Lens advice please

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by tomstoneham, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    I finally admitted that - since I bought an LX-3 - I almost never use my DSLR so I sold it over the weekend. But, however great the LX-3 is, I sometimes need a little more lowlight quality than the LX-3 can give and with the money from the sale burning a hole in my pocket, I have decided to buy an EPL-2 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7.

    So here is the question. Since you never get a chance to buy a lens more cheaply than as a kit lens, which EPL-2 kit should I buy? There are three options in ascending order of price:

    1. 14-42 mkII
    2. 14-42 mkII plus 40-150
    3. 14-150

    I know you will all ask 'What do I shoot?'. I suppose the best answer is landscape/city/travel. I am too much of a coward for real street photography and only shoot people when I am asked by family and friends.

    So who has used these lenses and what do you think? Obviously, if I go for a cheap option, I can buy something else later, but perhaps I shouldn't miss this opportunity.

    Tom
     
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  2. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    Jack
    I'd go for the 14-150. Given that you like to travel, it'd be perfect walkaround lens, and you wouldn't have to change from the 14-42 to the 40-150 (or vice versa), if and when you need the extra reach (or need to go wide). It also sounds like from what you wrote that you probably have an interest in street photography, but lack the "courage" to take photos of strangers. The extra reach would certainly help in that department as you can take photos of strangers from a distance in a discrete manner, especially with an EPL2. Combine the 14-150 with the 20/1.7 that you also plan to get, you pretty much have just about every subject matter covered. Good luck and post some photos from your new cam after you get it! Keep us posted of your decision. :)
     
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  3. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    Yes, that was my first thought too. But I wondered if there were any quality/performance issues with the 14-150 which might outweigh the practical benefits of such a wide zoom range in a small package.

    Best,

    Tom
     
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  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    If you're looking primarily for LOW LIGHT quality, the kit lenses aren't gonna be an improvement over an LX5 (I presume the LX3 is pretty close in this regard?). The best low light lens in the m43 lineup is the Panasonic 20, which you're gonna have to buy separately if you want an epl2. So get the cheapest option and then buy that lens. Or perhaps consider a closeout gf1 with the 20 as the kit lens - probably the best deal...

    That's if you want this in ADDITION to the LX3. If you want this to be your primary travel setup, get the 14=150 and add the 20, as someone above suggested. And then if you find you want wider angle, either use the LX3 for slightly wider or get a 9-18 for lots wider. But that last one can wait unless you're really into wide angle shooting.

    -Ray
     
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  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Unless you're a pixel-peeping maniac, I'd say not. I traveled all over the Med for a month last summer with the 14-150 as my primary lens and it never let me down. You're not gonna do well trying to shoot action at the long end, but that's not the lens's fault. Its a wonderful do everything, walk around lens. Add the 20 for low light and you have almost every eventuality covered except for extreme wide angle.

    -Ray
     
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  6. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    Thanks, Ray, that is really helpful. That is what one would hope for from this sort of lens, but I wanted to ask in case there were some stories of people who found it didn't live up to (reasonable) expectations.

    Tom
     
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  7. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Hi Tom

    Like you i am selling my DSLR and have recently purchased a E-PL2 which i think is a stunning camera. I bought the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 MkII lens kit and i must say the 14-42 is stunningly sharp plus it is silent. I have just received a 20mm f1.7 (pics here) which works extremely well on the Oly. As for your lens choice...well i never really think that i need more than 42mm (67mm on canon crop & 84mm on M4/3 & full frame) but if the image quality was there then it would be a very handy lens to have. I have heard that the lens isn't sharp but i have not looked into it myself. I love the 14-42 and on a nice bright day I'm sure it will be fab! Let us know what you get.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. AzPete

    AzPete SC Veteran

    404
    Dec 24, 2010
    Hey Tom: I just picked up the epl2 with the mini zoom 14-42. While I dont know anything about the 14-150, I do know the mini zoom seems to be really sharp for
    my purposes. At the time of purchase I was offered a zoom lens (cant remember which one) and was offered an addition $100 off the package price if I picked
    up 2 lens.
    Sorry not much help here, just wanted to say.
    Good luck to ya,
    Pete

    also: and Im going to get shot here, but as good as the 20 1.7 is, I feel it's over rated somewhat. If you can deal with the light than you
    can't go wrong with the mini zoom.... sorry guys, but its just me being me.... hehe!
     
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  9. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    And don't forget the 9-18mm. It's a dandy!
     
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  10. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    Choices, choices ... don't make life any harder than it already is!

    @AzPete: The reasons for buying the 20mm are aperture and size (I like to put cameras in pockets when possible). My favourite 4/3 lens was the 25mm pancake and I own a Zeiss 45mm Tessar pancake too, but both of those are 'only' f2.8. The Panasonic looks like the epitome of pancake design to me :smile:
     
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  11. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    AND....There's the 14mm f2.5 from Panasonic just to throw another lens into the ring. From what i have seen it looks superb image quality and super slim. The problem i have with that lens is the fact that i would use it for landscape. The 14-42 is good sharp lens and one would not worry about fast lenses for landscape as you would be using f/8 or f/11 plus a tripod for this type of shot so the f/3.5 on the 14-42 would not be a problem at all. Spending £300 for almost identical images just isn't worth while.

    If aperture is important then the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 is the toy to have!!!! but it's over £800 eek! I always seem to think f/2.8 is a pretty good aperture and don't forget the E-PL2 has body image stabilising.

    I'm after a 25mm lens, why was the Oly 25mm f2.8 your favorite and on what camera was it on? Was it 4/3 rather than Micro 4/3?
     
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  12. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    I loved the size, especially on the E4x0 series which didn't need a neckstrap when used with this lens but were easy enough to carry in one hand. But it was also hardly noticeable as a lens on the E620. Photographically, I liked the fact it was instant focus and a natural fov. The quality is good but not up their with the Zuiko SHG glass. I found it was my preferred walk around lens.

    Mine's actually up for sale, with a Hoya PL filter and metal lens hood, so if you are in the UK and interested, let me know.

    Tom

    Tom
     
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  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Here's a link to a handful or two of shots I took with it in Europe last summer, posted on Amin's sister site - MU-43.com. I think its plenty sharp enough and gives you a lot of versatility. But I've never been accused of being a pixel peeper! There are a lot more examples in that thread - I just pointed you to mine as a start.

    Olympus mZD 14-150mm f4-5.6 Experience Diary - Page 8 - Micro Four Thirds User Forum

    -Ray
     
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  14. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Thanks but I'd need an adapter for this lens for the E-PL2. I have had a look at image examples and to be honest I'm not blown away. I have looked at images from the 9-18 and that does look good!
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    You'd need an adapter for which lens? Not the 14-150 - its native m43 and would go on your epl2 with nothing more than a twist and click. Of course, if you don't like it, that's another matter...

    -Ray
     
  16. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    Ray, those are lovely shots! And a really useful thread. Thanks v. much for the link.

    Quick question: do you use the VF-2 or are those taken in 'compact' mode?
     
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Thanks! They're a combination I think. I tended to shoot with the evf in the brightest sun or if I planned to take a lot of shots at the long end of the lens. But I rarely planned to shoot much at the long end - I'd just see a shot and zoom to get it. If it wasn't super bright out, I'd walk around with the lens without the EVF and occasionally grab a long shot without it. If it was super bright, I'd have it on and use it, particularly for the long stuff. Its a nice accessory, but one I prefer to use only when I really need it.

    -Ray
     
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  18. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    I went into town today and my local camera shop had just received its first delivery of EPL-2s. So I had a play and learnt three things:

    1. The 14-42 mkII is a lovely bit of engineering, very small but also solid. It would be a shame not to own one on those grounds alone!
    2. The 14-150 could never be described as either big or heavy, but it is big and heavy enough to change the handling of the camera. With that lens on, it feels in the hand like a small SLR and as a result I kept instinctively bringing it up to my eye. I think I would want a VF-2 to use the 14-150.
    3. I found the control dial a bit fiddly and using it as a 4-way controller was much more effective.

    By way of comparison, I had a play with a GF1 and an EPL-1 at the same time and surprised myself by discovering that I rather liked the handling of the EPL-1. In particular, since I mainly shoot in P-mode, my most frequently used settings are program-shift and exposure compensation, and the implementation of these on the EPL-1 is excellent: one button press takes you into a mode where up/down does p-shift and right/left does exp. comp. That makes it as easy as an SLR.

    The result of this is that I simply cannot decide what to buy and walked away empty handed. At least I had my trusty LX-3 to keep me company when I needed to capture an image:

    [​IMG]

    Tom
     
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  19. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Tom, the good news is that if you do go for the E-PL1 you'll have extra money to either save or put towards another lens or the truly wonderful Olympus EVF.

    Meanwhile, I must thank you for your having your trusty LX3 along - was that from today?!:eek: It's beautiful but would have made for tough going. I love that white cloud peaking up from behind the far horizon line - just beautiful, Tom.
     
  20. tomstoneham

    tomstoneham SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 12, 2010
    York, UK
    Thanks. This part of the city floods several times a year, when we get the combination of heavy rain in the hills upstream and a high tide downstream. It happens so often that the pub you can see there keeps the beer upstairs!

    Tom
     
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