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What would be a good compact lens kit?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by 6BQ5, May 25, 2015.

  1. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2015
    I am contemplating the idea of buying an OM-D E-M10 to sit between my Pentax Q7 and Pentax K-3. My Q7 kit consists of a "normal" prime, a standard zoom, a tele zoom, and a fisheye for fun. This is almost ideal for me except I do not have the recently released wide angle zoom. The entire kit is teeny tiny and I can easily carry everything in a coat pocket - even if I had the wide angle zoom. In fact, I did exactly this when I traveled to the UK late last year. Each lens was stored in ZipLock bags to protect against pocket lint. I also have a K-3 with a more sophisticated lens kit. This kit primarily consists of three primes (wide, normal, and telephoto), a 50mm macro, and a wonderful travel zoom. One downside to the K-mount kit is size and weight. There's no way I'm lugging all of that through an airport when I already may have a suitcase and a small carry on. Even the travel zoom by itself is a serious chunk of glass. This kits is perfect for special events, when traveling by car, or when space and weight is not a consideration. These two kits each fill a specific use case, don't compete with each other, and both produce wonderful IQ.

    The M10 kit would be something I can travel with when space and weight are are a consideration. I am getting the idea from my other thread that the M10 would be a great body to mount some pancake prime lenses. Perhaps this kit could be coupled with my Q7 and the tele and wide angle zooms in the same bag. With this in mind, I am thinking of a 3 or 4 lens prime kit to capture wide, normal, and tele applications. The fourth lens could capture ultra wide or more tele.

    So, after all this rambling background and out-loud thinking :)  I would like to ask the forum here for suggestions on how to build up a nice travel kit. I don't necessarily need "pro" level lenses. The K-mount kit fulfills that role. I need to be able to make 8"x10" and 8"x12" prints.

    As a Pentaxian venturing into the u4/3 universe I find myself in a strange and foreign - but fascinating! - land.

  2. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    For those print sizes it doesn't matter. µ4/3 is right up there with your APS Pentax and not midway between your two cameras. Personally, I would get the 12-34 Panasonic, 60/2.8 Sigma and a fast normal. An LX100 probably makes mores sense for what you're trying to do.
  3. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    There are a myriad of prime options, from the pancake stuff (14mm, 17mm, 20mm, 12-32mm, 14-42mm) to the large-aperture wide and normal (12mm, 17mm, the two 25mm, 12-40mm) and the telephoto and specialized lenses (like the Voigtlanders).

    If you want the utmost compactness, the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is a great normal. I have the 25mm Olympus, which is awesome and fast, only a little bigger.

    The 17mm f1.8 is a popular choice for a wider lens - for a single walk around lens that can do street, landscape and just about everything. I have the f2.8 pancake version, which I've now planted on my new GM1 for a pocket size backup.

    The Simga 60mm mentioned above is absolutely great for portraits, but is somewhat large. Still for the price it's terrific.
  4. Chazzz

    Chazzz Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 2, 2010
    Washington State
    If you're looking for a camera to complement the Q7 system in some form, then something like the LX100 — with its 24-75mm (f/1.7-2.8) non-interchangeable lens — might be the way to go. Of course, at that point, you could also consider things like the Canon G7 X (1" 20MP sensor, 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8) or other advanced P&S. I've had a 12.1MP Canon S100 (24-120mm f/2.0-5.9) for a few years that fits virtually anywhere, shoots RAW and can produce decent 8"x10"s.

    (Remember – in case you or someone else starts getting lost in all the different focal lengths – that if you're wanting the 35mm equivalent of a µ4/3 lens, just double the mm, e.g. 14mm => 28mm.)

    If you're still really wanting something with interchangeable lenses, then I'm not sure why you're wanting to couple another system to the Q7 system when you can already change lenses on that. If you're wanting a better sensor/IQ and/or maybe a better selection of better lenses, you could ditch the Q7 system and just have a complete µ4/3 system.

    Size-wise, you could consider the 16MP Panasonic Lumix GM-1 (body only). Add a 17mm or 20mm prime and a 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 all-round, and you're off to a quick and decent start. You could add a 9-18mm (or 7-14mm) ultra-wide, and a 100-300mm ultra-long, and then you're potentially covered from (35mm equivalent) 14mm to 600mm in the span of four lenses (technically three, since the 17mm or 20mm is already covered by the 14-140mm).

    (Side note: As much as I like the retro looks of the Olympus OM-D series, I have never wanted one because of the relatively massive EVF hump in the middle. So if you're considering µ4/3, you might consider the Panasonic Lumix GX7 if you haven't already ruled it out. Even though the EVF sticks out the back a bit, the top is essentially a flat line, which I think is more compact.)

    Fellow µ4/3 shooter Tyson Robichaud did a GX7 vs GM1 comparison here and a GM1 review here if you're curious.

    Keep us posted!
  5. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    The EM10 and EM5ii have more moderate evf humps, which I actually prefer being a left-eye user over the position of the GX7. To each their own.
  6. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2015
    Thanks for all replies, everyone! Lots of great info here! :thumbup: (and this forum's emoticons are really neat!)

    There are a few mentions of going for a fixed lens premium compact. I seriously consider this option all the time but the prices of these wonderful cameras are $200-$300 more than an ILC. In most cases the sensor is smaller than a u4/3 sensor. I can get the E-M10 with a pancake prime (especially used) and be further ahead than I would with a compact in price and IQ. I also love the idea of a GX7 or a GM5 but the price is once again holding me back. Where is the $499 option for a fixed, retractable lens u4/3 camera? Maybe it's a just a matter of time for the prices to fall and for me to save up a bit more money for my photo fund.

    @Chazzz@Chazzz : You mentioned ditching the Q7 system and I have thought about it. It's blasphemy for a Pentaxian like me but sometimes you have to venture into the dark side, right? :)  Part of me is too enamored with the camera. It's very fun and easy to use. Another part of me is amazed at its size. Yes, it is about the same size as a GM5 - just a little smaller - but the small sensor allows for much smaller lenses. They are so small that they look like more children's toys than lenses. My Q7 with a tele zoom lens having a FF equivalent of 70.5mm to 211.5mm focal length with a hood just as long is shorter than my hand ... and I have small hands. The system's two biggest pain points are a lack of small primes and a lack of an EVF for use in bright sunny days. So, I look elsewhere for these two desires and I think I am finding them in the u4/3 universe. Looking ahead 3-4 years in the future I may find myself with small (Q7), medium (u4/3), and large (Pentax FF) options.

    Coming back to the u4/3 system, I see common mentions of the 14mm, 17mm, and 20mm primes. These could be a good fit with what I am looking for. The 12-32 zoom seem nice and small too - another good fit! It looks like I have some more online research to do this week. In addition to all the online image samples and test data I will be playing around with the camerasize.com website. What a neat tool!

    I know there is more on my mind but I must think some more about this. :) 
  7. Chazzz

    Chazzz Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 2, 2010
    Washington State
    The lack of an EVF in bright conditions was probably my biggest disappointment with the GF1 and GX1. It figures that, now that I have one with the GX7, I rarely use it. The GM1 is available w/12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for $499 – so almost half the price of the GM5 kit. BUT, it doesn't have an EVF... That's how they get you, huh?! Depending on your particular preferences, you could take a look on eBay to see if there are any deals worth bidding on.
  8. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    GM1 with 12-32 kit lens is a great place to start as has been mentioned. I'm convinced there's no camera with a better photo quality to size ratio. Or you could go with the GM5 if a viewfinder is more important than the extra $$. Then add another prime or two depending on your preferred type of shooting so you have some options that are faster than the kit lens--12/14/17/20/25/45/60/75. There's a lot to choose from but you're the only one that knows which of those will be the best choice for you. Everyone tends to throw out suggestions based on what works best for them, but that doesn't mean they'll work best for you. At the end of it, you'll have a very small and light kit that is capable of very high quality photos.
  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Have you considered a Ricoh GR or Coolpix A? Very compact and excellent IQ. The GR would provide you with an equivalent 28mm field of view for APS-C, 35mm field of view for M4/3rd's and 50mm field of view for a 1" sensor. For the sizes that you wish to print, this would suffice. No EVF though, but a somewhat small price to pay for so much IQ in such a small package. Something to consider.

    Good luck,

  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    The three lenses from Sigma: not pancakes, not super fast but great price/quality (especially the 60).
    There is the Panasonic 20/1.7 pancacke if you can accept a quite slow and sometimes erratic AF on Oly bodies (version II could be marginally better).
    The O45/1.8 is a classic m43 lens.
  11. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Not when you factor in the price of additional lenses. If you do buy a body with kit lens, you would have to commit to never buying more lenses. Few people can do this and they one day find themselves with a second camera system. Cameras with a fixed lens avoids the problem. A camera like the LX100 (4/3 sensor) or the Sony RX100, Canon G7 (1" sensor) would probably more suitable for what you want.
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    a lot depends on your style of photography and what you wish to achieve

    Personally I could get away on my trips with just the OMD E-M1, the 17 and the 75, though I often have the 25/1.4 as well, and if I am on trips where I might want to do wild life or fauna, then the 50 macro and the 50-200 4/3 might be in the bag. Having too many lenses in the bag at the same time means too much choice..... well it does to me :) 

    If you were looking at compact versatile kit, then maybe an e-pl6- which is going for 300 dollars in the US, coupled with the panasonic 14mm and 20mm along with either the olympus 45 or pan 42.5/1.7 would make for an interesting compact solutiosolution
  13. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2015
    I thought about what you said and I think you have a valid point. Now I'm rethinking my previous statement because I may have been biased coming from the Pentax ecosystem. There was a time not too long ago when Ricoh was blowing out Pentax bodies for a very, very low price. You could sell off the accessories and purchase a DA 18-135mm zoom used/from eBay/new/etc and for less than $500 you would have an incredible camera that could satisfy most shooters for a very long time - even if you never got another lens for it. The compromise was the bulk. Ricoh is seriously starting to battle for marketshare and price has been one incentive they've been using a lot lately to get more K-mount users.

    So, I look at the E-M10 in a similar light. For ~$500 I seemingly get an incredible camera. I can swap out the kit lens for something different and be a happy camera. The kit doesn't have to cover everything. It only needs to fulfill my travel and compactness requirements. Looking at the premium compacts out there I see a higher price tag for a smaller sensor'ed system in a body that's not significantly smaller than the E-M10. I understand that part of the premium is in the packaging. Small doesn't come cheap.

    Plenty more to keep thinking about. :) 
  14. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Last trip the 12-50 was on the em5 95% of the time. Next time I would consider leaving the 14-150 at home except it is so small and cheap.
  15. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Is the new Pentax k-2s small enough? Looks like a great camera and would be compatible with your lenses.

    A zoom of any significant FL and light speed gets big and heavy. Less so on MFt, but the Oly 40-150 Pro is not a pocket lens. So if you can live with a couple of small primes, maybe a k-2s would be all you need.
  16. 6BQ5

    6BQ5 Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2015
    The K-S2 is significantly larger than the E-M10. Here is a "short link" to a comparison on camerasize.com


    I added the Q7, the K-S1, and the K-3 for comparison.

    If I had the E-M10 and wanted a means to use the FA Limiteds lenses then the K-S2 would be a fantastic camera. Since I have a K-3 the K-S2 would not offer me enough of a size difference.

    Side note : I tried ordering the E-M10 on Adorama's website and use my banked 4% rewards. Unfortunately, the coupon codes did not work. :(  Maybe fate is telling me to hold off for the next sale. :confused-53: I know! The GM5 will be $499!


    May 31 Edit

    I learned that multiple coupons cannot be redeemed simultaneously and I had three of them. You must call Adorama and place the order over the phone. Doing that let me use all my codes.
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
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