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Yet another lens advice thread!

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by fin azvandi, May 7, 2012.

  1. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I’m resisting the temptation to upgrade from my E-PL1 until used EM-5 bodies show up next year. In the meantime, I’d appreciate advice on expanding/upgrading my lens collection. Currently I have the 20/1.7 and legacy primes for the portrait-telephoto range, plus the VF-2.

    Some things I’m weighing:
    1. I really like the way the Panasonic 25/1.4 renders images/bokeh, and think I prefer its FOV to the 20/1.7 (which feels a little too wide at times). Still, I’m not sure it’s worth the extra $$$. AF speed is probably not a major factor on the E-PL1, but on later bodies the 25/1.4 would be a more dramatic improvement. Considering getting one to compare directly but won’t be able to keep both.

    2. I need a wide angle lens. The 9-18mm zoom seems very convenient for travel (we’re taking a trip to Washington DC later this summer) and I might find out I like UWA shooting in general. On the other hand, I know I like street shooting and the 14mm seems like a good compact street and landscape lens (especially if I switch my “normal” to the 25/1.4). I could just rent the 9-18mm for the DC trip.

    Are there some factors I’m overlooking? Which of these pairs would you lean towards?
    14 and 20 (cheapest option = EM-5 sooner; too close in terms of focal length?)
    14 and 25
    9-18 and 20
    9-18 and 25 (I can’t actually afford this right now!)
     
  2. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Money would be a big factor for me. I too love what I've seen of the PL 25mm, but that's a lot of money for a prime lens. If you've got the money, sure, but for many (me included!) the 20mm will have to 'do'.

    As for WA, I'm a huge fan of the 14mm. It can be had for as little as $160 new on eBay, and IMO it's a vastly underrated lens. It's also the smallest m43 lens, which makes even the E-PL1 marginally pocketable. I also have the 9-18mm--my most expensive lens--but although it's great, I find I don't use it as much as the 14mm or the kit lens.

    Speaking of kit lenses, another lens I'd recommend is the Panasonic 14-45mm. About $245 on eBay, it's a fabulous lens and pairs really well with the E-PL1. Way, way better than the typical kit lens. And another great value.

    Best 'value' lenses in m43:
    Panasonic 14mm f/2.5: $160
    Olympus 40-150mm f/3.5: $150 (on sale, look around)
    Panasonic 14-45mm: $245
    Olympus 45mm f/1.8 $345
     
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have the P14, P20 and O45 and there are times when I think the P14 and P20 are a bit too close and would prefer to switch the P20 for the P25. But I really like the compact size of the P20 and I am not sure the difference between P20 and the P25 justifies the difference in price for me. Then again I have a G2 and GH2 and have not found the P20 to be so slow that it was an issue while shooting. The P14 is a terrific lens (and amazingly tiny) and I am not sure there is a better value in a WA for m43. The O12 is a better lens but at nearly FIVE TIMES the cost. The O45 is just an outstanding lens. It's sharp an has wonderful bokeh. I really like it although it gets a lot less use than the P20 and P14 do. As for kit lenses...the P14-45 is Terrific although it should run a bit under $200 used. If you're gonna spend $250 then consider looking for a O12-50 that some new OMD owner is selling. I have seen those for just a bit over $300 and that would give you 24 at the wide end.
     
  4. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Dave
    just wanted to add the 7-14 to the mix... if UWA is a major consideration.
     
  5. chlau

    chlau Mu-43 Regular

    65
    May 13, 2011
    You need a wide angle and already have a fast portrait so I'd say the 9-18 and 20 combo. With sufficient light the 9-18 also does the 35mm which is as wide as it gets with no distortion. The 25 is just going to be more of the same but better, so u cld afford to get it later. However the 9-18 would revolutionize your system and your shots.
     
  6. sym5

    sym5 Mu-43 Regular

    33
    Feb 21, 2012
    SoCal
    Personally, I wouldn't go with 14 + 20, because in many common shooting situations I'd have a hard time choosing between the two. They're both pancakes, even. 14 + 25 I actually own and find useful. The 14 is compact and just wide enough for casual use, so its main role is that of convenience. It's not as sharp as the 20 or the 25, but it's not that bad, especially for the price. The 25 is sharper and contrastier and faster-focusing than the 20, so its main role is that of quality. The rattlesnaking is a bit annoying, but I often turn my camera off in between shots to keep the battery from draining, so it's not that bad in actual use. I ended up getting the 7-14 instead of the 9-18, so I can't tell you too much about the 9-18 specifically. However, if you've not shot UWA before, just going from the 20 to the 14 might be enough of an adjustment for now. There's actually a bit of a learning curve to seeing and shooting with an ultra-wide lens, and keep in mind that the 9-18 will be bulkier and softer than any of the primes you've listed, so for all that money you spend on it, there's some chance that you might not enjoy it all that much.

    So my personal rec would be to sell your 20 and replace it with the 14 + 25. The former will be wider and even smaller; the latter will be faster and higher quality; and you'll improve your overall focal length coverage, all for less than the cost of the 9-18 alone. I can speak from personal experience that it's a very nice combo. Hope this helps.
     
  7. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    420
    Dec 4, 2010
    Tulsa, moving to Houston
    Duke
    Also, I had a 25 f1.4 that rattled on my ep3 so I sold it. Well now I have another one and it doesn't rattle on the ep3, epl1, or om-d. Perhaps they've got it figured out with the new ones?
     
  8. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Since the 25mm is out of stock almost everywhere again, and auction prices on the 14mm are a steal, I think I'm going to get the 14mm for now and start playing with wide-angle. Long term either the 14 + 25 or 9-18 + 20 seem like good pairs in terms of focal length coverage and pocketability.

    Thanks for the advice all, if anyone else wants to chime in I'm all ears.
     
  9. TDP

    TDP Guest

    I've only had my m43 for less than 2 weeks and this post helps me greatly. Thanks poster and all that replied.
     
  10. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    It's always fun spending other people's money! :wink:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Stebailey

    Stebailey New to Mu-43

    3
    Apr 24, 2012
    The death of APS-C?

    The GH2 can be had now for quite a bit less than the new Olympus. With tweaking of the settings, jpg's can be pretty much what you want them. The RAW files are already excellent. (I have the PL 25 1.4 and it sits on my GH2 85% of the time, swapping out to the 14 2.5 or the Oly 45 1.8 on those special occasions. )
    I have long been a Canon APS-C user, with both Rebel and 40D bodies. In spite of some excellent lenses built for that format (particularly the Canon 17-55 2.8), I have switched to the smaller format. The m43rd's evolution in image quality--both sensors and lenses-- has brought the photographic product within a minute fraction of that of the APS-C, while the larger format requires more cumbersome equipment. (This includes the large lenses that the Sony E platform must contend with.)
    To me, m43 has become the better option. If one wants a truly significant increase in picture quality, then one must jump to full frame. I find that m43 and full frame complement each other nicely.
     
  12. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    314
    Jan 31, 2012
    I'd wait until getting the new body to replace the Panasonic 20 with the PL25. The difference between the lenses is mostly in the FOV, it's not that much more amazing especially since focus won't be super fast on your current body.

    I hear the Panasonic 14 is pretty good. I skipped that one after I read that it has serious distortions natively (which are corrected in camera).

    If you want to go slightly wider and you're interested in the E-M5 you could get the kit 12-50 kit. Either with the camera later or from someone wants to get rid of it from an E-M5 kit.
     
  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think you cannot lose with the Pana 14/2.5, especially with the auction prices. It's just a terrific lens. Easily one of my favorites. Makes a great pair with the 20/1.7 or 25/1.4.