Time sensitve response please!! (12-40 f2.8 or 17mmf1.8 and 45mmf1.8)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by oldnslow, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. oldnslow

    oldnslow New to Mu-43

    Feb 16, 2016
    Hi everyone,

    Going to try the micro 4/3 format and ordered a reconditioned e-m1 and was wondering what lens to go along with it. Seeing that the March sale is about to end, i needed to make a quick decision on the matter.

    So if i wanted to spend $900.00, which is the better of the 2 options i have listed, or are there any other options.


  2. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Real Name:
    This depends what you shoot. If you like like street, group shots or a more general lens then the 17mm. If you shoot portraits then the 45mm. I haven't used the 17mm it seems to have a love/hate following regarding it's sharpness. I have the 45mm and it's great for portraits and I really wouldn't complain with any aspect of it.

    Edit: oops didn't see the 12-40mm there.. Yes I would do this first and then get primes if you require later
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
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  3. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Go with the 12-40, hands down. It's sharper at 17mm than the prime is, and can do decent work as a portrait lens at 40mm and f/2.8. Get the 12-40, and then save your pennies for a 75mm.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    There are better deals in the Buy&Sell section. You could get a 12-40 with enough left over for something else.
  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    12-40 has weather sealing and covers the wide angle range a lot better. But the primes are 1.33 stops faster and much lighter. Just depends on your style. I personally do not like f2.8 standard zooms myself. There is no right answer, so you just get to decide what seems more appealing to you.

    You've also given no indication on what kinds of photos you like to take, so it's harder to be specific in reply.

    17mm and 45mm are both lenses that are very good values on the used market and not so much when purchased new. The 45mm is worth under $200 used and is currently listed at $399. So if you buy new, you instantly took a 50% depreciation. The 17mm is $325-350 if not bought retail. Since you bought a refurb camera, you are probably the kind of guy that would be OK going with used or import lenses. Check out ebay/amazon and the buy/sell forum here for MUCH better lens prices. No way I'd pay anywhere close to $900 for the 17/45mm pair! I could probably get both for $500... :)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  6. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    Depends on what you shot and what you prefer. Personally I'd get 17+45, but it may or may not fit your nature.
  7. musicwack

    musicwack Mu-43 Regular

    May 21, 2015
    South Jersey
    Real Name:
    What is your style and what are your needs? If you can give us a bit of info on that, we can steer you in the right direction.

    When I got into mu-43's, the 1st two lenses I purchased was the 12-40mm f/2.8 & the 17mm f/1.8. If I were to do it again, I would have done the 17 & 45 combo. Don't get me wrong, I love my 12-40mm (premium build, weather sealing, macro esque capabilities), it's a lens I will keep as it does get used here and there, but I tend to take a lot of pictures indoors and f/2.8 is not fast enough for me.
  8. Abfahrt

    Abfahrt Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2015
    Squaw Valley, California
    Real Name:
    Pete Bansen
    There's a gap in coverage, because the 12-40 will go so much wider than the 17mm, so I would say that if the wider (24mm equivalent) field of view of the 12mm works for you and if the difference in maximum aperture isn't that important, go for the 12-40. It's a fantastic lens - excellent image quality and the sliding collar on the focus ring to engage manual focus is very trick and works really well with a Lumix GX7 and the focus peaking feature. The 45mm is a beautiful portrait lens, but I think the 12-40 at 40 is nearly as good.

    You don't give up anything with the 12-40 in terms of image quality and having a 24mm equivalent wide angle rather than a 34mm would seal the deal for me among the options that you have proposed. The 12-40 has some heft to it compared to the others and is longer, but it's a zoom and you won't be taking it off the camera much once it is on! I have a 45mm, BTW, but have not tried the Olympus 17mm.

    Having read some of the other comments now, I would agree that you can find much better deals on the 17 and 45 used. I think I paid $170 or so for my 45. Bought the 12-40 as an Olympus factory refurb and got a great deal on that also, direct from Olympus, so for your $900 lens budget, I think you could get the 12-40 and something else! :>)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  9. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Real Name:
    The 12-40 is a very fine lens. The Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 is also a very fine lens, and is running $700 right now on Amazon. (If you went with the E-M1, size is obviously not your primary concern. But the Panasonic is much smaller and lighter. Comparisons abound online.)

    The extra $200 could pay for a Sigma 60mm or (most of) a Panasonic 45-150.

    If you like zooms, the Panasonic 12-32 is not fast, but very sharp for the price and TINY, and would pair nicely with a 45mm. And you'd have money left over for a 20mm f1.7, 60mm Sigma f2.8, or one of the longer zooms.

    And the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 has a closer focus distance than the Olympus 45mm f1.8, if you might want near macro capability with a prime selection.
  10. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2015
    Real Name:
    I would go with the zoom - granted I don't own any of the mentioned primes but since you went for the e-m1 I take it you are not afraid of something slightly larger I.e. Size is not everything. The pro zoom is great and is so much more versatile. You can always add a prime for indoor shooting or shallow dof or what you may need.
  11. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    If I were spending $900 I'd get a used 12-40 and a used 45/1.8.
    And maybe a Yongnuo or Godox manual flash if there was enough left over.


    Edited to add: If I felt compelled to buy new I'd go with the primes. To me that would be more versatile. That's just the way I am.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  12. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Primes gets my vote. Otherwise why have an interchangeable lens camera? Might as well buy an LX100 (which isn't a bad idea - just an alternative)

    However, let this be fair warning to you....

    You WILL buy them all! Maybe not today but you will buy them all, I promise.
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  13. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    Real Name:
    I have all 3 of the lenses you are considering. The 12-40 gets the most use by far. It is very convenient to use a zoom compared to primes, especially since I'm doing a lot of indoor photograph of my young kids. Plus, if my wife grabs a camera, she wants the zoom (she doesn't do lens changes).

    That said, what do you want to shoot? If you're doing a lot of low light, the primes easily win. Worried that the 17mm isn't wide enough? For static subjects, do a handheld pano. The 45mm is a good portrait lens.

    These really are lenses that complement each other well for lots of people.
  14. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I much prefer primes, so I'd go that way, but I can't see how that has any bearing on what you should do.

    But clearly our group answer is "all of those lenses are very good; go with what you prefer". And "buy used or refurbed".
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  15. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    It really depends on what you shoot, how much you hate to swap lenses, if you value a small body+lens over the convenience of a zoom.

    And the right answer for me would be the 12-40 and one prime you need for something in particular.

    There are a lot of other options, even more considering the used market. If you are not sure about what to buy I think it is best not to buy.
  16. oldnslow

    oldnslow New to Mu-43

    Feb 16, 2016
    Thanks for all of the replies, and what i will be shooting is my new grand child, obviously the shots of the toes, fingers, etc., also if things go well i will shoot some portraits of friends of all ages. So with that said, same recommendation or something else??

  17. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    In this case 12-40 or maybe 12-50 + 45. Depending on proposal.
  18. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Real Name:
    David, welcome to mu-43.

    The Oly 45 is a fantastic lens for portraits (and toes and fingers :)). If you are looking mostly to shoot indoors, then I would consider either the Oly 25/1.8 or the Pana 25/1.7 to pair up with that. The 17 may be a touch wide for baby shots. I would say that these should cost you around $400 if you look to buy used. That will give you a chance to pick up one of the 12-xx pro zooms used in a few months as your grandchild starts to get mobile.
  19. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    With that in mind, I might say consider the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 instead of the Olympus 45mm. The Panasonic focuses much closer. The 12-40 also has very respectable close focus.

    I think a two primes kit or the 12-40 would both be very respectable family portrait setups. Or honestly, I might try to find a good deal on the 12-40 and add a 25mm f1.8. I find 25mm to be my favorite and most used lens for indoor pictures of the kids.

    One of the best/worst thing is that m4/3 has so many lenses that are all good. Makes it hard to choose, but anything you choose is bound to be good!
  20. StefanKruse

    StefanKruse Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2015
    Real Name:
    The zoom has semi macro which could very nice for close ups of fingers, toes etc. for me the zoom is fast enough for indoor shooting during the day but at night it is a challenge.

    The zoom is more versatile in terms of getting close ups , full baby, baby with parents, baby with grand parents etc. that will be tricky with the 45