Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40

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AndyW17
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Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
8 months ago

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40.  But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light.  The question is - which?

My shooting is not "portraits".  I would rather have the ability to shoot indoor in-home social situations without flash, or have the option to do tourist photography (churches and such, night scenes) with a relatively fast lens.  So I was thinking either the 12mm,  17mm 1.8 or a 25mm fast prime.  Would the 17 be a waste of money given it overlaps the zoom?  Or is the extra stop worth having for the purpose I've described?  I would assume a 12mm might be too wide for general purpose use (not to mention $$).  The 45 seems too long for use inside a house, having played around with it.

Thanks!

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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

You claim that the 17 might be a "waste" as it overlaps the zoom you already have. Unfortunately, so does pretty much every other lens you mentioned (12mm F2, 17mm F1.8, 25mm F1.4/1.8). The 45mm isn't "too long" for indoors, it really depends on the space you have available indoors.

The Panasonic 25mm F1.4 gives you a full 2 stop advantage over your zoom lens. The Panasonic 20mm 1.7 would be the most compact by far, and offers a 1.5 stop over the zoom lens. Both lenses are ridiculously sharp.

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Pixnat2
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

AndyW17 wrote:

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40. But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light. The question is - which?

My shooting is not "portraits". I would rather have the ability to shoot indoor in-home social situations without flash, or have the option to do tourist photography (churches and such, night scenes) with a relatively fast lens. So I was thinking either the 12mm, 17mm 1.8 or a 25mm fast prime. Would the 17 be a waste of money given it overlaps the zoom? Or is the extra stop worth having for the purpose I've described? I would assume a 12mm might be too wide for general purpose use (not to mention $$). The 45 seems too long for use inside a house, having played around with it.

Thanks!

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Andy

Hi Andy,

Congratulations about your E-M1 and 12-40, it's an awesome combo!

There's many fast primes for general purpose in m4/3, you have the choice! It will depend on your shooting style.

My favorite is the 17mm f/1.8. It's a super snappy, instant AF little prime which is built like the 12-40 and have the same manual focus clutch mecanism as the 12-40. Downside : it's a bit less sharp than the 12-40, but you must pixel peep hard to see it.

The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is another option. It's cheaper, sharper in the center, but it has some banding problems at high ISO with Olympus bodies, plus the AF mecanism is noisy and slower. I sold it to get the 17mm.

The Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 is a premium choice in 50mm Eqivalent. Many people are admirative about this lens, it's widely considered as one of the best m4/3 prime lens, and it's the fastest. AF is a little slow and some report that it rattles a bit, but most seems very satisfied with this lens.

The new Olympus 25mm f/1.8 is going to ship soon. Early reports are very positive about this lens. Robin Wong has made a review on his website : http://robinwong.blogspot.ch/2014/02/olympus-mzuiko-25mm-f18-review-part-1.html. He will soon compare it with the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4.

My experience is that the 17mm f/1.8 is really worth it in complement to the 12-40 to shoot in-home social situations. Its let you keep ISO lower than the 12-40 and is fully sharp wide open.

Hope that helps, and happy shooting with your E-M1!

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Bob Tullis
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

To complement the 12-40 with a prime in that range, a faster lens is an advantage.

If you feel the 45mm is too long for what you have in mind, the Panasonic 25mm would be one consideration.   Even better, if you don't mind MF, a 17.5 or 25mm(f/0.95) Voigtlander provides even more of an advantage for low light, and a distinct character that many quite enjoy.

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Pixnat2
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Oups :-)
In reply to Pixnat2, 8 months ago

Pixnat2 wrote:

AndyW17 wrote:

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40. But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light. The question is - which?

Sorry, I read too quick and thought that you have already bought the E-M1!

So I would say it would be a nice move

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Jim Salvas
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

Unless you can get a significant discount by buying the second lens with the body, why not wait and get some experience shooting with the 12-40? the 12-40 does an amazing job in most indoor situations and you may be pleasantly surprised at the quality up to 3200 ISO. You need a pretty dark room or fast activity to switch to faster lenses.

Meanwhile, you might find you want more reach instead of more speed. The 40-150 is a great complement to the 12-40, while being very cheap and very sharp.

My advice is to take it slow and let your own experience be your guide.

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pede59
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

AndyW17 wrote:

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40. But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light. The question is - which?

My shooting is not "portraits". I would rather have the ability to shoot indoor in-home social situations without flash, or have the option to do tourist photography (churches and such, night scenes) with a relatively fast lens. So I was thinking either the 12mm, 17mm 1.8 or a 25mm fast prime. Would the 17 be a waste of money given it overlaps the zoom? Or is the extra stop worth having for the purpose I've described? I would assume a 12mm might be too wide for general purpose use (not to mention $$). The 45 seems too long for use inside a house, having played around with it.

Thanks!

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Andy

For indoor shooting i would think the shorter focal lenghts (12 or 17mm) would be better. The 25mm supposedly is a very good lens and it is faster but not sure whether that is the ideal focal length for indoor shooting.

When i ordered my EM-1 i ordered the 12-40, the 17/1.8 and the 60mm macro. My thought was that i may not always want to use the zoom because of its size even though i knew that quality wise it is at least as good as the 17/1.8. (Comment: in practical use the weight of the 12-40 did not bother me. I carried it on city trips all day long and it really did not feel like too much)

I actually use the 17/1.8 for that reason once in a while. It just gives you a very small, fast and high quality package. Because you mentioned that you want to use it indoors mainly the extra stop will certainly help as well.

Overall i believe a fast prime can be a useful addition to your set even if it overlaps with the range of a high quality zoom. But you should determine what is the most useful focal length for you. There is of course also the option of just working with the zoom for a while and then figure what additional need you may have.

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AndyW17
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Re: Oups :-)
In reply to Pixnat2, 8 months ago

Pixnat2 wrote:

Pixnat2 wrote:

AndyW17 wrote:

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40. But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light. The question is - which?

Sorry, I read too quick and thought that you have already bought the E-M1!

So I would say it would be a nice move

yes - I noticed that - been trying to pull the trigger on this since it was announced….!  :^)  But thanks!

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Andy

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AndyW17
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to Jim Salvas, 8 months ago

Jim Salvas wrote:

Unless you can get a significant discount by buying the second lens with the body, why not wait and get some experience shooting with the 12-40? the 12-40 does an amazing job in most indoor situations and you may be pleasantly surprised at the quality up to 3200 ISO. You need a pretty dark room or fast activity to switch to faster lenses.

Meanwhile, you might find you want more reach instead of more speed. The 40-150 is a great complement to the 12-40, while being very cheap and very sharp.

My advice is to take it slow and let your own experience be your guide.

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Jim Salvas

Thanks Jim.  Definitely taking it slow.  I feel like I know more about this camera that I do NOT own, than the ones I DO own at this point.  So it's getting to be time to move to reality.

Maybe I can borrow a couple of these lenses now that I think about it. So the 12-40 might be the best starting point, as you say.

One thing I remain a little confused about on this camera is given the IBIS adding multiple stops of usable hand-held, I guess that really doesn't translate to making the camera a better machine for shooting people.  You still need to get them to stand still, and/or shoot at a shutter speed that freezes them sufficiently.  So the faster glass would help over the IBIS - different issues.  But it's encouraging about the ISO 3200.

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Andy

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Chrisada
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

Unless indoor means candle lit dinners, I think you may be satisfied with the 12-40. I have it and a couple primes, and only need to bring out the P25 1.4 when in dimly lit restaurants. At home, my indoor lighting is plenty for the 12-40 to do its job.

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Ido S
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

Shoot with the E-M1 an 12-40/2.8 for a little while. Start challenging yourself to use only one focal length for a day, or for a full week. Make sure your challenges cover 12mm, 17mm, 20mm, 25mm, and optionally - 40mm (because it's pretty close to 45mm). After you've done those challenges, you'll know which focal length you like best, and you'll also know if you really need 1-2 extra stops in aperture at those focal lengths. Then you'll be able to decide very easily.

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RGiskard
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to Ido S, 8 months ago

I have the E-M1 and 12-40 and it is an amazing combination.

For me, I wanted a prime in the same focal length range for two reasons: 1) more light gathering and 2) smaller size.  The 12-40 is a wonderful beast, but it is relatively large and heavy compared to most other m4/3 lenses.

I picked up a few primes to try.  I have found the Pany 14mm 2.5 is nice and small, but too slow to be a useful alternative to the 12-40 and I don't love the 14mm FL for my "one" lens.

The Pany 20mm 1.7 has been a great surprise.  It isn't the fastest to focus and is a little noisy (not great for video), but the images I have been getting are absolutely lovely.  it also extends about the same distance as the E-M1's grip, so it is very small and unobtrusive.

The Pany 25mm 1.4 is on the way but I haven't tried it yet.  I am optimistic that it will be a great fit on the E-M1 and deliver wonderful images.

The Oly 17mm 1.8 I returned after playing with it for a couple hours.  It is awfully expensive for what it is, though I admit that the focus clutch is nice and the lens was certainly well built.  I found the IQ to be fine, but not for the price, which was just about double what I paid for my (admittedly used) Pany 20mm.

Oly 75mm 1.8.  I love - LOVE - this lens.  However, I haven't been able to use it as much as I like given its relatively long range and the fact that the weather has us all cooped up.  A bit expensive for many users, but it handles like a dream on the E-M1 and really maximizes the camera's potential.  If you want something that really offers what the 12-40 does not, this is a nice stretch goal.

Anyway, just my random thoughts.  Your mileage may vary.  Good luck with the choice!  The nice thing is that if you buy used, you are not likely to lose much money if you decide to resell any of these options.

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RGiskard
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to RGiskard, 8 months ago

Also, if you're buying the E-M1 soon and can get the lens discounts, you should.  Worst case scenario is that you resell them and get essentially all you paid (if not more) for the lenses.  But be careful, you might end up keeping more than you planned (this is how I have a 75mm 1.8).

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El Chubasco
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

Why to buy a prime within the zoom range of your 12-40?

IMHO the best prime partner for the 12-40 is sigma 60mm which is a fantastic lens. The 75mm would be even better but also $$$

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jaybp
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

AndyW17 wrote:

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40. But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light. The question is - which?

My shooting is not "portraits". I would rather have the ability to shoot indoor in-home social situations without flash, or have the option to do tourist photography (churches and such, night scenes) with a relatively fast lens. So I was thinking either the 12mm, 17mm 1.8 or a 25mm fast prime. Would the 17 be a waste of money given it overlaps the zoom? Or is the extra stop worth having for the purpose I've described? I would assume a 12mm might be too wide for general purpose use (not to mention $$). The 45 seems too long for use inside a house, having played around with it.

I've got an E-M1, and I shot with an E-M5 through all of 2013. I purchased a 12-40 with my E-M1, to add to the 14/2.5, 25/1.4, 45/1.8 and 40-150 I already had.

Let me say this: I took 11200 pictures in 2013, and probably 95% of them were with the 25/1.4. I *love* that lens. I love the focal length, I love its low light capabilities, I love everything about it. I think you'll find that to be a common opinion around here.

I adore the shots I get with my 45/1.8, but I find I rarely use it. Inside a house, it's good for parties, if you're taking candid shots. But for posed shots, the 25mm is better.

If I had to choose just two lenses, it would be the 25/1.4 and the 12-40. Even though the focal length is overlapped, I'd much rather use the 25/1.4 indoors, for the better light gathering and because it's a lot smaller. The 12-40 is my new favourite outdoors lens.

In one of your replies you mention the IBIS. That can add a lot when shooting something that's still. Here's a shot I did with a shutter speed of 0.8s http://www.flickr.com/photos/parlar/8670111100/in/set-72157633298954288 It doesn't add a lot if you're shooting a moving person though, especially kids.

I hope this helps!

Jay P.

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DaveLemi
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

For indoor, lower light situations, the Panasonic 20mm is my go to lens. Yes, it's slow to focus compared to the newer Olympus lenses, but I've been very happy with the image quality. The price is pretty good too. My EM1 is usually paired with the 12-40 and the GM1 has the pan 20mm attached. The GM1 and 20mm make a pretty awesome couple!

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Chrisada
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to jaybp, 8 months ago

AndyW17 wrote:

I will probably make the move to the E-M1 soon, and intend to get the 12-40. But I'm also thinking I may want a fast prime for low light. The question is - which?

My shooting is not "portraits". I would rather have the ability to shoot indoor in-home social situations without flash, or have the option to do tourist photography (churches and such, night scenes) with a relatively fast lens. So I was thinking either the 12mm, 17mm 1.8 or a 25mm fast prime. Would the 17 be a waste of money given it overlaps the zoom? Or is the extra stop worth having for the purpose I've described? I would assume a 12mm might be too wide for general purpose use (not to mention $$). The 45 seems too long for use inside a house, having played around with it.

I've got an E-M1, and I shot with an E-M5 through all of 2013. I purchased a 12-40 with my E-M1, to add to the 14/2.5, 25/1.4, 45/1.8 and 40-150 I already had.

Let me say this: I took 11200 pictures in 2013, and probably 95% of them were with the 25/1.4. I *love* that lens. I love the focal length, I love its low light capabilities, I love everything about it. I think you'll find that to be a common opinion around here.

I adore the shots I get with my 45/1.8, but I find I rarely use it. Inside a house, it's good for parties, if you're taking candid shots. But for posed shots, the 25mm is better.

If I had to choose just two lenses, it would be the 25/1.4 and the 12-40. Even though the focal length is overlapped, I'd much rather use the 25/1.4 indoors, for the better light gathering and because it's a lot smaller. The 12-40 is my new favourite outdoors lens.

In one of your replies you mention the IBIS. That can add a lot when shooting something that's still. Here's a shot I did with a shutter speed of 0.8s http://www.flickr.com/photos/parlar/8670111100/in/set-72157633298954288 It doesn't add a lot if you're shooting a moving person though, especially kids.

I hope this helps!

Jay P.

I have almost the exact same kit, except with the new Pana 14-140 for telephone zoom. And I agree with pretty much everything you said.

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nardoleo
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to El Chubasco, 8 months ago

Why to buy a prime within the zoom range of your 12-40?

IMHO the best prime partner for the 12-40 is sigma 60mm which is a fantastic lens. The 75mm would be even better but also $$$

I agree.

Play with your zoom for awhile first.

Its actually a very good lens. I do have a few primes together with the 12-40 but they are used in various situations where size or the need for faster lens matters.

The prime I use the most WITH my 12-40 is the oly 75. These 2 make a lovely kit. Good enough for most things I shoot.
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AndyW17
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Re: Thinking about what to get - prime to complement 12-40
In reply to AndyW17, 8 months ago

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.  Lots to consider!

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Andy

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