Yet another lens question: choosing native primes for the Oly E-P2

tset

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Hello all,

I've been a long-time lurker and have recently joined the group because I need your suggestions.

I have the Oly E-P2 and shoot mainly non-RAW. Mostly in auto-mode, though I do wish to change this gradually. The Panasonic 20/1.7 is my main lens and I love it. I have two Oly zoom lenses: (i) 14-42/f3.5-f5.6, and (ii) 40-150/f4-f5.6, but I don't like the pictures I get out of them and therefore don't use them. I also do not wish to use a flash.

I've been looking to buy another prime lens, but am having a tough time choosing one. Of course, I've been drooling over the Nocticron and I could swing it, maybe, as I have a few gift certificates and I've been very good about not spending on other toys. My first question in this regard is then whether given my older E-P2 and somewhat casual shooting style, it makes any sense to go for anything other than the Oly 45/f1.8 which is about 1/4 the price. Will I see any difference in the image quality? Does it make more sense to upgrade my camera body instead?

I'd love to hear what you all have to say. A collection of my photos can be seen at my blog (listed below). It's a theme blog, so it does not necessarily contain my best work ;-).

Danke!

Tset
basedinvilligen.blogspot.com
 

sokar

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I own an EP1 which had the same sensor and AA filter as the EP2. I would think the best choice would be the Oly 45mm lens if you are considering another prime to add too the 20mm.

Because you shoot JPG in mostly auto mode, you are essentially limiting your own results to a degree and not getting the benefits from using a fast prime lens. Sharpening a JPG in post editing will not be ideal and changes to WB etc will reduce the JPG image quality somewhat.

The Oly 45mm is a sharp lens that is reasonably priced. Even with the 12mp sensored Oly bodies, shooting in a RAW can achieve some tack sharp shots. This can also be done with JPGs but you need to nail the shot as close to perfect as possible to reduce the editing process.

When you feel comfortable, start shooting in RAW + JPG and to reduce costs of PP software, use the Olympus Viewer 3 software to batch process the files into 16 Bit TIFFS. The advantage of this software is that it is free and your TIFF conversions will carry the Olympus JPG colors. From there you can further sharpen and adjust your shots to your pleasure without loosing file quality.

The 20mm and the Oly 45mm make a great pair of primes. They are light and provide excellent value for money.
 

ivoire

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Since you have the Panasonic 20/1.7 adding the 45 f1.8 is a good choice and if you want more reach add the Sigma 60mm f2.8.
 

Uncle Frank

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The 20mm and the Oly 45mm make a great pair of primes. They are light and provide excellent value for money.
I agree. This has been my favorite 2 lens kit for a few years, and I had no problems getting sharp results shooting the ep3 + 45/1.8 in jpeg.


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gryphon1911

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You never really stated if you like shooting wider or more telephoto?

I'd consider the Oly 12/2 or the Oly 45/1.8 as good options.

The only reason I would consider the Olympus 12-50 zoom is if you shoot a lot in adverse weather and need the weather sealing. That is the #1 reason I keep mine.
 

ean10775

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Since you have the Panasonic 20/1.7 adding the 45 f1.8 is a good choice and if you want more reach add the Sigma 60mm f2.8.
On the lens rentals website, there is a note with regard to the Sigma m43 lenses, including the 60mm f2.8, that notes that they may not function appropriately on the early generation cameras like the E-P1, E-P2, E-PL1. Does anyone shoot the Sigma 60mm on any of these bodies? If so have you run into any problems?
 

tset

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Hi all,

Thanks a bunch for your very useful replies.

To sokar: I try to do very little post-processing. Most of what I do do is straighten out the horizon, and crop. Sometimes if there's too much distortion at the edges (building shots), I use GIMP to correct that to some degree. And some fill light. Occasionally white balance... oops, the list is growing :)

To ivoire: That sounds like a good idea -- especially the tip about the Sigma, but I'll wait for answers to ean10775's question. Hope there'll be some soon.

To Uncle Frank: Wow, lovely photos! However, I notice you have the E-P5. How much of a difference should/could I expect with my older E-P2 and the same lens? Does anyone here have experience in comparing, or can point me to comparisons that have already been discussed?

To gryphon1911: I do a mix of photography, about the only thing I don't do is street/stranger photography.

I think I have a somewhat negative impression of the Oly lenses given the zooms I have and how schlocky the construction feels. While I understand the physical reasons (no need for in-lens stabilization, etc, etc) I can't seem to control my bias. I need to work on this.

This weekend will be the big one, I think. I'll report back.
 

Uncle Frank

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To Uncle Frank: Wow, lovely photos! However, I notice you have the E-P5. How much of a difference should/could I expect with my older E-P2 and the same lens? Does anyone here have experience in comparing, or can point me to comparisons that have already been discussed?
.
The samples I posted were all taken with the ep3 and 45/1.8. I only upgraded to the ep5 recently. The ep2 and ep3 use the same sensor, so the images I posted are representative of what you can expect from your ep2 + 45/1.8.
 

tjdean01

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I'd say go for a PM2 or a PL5 body. PM2 is only like $200. The new sensor is noticeably better. Then, by all means, get the 45 for under $300. Need wide? The 14 is under $200.

So, that'd be a lot goodies to match your 20. And for $700. A lot cheaper than a $1400 Nocticron which I would never be happy with knowing the Voitlander 42mm is f0.95!

PS: the 40-150 is a good lens. Turn stabilization OFF! (advice from a PM2 user anyway). And it's not good over 100mm, but 40-100mm it's great! The Oly 14-42 can be sold for like $70 and replaced with the Panasonic 14-42 ver II for $150. It's a great zoom (similarly, the $300 12-32 and and $200 14-45 are good zooms and the rest covering that range are not, except the 2.8s).

Note, no lens mentioned in this post except the 42 primes and 45/1.8 will match your 20!
 

tset

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To Frank: Ah yes, I overlooked that bit in the text. Good to know that I won't have that to blame for my bad photos.
 

tset

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To tjdeal01: Thanks! Okay, now there's a body in the mix. Let's see if anyone else pipes in. BTW, I did note the Voigtländer before, and have filed it away in the "when I have more time to play around with manual focus" list. And I should spend some time with the Oly 40-150, I know, I'll use your tips today and see what I get.
 

janneman

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To tjdeal01: Thanks! Okay, now there's a body in the mix. Let's see if anyone else pipes in...
Here a second vote for at least taking a good look at the 16mp sensor as used in newer E-PM2 and others.

I was interested in M43 right from the start, but with the 12 mp sensors (G1, E-P1 and all others) the quality was just not enough to make me leave my APS-Nikon. High ISO en dynamic range were close but not optimal. With the arrival of the 16MP E-M5 (followed by E-PM2, PL5, E-P5 and Pany GH3) the quality passed the good enough for me level, and I could clearly see that in tests and pictures online. ISO up to 3200 usable (I too hate flash). More then enough dynamic range (I usually print, which means somewhere in my PP I will restrict the dynamic range even further down to 6 or 7 stops, but its good that I make the choice, and not the sensor). Out with the Nikon, in with the Olympus, never looked back except with relief.

The 45 is a no-brainer; excellent lens for minimal investment, go for it...
 

tset

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Here a second vote for at least taking a good look at the 16mp sensor as used in newer E-PM2 and others.
Noted. Thanks for the comparison notes, too!

The 45 is a no-brainer; excellent lens for minimal investment, go for it...
For those who might be interested, I'm in Switzerland, and I just checked the price at the shop "chain" where I have the gift certificates and the 45 will set me back CHF 499 (410 Euro = 600 AUD = 558 USD). No used models listed at this time.
 

sokar

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I am not so certain that a new body with the 16MP sensor is the be all and end all for improvements, considering that the OP will be mainly shooting in JPG. I use an EP1 (12MP), EPM1 (12MP with lighter AA filter) and an EM1 (16MP Pany sensor) and there is some more working room within the RAW file, but not that much. I was expecting a huge improvement over the previous generations of bodies and the results are not that eye-popping.

The EP2 is a great, solid camera with good functionality and controls. Moving to a newer body with less controls is not an improvement if the user desires the extra control with quick access. The biggest improvement would be the addition of the 45mm lens. As Frank's images on the previous page indicate, the 12MP sensor is more than adequate in most scenarios.

The single biggest improvement to my final images has not been due to a newer camera with a higher MP sensor. It has been due to the reason that I use LR4 and this software cannot process EM1 RAW files. I have been forced to use Olympus Viewer 3 and that change in my PP has resulted in huge improvements with colors and detail. Although OV3 is slow and cumbersome, a batch export to 16Bit TIFFs with natural color setting is a great starting point for further editing in LR.
 

tset

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[...] I was expecting a huge improvement over the previous generations of bodies and the results are not that eye-popping.
This is very useful information.

The EP2 is a great, solid camera with good functionality and controls. Moving to a newer body with less controls is not an improvement if the user desires the extra control with quick access.
I do rather like the thing. One option I often miss is a articulating screen, but doesn't really justify the cost, when I could put the money towards the Sigma 60mm or similar.

The single biggest improvement to my final images has not been due to a newer camera with a higher MP sensor.
And in my case, I think I'm FAR from the situation where the MP matter. There's a lot of room for improvement in tecnhique, settings and what-not.
 

BLT

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Firstly I think that the difference between the old 12mp sensors and the newer 16mp is not as big as the Internet makes out. In fact at base ISO there is almost no real difference. From what I have seen.

The newer cameras perform better at higher ISOs have slightly better DR and perform faster all round. Not to mention extra features etc. . But IQ is not a big jump in my opinion.

To the OP. . . As you are using an E-P2 (I own an e-p1) I would not recommend expensive manual glass like the Nokton you mentioned. Manual focus on the E-P2 with the (pain in the ass to access) magnified view focus assist, is not so quick or easy. I think your money would be much better spent else where.

45mm is a great lens. Highly recommended if you think you will like that FL.
 
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Another vote for the 45mm. It is not always the most useful focal length so you might not use it as much as you think. Look through some of the nice comparisons people made between it and the 42.5mm to see if you think the difference is significant.

You could also consider one of the f2.8 zooms. I have the P12-35mm and I am constantly impressed. The 12mm on this zoom is sharper across the frame than the Oly 12mm f2 and the lens gives you a great deal of flexibility over something like the 20mm.

Also, I am going to be visiting PSI in Villigen in June. It is a beautiful area and I hope to take some great photos.
 

tset

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[...]

To the OP. . . As you are using an E-P2 (I own an e-p1) I would not recommend expensive manual glass like the Nokton you mentioned. Manual focus on the E-P2 with the (pain in the ass to access) magnified view focus assist, is not so quick or easy. I think your money would be much better spent else where.

45mm is a great lens. Highly recommended if you think you will like that FL.
You people are all so reasonable. :)
I admit, I do struggle with manual focus, and the quality of the screen leaves much to be desired.

Another vote for the 45mm. [...]
So, I haven't bought anything yet. I will probably get the 45mm as everyone has only good things to say about it. And I've noted the P12-35mm as a recommended lens.

Also, I am going to be visiting PSI in Villigen in June. It is a beautiful area and I hope to take some great photos.
I wish you a good visit and lots of great photo opportunities. Sounds like you're already familiar with the area, but if you have any q's I might be able to help with, just drop me a note.
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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My first question in this regard is then whether given my older E-P2 and somewhat casual shooting style, it makes any sense to go for anything other than the Oly 45/f1.8 which is about 1/4 the price. Will I see any difference in the image quality? Does it make more sense to upgrade my camera body instead?
BUY the 45! Do it NOW. I look down at my desk and there's my e-P2 and M.Zuiko45mm. Beautiful.

Also : bizzarre that you don't like the pics from your 40-150, mine's very good although on the e-P2 body it's only sensible in fairly bright conditions as the camera's high-ISO is very noisy.
 

BLT

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I admit, I do struggle with manual focus, and the quality of the screen leaves much to be desired.
While I agree with you on the quality of the E-P2 screen I have to say that I love the 4:3 ratio and the matte finish. The matte make it very usable in outdoor conditions, and the 4:3 ratio just makes sense with the 4:3 sensor. I don't understand why more M43 cameras don't have the 4:3 screen!?
 
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