Newcomer with E-PM1: photos and tele-lens advice

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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fixedpoint
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Newcomer with E-PM1: photos and tele-lens advice
9 months ago

Hello, first time poster here.

I've bought a E-PM1 kit (14-42 II R) a few weeks ago. Never had any system camera before, only P&S. I've been lurking around the photo-related sites and forums for a while though (and that's why I came to m4/3 — it was the most compact and affordable system with the lens and body lineup that made sense for me), and I'm familiar with the basics.

I mostly shoot landscapes when traveling (or just hiking in the nearby mountains: the gallery with P&S samples). I haven't had a chance to travel somewhere with the E-PM1 yet, but otherwise looks like I am continuing the trend of using the camera for

Cityscapes:

Early autumn colors in Tashkent

City (not so wild)life:

Squirrel infestation at the center of the city

Pictures of beautiful growing things:

And sometimes portraits:

I rarely shoot indoors. When shooting people, I don't like getting into action (definitely not a "street" shooter) or drawing any attention with camera. I prefer to use longer focal lengths to capture the moment of natural emotions and reactions from some distance, before people get chance to react to the camera. (For example, my wife was completely unaware that I took this picture and was very pleased afterwords.)

Now, after getting the kit at a bargain price of $200, I think I can spend up to $250 more on additional photo gear. It doesn't look like I can afford anything much better than the kit at the wide end, but I want more reach on the tele side.

There are two main contenders: Olympus 40-150/4.0-5.6 and Sigma 60/2.8. Oly zoom has great value and extends 14-42 range naturally, but I am afraid 150/5.6 will be a challenge for me, because I often see blurred images at 42 mm even with 1/160 shutter speed (IBIS both on and off). I am trying to improve my grip on camera, but I am not going to carry a tripod around. On the other hand, Sigma is 1-2 EV faster (squirrels in shade beware!), reportedly very sharp wide open, compact (should be good as a walkaround lens), allows more DoF control, and praised by many as a great portrait lens. I am not an avid portrait shooter, so I am viewing it mostly as a sharp and fast mid-tele with the capability to make a nice portrait sometimes.

What would you say? Should I go for versatility with Oly or IQ with Sigma? Thanks a lot for attention, hope this wasn't tl;dr

 fixedpoint's gear list:fixedpoint's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PM1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R
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