Upgraded from a Canon S95

Discussion in 'Welcomes and introductions' started by craniac, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    I am moving to the Middle East with my family in three weeks and decided to upgrade my beloved Canon S95, especially since the price of M43s have been dropping. After begging for help at DPreview I decided on a Panasonic GX1. Now I'm trying to wrap my head around lenses. I ordered a couple of cheap but not great used kit lenses that I will probably resell as soon as I can talk myself into getting a 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens.

    Using the camera overseas may be tricky as the residents of this country don't enjoy being photographed. On the plus side, it never rains so hey, plenty of sunlight.

    I plan on surfing the threads about using legacy lenses, as there are some cheap, sharp primes out there that I'd like to play with.

    Note: I am a crappy photographer and lean (too) heavily on Lightroom to make for my lack of skill.
  2. phidauex

    phidauex Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 17, 2013
    Boulder, CO
    I think you'll enjoy it! I actually switched from a Canon 20D to a Canon S90 (very similar to the S95), and then to m4/3 (an OM-D). I sold the DSLR, but kept the S90 - it is a very capable little camera, and I took a lot of great (for me) photos on it.

    I think you've got the right idea with lenses - if you aren't sure what you want, cheap kit zooms will give you an idea of the different focal ranges. Once you get an idea of what focal lengths you like (and if you find your IQ to be not quite what you'd like at those ranges), then you can get one or two fast primes to flesh things out.
  3. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Welcome to the forum craniac. That's a nice upgrade for sure.

    Lately with the quality of Olympus/Pany primes there is very little need for legacy glasses unless you just really want to use them. I think those kit lenses are good starters. For portraits/street photography the 45mm f/1.8 is the best bang for the buck IMHO. :smile:
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Hello again, and welcome to this forum, which I believe you will find to be quite a bit less measurebator driven then the ones over on DPReview.

    As someone who uses several of the native Micro 4/3 lenses, as well as several adopted legacy lenses, I think I can give you an idea about where you will and won't find good, inexpensive alternatives among manual lenses - some of this is an extension of some of the correspondence we have had privately already, so I apologize if I'm repeating myself - but these comments are not simply for you, but for anyone entering the Micro 4/3 system.

    To my mind, there are really three areas where older manual lenses provide good value options, assuming that you are comfortable with the issues of manually focusing a lens on a camera that may not be optimized for doing so. The first two of these areas are ones where perfectly good modern autofocus alternatives exist within the Micro 4/3 system, but you might or might not wish to spend the big bucks to buy those lenses:

    Area #1 is the fast ~40-58mm normal lens from film days, adapted to be a short fast telephoto within this system. There exists a quite excellent autofocus option within the m4/3 system of the Olympus 45mm f1.8, so really, the reason to go with an older manual lens is really for the fun of experimentation, and the fact that you might already own a left-over legacy lens in this class from film days, and if not, they are so common that they can typically be bought for absurd prices like $10~50 or so for an F1.7 to F2 class normal lens, to well under $100 for an F1.4 lens. Compare that to the approximately $325-350 that the m4/3 Olympus 45mm f1.8 would cost. The extremely low prices allow for experimentation and little risk - especially since pretty much any brand of older "nifty fifty" lens will tend to be decent to excellent in sharpness. By and large, what you find with these lenses is that they tend to be fairly soft wide open, but they sharpen up noticeably somewhere around f2.8 or f4, where you are really getting excellent quality. The most significant thing about using these lenses on m4/3 is that, due to the crop factor of the sensor, these lenses now serve as short telephotos. Anyways, there are tons of good choices, and the vast majority of them can be found quite cheaply - so my best advice is to make a decision based on looks, cost, and mechanical ergonomics for this class of lens.

    Area #2 is Macro lenses. Again, both Olympus and Panasonic make perfectly fine Macro lenses for m4/3 - but these lenses sell for $400 or more each. And I have personally found that auto-focus offers little advantage over manual focus for macro work. Just about every old film camera maker provided a high qualify macro lens in the 50-60mm range. When used for film work, these lenses often did not provide sufficient working distance from the subject, if the subject was a critter that might be afraid of nearby humans. But again, the system crop factor works to your advantage, and the 50-60mm focal length becomes much more versatile for macro work in this system. Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Canon, and Pentax all made excellent manual focus macro lenses in this range, that can all be bought for well under $100 each - in my experience, the Nikon and Olympus ones are the easiest ones to find on the open market at good prices. Other brands as well made excellent lenses in this range. Another option, but one that costs a bit more, is to get a longer focal length Macro in the 90-105mm range. Some truly great lenses were made in this range, under brands like Vivitar, Tokina, Kiron, Tamron, and Sigma, as well as the camera maker's brands. Again, like in the normal lens range, nearly all of the choices that are out there are of high optical quality, and some are even cult classics because they are legendarily sharp - and you can generally get one for $200 or so in great shape.

    The third area for productive use of older manual lenses is fast long telephotos - something that you can't get within the Micro 4/3 system, as nothing fast longer than 150mm exists. You can generally get some excellent manual lenses in the 135mm f2.8 range, or 200mm f3.5 range quite cheaply - like well under $50 if you shop carefully. It's also of course possible to get exotic fast lenses like 200mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8 or 400mm f4, but these older lenses are costly, and you will lose the portability that Micro 4/3 is so great at providing. But again, with the crop factor, even a modest 200mm lens like the Vivitar 200mm f3.5 that can be bought for $25~40 can be a great long lens option within Micro 4/3, because it's like having a fast 400mm lens on a film camera.

    That should get you started, and again, welcome to this forum.
  5. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Welcome aboard, Craniac, from another lousy photographer :wink:.

    Being lousy at it doesn't seem to impact my enjoyment, tho :biggrin:.

    Glad to have you with us!


  6. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    Thanks everyone for the advice, and thanks Doug for the much needed lens tutorial. I ordered a couple of iffy lenses--the Panasonic kit 14-42 that I was warned against, and some weird 150mm Olympus lens that BH was dumping for $50. I will resell one or both and get a cheap/sharp/fast manual pancake legacy prime for now. I've got to hurry because I leave the country in nineteen days and it will be much costlier to get lenses of any sort once that happens. I'm also thinking of holding onto the S95, because I still like it so much.

    The 14-42 just showed up in the mail, so I'll get to try the camera out for the first time in a few minutes!
  7. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    The GF3 (I think) kit lens arrived today, and I took out the GX1 for the first time. Wow, it feels heavier and more solid than the S95. I'm still learning to use the lense and the camera. Here are some shots I took in bright light in the evening. I barely know how to turn the camera on at this point. The screen feels much brighter than the S95.



  8. super8man

    super8man Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 17, 2013
    Don't get rid of the S95...it's a fabulous camera - I have the S90 and it's still my goto/nofuss/guaranteed to get the shot camera. Everything else has "pieces" to deal with and "decisions" as to which lens, etc. On my wall is this shot (about 20 inches by 30 inches) from my S90. I love that camera!

  9. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    Agggh, but I need the money! I think you're right--I should hold onto it--but I'm afraid I'll use it as a crutch to keep from learning how to use the GX1. Also, I have to explain to my wife why I have *two* cameras :)
  10. super8man

    super8man Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 17, 2013
    Two? So much to learn, so little time, LOL. I refuse to count how many I have if I include 16mm, 8mm, super 8mm, film, digital, and gasp, my cellphone and even my kindle. Oh, then there are all the video cams kicking around somewhere.

    Tell her you are keeping it so as to have a non-fidgity camera for when you go out on an occasion.
  11. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    A camera like the S90 is handy mainly because of the size -- you can pocket it more easily than the GX1.

    I think the kit lens isn't that bad -- no worse than kit lenses with other cameras these days.

    If you want to upgrade the kit zoom, there are a couple options that are affordable though a bit more money than the 14-42. One is the 14-42 power zoom. It isn't really that much better optically than the regular 14-42, but it has the advantage of being very compact -- when not in use the lens collapses to a pancake.

    The other route is to go with Olympus zooms. The down side is they don't have the lens stabilization that Panasonic kit zooms do, so at the long end you will need a steady hand or a monopod.

    There's the Oly 14-42 II R or the Oly 12-50. The 12-50 is a larger lens, but rather nice. The list price is high, but you can pick them up used for around $250 -- they come as the kit lens with the OM-D and a lot of people end up selling it because it can be more cost effective than buying the OM-D body by itself.

    For primes you might want to look at the Sigma lenses -- they have 19mm, 30mm, and 60mm all for around $200 new. Not as fast as the 20mm, 25mm, 45mm, or 75mm by Panasonic and Olympus, but very good lenses and affordable.

    Picking up a used 14mm Panasonic can be a good option too, you can get one for under $200 used.