1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Yet another "which lens for at night on a budget" thread

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Dolphinjon, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Dolphinjon

    Dolphinjon Mu-43 Regular

    43
    May 9, 2016
    I've been searching the forum, but for some reason I'm being left with more questions than answers!
    Currently I have Oly 14-42EZ, 12-50, 40-150R, and 75-300 II. All but the 75-300 came with my camera. I like what I have, but none of them are terribly usable inside or in the evening.

    I'm moving to Brazil in about three weeks. Many activities take place in the evenings. I'd mainly use it for photos at people homes or walking around on the street.

    I'm thinking something around 25mm like the Oly 25mm 1.8 but am open to suggestion. The problem is that my budget is $183. I might be able to scare up a bit more. Any suggestions? I know my budget really limits me, but I figured it's worth asking.


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  2. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    Hi, I don't know where you're from, but right now it's possible to buy Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 for about $200 from Amazon. It's a nice lens, probably just as good as Olympus 25/1.8. You can find some sample images here: Showcase - Panasonic G 25mm F1.7
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    855
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    That is a very precise budget which may fall a touch short. I think that the O25/1.8 is a very good lens and I picked up LNIB on eBay for just over $200. Silver ones sell for less than black so that may be something to keep in mind. The new Panny 25/1.7 is another option, though I have not really looked at its prices in the US. You might be able to pick up a P20/1.7 near that price, but the lens is supposedly slow to focus and has banding issues on Oly bodies.

    If you are willing to get slower lenses, another budget option would be the Sigma 19/2.8 which can be found used for under $100. And the O17/2.8 can be picked up for around $125.
     
  4. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Veteran

    399
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    If you'll mainly be shooting indoors, consider getting a Meike TTL flash and bouncing the light. It's about £55 in the uk, that must be around $100?

    The advantage of flash is control over how and what you light - but it'll depend where you are and how you shoot. Still, it's a cheaper option than buying a lens.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I would recommend trying to get a Panasonic 25/1.7 on sale or a 20mm/1.7 used. They are by far the least expensive fast lenses in the system. The 20mm/1.7 is also nice for social / street photography because it is so small and nondescript.

    Looks like there are at least 2x Panasonic 20mm/1.7 and 1x Olympus 25/1.8 on sale in the Buy Sell Forum for $180-190, so you are spoiled for choice even in your price range.

    At that point it comes down to the focal length you prefer. The 20mm is significantly wider in practice. When I compared the P20 to the P25/1.7, cropping them to an equal field of view reduced my image down to just 8MP...! I believe the P20 is slightly wider than 20mm, and the P25 is slightly longer than 25mm in the real world.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Dolphinjon

    Dolphinjon Mu-43 Regular

    43
    May 9, 2016
    Thank you for all of the advice! I know it's an oddly specific budget. That's how much I got for my birthday a few weeks ago.

    I like the idea of a flash, and I've been looking more at them. My hesitation is that I want to be able to use it at events and church services without being obtrusive.

    I had not consider d the Panasonic 20mm/1.7. I'll check that out.

    I keep looking at Sigma. The prices are great, and I think I might be able to live with 2.8. I'll look at them again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  7. king_solom0n

    king_solom0n Mu-43 Regular

    60
    Jun 9, 2015
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    What body?

    Given the budget the best option is the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 mkI. It's optically first class with a few notable issues. It's AF is slow by m4/3 standards. It's not really bad compared to many other systems AF speeds. But is when compared just about any other m4/3 lens. It's also one of the few lenses that is not AF-C compatible on some (all?) Panasonic bodies, I'm not sure about Olympus bodies.
     
  9. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Honestly, f2.8 is not that much better than the f3.5 you get with your 14-42 kit lens, and the EZ is even smaller than the Sigma primes while being much more flexible. f2.8 gives you a difference of 2/3 of a stop, so between ISO 4000 and ISO 6400, for example. So that's a useful improvement with M4/3 for sure. But in the same circumstance with an f1.8 lens, you'd have an improvement of 2 full stops. So going from ISO 6400 to ISO 1600, where you will see significantly improved image quality.

    If you low light image quality is your goal, I personally see f2 as the upper limit of what works for M4/3.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  10. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    855
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    The improvement is a little better than that, though. My O14-42IIR is f4.0 at 19mm, so the S19/2.8 will get you a full stop over that. Certainly, the f1.7-1.8 lenses are much better for low light, but if the OP is going to be taking pictures in people's homes, f1.8 might be to shallow for group pictures in any case. And the recent sales of the S19 on eBay are under $100, so it might leave the OP with some extra cash in hand.
     
  11. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    It's a fair point - though arguably the 14mm wide end @ f3.5 is more useful for indoor shooting, in general, especially as far as groups are concerned.

    In general, I would say for the OP's purposes 17mm/1.8 or 20mm/1.7 is the best overall focal length. 25mm feels really narrow when shooting inside a normal home, unless you are isolating one person, in which case it works very well.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    If low light is the concerns than I would tend to agree about the Sigmas. The Sigma 60mm though does stand out, not for f/2.8 vs f/3.5. But because it's a sharp lens, one of the sharpest m4/3 options.
     
  13. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    855
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I personally find the 14mm end of the kit lens very useable for indoor groups, especially with the high ISO performance of my E-M10. As for the 25mm, I spend nearly 20 years shooting 50mm equivalent lenses on film and DSLRs and almost reflexively tend to recommend that as the first fast prime.

    I am assuming that the OP has an Oly body (based on the lens list). Is the banding and AF issue with the P20/1.7 a significant enough issue to recommend against it for Oly bodies?
     
  14. Dolphinjon

    Dolphinjon Mu-43 Regular

    43
    May 9, 2016
    Wow! I am getting a lot to think about. SVQuant is correct--I have an Oly body. It's an E-M10II. The banding issue is worrisome for me. I honestly haven't used the 14-42 much inside. I've mainly been using the 12-50, but I will switch out to the 14-42EZ and see how it does on the low end inside. I've done very little photography with primes, so I'm nervous about committing to one focal length. At the same time, I'm realizing how much I could use a faster lens.
     
  15. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'd sell one of the 14-42 or 12-50 and use that to help fund one of the options already mentioned. Those two slow zooms overlap fully in focal length so why keep both?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Dolphinjon

    Dolphinjon Mu-43 Regular

    43
    May 9, 2016
    I've been contemplating that. I like the 12-50 because of the macro and the extra range on each end. I've kept the 14-42 just because it's so stinking compact. Which one to keep...
     
  17. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Lots of reports of the P20 struggling to focus in low light.
    My O17/1.8 does very well.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    855
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    If you sell either the 12-50 or the 14-42EZ, you can probably also afford an O17/1.8. Overall, the 12-50 seems to be one of the less liked lenses on m43, but it does form a nice 2-lens kit with the 75-300II. One suggestion I would give would be to try the two lenses in your typical shooting situations and decide if you prefer one over the other. One you decide that, you can hold the lens at 17mm and 25mm to see which focal length you might prefer.
     
  19. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Veteran

    399
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    Selling one of your standard zooms seems sensible to fund a better purchase. One other option would be a cheap f1.8 legacy lens, but that means manual focus - would that be an issue?
     
  20. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    If you kept the 14-42 EZ for size, the 20mm f/1.7 (either version - they're virtually identical technologically) will replace it conveniently while at the same time offering the aperture advantage: f/1.7 means two full stops up from f/3.5, so you get four times as much light as the 14-42 EZ on your sensor - and the 20mm is a lot sharper to boot! If the AF and the banding issue (that I've never experienced, btw.) bother you, the 17mm f/1.8 is a very good alternative, but depending on pricing in your part of the world and your limited budget, might be too expensive.

    All that said, personally, I'd say the Panasonic 25mm f/1.7 is your best bet - it's not quite as compact, but cheaper and more modern when it comes to AF. Actually, I'm tempted to add one to my collection simply *because* it's so inexpensive - and apparently almost the equal of the great Olympus 25mm f/1.8 (and even brighter by 1/3 of a stop ...).

    EDIT: Sorry, have to add two things:

    There's also the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 - that's out of your budget for the time being, but it's a very, very good lens, probably one of the best bang-for-the-buck options out there at the moment. It's a bit big, but feels very comfortable on the E-M10 (though I use mine with the ECG-1).

    And I just want to mention something noone else has talked about: I own a couple of tiny, yet interesting C-mount lenses you can get for a song on Amazon. Mine are called "Fotasy", but there are other brand names. I've seen 25mm f/1.4 (I own one - rather difficult to shoot with due to its construction, and produces heavy vignetting), 50mm f/1.4 (haven't tried one) and 35mm f/1.7. The latter is quite big as such lenses go, but it's actually able to produce sharp images with good contrast wide open. It flares like hell, but that's its only true weakness, especially considering the price - those lenses are so cheap you could actually get the set and experiment. Just a thought ... they don't replace a good native lens like the 25mm options or the 20mm, though.

    M.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016