20. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Buy Oly 25mm or 17mm (depending on preferences) if one lens is a priority.

    As someone else already mentioned, i too had too many missed shots with p20 due to slow AF, especially on Oly bodies.

    sent from my Xperia Z