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Simplifying my kit

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jayweh32, May 9, 2018.

  1. jayweh32

    jayweh32 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    I have been having an internal fight with myself about the direction I wanted to go with my photography hobby specifically deciding the gear I want/need in my kit.
    To start off I mainly shoot landscapes, environmental portraits/kids running around, and sports. I want to cut back my kit as much as possible and not have so many primes in the bag. The thought about switching systems has crossed my mind because of two issues I have with m43 low light capabilities and noise at base iso but I have taken a deeper look at my prints I have done up to 20x30 and honestly I don't think I would see much of a difference.

    So my current gear is:
    14-42mm kit lens
    25mm f1.4 Pan.
    30mm macro Olympus (too cheap not to get)
    42.5mm f1.7 Pan
    60mm Sigma

    Thoughts about Future kit
    Sell 20mm 25mm 42.5mm and 60mm
    15mm Pan.
    and maybe the 35-100mm f2.8

    The 20mm was my first lens on the Lumix G3 and I used that for almost 2yrs as its sole lens then I bought the Sigma 60mm for portraits but now I feel the 42.5 and 60 serve similar purposes and the same with the 20mm and 25mm. 25mm is my favorite lens but one of my least favorite focal lengths of all of them. 20mm is probably my favorite focal length overall but hate the slower and noisy focus in video. Just like to get some opinions on my thoughts and to see if I have missed any good candidates that would fill out my future kit better.
  2. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2014
    There's no right answer. I had the 20. Sold it for the 15 (which excellent BTW) then ended up reacquiring the 20. For me it is just a great walk-around FL. My most used lens is still the 12-40 Oly which is just a hard lens to beat though most users put the Panny 12-35 on a par with it.

    Have you considered just getting something like the 12-35 and 35-100 and trying the zooms for a while before you sell the primes?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. jayweh32

    jayweh32 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    I have considered a zoom but a lot of my photos are inside and there are times when I am already at iso 800 wide open with the 25mm f1.4. The Olympus 17mm f1.2 is a dream lens of mine but price and weight keep me away!

    I agree the 20mm is a great do it all focal I would just like a faster focus and quieter for video. I appreciate the comments about experience with both and dear I would sell only to come back to the 20.
  4. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I agree.
    This is the way I have gone, two zooms and only if I know I will be doing low light do I take a prime. I guess if you take a body cap lens you don't have to count that.

    Are you thinking of what you will own or what you will carry with you as your every day kit?

    I think to really simplify your kit you have to take some compromises that you may not want to take. I think we all do sometimes.
    On my last trip I cursed I did not take one of my pro lenses, but then again I would have complained if I did.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    This is, of course, totally up to you as to how you manage your kit but it strikes me you already have some very capable glass. I own and love the three lenses you are thinking of getting but I think you are planning to spend a fair bit of cash for only a little bump in performance. Just be aware of diminishing returns, especially if money is a key part of your decision making process.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    It's interesting because (at least most of) what you said you shoot is still, yet your quibble with the 20mm is the slow and noisy AF in video. That's a legitimate issue, but it sounds to me like you will realize at some point that there aren't many lenses out there that can give you precisely what the 20mm gives you in terms of character and I... I'm saying you'll probably buy it again. I did ;) 

    Most of the other stuff you mention sounds like a good idea. The 60mm does sound redundant - while I have and love the Siggy 60, it gets difficult sometimes to get things into the frame. It's a pretty specific focal length. The 75mm is also specialized, but no one can argue with the output.

    Why not stagger it, get rid of the 25mm and get the 15mm and see if it's what you like, then decide whether the 42.5 and 60 need to go as well? And, just hang onto that little 20mm, it can hide in your bag until you jones for it and pull it out again!
  7. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    So, you wouldn't have a fast prime between 15 and 75? You might consider keeping the 25mm or 42.5, or perhaps looking into the Sigma 30 1.4. While the 75mm is an amazing lens, it's the least used lens in my bag, mainly because of the room you need to use it. I guess it all comes down to which FL you use the most.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. jayweh32

    jayweh32 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    This is exactly what I am thinking about except my two zooms would be wide 8-18mm and tele 35-100mm but then I would have two fast primes 15mm and 75mm to go along with those.

    What I will own.

    For me the 42.5 and 60 are both pretty much specialized lenses and only come out when I am looking for the shallow dof portraits/environmental shots so the 75mm could take that over and replace both lenses. I have no qualms with either the 42.5 or 60 I just dont use them enough to have two lenses serve the same purpose. I could actually probably get away without having the 75 but its kind of a lust after lens.

    This is something I have thought about but I feel like the 15mm could do most of what I use the 20mm for and its actually not that much bigger. Getting rid of the 20 and keeping the 25mm on the other hand is an idea then have 15,25,75 as primes.

    The 75 would definitely be a lens that I would have to force myself to use as I dont think I have really touched the sigma since I got the 42.5mm but then again I rarely use the 42.5 because I feel like I can do most of what the 42.5 offers with the 25mm. If I got the 35-100 I would have 35mm f2.8 which would probably be fast enough for times the 15mm wouldnt work.

    Has anyone here went with just the 15mm or 17mm and the 60mm or 75mm. My favorite full frame/film was always 28/35mm and longer portrait lenses 85/135 ish. Maybe I should keeps the 25mm and get the 15mm with the 35-100mm see how much I use the 25mm after that and trade it for the 75mm if the time comes.
  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I've owned damn-near every lens you either already own or plan to own, so here are my thoughts:
    • I totally agree about the 20mm. I loved its size, sharpness, and focal length. However, the slow AF caused me to miss some key shots in lower light conditions, so I sold it. Later on I bought it again, only to have it bite me again, so I sold it once more.
    • The 15mm is MUCH wider than the 20mm. It's a great lens, but just be warned that the focal length is drastically different. Also, you won't get nearly as much subject isolation as you do with the 20/1.7 for 25/1.4. If that's something you look for in your portraits, you may be disappointed with the lens.
    • How much macro do you shoot. If it's not a whole lot, can you get by with the 42.5 and adding something like the Olympus MCON-P02? This is what I did, and for the "macro" images I shot, I found this to be more than sufficient. If that'll do, you could sell the 30mm Macro. (If you're interested in this, let me know. I have an MCON-P02 kit that I don't use anymore since I sold my small portrait primes and now have the 45 PRO).
    • Honestly, I would skip the 35-100, get the 75mm, and keep the 42.5mm. I wouldn't want to be without a fast prime between 15mm and 75mm. The 42.5 fills that gap nicely.
    • Sell the Sigma. With the 42.5 and 75, there is little need for the 60/2.8
    • With the 8-18, I would look to sell the 14-42 kit lens and keep the 25/1.4. That would give you the 15, 25, 42.5, and 75mm prime lenses along with the UWA, which would be a nice selection for landscape and portrait shooting.
    Personally, my landscape kit now consists of two lenses: PL 8-18 and 12-100 PRO. Those two lenses cover all of my landscape needs, and when I need faster lenses for video, indoor photography, or smoother backgrounds, I have the 17/25/45 PRO primes, as well as the 75/1.8.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. jayweh32

    jayweh32 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    If you could only pick two primes out of your set which two would you keep?

    I dont do a lot of macro bought the Olympus 30mm macro on sale when they did it for under 100 so I really couldnt pass it up. You do bring another option to my attention could go with the 15mm and either the 42.5 Noc or 45 Oly Pro with the 8-18mm and 35-100mm that would cover all of my needs I think. I really don't use my 42.5 or 60 though. I used my old Minolta and Nikon manual glass for portraits more. I really just want a simple kit with 3-4 lenses I really dont want FF but as an example if I went Sony A7 I would get 16-35f4 28mm 55mm and 70-200f4 but with FF the 55mm gives me a slight better control over subject isolation same with the 70-200mm f4. I am not huge on razor thin dof but I do like to be able to make the subject pop a bit from the background.
  11. Mike Wingate

    Mike Wingate Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 21, 2017
    Mike Wingate
    Get the PL15mm, a fantastic lens. Keep the P42.5mm
  12. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Personally I feel like 20mm is a more versatile and more pleasing focal length than 25mm. It's a bit more of a photographer's focal length, so to speak, and you have a lot of classic 40mm film lenses that were less well known but which some photographers were really attached to. Personally I think the step from 15mm to 25mm would be a little too large. But then, if you keep a zoom that covers the difference in between, you may be well enough served.
  13. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If I had to pick only two primes, it would be either the 17/45 combo, or the 25/75 combo. It's too tough to decide though, because it's based on what you shoot. For portraits the 25/75 combo would be better IMO. For documentary work, the 17/45 combo would be better IMO.

    If you really wanted to trim your kit to 3-4 lenses, with an emphasis on landscapes and portraits, I would keep the 8-18 and 25/1.4, sell the rest and get a 12-100 PRO and 75/1.8. Four lenses, covering you for everything regarding landscapes, plus two fast primes for indoors/lowlight and portraits with soft, OOF backgrounds.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    I went back and forth between the 20 f/1.7 and the 17 f/1.8.
    I finally decided on the 17, with this logic
    If I was shooting in low light, it was likely to be indoors.
    If I was indoors, I would likely want the extra coverage of the 17 over the 20.​
    But that compact 20 is sooo tempting, just for the compact size, to use as a compact carry lens. Or the 14-42 EZ.

    Another option is a 2-lens kit of 17 + 42.
    This is similar to the old 35mm film PJ 2-lens kit of 35 +85.
  15. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Interesting. Personally I am coming to the conclusion that the 12-100 is just too big. That may be ridiculous but it is my current thinking.

    My current plan is:

    8-18, 20, 75 and 12-35.

    I have the 17, 20 and 25 and I still really like the 20 even with the warts.
  16. jayweh32

    jayweh32 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2014
    Are you referring to the Olympus 17mm f1.8? How do you like it compared to the 20mm?

    I could probably make this combo work too but my thoughts are anything that can be shot from 12-18 with the 12-35 could be done with the 8-18 at 4 because honestly f2.8 is not bright enough for my indoor shooting where f4 wouldnt work so give me the 35-100 because my long tele will be where there is light 90% of the time.
  17. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I've had the 35-100 and I would not repurchase this lens. Not good enough wide open and if you stop it down you might as well get the 12-100 which is a better lens. The 75 is small light and bright.

    For me the 12-35 is the basis of a two lens kit. So I don't see the 8-18 and the 12-35 overlapping. The 12-35 is also quite a bit smaller.

    The 17f1.8 and 20f1.7 are simply different. It is more about FL and rendering if AF speed gets taken out of the equation.
  18. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    Yes the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens. The f/1.8 for low light capability.
    My current lens is a slow 12-60 f/3.5-5.6, which is not well suited for low light indoor photography.

    I don't have the 17 . . . yet. It is the next lens on my list.

    The 17 is a wide angle, similar to a FF 35mm. The 20 is like a FF 40mm. I decided that if I was going to shoot indoors, I would probably want a wider lens. Hence the 17 over the 20. The decision was based purely on angle of view.

    Just to try this combo out. Try going out and shoot, for a few days, with just your 20 and 42. And see how that 2-lens kit works. The 20 is close enough to the 17 to work for this trial.

    Sports would require different kits. That depends on what sport and critically, how far you are from the players.
    Each sport has its own set of challenges, so you could/would need different lenses for different sports.
    • Example1. Shooting football or soccer from the bleachers, IMHO, the 35-100 is not long enough. I would prefer the 40-150 or 75-300 (if farther away), for the extra reach. If you were on the sidelines, the 35-100 would be fine. But, the 12-100 would be my preferred sideline lens, and is similar to my DX/APS-C 18-140, which I use on the sidelines.
    • Example2. Softball/baseball is all over the place. This is because there is a BIG differences in distance between you are and the various players. I've shot everything from 17mm (in the dugout) to 250mm (from outside the outfield fence to home plate), in m43 equiv. So we are talking multiple lenses.
    • Example3. But if you are shooting baseball from the upper right field bleachers in a pro stadium, the 75-300 or 100-400 may be the lens you need.
    • Example4. For indoor gym sports (volleyball and basketball), I shoot a 25mm f/1.8 m43 equiv lens. This is simply to have a fast lens so that I can shoot at ISO 3200 rather than ISO 12800. I would rather have used a 17mm m43 equiv, but Nikon does not make a 24mm DX lens (17mm m43), only a 35mm DX lens (25mm m43). Note that I shoot on the floor of the gym, so I am much closer to the action than the spectators on the bleachers. I've seen guys bring in 80-200 f/2.8 lenses (40-100 m43 equiv) on FF cameras, to shoot from the bleachers.
  19. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    There are a number of ways to reduce noise. One is to use DXO Lab/Optics Pro Prime NR. Prime NR will reduce m4/3 noise by about 1 stop and retain detail by using its built-in lens profile. You will see it in the prints as well especially with 20x40. I use Prime NR as well with my older Olympus E-5 and the prints look gorgeous! Secondly, I own pretty much all the fast primes and still keep them except the 75mm f/1.8 which I plan to get someday used. But unlike you, I treat all my lenses as unique paint brushes. Each of my primes render a unique feel, so that's why I'm keeping them all.

    If you want to slim down your kit, I think I would keep the
    25mm f/1.4
    and then buy the 35-100 f/2.8. The difference between f/2.8 and f/1.8 (with 75mm) is about 1 stop, but you can mitigate that with Prime NR. I find that 35-100 is very versatile because it offers such a big flexibility in terms of shooting long tele. In fact, in street photography, I usually carry my 17mm f/1.8, 25mm f/1.4 and my Panny 35-100 f/2.8. Of course if I have a 75mm f/1.8, I would replace the 35-100 in some situations, but probably not most as I like the 45mm focal length for portraits when I find the 75mm too long. Or own both 35-100 and 75mm like what I plan to do.
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