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small prime for olympus epm2

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Expectingrain, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. Expectingrain

    Expectingrain New to Mu-43

    Jun 11, 2014
    washington, dc
    I recently purchased a olympus epm2 with the 14-42mm kit lens. While I'm still getting accustomed to it (I also have a Fuji xe-1), I am really interested in getting a small prime lens for it mostly because I do not like having to unlock the kit lens every time I turn on the camera. I'm interested in a wide-ish small prime that will keep it pocketable. I've been looking at the Panasonic 14mm and the Sigma 30mm, but can't decide between the two. I ruled out the Panasonic 20mm because of the reports of slow focusing (which I get enough of with the fuji :) ), but it's almost the same price as the 14mm and gets much better reviews.

    Are there any other lenses I should be considering? Also, I was hoping to get thoughts on the 14 vs 30 as first prime.

    thanks in advance!

  2. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    The Sigma 30mm has a slightly longer than normal focal length, the equivalent of 60mm on 35mm film. Sigma makes a similar lens with a 19mm focal length if you want slightly wider than normal. Both Sigma lenses are good, but they aren't particularly small.

    If you want a pancake lens, consider then Olympus 17mm/2.8 as well as the Panny 14 and 20. Those of us who use the 17/2.8 like it.

    My advice is to buy a used pancake, and if you don't like it, just sell it and buy a different lens. The prices on this site's buy-and-sell forum are fairly stable, so you won't pay much rent for your trial.

    And if you haven't seen the Sample Images forum, click the link at the top of this page to help you decide which lens you want to try first.
  3. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The Sigma 19 gets great reviews. Remember, the 30 is not wide-ish at all, so for the same money/quality go for the 19. However, the Panasonic 20 is excellent. It may be a bit slower to AF than some others but it's hardly a deal breaker. In your position I wouldn't hesitate to get the 20 and trade a tad bit slower AF for for great sharpness.
  4. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2014
    Go for the Panasonic 20. The AF really isn't that slow and the sharpness and speed more than make up for it. My second choice would be the P14.

    If you're considering a 30mm lens, also consider the Oly 25mm which is excellent and pretty compact for that focal length.
  5. shaolinmonk

    shaolinmonk Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 31, 2013
    Toronto Canada
    What type of pictures you take mostly? If it's street the 20mm is fine.. If you are chasing kids around the 20mm might annoy you
  6. kirschm

    kirschm Mu-43 Regular

    May 4, 2014
    Pana 20 1.7
  7. kirschm

    kirschm Mu-43 Regular

    May 4, 2014
    Pana 20 1.7... in case your subject cannot run away...
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    What's your budget? The best small primes for the E-PM2 would be the 14, 17/1.8 and 20. Don't bother buying new, you can find them used in excellent condition for much cheaper.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. shutterduster

    shutterduster Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Keremeos, BC. Canada
    Dave T
    Not cheap but it is reportedly AWSOME. :rolleyes: 
  10. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Panasonic 20mmF1.7 or Olympus 17mmF2.8 on the second-hand market.
    (Prices new are silly for those lenses compared to others.)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser

    Nov 16, 2010
    I have E-PM1 and I don't like the handling when paired with Oly 17mm 1.8 lens. If I were you, I'd narrow my selection only to Oly 17mm 2.8, Pana 14mm 2.5 and Pana 20mm 1.7. Every other lens will not be very compact and in worst case will be very front heavy. I personally use 14mm 2.5 with my E-PM1 90% of the time and it is a very nice and small combo. You should not pay over 200$ for new Pana 14mm or Olympus 17mm 2.8. Anything over that is overpriced IMO.
  12. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa

    personally I'd go for the 14 because its noticably more compact than the 30mm and allows the camera to be put into a side net-pocket of a backpack.

    I have a GF1 and a GH1 and love the 14mm on the GF because it makes the whole thing compact enough to have advantages over the GH. When I put the 30mm on the front it ceased to be that.

    I love the 14 because:
    * its a good focal length for general scenery
    * it takes the GWC-1 adapter turning it into an 11mm wide (which is optically quite acceptable)
    * its really light (no, its unbelieveably light)

    I don't like the 30mm because:
    * the AF is not really that good. On my GF its a bit bulky and on my GH I can focus as well with the Olympus OM 28mm f2.8 legacy lens I use.

    I'm sure you'll find that the usefulness of the f2.8 on the 30mm is confined to a narrow band of distances. If you shoot further away the difference between the Kit zoom and the Sigma 30mm diminish. As you get closer the DoF of f2.8 is increasingly a problem and you'll stop down to where the Kit Zoom is anyway ...

    exactly the reason I hated the Oly kit and exactly the reason so many are on the used market....

    this is an overblown point, and I'd advise you caution in believing the reports on that. There are some who go on about how slow it is, but provide no evidence and there are many many youtube clips showing its speed. There you can evaluate the evidence yourself and decide.

    The 20mm is my other lens to take out with my GF camera ... the 14 (especially with the GWC) does the wides and the 20mm does the normals.

    I personally tell no difference between it and my 14-45Panasonic zoom (which noone says is slow). I found the Sigma slower to focus which is sort of obvious when you consider that it (like the Pana 20 and Pana 14) focus by "lens extension" so the little motor drivers have to move the lens further because that is the fundamental facts of the optics.


    Note that he uses an oly body yet still loves this lens?

    perhaps ... I often thought of the Oly 17mm f2.8 pancake which came out early in the piece. Its also no speed freak.

    Check out a few youtube examples of focus speed and also consider that the speeds of focus on the 20 are reportedly related (on the Oly cameras) to focus point settings ... I'm a Panasonic camera owner so I can't comment on the accuracy of that.

    Best Wishes
  13. Expectingrain

    Expectingrain New to Mu-43

    Jun 11, 2014
    washington, dc
    Thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions. I think I can put the sigma 30mm aside for now. I use the emp2 when I travel for work, so mostly landscapes and city/street shooting. Believe or not I use an old nikon D50 to take pictures of my kids. The David Thorpe video is helpful to see the comparison on AF speed to other lenses; I haven't tried taking pictures of my kids chasing a monkey, but there's a first time for everything.

    I got the epm2 as a way to try the micro 4/3rds system when it was a bargain, so don't want to spend more than maybe $250 on a lens. Finding something under $200 would be idea. I'll definitely check out the buy/sell forum here.

    thanks again!
  14. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you are happy with the 14-42 but simply want something smaller/more pocketable and don't want to unlock the lens everytime, the 14-42EZ seems a perfect fit. Its about the same size as the 20mm. The 14-42EZ opens up/expands to shooting position automatically when the camera is powered on.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    And a second vote for the 14-42 EZ, It is not very cheap, and not very light fast (5.6 at the long end). But as a zoom it is quite flexible when carrying only one lens, and like usayit already wrote, with the auto-lenscap added it extends and opens up by just switching on the camera. I use the PM2 and that little EZ as my daily set.
  16. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    I got wound up with the Panasonic 20mm's focus speed on my EPM2, I found the 14mm to be a great quality little lens and if you like the angle of view it is superb alas I find it hard to work with. I really liked the Oly 17 2.8 on the EPM2 although its not got the IQ of the others but it is a good lens, the 45mm and 25mm Olympus lenses are superb on it. I found the Panasonic 12-32mm a great little prime though you have to 'unlock' it like the 14-42 you have and the 12mm Olympus whilst great is too heavy on there, felt wrong.
  17. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Keep in mind...

    * The 14-42EZ is priced in the same range as any of the primes being considered in used and new. There is currently a used 14-42EZ on BH for $209.
    * Size wise, the 14-42EZ has almost the same dimensions as the 20mm II and only 4g heavier. Its pretty insignificant. The 14mm f/2.5 is the smallest of the bunch but the 28mm FOV isn't always the favorite for general use.
    * Shooting with a prime is very different from shooting with a zoom; both with their own disadv and adv. I personally like primes... others will stick to zooms. I do know many people who are used to the flexibility of a zoom who found a prime too "restrictive" for general use. In other words.. .don't force it. If you prefer a zoom and find the current 14-42 kit lens adequate for your use, then by all means do not change to a prime lens just for a smaller package.
    * The Sigma 30mm is known as a good value lens... great IQ for the price. Its neither as fast as other primes nor as compact as the 14-42EZ, 20mm, nor the 14mm. Since your primary concern is general use + size pocketable, the Sigma fits neither of these criteria.

    I use the 14-42EZ on my EM5 and E-PL1 as a compact all-arounder. Sometimes, I will carry the FL300R in my pocket and/or the 12mm f/2 ( I like wide focal lengths).
  18. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I always found the 20mm to be dire as far as focus speed goes.... it seems not too bad until you use something that's lightning quick, then you'll lose interest in it.... I did anyway.
  19. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yeh.. never understood why Panasonic didn't improve the AF motor when they released the 20mm f/1.7 II.... they only changed it for cosmetic reasons. I personally didn't find it too bad. The only reason why I sold mine was because I couldn't warm up to the focal length. I sold it to fund the Olympus 25mm f/1.8.
  20. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I shot my epm2 for a year with the 20mm mounted to it. A great combo
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