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DSLR convert to micro 4/3.... maybe (looking for lens advice).

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by cheese_on_toast, May 15, 2012.

  1. cheese_on_toast

    cheese_on_toast New to SC

    7
    May 15, 2012
    Greetings all, I have been devouring these forums posts and others across the web recently in my research for a new camera. I think I may have found it in the Olympus OM-D EM-5. However, having been a film and digital SLR user all my photographic life I don't know much (read anything) about this new fandangled "four thirds" format.

    Well not strictly true, like I said I have done a fair amount of reading these last few days and I am impressed and intrigued with the EM-5's performance, particularly the nightime slow shutter hand held stuff - that stuff excites me! I especially like Luckypenguin's images (very nice).

    I was in the process of selling Nikon D90 (still am) and was looking around for an upgrade/replacement. I was going to to get the D7000 untill I discovered the EM-5 (pretty much sold on that). I also have a Fuji x100 which I love to shoot with.

    My question really is I don't know where to start with the four thirds lenses. I really like the results I've seen from the Leica 25mm f1.4 Summilux, is this considered one of the better/best lenses to acquire in this format (excuse my ignorance)?

    Is there an equivalent trio of the nikon "holy grail" of lenses?

    If I'm starting out in a new format I'd rather do it right and get the better lenses at the start. Are the kit lenses worth looking at?

    Thanks in advance
    Steve (yes I was eating cheese on toast at time of registration)
     
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  2. Chris2500dk

    Chris2500dk SC Top Veteran

    598
    Dec 22, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    The Olympus 12mm f2 and 45mm f1.8 primes are also very well regarded. And I understand that Olympus is bringing out a 75mm f1.8 prime as well.
     
  3. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Julien
    I think the best performers currently are:

    Panasonic 7-14mm f4 (very expensive)
    Olympus 12mm f2 (expensive)
    Panasonic 25mm f1.4
    Sigma 30mm f2.8 (very affordable)
    Olympus 45mm f1.8 (affordable)
     
  4. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Two pancake primes that have good performance at affordable prices are the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 and the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5. Optically, not up to the 25 or 12 cited by Julien, but nevertheless worth consideration.
     
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  5. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Julien
    Absolutely, though I've met a photographer with the E-M5 yesterday who told me he had banding with the 20mm. I've done a quick google search and apparently that's a common problem with the 20mm on this specific camera. I can't bother to skim through all the posts about it, but if you're interested by the 20mm you probably want to check them.
     
  6. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    "better/best" - than what else ? at doing what?
    they're all sharp; presumably maximum aperture won't matter too much as the E-M5 has spiffy high-ISO performance apparently (unless you're a bokeh-fiend or want isolation).
    I use the 17mm pancake more than any other lens on my E-P2. I prefer it over the 20mm pancake by far, and it's not the extra 3mm (or the extra stop) that makes the difference.
    Nic does indeed make some lovely images, but it's probably not the lenses that he uses that makes the difference :smile:
     
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  7. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Yes, I've read about that. As it only occurs on the EM-5, I wouldn't call it a P20 problem...but if the EM-5 is your primary m43 camera, then it's a serious issue.

    BTW, that problem is one of the reasons I cancelled my pre-order for the EM-5; figure I'd let the early adopters do the beta testing and let Oly tweak the firmware. I'm sure it's a great camera and that someday I'll be tempted again, but not now...
     
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  8. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Well said. The natural tendency is to look for solid, measurable results to determine which lens is best, but the intangibles and less tangibles often tip the balance.
     
  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I'll chime in to agree with pdh. I only dabble in the pixel peeping game, but frankly I've gotten great images from every lens in the system (including the much maligned kit zooms). People rave about how much better than the 20mm is than the 17mm. I prefer the 20mm because of the crazy 3D pop is has, but I also understand what pdh says about the 17mm.....I have a few images I have taken with that lens that have that undefineable magic to them (I'm sure if I were more knowledgeable about lens minutia I could explain it to you) and I could likely live perfectly happy with only that 17mm attached to an old E-P1.

    ALL of the lenses (and quite frankly all of the bodies, too.....including the first generation ones) are capable enough to produce breathtaking images. Take a look through Nic's flickrstream. You'll find that even a couple years ago he was creating images not that different from the ones he's creating today....even with that "outdated" hardware.

    It definitely has more to do with his vision (and his ace processing).

    You really can't go wrong with any of the lenses. If you like shooting with primes, grab your favorite focal lengths. If you prefer zooms, they're all pretty good (if not exceptionally fast, but again as pdh points out....the high ISO performance of the new Oly means they don't need to be).

    _________

    I just realized what I had typed was starting to look like a rant. You asked for opinions on lenses. The 12-50 that is available as a kit is an absolute necessity (splashproof....the only one so far) and the performance is quite good enough to me....it's close focus ability is a bonus and it goes from moderately wide to a moderate telephoto. It's a great walkaround range. Then since the 20mm seems to have issues on the new Oly body (I'll have to try that combo out today) I'd pick up a used 17mm.....they're dirt cheap and then I'd grab the Oly 45mm for when you crave some f1.4 bokehliciousness.

    If you like shooting tele, all the zooms are good. If you have the dough, I love my Panasonic 100-300, but on a bidget, both of the shorter teles are great values. You can't lose
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
  11. cheese_on_toast

    cheese_on_toast New to SC

    7
    May 15, 2012
    Thanks for everyone's input - it is very much appreciated.

    I guess I was looking for recommendations on whether to go for a kit lens (something I wouldn't do in the dslr world) or to buy body only and a "buy once buy right" kinda lens.

    I'm pretty much sold on the pany 25mm 1.4 even though it goes for a grand here in our money (NZ).

    I have included my flickr and zenfolio links below in signature (hopefully they work) so you can see how/what I shoot currently (if interested).

    Also Luke - you make reference in your first paragraph to "the much maligned kit zooms" then in closing you say the 12-50 kit lens is a necessity......? Can you please ellaborate? This is exactly what I was after i.e. are any of the kit lenses worth spending hard earned on?

    Thanks again.
     
  12. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Welcome to the forum Steve! Looks like you are in good hands with all the recommendations. You will quickly notice that this forum has lots of good people willing to help you use your money on the best possible gear. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Steve,
    All I really meant by the kit zooms being maligned is that they are "kit zooms". They are manufactured with an eye towards making them inexpensively. So they are not "fast" with wide apertures.

    I single out the 12-50 by Olympus because if you are considering the OMD E-M5 already (which is the only weather-resistant body), there should be no reason to be without the only weather-resistant lens (unless you never plan on getting caught in the rain). But also it's versatility is a great selling point. It goes slightly wider and slightly longer than the other kit zooms (which is another reason it's a bit more money), plus it doubles as a macro lens with its' close focus ability.
     
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  14. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    a good point well made, as they say.
    the other thing to remember is that there is the option to use Olympus 4/3 mount weathersealed lenses with the (weathersealed) MMF3 adapter.
    People seem to have only good things to say about the 4/3 lenses (including the various zooms) , though whether they are significantly slower focusing adapted on an e-m5 I haven't heard.
     
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  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    If you'd never buy a kit lens in the DSLR world, I'm not sure why you'd buy one in the m43 world. Its the same sort of tradeoff generally. They're inexpensive, generally slow in terms of aperture (but not AF speed - the new Oly kits are very fast AF lenses), optically not up to the really good lenses, etc. I've never used one of the 14-42 lenses long enough to develop a particular like or dislike for it, but I find the 12-50 on the OMD to be a pretty decent lens and for me it was worth buying with the camera. A good range, optically good enough (for me, YMMV), weatherproof, and enough macro capability for a non-macro shooter like me. But as with DSLR's, the faster primes are generally better lenses in most respects so if you like shooting with primes (which I do the vast majority of the time), that's the way to go. If you shoot wide angle, the 12 is great but the 14 is no slouch at all and is a LOT less money. For street shooting I vastly prefer the 12mm because of its manual focus ring, but your Flickr stream doesn't indicate that it should be an issue for you, so the 14 is a good buy. For neutral-ish lengths, you have somewhat similar tradeoffs with the 20 and 25, but I wouldn't argue for a second with your decision to go for the 25, particularly since the 20 seems to have some issues with the OMD. Unless you're a macro shooter, the Olympus 45 is a no brainer at the portrait length - if you are a macro shooter, you should take a look at the Pany 45 because its primarily a macro lens. At the ultra-wide end, the tradeoffs between the Pany 7-14 and Oly 9-18 are pretty clear. The Pany is wider and optically excellent, but its big and heavy (relatively speaking) and doesn't take filters. The Oly is small and light and less expensive and optically very very good (there are always those who say the Pany is better optically but its not by much - they're both great) and is arguably a more useful walk around lens given its range, but it only goes to 9mm, not 7, and that's not a small difference! I'd rather travel with the Olympus but if I ever stop buying camera bodies, I could see getting the 7-14 also someday because I love the wide end.

    The one thing that m43 doesn't have yet that are pretty easy to find in the DSLR world are fast zooms. None of our zooms even start at f2.8, let alone stay threre throughout the range. There are plenty of DSLR shooters who buy a good fast zoom or two and rarely take it off the camera, because they're optically really good and fast enough for low light. Most of the super zooms and telephoto zooms in m43 are basically daytime lenses (although with the IBIS on the OMD, you might be able to stretch that a little bit). For superzooms, the Oly 14-150 is a better match with the OMD because its cheaper, smaller, lighter, has a longer range, and doesn't need internal stabilization. The Panasonic 14-140 is also good and a better choice for Panasonic bodies (it has OIS), but I don't see much point on an OMD, where the extra size, weight, and cost doesn't buy you anything useful. At the long end, the Pany 100-300 is a lot less money than the Olympus 75-300, I think is pretty close optically, and only lacks the shorter short end. Its a bit bigger and heavier than the Olympus, but these are both pretty big lenses for m43 - I'd probably go for the Pany on that one unless you're a real picky tele guy, in which case you should check them both out.

    And then there are the new Oly 75mm and 60mm macro to consider if you're into those particular types of specialty lens, but they're probably not at the top of your list if you're just getting a system together. I'd say something like the 14, 25, 45 is a good place to start. If you want wider, look at the 9-18 or 7-14, if you want longer look at the two tele-zooms. Whether you want a kit lens or super-zoom I don't know, but there are options out there if you like shooting with them. I have a 14-150 that I like for travel but rarely use otherwise (although there are certain types of events where it comes in handy...).

    Good luck, have fun, etc...

    -Ray
     
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  16. cheese_on_toast

    cheese_on_toast New to SC

    7
    May 15, 2012
    I didn't quote your whole post only because I hate doing that and padding out a thread but I wanted to say how helpful it all was - thanks!

    I have taken everyone's input on board both here, and at the other MFT forums and funnily enough have decided to order the black body and 12-50 kit. I figured it was a worthy addition considering it's 200 bucks off in the kit, it's weather sealed, has a macro function, good walk around zoom range etc etc - you know the rest.

    The 12-50 will get me started on the oly and the new (to me) MFT format and I will look at a prime or two later on down the track.... aaaahh the slippery slope.
     
  17. BigTam

    BigTam SC Regular

    98
    Jun 23, 2011
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Hi Steve,

    I'm a rank beginner, but I was in a similar position to you. What I learned (for my kind of photography, obviously) on Nikon DX is that I found the 35mm f/1.8 not wide enough and the 50mm f/1.8 not long enough. I loved my Sigma 10-20. Had an 18-200, but seldom went above 120, although it was good for those times when out of consideration for others in the party (mainly my wife), i didn't have time to change lenses.

    The X100 is perfect for me: perfect focal length, always with me camera. So when I decided to go with the OM-D, I wanted the other focal lengths primarily. I bought it with the kit lens, as it seemed a bargain at 200 Euros extra and I found it quite a good lens, but simply not wide enough for me.

    So I ordered a m.zuiko 9-18 for wide and a 40-150 for long. For really high quality, I've still got my X100, and I'm swapping my 12-50 kit lens for a Sigma 30 to cover the gap between 18 and 40, though I'm not so sure I'll miss it. Still, the Sigma is getting good reviews, maybe I'll like it. A zuiko 45 is definitely in my future :)

    My Nikon kit is nearly all sold, so I kid myself (or my wife) that this has all cost me next to nothing ...

    To summarize, I'll have two zooms, 9-18 and 40-150, and two primes, 30 and 45, with my X100 covering the m43 equivalent of 18mm.

    Two cameras, five lenses and all not much heavier than the D7000 with the 10-20.

    I'm really enjoying the OM-D now, after struggling with the menus, but I 'm guessing you'll love it.


    The Nikon stuff was great, but now everything (E-M5, 9-18, 40-150, 30, X100, tabletop tripod and odds and ends) fits in a Billingham Hadley Small and weighs nothing.
     
  18. cheese_on_toast

    cheese_on_toast New to SC

    7
    May 15, 2012
    Hey BigTam,

    Thanks for the info, very interesting - sounds like we are on similar paths. I was a nikon guy, had D90 (now sold) and was this close to getting a D7000 (and seriously looking at a 2nd hand D700), then I stumbled across someones blog and they had reviewed the new Oly OM-D.

    After a bit of research (ok - a LOT of research) into this new fandangled micro four thirds format (how can you have four thirds anyway?) I now have a black body and 12-50 kit lens. Yes I went for the 12-50 after all as it was too good (I think) to pass up.

    I too have an x100, which I love using and won't be selling. I am in the process of selling all my DSLR stuff though.

    I am only an "amatuer enthusiast photographer" but it is the one hobby that has stuck with me all my life and if I tell the truth I enjoy the technology/gadgetness as much as the 'art' side of photography so the OM-D fits the bill perfectly.

    I am still deciding the next lens purchase (a prime for sure) but as yet undecided so your info has been most helpful - thank you.
     
  19. BigTam

    BigTam SC Regular

    98
    Jun 23, 2011
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Hi Cheese,

    I have since added the Panasonic 20mm and have it on the camera as a default (very similar angle of view to the X100).

    But the one lens I would absolutely recommend is the Olympus 45mm. What a tremendous candid portrait lens!