What lenses would you buy if on a budget?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by memzinla, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. memzinla

    memzinla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 31, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hmm. I know this is such a subjective questions since we all love to shoot different things. I'm curious what you guys would do though. I've been undecided about lenses because of my budget. I only had 500 dollars to spend on lenses, and I went overboard and bought the Olympus 17mm F1.8, Panasonic 25mm, and the Olympus 40-150mm lens. I'm feeling very guilty and don't know what to do. Wish I could keep my current setup.

    I love having fast/wide lenses. I mostly shoot random pictures, and carry my camera everywhere. I used to have the 12-50mm and the Panasonic 20mm. I really loved the basic kit lens because it was weather sealed and because of the semi macro. I bought the 20mm because it was cheap and was fast. I don't have anything against the kit lens, and liked the 20mm. I just wish the 20mm would focus faster.

    I have been wanting to try the 17mm as I think it would be good for me because it's wider, and it's also fast. I also love the look of the Panasonic 25mm, and really like that it's F1.4. I would like bokeh, but I'm happy as long as I can keep ISO low even though it's not a problem with the IBIS from the E-M5.

    What lenses would you buy if you were on a budget?

    Should I keep my setup, and sell stuff to make up for the money spent?
    1) 17mm, 25mm, 40-150mm = $850

    or have the following:

    2) 14mm, 25mm, 40-150mm = $666
    3) 12-50mm, 17mm, 40-150mm = $630

    Would you do some other setup? Has anyone shot any pictures in light rain with lenses that are not weather sealed? I go to Mexico in the summer often, and they have rainy summers. I'd be nervous about carrying the camera with me.

    Here are some images I've taken to show some of the random pictures I take:

    Palacio de Bellas Artes by memo90061, on Flickr

    Pinar del Chayán by memo90061, on Flickr

    Spider! by memo90061, on Flickr

    Guadalajara Centro by memo90061, on Flickr

    Vista desde la Torre Latinoamericana by memo90061, on Flickr

    Los Arcos Guadalajara by memo90061, on Flickr

    I think all of these were taken with the Olympus 12-50mm.
    • Like Like x 4
  2. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Thank you for sharing those fine images.

    If I were on a budget, I would not buy anything photography-related. I would strongly consider renting or borrowing.
  3. memzinla

    memzinla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 31, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    • Like Like x 1
  4. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    Incredible shots ! Don't get cheap on the lenses! You got skills. Just take a loan and buy fine lenses that suits you and be done with it.
    Get the 12-32 I think you can push the ISO its really no problem.
    Having thought about getting the 12-35/12-40 2.8? That and the 35-100 is killer combo.

    I know you want an advise specific to your needs but I think you deserve some pro glass for your range of photography.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. memzinla

    memzinla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 31, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thank you very much! I really appreciate it. :) I've never had a photography class, so there is a lot I can improve on. People have given me tips on how to make pictures better, and I just love to look at pictures taken by others to look at their techniques.

    I actually had to take out a loan recently to pay for school, but I qualified for a different grant, and was able to cancel the loan and pay for school myself. Now I'm trying to limit what I spend. :)

    You know I think I could have bought the Olympus 12-40mm 2.8 lens when Olympus had the refurbished deal and the 20% percent off. When it was in stock the sale had already expired. :(
    • Like Like x 1
  6. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Personally I think the 17 and 25 are too close to each other to justify owning both (especially since you are on a budget). I would go wider and get the Pana 14mm.
  7. GeBathan

    GeBathan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    Los Angeles CA
    Great shots Memo! Specially for using the kit lens. I just bought me one (12-50mm) as I'm heading to SD with the family and thinking of bringing one lens only. Probably I won't be taking photos at Legoland anymore as we've been there a couple of times already lol. :D

    Sent from my SGH-T889 using Tapatalk 2
  8. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    1. Set your budget.
    2. Figure out what focal lengths you NEED.
    3. Make decision based on 1 and 2.
  9. memzinla

    memzinla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 31, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, I was wondering if 17mm and 25mm are very close.

    Thank GeBathan. I was very surprised with the kit lens. I think it's very good. I just wish it was at least 2.8 at 12mm. haha. Mostly because of video. IBIS really helps keep ISO low. I've actually never been to Legoland, and it's just two hours away. haha

    Yeah I really need to figure out what focal lengths I use the most. I noticed I mostly used 12mm on the kit lens, and the Olympus 12mm is too expensive.

    I also thought about 17mm and 45mm. I'm not sure if I would use the 45mm though. I did start using the 50mm F1.8 on the Canon SL1 more compared to before, so I thought maybe I could start using the 45mm also.
  10. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I'd go 14, 25, 40-150. The 14 is pretty handy as a small pancake.
  11. nardoleo

    nardoleo Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 2, 2013
    I would go for the 12-50, 17 and 40-150mm. That should cover alot.

    Of cos i feel that the best bang for the buck setup is 14, 20 and 45.

    U can consider that too.

    Sent from my trusty Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  12. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    Counterpoint: If those are the two focal lengths you use those most, might as well have the best lenses in those focal lengths, regardless of whether they are somewhat close. Personally, I have those as two of my three primes, and I don't think they are especially close.

    I will say, though, that there are several of us on mu-43 who think the 17 + 45 are the perfect 2-prime pair for a lot of types of shooting. Something to consider.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Fri13

    Fri13 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 30, 2014
    I would go to 3) as it sounds close what I have..
  14. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    If I were just starting and wanted to get bargain lenses, I would consider the Sigma u4/3 series - 19mm, 30mm and 60mm. Yes, they are all f/2.8 lenses, but most of the time I shoot at f/4 to f/5.6. I have the 60/2.8 and I think it rivals lenses from Olympus and Panasonic in terms of sharpness and build quality. The 19 and 30 only run $199 and the 60 is around $249. They all include a lens hood and a nice padded zippered case for storage.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    From looking at your photos, and considering you sold the 12-50, I'd say to first cover the range:

    *Panasonic 14-42 version 2 - Very sharp. $130
    *Olympus 40-150 - Sharp until 100mm. $99 on sale.

    Now a portrait prime: Olympus 45/1.8 can't be beat. $300. Or you could get an adapted 50/1.8 for around $50.
    And a wide for low-light and portability: Panasonic 14. $150
  16. unstable_rider

    unstable_rider Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 9, 2014
    Land of Lakes
    I have the 14mm pancake, and the 40-150, and I must say both are quite useful for the money-- and creative. The 40-150 constantly amazes me, for a $119 dollar lens.

    I also have the 14-45mm AIS, which is much better than the cheaper kit lens. A little harder to find, and more money, but it's quite sharp as well.

    I would love a 25mm, but can't afford one right now, probably my next lens though...
  17. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    You've bought them now, don't go selling them and losing even more money on the deal! By the time you've sold your lenses and bought others, you won't save much. Keep your setup, and cut back on a few other things this year.

    As for what Lenses are bargains, there is a fair bit of price variability around the world, but the Oly 40-150, the Samyang fisheye, and the Sigmas seem to be good value everywhere.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  18. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    As you have already purchased the lenses then if you really cannot afford to keep them I would go with your option 2 ( 14/25/40-150).

    The reasoning is as follows
    1. Minimise any money lost by only changing one lens.
    2 The 40-150 is ridiculously good for the money.
    3 The 17 and 25 are a bit close, both are considered "standard" focal lengths and the 25mm is one of the best lenses in m4/3 as well as being F1.4 - a bit special.
    4 For WA lenses speed becomes less of an issue and the 14mm is something of a bargain and mine constantly surprises me so I have not felt any urge to buy the 12mm (samyang perhaps).

    With regard to using cameras in light rain my film cameras have survived 30 years of not being sealed and "shooting hoods" or even clear plastic bags with an elastic band round a front filter are low cost alternatives.
  19. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    This was me when I started on M43, looking for quality lenses on a budget.

    You have the 17 & 20, so sell the rest and get the 45. The 25 is not for someone on a budget, the 45 is and has better bokeh than the 25. Using just the 17/20 and 45 has the combination of covering most bases in terms of focal length and you owning quality (17) and superb (20/45) prime lenses.

    Ah, but then the 17 and 20 are too similar in focal length aren't they, so as you're on a budget, you'll have to sell one of them. What's more important to you, AF or picture output? If it's all about AF for you, then sell the 20. But if picture output is more important, then sell the 17 as although it's a quality lens and has obviously faster AF, the 20 actually renders sharper images than the 17. Whatever lens out of these two you choose, you'd still end up with quality, but don't use the faster AF as an excuse for choosing the 17 over the 20. Yes, the slow AF issue is there with the 20, but surely you can learn and make a provision for it's habits. You don't get people moaning about the AF of their (real, not Panasonic) Leica lenses do you. That's because they prepare for their pictures in full knowledge of what that the lens is like and I think people should think about that when considering the 20. Preparation surely improves one's photography skills. Another aspect in this decision making process would be how wide you want your focal length - if a wide focal length is a big priority for you, then keep the 17. The 20 is a great lens but it's not wide.

    Hope this helps!
  20. jomerads

    jomerads Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 27, 2013
    Moorestown, New Jersey
    John S.
    +1 on the skills.

    I would keep the Oly 17 mm 1.8. This can be bought for $300 refurb on sale. For wide, I would get the Rok 7.5 about $210 on sale. Just crop or defish as needed. And a Sigma 60 mm 2.8 for stage shots and portraiture $239. Total $649. No compromises as far as IQ. Add extension tubes for about $30 (cheap kind with electric contacts in EBay) and you are all set.

    Of course you can also forget the extension tubes and add a Canon FL 50 macro 3.5 (which is a Tessar lens by the way) for about $50 and a $16 dollar FD adapter and take care of your macro needs.

    John S.
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