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The last prime to round out my set - 12, 60, or 75?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by zucchiniboy, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    Hey all,

    I've been a primes guy for years, and m43 has really gotten to a great place with selection. I'm trying to round out my primes set, and still keep budget reasonable.

    Right now I have the P14, O17 1.8 (on the way), PL25, and O45. I want to have an optimal two-prime and three prime set, knowing of course I can mix and match. I shoot primarily people (lots of family), some events, and urban cityscapes and street.

    The two prime set would be the 17 and the 45.

    The three prime set if I don't make any changes would be the 14, 25, and 45.

    I'm considering the 12 because I like that focal length from my Nikon film days, and wouldn't mind the extra 2/3 of a stop over my 14 (it would let me drop back down to ISO 800 in certain situations), giving me a 12, 25, 45 combo.

    I'm considering the 75 because of the DOF possibilities and better reach, giving me a 14, 25, 75 combo.

    I'm considering the O60 macro because it's cheaper, gives me the option of macro (I do gardening), and still gives me more reach, so a 14, 25, 60 combo. Except its 2.8, so that deters me a little.

    I'd appreciate thoughts and input from all your collective experience. What do you think, if you could choose just one?


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  2. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Ice cream, Polish sausage, or sashimi? Your question makes no sense without saying what your photographic objective is.
  3. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    As someone who has owned the 12, 17, 25, 45, and 75mm all at once, this is my take:

    The 12, 25, and 45 make a great 3 prime kit.

    If you go with the 12, I would sell both the 17 and the 14. I find when I have a 12 and a 25, the 17 is a no-mans-land focal length, not really wide enough, not really tight enough, and if I'm using either the 12 or the 25, it doesn't generally offer enough of a change in AOV to warrant swapping to another lens. So my 17mm went virtually unused and was sold. Others may think differently, I know some people really like the 35mm-equiv focal length, I do too, or well I did when shooting with 3:2 DSLRs, on M43 I find the 12 a lot more useful.

    I think 14, 17, and 25 are too close in focal length, unless you do 95% of your work in that range or something. If you're not going to sell one or two of these wide lenses, I wouldn't get the 12, because 12, 14, 17, 25 is bordering on downright silly. :biggrin:

    The 45mm to me is short enough that it can still be a sort of general purpose lens, its also different enough from the 25 to offer something unique.

    Getting into 60 and 75 I think you're really getting a special purpose lens. Do you do a lot of macro? If not the small difference in focal length and slower aperture of the 60 present little reason to use it over the 45.

    How about a 75/150mm-equiv? For me the 75mm was never really a focal length I liked, it was a lens I owned because it is technically superb, but I had to force myself to actually use it due to the awkward focal length. Again, other people will disagree, but I just don't find a fixed 150mm-ish lens that useful. Its a great portrait lens, but you need a lot of space to work in, good if you're doing outdoor events or things like that, or good if you want tight headshots indoors (or more in very large indoor spaces), but otherwise its a tough lens to use. Its a lens I was always happy with when I used, but it was hard to justify the price for how infrequently I used it. In the end I sold it and went with the 35-100/2.8, which is only slightly bigger and heavier, and to me, a much more convenient range for a telephoto lens.

    So when it comes to 60 vs 75, the first thing you really have to ask yourself is what you're going to use it for.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    Earthquake, thanks so much for the insight!

    If I got the 12, I would sell the 14. The 17 is intended for those times where I'm out with just one lens (or two with the 45), like an outing with the family, where the 14 was too wide/slow and the 25 too tight. So I would either carry the 17/45 or the 12/25/45, but not all four.

    I appreciate the comments about the 60/75 lenses being special purpose and especially the difficulty in working distance with the 75.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  5. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Yeah, that makes sense, that was my original reasoning for getting the 17mm as well, if I was going to take out just one prime the 17 would be the best choice. Only issue? I very rarely take only one lens, and these days its the 12-40 if I do. When I first got into M43rds as a light alternative to my DSLRs, I had the 20/45, and that (or the 17) makes an awesome two lens kit.

    I would probably lean towards the 12 in that case, I can't imagine getting by with 14 as my widest lens (I love my 7-14).

    As for the 60 and 75, I see you've got the 45-175mm. How often do you use that? If you use lightroom, there is a plugin you can use to give you statics on which focal lengths you tend to shoot at. I would also take that lens out for a day and leave it at 60, and 75 respectively and see how you like those FLs.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    Thanks. I'm often out with just the 14 or the 25, and while I'd sometimes prefer having multiple lenses with me, other times I've found it a nice exercise.

    I did consider the 9-18 when I saw a refurb for 399, but honestly I think the 4-5.6 aperture would be hard for me - I'm almost always shooting wide open or close to it on my primes. Just my style. That's the appeal of the 12 for me, cost notwithstanding.

    Good suggestion about the 45-175. I don't use it much, unless I know I want reach, like at a sporting event. I should try out those focal lengths and see what I think a about the working distance.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  7. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    I feel there is enough difference between 17 and 25 to use both or have good use from both, but others are different, if I was making the choice it would be the 12mm and perhaps try the Sigma 60mm it is well regarded to get a slightly longer than 45mm option. I would consider though do you find you want a wider field of view than a tighter one or the other way round more frequently and hopefully that should give you your answer.
  8. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    My 3 primes set up is the 12, 25 and 75. I feel that I prefer to use the 25 for portraits instead of the 45 and with the 12 and 25, I dont really need the 17.

    As for the 60, it really depends if you plan to take macro. I kind of use my 12-40 for marco-ish shoots.

    Sent from my GT-N7105 using Mu-43 mobile app
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I have the 14, 17, 20, 25, 45 and 75. I am lousy at selling lenses so thats why there are some like the 17 and the 20 that do a similar job.

    Over the last year I would say the majority of my shots have been done with the 17 and the 75, the 20 getting no use, the 25 some use and the14 and 45 almost no use at all

    I have thought about getting the 12 but in the end have not gone for it because its not a focal length that works with the kind of photos I like to take. The 14 is more than enough for those times I want a wide prime, and I have the 12-50 (and the 4/3 12-60 and 9-18) for the rare occasions that i want to go wider

    Both the 17 and 75 have surprised me.. I got both just because I could - but have found them to be a very versatile combination. The 75 in particular has proved to be much more flexible that I would have thought. I don't find it an awkward focal length and it is so much more than just a 'portrait' lens.

    you can see some examples of how I used the 75 here


    At the end of the day only you can make the decision on which lens works for your style of photography... but I would run into a burning building to save my 75


    • Like Like x 1
  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Longer focal length primes are either going to click with you or not. I never really gelled with the 45 - I like the results, love the size, but it's not my first choice for people shooting. I also don't particularly find 35-100 a focal length range I use a lot. I don't own either in MFT (yet), but my most used lenses for people and quite a lot of landscape (or other shots benefitting from a bit of telecompression) on Canon were the 135L ( on FF) and the sigma 105/2.8 macro on APS-C. I owned a 70-200/2.8 IS but rarely ever used it.
  11. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Choice of FL is of course very personal and depends a lot on the subjects and styles you shoot. When I got into u43 18 months ago, I decided to go on a "buy and try" strategy - buying lenses used, running them for a couple of months, and then selling them on if they didn't work for me. I can usually sell for the same price as I pay, so it's a good strategy and I'm yet to buy a lemon. That might make sense for you too if you're unsure where to go.

    The risk of course is that you end up buying more than you sell! Whilst I've certainly churned over a decent list of lenses (7-14, 14-42, 45-200, 14, 20), I've still ended up with too many. I need to sell off a few. However, primes wise, I'm currently running with 12, 17, 25, 45 and 75. The 12/25/45 mix is often in a small bag with my E-M1 and I think it works really well. If I really had to weed my collection down to a minimum, it would be this. The 12 is definitely a superior lens to the 14 IMHO. There's much less CA, it's sharper, faster and the build is much better. However, I could have lived with the 14 if it had been wider - I find 12mm to be the start of the UWA world and I like shooting wide.

    The 17 makes a great single lens option, or perhaps mixed with the 12-35 as a low light adjunct to it. In fact, I carry my E-M5 plus 12-35 and 17 pretty much everywhere with me as a travel kit. I wouldn't want to sell the 17 - its FL, size, build, focus speed and IQ are a unique combination.

    The 75 is a truly unique and wonderful lens. I'm not sure I 100% agree with the "awkward FL" reputation. It's similar to a 135mm in old 35mil film days and that FL was very popular in its day. In FF land, the Canon 135L is still a highly used and regarded lens today. Like Kevin, I'm not in any hurry to sell my 75. The 60 options ( Oly or Sigma) at f2.8 don't cut it for me (unless I needed macro where the Oly looks an obvious choice).

    So - rambling post I know, but I think in your shoes I'd be looking at replacing the 14 with the 12 and adding the 75 at some point.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    the 12/25/45 and 17,5/45 are perfect sets. I use the 12/25/35, and am still in doubt about adding the 17,5. I know it make a great 2 lens kit, for the last 2 years I used the 12/45 as such, and it worked rather well. The 17,5 feels a bit uhm, like giving in to gear-lust... So I would go with the 12mm. The 75 seems to be an awesome lens, and if bought it I would probably use it quite a lot at first, but I know in the end I am more wide man than a tele man. My 4th prime is the 7.5 Samyang...

    Uhm, with the 14mm already at hand, you might give the fish eye a second thought...
    • Like Like x 1
  13. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    It's a tough choice and I'm in a similar position. Your signature also says you have the 45-175, do you find that you need a longer lens than the O45 that often? Are you thinking of replacing the 45 with the 75, or adding the 75 to the existing set?

    My vote would probably be for swapping the 12 in for the 14, or else adding the 75, depending on which end of the focal length range you shoot more frequently.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    Thanks! I'm more wide than tele too, so maybe the 12? I tried the 7.5mm, and I think it's just not my cup of tea...

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  15. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    I wouldn't replace the 45, it would be more of an augment. Honestly, I barely use the 45-175. Only outdoors, only bright light, when I know I'll be far from the action. There are times when I have the 45 outdoors an wished I had a little more reach with the same aperture, hence the interest in the 75.

    Adding the 12 in lieu of the 14 seems to be the general consensus here. Now if only it would show up refurbished in stock during the current 20% off sale... :) 

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  16. zucchiniboy

    zucchiniboy Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    San Francisco
    Thanks pdk42! Jus wondering, when you do try and buy, are you buying used or new?

    12 + 75 one day would be great, budget right now probably allows the 12. :) 

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
  17. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I would get the 75. The 12 is nice but the 14 is also nice. 12 - 14 is different but not worlds apart.

    My vote would go for the 75mm. It is great if you have the distance to work with it.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    12 over 14 because 2mm wide matters.

    45 over 75 because it is infinitely more useful. And if there is price sensitivity then there is substantial difference too.

    3 combo kit would be 12/25/45

    Although the 12 is NOT CHEAP...in which case I'd do 12-40 + 45.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    • Like Like x 1
  20. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Sell the 14 and get both the 12 and the 75 which would give you a very nice 12/17/25/45/75 prime kit.

    In fact, that's pretty much the route I'm going to go with. Currently own the Olympus 25/1.8 and 45/1.8 and the next two lenses on my purchase list are exactly the 12/2 and 75/1.8 in that order.
    • Like Like x 1
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