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Please help with my lens conundrum: going to primes…

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by allenrowand, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    A bit of background:
    I've spent years shooting Nikon, with my 17-55DX f2.8 practically welded to the camera. Thats roughly 24-70 equivalent. My only gripe was wanting more reach on occasion, but I had other lenses for that.

    So now I have an E-M5 with the 12-50. While the 12-50 is a versatile lens, it's not a great lens and I knew that going in. I figured I get it cheaper with the kit and wait for higher quality zooms to be released. Well, it doesn't look like the rumored 12-60 is happening (at least not this year) and the 12-35 is gorgeous but a little too large and a bit outside of what I'd like to pay. As I look at my lens collection, I already have:
    • m.Z 9-18
    • P 14
    • PL 25
    The 9-18 is great for when I'm in a really wide mood, the 14 is a nice little wide angle, the PL 25… 'nuf said.

    So I'm thinking about picking up the 45 1.8 and going prime. I'd still keep the 12-50 for going to the beach or rainy days, but I think I need to improve the quality of my everyday lenses.

    So the question is: am I crazy? Is carrying around a beltpouch with a couple small primes going to replace my midrange zoom habit? Of course I know that this is all in my head and the only way to really tell is try it, but has anyone else gone through the same process?

    You know, if I shop wisely I could get the 12/2 and 45/1.8 for around the price of the 12-35… :rofl:
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Not crazy if it fits your needs...

    There are a bunch of photogs that prefer good primes over zooms.
  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    On one side of the coin, if you are truly comfortable with a mid-range zoom, then get a mid-range zoom (don't worry be happy). The Pany 12-35 is the obvious ticket.

    On the flip side, it sorta sounds like you want to experiment a bit, spread your wings, personally see what prime time is all about ... and I say, what-the-hell, go-for-it, YOLO. If you truly have a desire to shoot primes, then every zoom shot shot you process ... in the back of your mind you'll be wondering how that image would have looked with the 25, or the 45 ... et cetera.

    Of late, I've been using a very small belly-pack with three primes stuffed into it. Works out pretty good. Depending on what you shoot, I find two bodies with primes works out significantly better than one body. But primes will definitely slow you down a bit and make you think more and to previsualize your expectations.

    Take a look at the Oly 75mm in lieu of the 45mm ... a bit more reach then the 45mm, yet a very sharp truly wonderful lens. The more selective and narrower usability elements of the longer lens will again, make you think harder about the final image, but what you end up with will be more dramatic.

  4. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    Recommend Pana Leica 45/2.8

    This lens's focal range and macro ability kills many birds with one stone. It may satisfy your craving for the existing and future primes (e.g., Oly 45/1.8, Oly 60 macro, Panny 42.5/1.2).

    Personally, I am thinking of selling my Oly 45/1.8 to buy the Pana Leica 45/2.8. Then, I will have a dedicated m4/3 macro lens, won't have GAS for the Panny 42.5/1.2 (perhaps also--know I'm reaching here--the Oly 75/1.8), and I will have less to carry around.
  5. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    There is something special about the images from the PL45 and, like you said, you also get macro.

    Maybe it would make sense to wait to see how the Olympus 60mm macro looks. Added bonus with having weather sealing for your OM-D and will probably be pretty decent for a portrait lens. You could always buy the 75/1.8 later. :biggrin:
  6. Uberkul

    Uberkul Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 15, 2012
    Wilseyville, CA
    I'm coming out of the exact same situation as yourself. Attacking it by covering my bases with zooms first, Pany 7-14, 14-140 and 100-300, then later filling in with a couple primes for light moto travel. The Pany 20 1.7 is the first with the 8mm and 45 macro to follow. For me the zooms are a better fit since I have no idea what I'm about to shoot and when I do it usually won't wait for a lens change.
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Get the prime, but don't stop at the 45mm/1.8. Get the 75mm/1.8 as well, or instead. You said you wanted more reach. If it were me, I would pick up the m.Zuiko 75mm/1.8 along with a classic 50mm/1.4 prime like the Konica Hexanon or G.Zuiko. They are an inexpensive addition. Then you can save up for when the new Panasonic 42.5mm/1.2 comes out. ;) 
  8. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Not sure what to advise you on the primes vs. zoom debate, since that's a personal thing. I have both, so clearly I'm not good at making decisions like that :biggrin:

    If size is your only real concern with the 12-35mm then you might be worrying about it overmuch. It's shorter than the 12-50 you already have and a little fatter around the middle. IMO it's not a particularly large lens by any stretch unless maybe you're used to shooting with the miniscule PL 14mm that is. Couple comparison photos:



    Word to the wise for anybody using a primes trio - a grenade pouch works perfectly for carrying 2 extra primes on a belt. I have one in black for that purpose and it can fit anything from the Oly 12mm or 45mm to the PL 25 or Oly 9-18 no problem. In a pinch the 12-35 will also fit, though it's tight.

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  9. jsusilo

    jsusilo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    How much you're willing to spend will probably the single factor that determine which lens you'll get. Most expensive option is the newly release P35-100 > O75 > PL45 macro > newly release O60 macro > O45mm. As many had mentioned its hard to beat O45 when talking value-get over money-spent but then again its a matter of choices and preferences [now and in future].... I was in similar boat as yours few months ago and later went with P14/PL25/O45 trio.
  10. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    I support this opinion.

    You can either get a 12-35 2.8 to bring you back to the 17-55DX range + performance that you liked.

    Or you can experiment and consider the PL25, Oly45, Oy 75... or even a PL45.
  11. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    Yeah, I was really hoping that the rumored m.Z 12-60 would be announced…

    A lineup of 9-18, 14/25/45 and the 60 macro seems like it will do the trick, if I can get comfortable with lens swaps. Next stop is to inspect my photo collection for a reality check on what lengths I shoot the most- should be interesting!

    jloden, thanks for the heads-up on the grenade pouch- I'd figured you'd have the Maxpedition version, but I looked and wow, do they want some money for those!

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts!
  12. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    They do, though I will say anything Maxpedition will be built absolutely bombproof so at least you generally get your money's worth there.

    The main reason I bought the other one is the Maxpedition pouches just have MOLLE webbing on the back whereas the one I bought has the webbing AND the attached loop with a button snap. I use the loop to snap it on my belt as a belt pouch or attach to one of my packs, so it saves having to buy separate MOLLE attachment loops :smile:
  13. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    So, I just took my reality check by running the focal lengths in my photo collection. The lengths are 135 equivalent, since this encompasses who knows how many sensor sizes over the years.

    Broken into common zoom ranges:
    • 12-24: 4% (almost all are 18mm, probably from my Tokina 12-24DX)
    • 24-70: 50%
    • 70-200: 29%
    • 200-600:18%

    • I LOVE 18mm, but suspect I'd go wider
    • The vast majority of my photos are 24-36mm, 50ish, and a lot around 70mm
    • I'm amazed to see a huge spike at 82mm; 10% of all my photos
    • I have spikes at 150, 180, 300, 450 and 600mm; probably the max length of whatever lenses I used over the years

    - My 9-18 was a good choice, although I'd probably shoot the heck out of 7mm if I had it
    - I think 12/25/45 would be workable, but I'd have to adapt a bit (70mm vs 90mm)
    - The 12-35 will cover the vast majority of my shots, and a 45/1.8 would be a good idea
    - A 75-300 or 100-300 is in order

    Time to think some more, then start selling organs… anyone around Tampa want to loan me a 45/1.8? :smile:
  14. djonesii

    djonesii Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 18, 2011
    I'm lucky ..... I can afford to have both sitting on the shelf and use them as the mood strikes.

    For the moment, I have decided that depending on what I'm shooting the "light kit" is either the 9-18 and the 14-140, or the 9-18, 25, 45 ....

    If I take the heavy kit, I just throw everything in the messenger bag all the zooms, including the 100-300 and all the primes .... Just got the body cap lens on pre-order, so it will be even easier to pack the heavy kit now. [ I like having a lens on the camera rather than a body cap ] The heavy OM-D kit is actually more manageable than my D300 zoom kit was. ( 18-200 or 24-70, 80-200 and 12-24 took a big back pack)

  15. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    Dave, I used to haul a D300 w/battery grip, Tokina 12-24, 17-55DX, and 70-300VR- I know about big packs! Now I can easily carry the E-M5, 9-18, 14, 12-50, 25 and 40-150 in a small messenger bag that weighs about as much as the D300 & 17-55.
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Your call really, but if you don't mind the size of the 12-50, I'm not sure the 12-35 should be an issue. Have a look at the side-by-side.

    I'd think the 9-18, 25 and 12-35 would cover things pretty well... Obviously the cost is a different question :smile:

  17. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    I feel the 12-50 is a little large when walking around; I have no problems when I'm actually shooting, but it's a bit overly long when attached to the body in a bag or on a strap. That said, the 12-35 is a little shorter when retracted.

    Another part of the expense will be 58mm filters, as mine are 52mm- add almost another $200.

    As much as it pains my wallet, what seems to make the most sense is to buy the 12-35 and a 45/1.8. May have to let the PL25 go to get there, and keep the 14 for a small profile lens.
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Right. That's a definite perk of the 12-50. Though frankly, the filter sizes are pretty inconsistent, and nearly anything else you past 50mm will have a similar problem.

    Hmm... Depending on how much you value the fast aperture of the 45/1.8 and how you like to do portraits, another option might be the 60/2.8 macro. That's one place where the 12-35/2.8 can't quite match the 12-50/3.5-6.3.

  19. allenrowand

    allenrowand Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Allen Rowand
    Well, I had a long talk with my wife.

    12-35 is on order, going to sell off some older gear and see if I want the 45/1.8 or 60 macro. It's hard being married to a photographer!

    Thanks again for all your input, it really made me think critically about how I shoot (and want to shoot). In the end, a midrange zoom and a "specialty lens" is how I think; MRZ + UWA, MRZ + telephoto, MRZ +macro… I think trying to change my habits now would be frustrating, and shooting is what I turn to for relaxation.
    • Like Like x 1
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