Which Lens to "complete" my kit?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by erikzen, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    First post, yay!

    I recently became a micro four thirds user when my E-520 gave out on me. Instead of replacing with another DSLR I decided to go the m43 route. I was on a fairly tight budget at the time but needed to replace the camera fairly quickly (camera died right before Christmas). I ended up with an E-PM2, which for the most part I'm very pleased with and am convinced I want to stay with the m43 system for a while. There are some things about the camera that take getting used to, like the lack of mechanical controls and overall small size. That being said, I've been able to take some nice images and the pros certainly outweigh the cons.

    Now that I'm committed to the system it's time to get another lens for it. I currently have the 14-42mm II R as my only native m43 lens. From my 4/3 days I also have the two kit lenses, 50mm Macro, 70-300mm and 9-18mm wide angle. I also have several legacy lenses from my film days, Konica Hexanon AR 50/1.7, 40/1.8 and UC 80-200/4 and a Yashica DSB 28/2.8.

    The Konica lenses are surprisingly sharp and I have no problem with a fully manual lens. However there are times when I need faster autofocus, like when taking pictures of my kids' sporting events. I originally thought I would be able to get by with my 4/3 lenses but I find the AF very slow and they aren't as easy to manually focus at the old film lenses.

    I have up to about $1000 to invest although I don't necessarily need to spend it all. I am thinking of either a fast wide angle lens or a longer telephoto. While I have most focal lengths covered with my 4/3 and legacy lenses, I want something that will perform optimally on a micro four thirds camera. And while I did mention AF, I'm also curious about something like the SLR Magic HyperPrime or other super fast wide angle manual focus lenses.

    So how would you spend my money? One high quality lens? A moderately priced telephoto and a wide angle? Or maybe I should upgrade to a better m4/3 body?
  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    You've got a lot of adapted lenses but really you're almost starting from the ground up with native. What about a nice fast prime? I know, I'm basically giving you the same opinion I'd give to a newbie, (sorry!) but m4/3 is really best with its lovely little primes.
  3. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    If you have $1000 to burn, have you considered something like an EM10 for $699. You can use the exiting 14-42 and add the inexpensive Olympus 40-150 zoom usually $149 or less, which will focus faster than the 70-300. You do gain a view finder and a better IBIS on the newer body. If Wifi floats your boat, so much the better. Then you can spend even more money down the road on the fast zooms.

    Otherwise, if staying with the EPM2, you could consider a viewfinder fpr the 70-300 and manual lenses. I'd look for a refurbished VF2 or VF4 to save some money. I'd still recommend the 40-150 zoom. It works well on the PEN's. Other lenses that are nice are the small primes. Panasonic 14, 25. Olympus 17, 25, and 45. If you buy the 40-150, EVF, and a fast prime now, by year's end, a refurbished EM10 will sell for $499.
  4. mrerics

    mrerics Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 21, 2013
    You have a lot of choices with that budget, especially if you're willing to buy used (or refurbished from the Olympus Outlet). I'd address what you find frustrating first, especially if it helps you get pictures of your kids. If you want something light and cheap, the Olympus 40-150mm f/3.5-5.6 R can be had well under $200 used (or consider the Panasonic 45-150mm, which has its stabilization in the lens). If you need faster glass for indoor sports the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 isn't that much larger, though it is heavier and of course much more expensive...or you can go the prime route with Olympus's 45mm f/1.8 and/or 75mm f/1.8, which are both outstanding. Of course there are longer options too if you need to get out to 300mm.

    How do you feel about handling a telephoto lens on the E-PM2 and shooting with the rear LCD? You can add on an EVF if you'd find that helpful. I assume the reason you bought the E-PM2 in the first place is because you wanted something small, but if your primary reason at the time was because it was the cheapest and you'd prefer something more substantial with more physical controls, then you could consider a used E-M5 for around $500 or a new E-M10 for $700. There's not really any reason to upgrade from the E-PM2 just for better image quality though.
  5. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    I generally agree with mrerics but would add two other options for the kid chasing telephoto. If you can afford it and want the reach the Panasonic 100-300 is IMO unbeatable (too expensive for me but a friend at our workshop has one). If that a bit much for you the much cheaper 50-200 has done very well with my bodies. On the G5 the AF has been fast enough to get Dragonflies in flight.

    Personally I'd definitely want he viewfinder too. The lack of one can be most annoying on my GF2.
  6. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    Second the viewfinder if using telephoto lenses.
  7. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    Thanks for the responses so far. Lots to think about. I already have the the VF-3 and it was an excellent addition. It's a shame the camera doesn't come with a viewfinder. Much more valuable than the little flash they package it with.
  8. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    If the handing on the E-PM2 is bothering you, I'd look at a secondhand E-M5 or a new E-M10. The 40-150 is a handy little telephoto, provided you're not limited by light, and can be found secondhand for ~$100 or so. If you really need more reach, the 75-300/4.8-6.7 is a nicer lens than your 70-300 and much faster focusing on m4/3 bodies and <$400 from Olympus refurbished.

    I'd shy away from primes for kids sports - one generally needs flexibility and in any case the only option, the 75/1.8 is too short for many things, and not inexpensive. The only really high-grade telephoto zoom is the $1200 Panasonic 35-100/2.8, and even that I suspect will be too short for a lot of things.

    My main suggestion would be to add incrementally. It's tempting to upgrade everything at once, but it's a lot easier to add one piece at a time and figure out how it works for you as you go along.
  9. sfmurph

    sfmurph Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 4, 2013
    San Francisco
    Here's another vote for the Olympus 40-150mm f/3.5-5.6 R. If your kids' sports are outside, the dim max aperture won't be problem. The mechanics of it are a bit cheap, but the optics are great out to 100mm or so.

    I have the "dynamic duo" of the Olympus 17 and 45mm f/1.8 lenses. I was using a legacy Takumar 50mm, but the autofocus with the 45mm makes kid shots way less frustrating. I would recommend against the Panasonic 20mm due to the slower autofocus. The optics are fantastic, but I missed too many shots of my rambunctious kids, so switched to the 17mm. People are down on that lens' optics, but I'm very happy.

    (And the US Olympus outlet has reconditioned the 17mm for $399, the 45mm for $279 and the 40-150 R for $159. That's just under $900. But that was good advice to just get one lens now and others later. Really it was. But still.)
  10. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    Yes, that is certainly one way to go and not a bad suggestion, either all at once or one at a time.

    Really, I'm fine with the camera. When I first got it, I was struck by how small it actually was (Pen Mini - Duh!). As far as hands go, my fingers are just this side of sausage, so fat fingering can be a concern. That said, once I got used to the camera and added the viewfinder (yes the cheaper one - but right on for all you who recommended it. Makes it a different camera) I started to like the advantages of the small size. I went to concert the other night and the photo policy was P&S only. I put the 14-42 on the camera hanging around my neck like a real tourist, and the Konica 50mm in my pocket and strolled right in.

    So back to lenses, I like the idea of the 17mm or similar type of wide prime. That type of lens seems perfectly suited to the E-PM2. If adding on slowly, then I think that would be my first choice.

    As far as telephoto zoom goes I'd be interested in knowing how the Panasonic 100-300 compares to the Olympus 75-300, especially on an Olympus body. I'm also into nature photography so extra reach helps there as well as sports.

    And of course, all that being said, the 40-150 does seem like a no brainer, I may not be able to stop myself from picking that up right away (that and the body cap lens :wink:).
  11. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    As far as a good, fast prime, you can't get any better than Voigtlanders. They're under $1000 and as you can see in the thread I made, both the 25 and 42 are great! I've been looking at both of them in the sample image archive. The 25 has many impressive shots. The 42 not so many because it's newer. Read the thread: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=61433

    Your Hexanon 50/1.7 is SUBURB on m4/3s. You'll find that you want another stop at around f2.2 though, which you can actually make yourself (I did it on mine with photos but haven't uploaded a how-to yet). The 40/1.8 (also has an f2.2 stop now) is intolerably bad at 1.8 (I have 3 copies) but it's amazingly sharp at f5.6. You might also want one of the Hexanon 135mm lenses, either the f3.2 or f3.5. They're like $50.

    As for m4/3s lenses, the most unique lens is the 45/1.8. Shoot it wide open and the sharpness will shock you. And the 20/1.7 is one of the most popular. Those two are like $3-400 each. And the 14 can be had for less than $200. All great lenses.
  12. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    I've noticed the Konica primes are soft, washed looking, highly subject to flare and lack contrast wide open. Hey, I'm not complaining as these were lenses I had from my first film camera, so no incremental cost. It is another reason to get a faster lens though.

    Decisions, decisions....
  13. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    As there are so many good suggestions for lenses, it's pretty obvious that there isn't 1 lens that's going to satisfy me. I also agree with the idea of taking some time in acquiring lenses and getting to know each one before purchasing the next. I'll try to do that as much as possible although I'm a little anxious.

    As such, I found the 40-150 used for $130 w/tax+shipping from Adorama through Amazon. Seems like a good deal. The funny thing is the Adorama site had that (or a very similar) lens listed on their used page for $144.

    The next lens I want to buy is a relatively fast prime in a wide to normal focal length. I'd also like something that's fairly small to take advantage of the camera's small size and to make the whole kit as close to pocketable as possible, but I don't want to sacrifice size for image quality (I am willing to make some compromises, of course). There seem to be a lot to choose from and it's hard to narrow it down. I'm considering, in no particular order (with current Amazon pricing):

    Panasonic 20/1.7 ($386.99)
    Panasonic 25/1.4 ($529)
    Olympus 12/2.0 ($749.99)
    Olympus 17/1.8 ($499)
    Olympus 25/1.8 ($399)

    I've considered the Voigtlander 25mm but that would blow my whole budget and if you take into account the 40-150, I would be over budget. Also, I'm not sure I need to spend $1000 on a lens for amateur photography. I don't really need F/0.95 and I already have enough manual focus lenses. However, the SLR Magic 12mm T/1.6 does look interesting but that may be too much of a specialty lens to be practical.

    Once I purchase a wide to normal lens, then I think I'll look to a longer telephone zoom like the 75-300 but that's not really a necessity right now. I may also look to purchase another legacy lens to complete my Konica collection, like the 135/3.2 but I should be able to pick that up relatively cheaply.
  14. Bull Winkle

    Bull Winkle Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 5, 2014
    I bought my pm2 as a 2 lens kit, the 14-42 and 40-150. I've since added the sigma 19 2.8 and 30 2.8. Got a great deal on all the gear and email from Olympus vf3 and macro adapter is on it's way. I have now decided to shoot for awhile before anymore purchases so I can see what direction I want to go.
  15. Bull Winkle

    Bull Winkle Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 5, 2014
    I bought my pm2 as a 2 lens kit, the 14-42 and 40-150. I've since added the sigma 19 2.8 and 30 2.8. Got a great deal on all the gear and email from Olympus vf3 and macro adapter is on it's way. I have now decided to shoot for awhile before anymore purchases so I can see what direction I want to go.
  16. tedlegrand

    tedlegrand Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 13, 2014
    montreal, qc
    I guess it depends for who.
    I got the VF3 for my E-PM2 dispite its low resolution, ugly colors and lack of detailed contrast. I thought I could get more steady because the camera sits on my head, unfortunately, I see no difference hand held and on my eye. It's not much help also to manual focus. It also doesn't feel comfortable on my eye.

    On the other hand, I love my tiny flash. I had modified it so it can bounce and am getting excellent results by just adjusting the flash compensation.
  17. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    Good point. To each his own and in my opinion I would have been happier with the viewfinder instead of the flash. I bought the viewfinder but not sure I would have bought the flash. I am not impressed with the image but it works for me as a manual focus aid. I have the video button set to turn on manual focus and the function button set to magnify. When using the viewfinder I find it much easier to get more exact focus. I also find it more comfortable to shoot that way since that's what I'm used to.

    If I had more money available at the time I might have sprung for the more expensive VF4. Now I don't even want to look at it for fear of wanting to upgrade.

    That said, now that I do have a few bucks to spare I'd rather spend it on lenses. Thinking more about that I think I've narrowed to the Panasonic 25/1.4 and Olympus 17/1.8. Somewhat difficult to compare the two but would love to hear opinions on these two lenses.
  18. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    If I had $1000 I'd buy the 75mm. But that is because I already own the 14mm, 20mm, and 45mm primes. All excellent lenses.
  19. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    Once I buy a wider prime, the 45mm may end up on my hit list.
  20. erikzen

    erikzen Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 6, 2014
    Just won an eBay auction for a new 17mm F/1.8 for $350 so that settles that at least for a little while. :wink:
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