Which primes to buy?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by pisanoal, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. pisanoal

    pisanoal Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    Hello all,

    Im relatively new to these forums (at least posting), and i was hoping to get some opinions on which primes people would recommend. My kit is as follows: Panny G3 w/ 14-42, and Oly 9-18. Im looking for a couple of primes for low light, portraits, and street photography. I also do a lot of rock climbing photography where i am typically hanging from the top of a route trying to shoot photos of a climber ascending (anywhere from 80ft below to right up next to me). I am looking at a 2-lens combination of the sigma 19, panny 20, sigma 30 and oly 45. The sigma 60 is also somewhat on the table depending on feedback. I would ideally like a kit that would be versatile enough for low light indoor portraits and then obviously the depth of field aspect is a big reason for me wanting to get some fast primes. I shot with my friends 45-200 this weekend, and the zoom was convenient for climbing since switching lenses obviously isnt the best idea when you are that high off the ground over open air... but im thinking that some of these lense will be sharp enough that i could crop some and still maintain equal IQ? Also the slow nature of the zooms make it difficult in the climbing application since you are typically shooting down into shadows (I was at 800 ISO and max aperture with speeds of only 1/100, and its very difficult to stabalize in those conditions)

    Any input is appreciated!

  2. psknapp

    psknapp Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    I have the Sigma 19mm and 30mm....

    ... and you're not going to do better if you're budget is really tight. A little brighter than the kit lens, and much sharper. I have the first gen and got them both for less than the cost of any of the other lenses on your list. I like them enough, I rarely use the kit lens anymore.

    But if I had a little more of a budget, I'd go for the Panasonic 20 and Olympus 45. The 20 is a nice, wide pancake with a FOV suited to street photography, and the 45 would be great for portraits with more subject isolation than the 30 or 60 would allow. Just about every lens recommendation guide I've read have included those 2 as the must-have primes for M43.
  3. honeyiscool

    honeyiscool New to Mu-43

    Sep 23, 2013
    Why those in particular? Anyway, I would recommend an Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 as your basic two-prime setup. While you could go with Sigma, the truth of the matter is, f/2.8 is not particularly remarkable for low light shooting and not enough for shallow depth of field, especially at those focal lengths. Besides, 45mm is long and sharp enough that you can crop a fair bit from it.

    The Panasonic, in my mind, is too friggin' slow for low light photography, where it starts hunting like crazy. It takes wonderful pictures, but the two Olympus primes will never miss a shot and when you're rock climbing, you will appreciate the fast and reliable AF of the 17mm and 45mm lenses.
  4. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    If narrow dof is what your are looking for, I'd consider the Oly 45 or Sig 60 first. Both get great reviews. If cost was not an object, I'd just get the P/L 25 + Sig 60 (or Oly 75!) and be done with it. Since you are kind of considering budget lenses, I'd just say that my most used pair is the Oly 17/2.8 and Sig 30. I love my Oly 45, but really, I use it much less than the 17 and 30. I just love the spread of either shooting 17 or the 30. If cost is not an object, upgrade to 17/1.8.

    I have to say that I have always hoovered somewhere around a classic normal length lens and then only strayed a little wide and moderately telephoto for the majority of my photos.

    For shallow DoF you do much better by going longer than going faster (ie. the sig 60/2.8 will be much more capable of blurring a background than the 20/1.7 that you are considering).

    Anyway, my thoughts. Good luck! Primes are more fun! :)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    For indoor portraits I recommend the Pana Leica 25mm f1.4. The usual portrait lenses are just too long for indoor use.
  6. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Another vote, if you have the budget, for the 17 and 45 1.8's - really nice, fast focusing lenses with good quality optics.

    I was sorely tempted by the 19, 30 and 60 Sigmas, but really wanted the extra stop of speed (still tempted by the 60 though).
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    • Like Like x 1
  8. pisanoal

    pisanoal Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    Thanks for all the input. I like the idea of the 17 1.8, but I also plan on getting a dx7 sometime in the near future. Since most everyone seems to love the 45, I think ill give that a shot, and the 20 on the shorter end since I can pick th both up used for just a little more then the 17. I agree with going the extra stop of light over the 19. The 60 is probably in my near future too. I just looked through my climbing pics from this weekend to see how much I even used the zoom, and the majority of my favorite shots were at 45mm interestingly enough, with only a few coming around the 70 mm range.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Mu-43 mobile app
  9. lescox

    lescox Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 15, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
  10. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State

    I agree completely.
  11. pisanoal

    pisanoal Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    I ended up buying both the 20 and the 45 used for $600. Even though it sounds like there is a whole lot of love for the 17, I haven't really shot with primes before, so I want to make sure I like it before I spend 500 on a single lens. My theory was thay I can recuperate close to 100% of the cost for the used lenses if I decide to bail on the whole prime thing.

    Sent from my HTC6435LVW using Mu-43 mobile app
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Go longer and faster if less DoF is what you're after. For climbing I find either an (ultra) wide or a medium telephoto is best - the wide/ultrawide gets a good 'feel' for rock and the climber, but a telephoto can let you get a nice close-up action shot. My favourite climbing shots are a combo between my 7-14 (your 9-18 will do fine) and the 45/1.8 (which is cheap, great optically, and acceptable in terms of build quality - perfectly priced)

    My 'dream pair' of primes is probably the 25/1.4 and the 75/1.8 for MFT (my favorite focals on my 5DII, which is my 'prime lens' camera, are the 35L, 50mm glass and 135L)
  13. pisanoal

    pisanoal Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    Here is one of my favorite climbing shots of my usual climbing partner (not full res). It was shot with the 14-42 kit. I tried out my 9-18 and from the angles i was shooting at, i didnt really like any of the pictures. Of course that was only one outing and i have only had the lens for about a week...

    Based on what you said, i think the 45 will be my go-to climbing lens.

    Attached Files:

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