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What cheap lenses are considered the 'best' optically?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dissembled, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I'm wondering what cheap lenses offer the least amount of optical imperfections. I'm specifically looking at sharpness in this regard. I'm looking for something under $300 and adequate enough for my genres of photography that consist of street photography and spontaneous portraiture. Well, street photography to be more specific as I already own an Olympus 25/1.8 for portraiture work.

    You could suggest either primes or zoom lenses. My only criteria is that they be sharp and have a wide angle option as that's what I lack at the moment.

    It will pair with my GX7. My only lens at the moment is the Olympus 25 so keep that in mind. I'm curious as to what your recommendations will be.
     
  2. lowlight

    lowlight Mu-43 Regular

    83
    Jun 3, 2014
    Norway
    The sigma 30 and 60 2.8 art lenses are cheap, sharp And portable, but not exactly wide angle. They also have a 19mm, but i have never tried that and dont know if its wide enough for you...
     
  3. gsk3

    gsk3 Mu-43 Regular

    124
    Jan 29, 2012
    Not sure exactly what you want since you already have a 25.

    The 45 and 20 are both amazingly sharp. But it sounds like you want wider?

    9-18 is sharp enough but not quite in the same league, and pricier than $300.

    12-35 pancake is supposed to be sharp, but I've never used it.

    The 14 with adapter is wide and totally acceptable but not what I'd call truly sharp.
     
  4. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    The Panasonic 14mm can be had for less than £100 used ($170?) and it is a very good lens for the money, I have heard very good things about the Sigma 19mm and that should be less than $200, I have the 30 and 60 and they are for what I paid fantastic value and very good quality. Zoom wise the 14-45 is good and can be had for a low price, I had one and it was very good, if you can swing it the 12-32 is a little belter its the lens I replaced the 14-45 with. Hope that helps.
     
  5. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I find the 25 a bit long at times. I want something wider.

    I'm looking at the Panasonic 14 though I'm also curious what kit zooms you guys would recommend that are also sharp enough?

    Zooms, primes, no matter. I just want something wide, cheap and sharp enough.
     
  6. wushumr2

    wushumr2 Mu-43 Regular

    137
    May 20, 2013
    I've got a 12-32 I'm looking to sell and those go for about $200-215. Definitely sharp enough, especially since for street photography usually the subject is in the center and that's plenty sharp with this lens.
     
  7. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    12-32 (at the wide end) and 14mm. 14mm is very sharp in the centre, 12-32 behind a bit but is more even across the frame.
     
  8. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    The 12-32 intrigues me as well. I'm a bit perplexed why it doesn't have a MF ring, however. MF is critical during situations where AF fails. So that's a bit of a let down. :-(
     
  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Sigma 60 for the long end, cheap and sharp.

    Wide, cheap, and sharp? pick 2 :wink: The 14mm Pan is not bad, maybe the Rokinon 7.5 fish? (it's really wide at least)
     
  10. Dan Lopez

    Dan Lopez Mu-43 Veteran

    201
    Aug 12, 2011
    The 14-45mm would be my number 1 pick as far as a bang for your buck lens goes. It's cheap, sharp optically and provides versatility. It also comes with a sweet looking collapsing petal hood and a lens bag, what more can you ask for?
     
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  11. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Sharp enough is pretty subjective. A number of the lenses mentioned are quite good but won't be as sharp as the Olympus 25, which is considered "normal" for the 4/3 format. I had a Sigma 19, and it is a very nice lense indeed for the price, but at f2.8 not exactly fast. I also owned the Panasonic 20, a very nice lens indeed, but more a "wide normal" than truly wide. Almost all the normal range zooms go to at least 14, some to 12, but some are fairly slow, starting at 3.5 and ending at f5.6. What are your needs in terms of how fast a lens is? Maybe the zoom being offered above is your best bet. You might want to use a zoom to get a feeling for what focal lengths you would like in prime lenses going forward. And the price sounds right.

    (I don't know Wushumr2 and I'm not getting a commission:biggrin:)
     
  12. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I don't need a fast lens since I already own a fast prime. Most of my street photography is also taken outdoors in the daytime.

    .

    The 12-32 does intrigue me though even though I mentioned before regarding my disappointment of its lack of MF ring. Are there other cons of this lens I should about though?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    -Lack of sufficient gripping surface/space around mount area makes lens changing more fiddly than usual.
    -Does not come with or have available a well designed lens hood solution (I use a 37-52mm step up ring).
    -Manual collapsing design makes initial deployment for shooting slower, this might be a problem for street shooting.
     
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  14. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    Thanks. I'm also a stickler for AF accuracy...How does fare in that regard?
     
  15. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    832
    Sep 30, 2013
    About as well as any other M43rds lens, which is to say very accurate. With CDAF focus accuracy isn't nearly as lens-specific as it is with PDAF and DSLRs.
     
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Wouldn't it be a shorter list to name the bad or soft lenses for m4/3? There doesn't seem to be many...
     
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  17. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    Apart from the Lens cap lenses nothing really is that dire, some are not as good as others such 17mm 2.8 are not raved about but they are not truly bad lenses just others are much better.
     
  18. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I was also somewhat concerned by lack of MF before I bought mine, but in reality I've never found a need for MF on this lens. CDAF is very accurate and the DoF is deep enough such that it doesn't really matter.
     
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  19. dissembled

    dissembled Mu-43 Veteran

    285
    May 2, 2013
    NJ
    A. Quia
    I'm now torn between the 14/2.5 and the 12-32...Or maybe neither so I have money for a notebook suited for image editing. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.
     
  20. jin

    jin Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Jul 27, 2014
    Might I chime in here. Someone on some online forum once said this really interesting point which applies here. Assuming that you are looking to buy a lens for its versatility (meaning you are looking to get much use out of it), i'll go with this:

    The versatility of a lens is not always determined by the field of view, but is always dependent on the amount of light your lens can gather.

    It is easier to get the same shot by moving closer, than to bring a light setup with you, so when in doubt, I'd go with the brighter lens (a la the 14). The prime will force you to learn the frames of a 28 mm equivalent and it has less moving parts that'll break. It's also cheaper. I got mine for a bit over $100.
     
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