25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

Started Jul 29, 2013 | Questions
BHPhotog
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25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
Jul 29, 2013

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

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Jun2
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

For personal and artistic photography, it's fine.  For commercial use, it's difficult to photograph everything efficiently with 1 prime.

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Abrak
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to Jun2, Jul 29, 2013

It really doesnt make a lot of sense to buy an interchangeable lens camera and then only put one lens on it.

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slimandy
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

I do regularly use my OMD with just one prime lens but 25mm would not be wide enough. I use the Olympus 17mm f1.8.

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Paul De Bra
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If you want a single prime, get a Fuji X100.
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

Many people find the 50mm-equivalent a bit long. 35mm-equivalent is more generally usable, which is why the Fuji X100 has that.

So if you don't really want an interchangeable lens camera but just a single prime the X100 would be the ideal camera for you.

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Yehuda_
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Re: If you want a single prime, get a Fuji X100.
In reply to Paul De Bra, Jul 29, 2013

The prime bug just didn't tick it for me.
I had the 20 1.7 & 25 1.4 in different tines and sold them both.
My current kit is the 12-35 2.8, 7.5mm fisheye and 45 1.8 for shooting portraits and very low light scenarious like bonfires at night on the beach etc.

I feel I lost close to nothing in IQ when comparing the 12-35 to the 25 1.4.
I also think 2.8 (equivalent to dof you'll get using 5.6 on a FF) is a good compromise with just a bit of shallow dof (@35 mm) while retaining enough sharpness.
I'm not a big fan of all those ultra shallow dof shots were the eye is in focus and the rest of the face is a dreamy blur. When overused it gets boring and usually doesn't fit what I try to convey in my photography.

But if course this is a matter of preferance. No right answer here.

About the price of the 12-35 - that's the most expensive lens I bought but I'm so happy with it that it garnered zero buyers' remorse.
And fyi I had the 14-45 (best iq in kit lens. not the 14-42 variants) and, lens reviiews aside, the 12-35 is simply much better in many small ways that can inly be experienced by using both in the real world. I shot small events with both and took vacation photographt with both.
The difference is much bigger than I expected and not only due to the constant aperture.

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toxinoz
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to Abrak, Jul 29, 2013

+ 1 for that!

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toxinoz
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

If you want a one lens kit, buy a camera with a suitable fixed lens, thereby avoiding the theoretical issues around lens changing. Personally I could not contemplate losing the flexibility that an interchangeable camera brings to the table, combined of course with a selection of lenses, to cover different photographic requirements.

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J White
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Loga
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

Apply the 25 1.4, when

-you are in (real) low light

-you need some background blur

-you want to learn the perspective of 25mm

Apply the 12-50, when

-other focal length is needed (e.g.: close(r) portraits, certain landscapes, some indoors etc)

-in daylight

-when macro is needed

Using only 25mm could be a learning curve, but it is restricted for many situations where 12-50 matches.

While the IQ of the 25 is better, in the end it is _much more_ important to choose the right focal length in a situation than somewhat better sharpness or color. You can improve these in post process, but you can't go wider with 25mm, and I doubt that cropping it to 50mm would result better IQ than zooming the 12-50 to 50mm.

Long story short: coose the 25mm when it is justified, but you will be restricted if you use it as 'only lens'.

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

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BHPhotog
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Re: OP response
In reply to Abrak, Jul 29, 2013

Abrak wrote:

It really doesnt make a lot of sense to buy an interchangeable lens camera and then only put one lens on it.

Now this is the kind of response that just frosts my cookies. I ask one question but get an answer to a different one.

The OM-D is arguably the best MFT camera on the market. It offers an outstanding range of customization, a world-class sensor and perhaps the best JPEG engine available. It also offers for me an ideal blend of portability and usability. None of that is diminished by using just one top quality prime lens, so it makes perfect "sense" to use it that way if that best fits my needs.

That's why I asked if people who have tried the one-prime lens system think of it, pro/con. I did not ask your opinion of how to use an interchangeable lens camera;  and I frankly don't care whether you think using such a camera with one prime lens makes any "sense."

Stick to the question.

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BHPhotog
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Re: OP response #2
In reply to toxinoz, Jul 29, 2013

toxinoz wrote:

If you want a one lens kit, buy a camera with a suitable fixed lens, thereby avoiding the theoretical issues around lens changing. Personally I could not contemplate losing the flexibility that an interchangeable camera brings to the table, combined of course with a selection of lenses, to cover different photographic requirements.

The "flexibility" of changing the lenses isn't the question; you may consider changing lenses to be a virtue , while I may consider it an annoyance. So, for me, the utility of using one prime one a good body like the OM-D is appealing; I just wanted to find out what people who had actual experience thought of it.

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Yehuda_
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Re: OP response
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

Abrak wrote:

It really doesnt make a lot of sense to buy an interchangeable lens camera and then only put one lens on it.

Now this is the kind of response that just frosts my cookies. I ask one question but get an answer to a different one.

The OM-D is arguably the best MFT camera on the market. It offers an outstanding range of customization, a world-class sensor and perhaps the best JPEG engine available. It also offers for me an ideal blend of portability and usability. None of that is diminished by using just one top quality prime lens, so it makes perfect "sense" to use it that way if that best fits my needs.

That's why I asked if people who have tried the one-prime lens system think of it, pro/con. I did not ask your opinion of how to use an interchangeable lens camera;  and I frankly don't care whether you think using such a camera with one prime lens makes any "sense."

Stick to the question.

I think abrak's answer was very relevant to the way you stated your question:
Q:do people use only one lens....?
A: it wouldn't make mich sense to do that.

Your response however was very rude. who are you to tell him to stick to the question? No one owes you anything here.

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BHPhotog
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Re: OP response #3
In reply to Yehuda_, Jul 29, 2013

Yehuda_ wrote:

The prime bug just didn't tick it for me.
I had the 20 1.7 & 25 1.4 in different tines and sold them both.
My current kit is the 12-35 2.8, 7.5mm fisheye and 45 1.8 for shooting portraits and very low light scenarious like bonfires at night on the beach etc.

I feel I lost close to nothing in IQ when comparing the 12-35 to the 25 1.4.
I also think 2.8 (equivalent to dof you'll get using 5.6 on a FF) is a good compromise with just a bit of shallow dof (@35 mm) while retaining enough sharpness.

Thanks for this feedback, it's what I needed. I'd go with the 12-35 but the price is just too steep; so  if it's one lens, it would have to be a prime.

By the way, I tried the Fuji and as good as it is it lacked a couple of critical features: IS and the articulated screen. I knew the IS would be a primary feature but I never had a moveable screen before and it has become indispensable, particularly with the ability to enlarge & focus.

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Ulric
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

Of course you can do that. A 50mm prime used to be the kit lens. I used my OM-1 with the single 50mm for a long time until I could afford additional lenses. Even now, I usually put on a single prime when I leave the house.

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BHPhotog
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Re: OP response #4
In reply to Yehuda_, Jul 29, 2013

Yehuda_ wrote:

Abrak wrote:

It really doesnt make a lot of sense to buy an interchangeable lens camera and then only put one lens on it.

Now this is the kind of response that just frosts my cookies. I ask one question but get an answer to a different one.

The OM-D is arguably the best MFT camera on the market. It offers an outstanding range of customization, a world-class sensor and perhaps the best JPEG engine available. It also offers for me an ideal blend of portability and usability. None of that is diminished by using just one top quality prime lens, so it makes perfect "sense" to use it that way if that best fits my needs.

That's why I asked if people who have tried the one-prime lens system think of it, pro/con. I did not ask your opinion of how to use an interchangeable lens camera; and I frankly don't care whether you think using such a camera with one prime lens makes any "sense."

Stick to the question.

I think abrak's answer was very relevant to the way you stated your question:
Q:do people use only one lens....?
A: it wouldn't make mich sense to do that.

In that case, you aren't answering the question either. If I ask how "A" vs. "B" works, it's off-topic to answer "neither." I took his answer to be neither, and that did not speak to the question.

Your response however was very rude. who are you to tell him to stick to the question? No one owes you anything here.

Who am I to "tell him to stick to the question?" I am the person who asked the question. Who else would evaluate the answer. Your statement about "no one owes you anything here" is, in this context, irrelevant and inappropriate.

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BHPhotog
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Re: OP response #5
In reply to Ulric, Jul 29, 2013

Ulric wrote:

Of course you can do that. A 50mm prime used to be the kit lens. I used my OM-1 with the single 50mm for a long time until I could afford additional lenses. Even now, I usually put on a single prime when I leave the house.

That would be a 25mm on the MFT, correct? Do you find there are subjects or situations when the single prime simply doesn't work? What does the prime give you that a zoom with comparable IQ does not, or is it the other way around? Inquiring minds would like to know. Thanks for the response,
Brian

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BHPhotog
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Re: OP response #6
In reply to Loga, Jul 29, 2013

Loga wrote:

While the IQ of the 25 is better, in the end it is _much more_ important to choose the right focal length in a situation than somewhat better sharpness or color. You can improve these in post process, but you can't go wider with 25mm, and I doubt that cropping it to 50mm would result better IQ than zooming the 12-50 to 50mm.

Long story short: coose the 25mm when it is justified, but you will be restricted if you use it as 'only lens'.

Interesting response. I hadn't thought of the flexibility of a zoom in quite that way before; you make a good point about considering zoom flexibility + post processing when looking at the higher IQ but fixed FL of the prime. Food for thought, thanks,
Brian

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Ulric
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Re: OP response #5
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

BHPhotog wrote:

Ulric wrote:

Of course you can do that. A 50mm prime used to be the kit lens. I used my OM-1 with the single 50mm for a long time until I could afford additional lenses. Even now, I usually put on a single prime when I leave the house.

That would be a 25mm on the MFT, correct? Do you find there are subjects or situations when the single prime simply doesn't work? What does the prime give you that a zoom with comparable IQ does not, or is it the other way around? Inquiring minds would like to know. Thanks for the response,
Brian

It is 25mm on MFT, yes.

What the primes give is primarily speed. I bought my E-M5 last year with the kit lens, which is a whopping f/6.3 at the long end. It is f/3.5 at the short end, so I sometimes use it as a 12mm prime.

The primes are also smaller. Panasonic make two zoom lenses, the 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8, that could potentially eliminate most need for primes, but the are pretty large compared to the 20/1.7 and 14/2.5 I use most.

Leaving the house with nothing but a prime, especially if it is a long prime, means sometimes not getting shots because you can't get close or far enough. It also forces you to see differently, take other shots than you would otherwise have. I take so many pictures that it would be silly to complain about missed shots.

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drmak67
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Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
In reply to Ulric, Jul 29, 2013

Ulric wrote:

Of course you can do that. A 50mm prime used to be the kit lens. I used my OM-1 with the single 50mm for a long time until I could afford additional lenses. Even now, I usually put on a single prime when I leave the house.

I'm currently using a CV 25/0.95 on my GH3 most of the time but when travelling and skiing recently, used a 12-35mm; you give up the thin DOF for more versatility.

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sigala1
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9-18mm for just a single lens
In reply to BHPhotog, Jul 29, 2013

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

You will certainly find some people say that they only use one prime lens, but now that I own the 9-18mm m.zuiko lens, I think that is the only lens I want to use for daytime photos.

I think the prime-only guys are foolish if they are using only the prime for situations where wide apertures are not called for.

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