Total Newbie to this format requires a little help.

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Wormwood, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Wormwood

    Wormwood Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    Hello all,

    I am just about to spring board into the Four Thirds world from using a Point and Shoot for the past three years. I was a EOS user before that... but....

    There are a number of question I have for the collective:

    Based on the following -
    I have ordered the Oly E-P3 with a twin lens kit:
    Olympus PEN 14-42mm f3.5-5.6

    Olympus PEN 40-150mm f4-5.6

    Am I wise getting the twin kit or just the 14 - 42? I know that it's a purely subjective questions as it comes back to what is my intentions for the camera... every day life, the odd trip but the rest more about taking that shot that is more perfect that what a P&S will do - be it landscape or architectural or even Street.

    Regarding lens what is the general feeling on what I have/going to have vs. the following:

    Oly 12mm f2.0
    Pan 20mm f1.7
    Oly 45mm f1.8

    Is there something else I should be looking at? Needless to say that I need not buy everything now but I do like to plan. What makes the Oly 12mm so expensive vs the 45mm? Is the Pan worth it?

    VF-2 or VF-3
    Are these something I should be investing in sooner rather than later?

    Of course the Oly PEN is silver and it goes without saying I have ordered the leatherette black skin for it from - thanks to this site... it's all about priorities!

    Thank you all very much for a wonderful forum - I have spent the past week or so reading everything (and even understanding some of it).

  2. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2011
    I'm in a similar boat, but coming in from a different shore. I'm from the dSLR world and just ordered the E-P3. I also got the silver with the 14-42mm, but am laying in wait for the subsequent lenses. I will be in the mountains in October for the fall colors and plan to rent the Panny 7-14mm f/4 for the week for what else, landscape shots. My interests atm are in portraiture and the 45mm f/1.8 has me going.

    The reason I held off on the 40-150mm is the variable aperture. It could be just me being me, but I really dislike them (again, dSLR world). Let me have a constant aperture, please. I'll pay the cost of admission.

    Sorry I can't provide any good advice, but I'm excited about the 4/3 format and want to learn as much as possible.
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Are you used to using a viewfinder? If you are used to taking shots with your arms extended and using the LCD instead of the viewfinder, then pass on the viewfinder for now and save some $$$. If you need a VF, then get one. The VF2 at least is smashing.

    I am not a fan of the 40-150. I thought it was awfully cheap and very stiff in the zoom ring, though it is inexpensive. For "general life" have you looked at the 14-150? A great all arounder, though more $$$ (which is why I was inviting you to pass on the viewfinder).

    Other lenses, I would say you should only look at: 14, 20 and 45/1.8. Skip the 12. A great lens, but wasted on a newbie (sorry, not trying to be insulting, but you won't know why it's great for at least another year, or more) The 14 if you find you a do a lot of group shots. The 20 is a great all-arounder at a great price. The 45/1.8 if you have little ones (or other loved ones) and you want good portraits of them.

    In fact, IMO, you could have the 14-150 and the 20mm as your only 2 lenses, and be very happy for quite some time, but the 45/1.8 should give you some special portraits (of course, you could buy a used OM 50mm 1.8 and manually focus to get a sense for if you like that focal length. An OM lens + adapter would cost less than $100, and resell for the same amount, but it is manual focus).

    If you shoot indoors at all, then I suggest one of the primes, because any of the zooms need flash help indoors, which you may or may not like.
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  4. drpump

    drpump Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 28, 2010
    Others might differ, but yes I believe so. The 40-150mm gets quite good reviews and I always like to have a long zoom when travelling.

    In my opinion, the Panasonic 20mm is the must-have lens for this format. Mine is usually on my camera (an E-PL1) because it's so good for everyday snapshots, wherever you are. The other two primes are reported to be good lenses but their focal lengths are less versatile. Priority would depend on what you shoot.

    The Panasonic 45mm macro might be worth considering instead of the Oly 45mm if you want a macro. The wide angle zooms seem to be popular. You could consider the 25mm Panasonic lens instead of the 20mm if your taste and budget is for high quality optics.

    I would also suggest having an external flash in the longer term. I bought a secondhand FL36R. The built-in flash is good but still limited, especially for fill flash in sunlight (you can't sync above 1/180s shutter speed with the built-in).

    The 20mm, definitely.

    I bought my E-PL1 thinking that I would add a viewfinder because all of my previous cameras had one. I haven't missed it as much as I expected, but I'm still thinking about a VF-3 for the odd time I would use it. I'll probably wait for a good deal.
  5. orsetto

    orsetto Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 8, 2011
    If that's a silver R 40-150mm, I'll take it off your hands if you can post to the States :biggrin:

    I don't know what you use your camera for but I'd keep it for travel, which is what I plan to do if I can find one State-side. From what I've read, it's better than the 14-150mm, though you'll be changing lenses. I'm a noob too so sorry can't offer more advice. Thanks for everyone's replies -- helpful to me, too!
  6. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Contrary to above, I'm a huge fan of the 40-150 - to my mind it packs a hell of a punch considering it's size. It's so small that it's easy to just chuck it in your bag as an afterthought and add a decent bit of reach. I'd definitely get the twin-lens kit.

    The three primes you list are all great lenses - the Pana 20/f1.7 is probably the go-to lens for a lot of MFT shooters - everyone should have one in their kit ;) It's only new, but from early reports I'd put the 45/f1.8 in the same basket - it seems to be pretty amazing and decently priced.

    The 12mm f2... Well, I suppose it's a personal thing. It seems like a great lens, but then it's $500 more expensive than the Panasonic 14/f2.5, which is also a great lens in it's own right. I'd seriously consider both if I was after a wide-angle prime - in the end it's up to you.

    Some others to consider are the new Panasonic 25/f1.4 DG (the Micro Four Thirds version) and the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f0.95. Both are excellent, but have their own pros and cons (especially the Voigtlander, being very fast and fully manual...).

    If you're interested in an ultra-wide lens - the m.ZD 9-18mm is very good and amazingly compact (smaller than the kit lens...). The Panasonic 7-14mm is very very very good - but it's significantly bigger and more expensive, the range is less versatile for general use, and at 7mm it's challenging to use well - I wouldn't recommend this lens for a newbie.

    I have no experience with either VF so can't help you there sorry :smile:
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The 12mm is a higher grade lens, and that's the only reason for its price. The Lumix 20mm f/1.7 and m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 are similar in price and are both close to half the price of the m.Zuiko 12mm f/2. If you can get the two of those instead of the 12mm, I would go that route instead. You won't get that real wide angle, but you'll have two very capable and fast lenses to cover a very effective range. Plus, the 20mm is a pancake lens so you can plop that on when you want to take your camera in its smallest possible form.

    Unless you think you REALLY need the 12mm wide angle, of course... ;) Or if money is no object then they are all worthwhile lenses to get.

    As far as the kit zooms... if you are considering upgrading at all to decent primes then I wouldn't even bother getting any zoom lenses in your kit. Micro Four-Thirds zooms are still very slow and if you want fast zooms with AutoFocus you will have to get a Four-Thirds mount adapter and use the full-sized lenses from the Four-Thirds DSLR line (like the Zuiko Digital line, which includes some really sharp, high-resolving fast glass, including the fastest zoom lenses in the world with constant f/2.0 apertures). The native Micro Four-Thirds mount currently shines with the prime lenses, not zooms.

    Another option which may save you some money and get you some quality glass, would be to look for the E-P3 kit with the m.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 pancake lens. Since you will get that in the kit (for the same price as the 14-42mm zoom kit), you can then take the extra money and buy yourself an m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. With the 17mm f/2.8 and 45mm f/1.8, you'll have a decent starter prime set.

    Not both, but one of the two. :) The VF-2 is higher resolution than the VF-3 (1.44 million dots vs. 960k dots), but both are VERY high resolution for a little EVF and the extra resolution of the VF-2 will probably be wasted on most of us. The VF-3 is cheaper, with a slightly smaller form factor and a locking ring which is non-existent on the VF-2. Price will probably be the deciding factor - do you really need the extra high resolution for the extra cost?

    Play around with the camera for a while first though, and you may find you don't even need the EVF... The 640k OLED screen should be quite clear and vibrant, but if you find you'll having difficulty focusing in bright light then get the EVF.
  8. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Are you "The" Kundalini from Digital Grin? Welcome to ยต4/3.

    Gary (aka Seefutlung)
  9. Wormwood

    Wormwood Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    Gary A - no though I usually go around the wargaming/miniatures forums as Lord Abaddon of Wormwood.... hence just Wormwood.

    Thank you all for your responses and the speed upon which they came in, impressive! What is more impressive is the pure quality each contains - Thank you all once again.

    I might keep the twin pack... I do feel that I will not us the larger of the two but it's not much more to have it off the cuff than to find I need to buy it later.

    The two lens approach has a good ring to it - pan 20mm + the Oly 45mm over the Oly 12mm... as WT21 said - it could/would be wasted on me at this point in time. Esp. since none of these are limited editions - ie it will be there when/if I get around to it.

    My P&S was LCD screen driven and I got some great shots travelling through Italy with it so I might leave off the VF for the time being. I do like the styling of the VF-2 over the 3 but the price point of 3 is nicer. Shame money is an issue.

    It's funny the way I found out about this format - it was the news of the Pentax Q that hit a third party news feed which sparked my desire for a small format which allows lens swaps. I was nicely impressed with the general vibe of the PenQ until I found out about the sensor + the price tag. From there my brother pointed me to the 4/3 direction.

    Of course it's all about the p*rn - Gordy Strap (wrist) me thinks might be the way to head. With a Crumpler Haven insert (small) so I can use whatever bag I have on hand.

    I will keep you updated as to my direction I head and when items arrive. Being located in Australia it is almost better to shop overseas and pay shipping most of the time. Is BH the key place to shop or are there other places that are just as good, if not better?

    Again thank you and please keep the recommendations flowing

  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, B&H is probably the key place but there are others as well... such as Adorama, Amazon, Cameta Camera...

    I shop locally (in my town, that means McBains, Vistek, or Don's), so I don't know the online stores that well.
  11. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Do it ;) They also happen to offer free worldwide shipping...

    I'm also in Aus (Tassie) and I generally buy from B&H as long as total purchase and post is under $1000AUD - otherwise they'll hit you up with import tax and it will end up costing more...

    I have noticed recently though that some of the Australian online stores ( - etc...) have finally cottoned on to the strength of the Aussie $ and are offering prices not too far above US prices. It seems to vary product to product though - unfortunately lenses still seem ridiculously inflated...
  12. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    as mentioned by nick, the PL 25/f1.4 is a lens you can also consider.
  13. Wormwood

    Wormwood Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 17, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    Stopped by Harvey Norman and was quoted $860AUD for the single & $1060AUD for the double for the EP-3.

    Grabbed the Panasonic 20mm /f1.7 $320USD ($30shipping) from a forum member which is in transit.

    So I am unsure if I should grab one of the kits or just price out a body and pick up Primes as I roll.