Sigma Lenses...Info Please

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by kidrussell, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. kidrussell

    kidrussell Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 14, 2013
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    I have some questions about Sigma lenses and their compatibility with my PEN EPL1.

    1) Does the AF work with Sigma lenses?
    2) What is a nice all-purpose Prime Sigma lens for a newbie to M43?
    3) What are the major differences between Sigma lenses and the Lumix or Oly lenses?

    I have the PEN EPL1 and the kit 14-42, and I am looking to expand my capabilities. My budget right now is around $250. I love to take pictures on hikes, and especially rivers and streams, if that makes any difference.

    Any suggestions and/or wisdom would be appreciated.
  2. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    1: M4/3 mount Sigma lenses will work perfectly (AF, aperture control, etc)
    2: No such thing...Sigma only makes primes for M4/3.
    3: You're going to have to get more specific...there is a wide range of Oly/Pan lenses out there...some are very similar to the few Sigma lenses being offered, others are vastly different.

    I think you would be best served with a tripod, some filters and a book on photography at this stage, rather than a new lens. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  3. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    The 19/30/60 2.8's will all work on your camera as long as they are m43 mount. Do you find you take more photos at 42mm or 14mm or in the middle? that could give the answer as to what to go for. Keep in mind the panasonic 14mm can used at least fit in your budget. I have a 30mm it is a good lens, it is the right focal length to suit my work.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    The Sigma 19mm is a great general purpose short-normal focal length prime, and the AF works VERY well on the Olympus and Panasonic bodies.

    The main difference between the Sigma 19mm and the Olympus 17mm lens is that the Sigma is not a pancake lens, and is about twice the size. But it's also a sharper lens than the Oly 17mm, with less vignetting in the corners as well. You can get the Sigma 19mm for around $110-125 used in excellent condition.

    The inexpensive prime lenses that are available to you under $250 are:

    The Panasonic 14mm f2.5, an excellent basic wide angle lens

    The Olympus 17mm f2.8 a short slightly wide angle - small, but only average optically

    The Sigma 19mm f2.8 described above - an excellent choice as a short-normal prime

    The Sigma 30mm f2.8 also excellent, same basic size as the Sigma 19mm -slightly longer focal length, better for portraits

    The Sigma 60mm f2.8 - an outstanding mid-length telephoto prime lens, will just fit under your budget.

    You also mentioned the desire for a telephoto zoom lens - both the Olympus 40-150 and the Panasonic 45-150 would run you $150-200 or so presently, the main difference is that the Panasonic has Image Stabilization built into it, not something you need with your E-PL1, but very useful if you ever got a Panasonic body that didn't have IS built into it.

    Other choices to think about: Manual lenses with adapters - these require manual focusing and you setting the aperture - main advantage is, they are CHEAP and quite good optically. The two types of manual focus lenses to consider are a 50mm fast lens (f1.7 to f2 aperture, from various brands). These can be gotten for well under $50 plus about $12-15 for the adapter. Just about anyone on this forum has a story about finding one of these for $20 or less and they make great portrait or short telephoto lenses on M4/3. The other choice would be a 50 or 55mm Macro lens - these can be gotten for well under $100 plus, again $12-15 for the adapter.

    If you wanted to experiment with these manual lenses, I could recommend several to try to get - or even sell you one at a great price, I have so many of these older manual lenses I never can use them all. In the two categories I listed, just about any brand is good, and they are easily gotten cheap. The main issue for you would be getting used to setting the focus and the aperture manually.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. kidrussell

    kidrussell Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 14, 2013
    Chagrin Falls, OH

    Thanks for all the replies. Especially to Doug, that is a lot of good information, and fast. I am thinking that the 19mm Sigma, and then a decent zoom are where I'm headed.

    Also, a good photography book is a must. Any suggestions on which to choose?
  6. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Unfortunately, most of the good Photography books I know date back to the days of film, and spend lots of time on what you need to know to shoot film. With digital, I can honestly say that your best path is probably reading on the internet, plus lots of experimentation trial and error (unlike with film, digital pics are free to take lots of while tossing away the bad ones :biggrin:).
  7. flipmack

    flipmack Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 23, 2012
    irvine, CA
    Based on your questions, I wouldn't jump on a prime lens yet. I'd use the kit lens, figure out which focal length you use the most, then get a prime lens in that "most favored" focal length.

    With that said, I own the Sigma 19/2.8 and it's my favorite general purpose m4/3 to the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye, which obviously is not general purpose.

    There is a plethora of photography books, both good and bad. Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" is a great book for learning about the exposure triangle and figuring out the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. AdamSF

    AdamSF Shutterbugger

    Oct 13, 2013
    San Francisco, CA
    It depends on your experience level. In my opinion, the absolute must-have book for beginners is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. (Get the latest edition if you're buying used.) Much cheaper than a lens.

    If you have more experience, I prefer books that are geared to your specific types of photography (landscape, portrait, street, macro, etc.)
    • Like Like x 3
  9. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I would go for the telephoto lens first, especially if you like shooting outdoors. That plus the kit lens are good starters. Either the Oly 40-150 or the Panny 45-150 are good lenses, so go on price. The Oly is cheaper, especially used, but I think Amazon has a sale on the Panny right now.

    After that, the Sigma 19mm is going to be the most versatile. Better indoors than the kit lens, and very sharp.

    Later on you should have a better idea of what your photographic interests are. You might want to add a couple older manual focus lenses with an adapter to experiment before shelling out money for native lenses.

    For example, picking up a 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 from the 70s or 80s makes a nice portrait lens and will tell you if you want to pay $350 for the Oly 45mm. Likewise, something like a Vivitar 55mm macro lens will tell you if it is worth it to you to buy the $400 Oly 60mm macro. Both of the older manual focus lenses could be picked up for under $25 - $75 and the cost of an adapter.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I have recommended "Understanding Exposure" to a few of my friends and they have all loved it.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Yep, good advice.

    Kidrussell, don't forget the local library. Peterson's book has been around for awhile (in various iterations) and you may find it sitting on the library shelf, or the librarian may be able to get a copy for you from another library. :2thumbs:


  12. byegad

    byegad Mu-43 Rookie

    May 10, 2013
    I have the Sigma 60mm and 30mm lenses and they rock. Excellent images from them and at f2.8 plenty fast enough for indoor use without flash. I'm going to get the 19mm at some time, but as I already own the Olly17mm f2.8 I'm in no rush.
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