Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?

Started May 6, 2013 | Discussions
j y g
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Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
May 6, 2013

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

The irony here is that the body-only E-PM2 sells for more than the kit

jyg

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s_grins
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

I'd drop $350 on 1.8/45 if I could

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Savas Kyprianides
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

j y g wrote:

The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

jyg

How large are the rooms you're going to shoot in?

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Chatokun
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

One of the reasons to use the 45mm, as I often read, is that if doing a head and shoulders shot, the FoV the 45mm gives is the minimum you should use, as it is the shortest length that doesn't distort the face, when doing that specific FoV. If you're planning to do those kind of portraits, it's worth it. You don't need to be that far from a person for it either; even for head to torso shots I'm pretty certain you can manage in most standard sized rooms.

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Chas2
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

The irony here is that the body-only E-PM2 sells for more than the kit

jyg

The difference between 42 mm and 45 mm is not that great.  The difference between f5.6 and f1.8 maximum aperture is huge.  Let's say your shot at 42/45 is at 1/15 at f5.6...pretty iffy shot hand held, you will be depending on IBIS to give you a prayer of a steady shot, assuming your subject does not move.  On the other hand 45 mm at 1/200 at f1.8 is a very makable shot, and will even freeze a lot of subject motion.  You will have thinner depth of field, but that may even work to your advantage.

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Great Bustard
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In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

The irony here is that the body-only E-PM2 sells for more than the kit

jyg

But only if you have a strong desire for f/1.8 at 45mm vs the f/5.6 at the long end of the kit zoom.

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bradevans
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45 f1.8 vs kit
In reply to Great Bustard, May 6, 2013

I bought the 45 on top of the kit for a variety of reasons.

f1.8 vs 3.5 on the kit gives you more shots at low(er) ISO

The image quality / options for nice(r) bokeh:

Shorter shutter times if wind is impacting your outdoor shots:   plants, flowering trees, etc.

Head and shoulder portraits its very nice (ie one or two people)

Fitting 3-4 seated at a round table - i was backing waaay up

Another way to think about it might be this:

IF you had the $350 to spend, is this the lens that makes the most sense for you?

Good luck

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pcb_dpr
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

If you don't need the speed or the narrower dof wide-open, it's probably not worth the extra money, not enough fov difference between 42mm & 45mm. If you do need the speed or narrower dof, it is well worth the money. There is an improvement in IQ, the 45/1.8 at f/5.6 is better than the 42mm end of the zoom at f/5.6, but will you see the difference in your own images?

Much the same could be said for several prime lenses that fall within the 14-42mm range: the 14/2.5, 17/1.8, 17/2.8, 20/1.7 & 25/1.4, and the Sigma primes. All exist for a reason, either faster speed, narrower dof, compactness, better IQ, better build quality, or a combination of these factors. All these lenses are covered in your 14-42mm range, but all of them are a better tool for some. It all depends on what you're looking to do, and how much you want to spend.

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself.

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sean000
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

Depends on what you like to photograph. If you like to take candids of family and friends, usually multiple people together, the 25mm f/1.4, 20mm f/1.7, or 17mm f/1.8 might be a better fit. If you like to take portraits (tighter headshots, waist-up shots, etc.) of one or two people, or still-lifes of fairly small subjects, then the 45mm will be great. I live in a pretty small house with rooms that are not that big, and I use the 45mm indoors all the time to photograph my wife and kids. I never feel like I run out of room to back up. It's a great portrait focal length for indoor use. By contrast the 75mm would be better at home outdoors.

Whichever focal length fits your needs best, f/1.8 vs f/5.6 is a huge difference in both low-light capability and depth of field control.

Sure it seems like a lot when you compare it to the camera with kit lens, but it's not unusual for quality lenses to be more expensive than the cameras designed to use them. The 45mm f/1.8 is actually one of the bargains of m4/3 in my opinion.

Having said all that, you don't necessarily need the prime. It all depends on what you shoot and how you want to display it. For static subjects you an use a tripod. For shots shared on Facebook or printed 4x6, you can use ISO 6400 or higher if need be (sometimes you need f/1.8 AND 6400). Unless you plan to take a lot of low light shots, you might enjoy a lens that gives you more telephoto, a wider angle, etc.

Sean

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Peng Bian
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to pcb_dpr, May 6, 2013

Usually with zoom lenses you're mostly using two focal lengths anyways, and using a prime is honestly much more fun than using a zoom. Being restricted makes you move and think about your composition. 45 is my preferred walk around lens (75 is better for discreet street photography but it's rather heavy, and I don't always feel like carrying the weight), you should definitely get this lens.

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s_grins
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to Peng Bian, May 6, 2013

Peng Bian wrote:

Usually with zoom lenses you're mostly using two focal lengths anyways, and using a prime is honestly much more fun than using a zoom. Being restricted makes you move and think about your composition. 45 is my preferred walk around lens (75 is better for discreet street photography but it's rather heavy, and I don't always feel like carrying the weight), you should definitely get this lens.

I imagine you taking street shots. While you're changing lens, your shot is gone...so you have to be confined for the lens attached to the camera. For street photography zoom is good

Prime lens is not fun, it is a deliberation, and 1.8/45 can deliver more than street photography.

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j y g
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to s_grins, May 6, 2013
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j y g
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to Savas Kyprianides, May 6, 2013

In the 10' x 10' range, give or take a couple of feet in either dimension.

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j y g
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to Chas2, May 6, 2013

Wonderful explanation/example.  Thanks.  I'm still learning to get a feel for how all of that'll work together.

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Greynerd
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

The field of view is very narrow with the 45mm. It is OK for static portrait shots of adults but not so good for children indoors. I now use a 50mm f1.8 with a Sony SLT giving 75mm equivalent and find it a much more practical  focal length and the lens only cost £100 new.

The f2.8 30mm Sigma will be faster than the kit lens and is a reasonable price. If you have an E-PM2 you could push the ISO a bit compared with the older sensors. I doubt if the reduced distortion you get with 45mm will really offset the resultant rather tight field of view. The 45mm is a great lens but a bit specialised in my opinion especially if cost is an issue.

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

The irony here is that the body-only E-PM2 sells for more than the kit

jyg

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cmpatti
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

The 45mm f/1.8 would not be my next lens purchase unless I was heavily into portraiture.  The field of view is too narrow for general shooting in my opinion.  If I were looking for an all-around low light lens, for about the same price I would start with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7.

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Hen3ry
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 6, 2013

Some excellent responses here, J.

As others have said, with the Great Bustard putting it most succinctly, the big question is whether you actually want to use the f1.8 45mm rather than something else.

I have both.  My walk around kit with the E-PL3 is the Panny f2.5 14mm lens on the camera and the Oly f4~f5.6 40-150mm zoom lens in my pocket.

It is interesting to note that the 40-150 at 40-45mm -- its bottom end -- is f4, a full stop better than the f5.6 offered by the 14-42 zoom at 40-42 -- its top end

The 40-150 is a very good lens indeed as I have found and many have attested on this forum, and it costs a little less than the f1.8 45mm.

Nevertheless,  have both the 14-42 and the 45 and use both for particular purposes.

I tend to regard the 14-42 as a well performing f3.5 14mm which can go up into 17-20mm territory on the relatively rare occasions when I want such a focal length, and can do nice work at 42mm albeit restricted by the f5.6 maximum aperture.

I regard the f1.8 45mm as a specialist lens for portraiture and low light work. yes, I do take it out as a walk around in lieu of the 40-150 sometimes because I have it and I can (power to the people!) but by and large it is in my pocket and/or on my camera in situations where it has a particular advantage over the 40-150.

Does that help? Are you more confused? I am! LOL!

Some examples (to add even more to the confusion):

What the 45 is all about for me!

More of what the 45 is all about -- for me!

And even more 45! (Dang, got to fix that over-ripe redness in the way this pic displays on DPReview). But you get the picture -- for me the 45 is primarily a portrait lens.

The 14-42 on a rare excursion into the middle range.

On a job taking photographs of the Kokopo boat harbor in the New Guinea Islands so had the 40-150 on hand. I couldn’t ignore the chance for this picture of the boss lady of  one of the boat fleets so the 40-150 did the job. An advantage of the 40-150 in this situation was the ability to move out to a longer focal length to throw the background well out of focus. Of course, there was plenty of light so the limited aperture wasn't a worry.

Messing around with Oly's silly little accessory flash looking at the limitations of using it as fill in portraiture. So with the 45 lens.

I actually ran(!) to my room to grab the camera and the 45, couldn’t put my hand on the 45 immediately, so took this pic with the 40-150. Who would know the difference? Maybe I would, but I;m not sure.

40-150 with a Raynox c/u lens on it. It does c/u better than the 45 because of zoom flexiblity and longer focal length available.

Cheers, geoff

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Great Bustard
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It's more than that.
In reply to bradevans, May 7, 2013

bradevans wrote:

I bought the 45 on top of the kit for a variety of reasons.

f1.8 vs 3.5 on the kit gives you more shots at low(er) ISO

The kit lens is f/5.6 on the long end, so it's f/1.8 vs f/5.6 -- that's huge.

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 7, 2013

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

The irony here is that the body-only E-PM2 sells for more than the kit

jyg

You can't judge the worth of a lens based on what percentage it is of the camera kit you have.  You judge based on your requirements, how much you need that FL, that speed, that bokeh, that DOF control and that quality, all of which are limited in the kit lens.  This lens happens to be also very cheap compared to all other primes or the best value prime lens in M43, as it is excellent by all those measurements.  Assuming that it is a useful FL for you, it should be a no-brainer and if you cannot justify this one, you probably won't be able to justify buying any prime lens.

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sigala1
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Re: Drop $350 on a 45mm prime when you've already got the 14-42mm kit lens?
In reply to j y g, May 7, 2013

j y g wrote:

The Oly E-PM2 kit comes with the (non-X) 14-42mm  f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I'm eyeballing the  Oly 45mm f/1.8. Surely the 45mm is much better quality, and f/1.8 is very convenient.  But I'm thinking of the wisdom of having a 42mm-capable lens and then spending $350 on a 45mm prime lens, over 80% of the kit itself. (Obviously I'm not a pro, and I have a less than liberal budget).    The f/1.8 sure would help in doors,  but is 45mm on MFT short enough of a focal length to take photos in doors such that I wouldn't feel cramped when trying to compose?

The irony here is that the body-only E-PM2 sells for more than the kit

jyg

The 45mm f/1.8 is the best lens for taking head and shoulders portraits.

For more general uses, such as half-body portraits and casual photography of friends and family, the 25mm f/1.4 is far more useful.

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