Best budget prime?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
jamiegoldsworthy
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Best budget prime?
5 months ago

Im a student, and consequently poor. I'am relatively new to photography and was bought my first 'proper' camera for Christmas, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, with kit 14-42mm and the Panasonic 45-150mm zoom lens. I know its slightly outdated camera but it does the job for me and I do really love it and so far have learnt alot and started getting the results I want.

However, over the next couple of months whilst working in the summer I am hoping to buy my first prime lens and I am looking for some advice. I shoot a variety of subjects and I am looking for a good everyday lens. I can't decide what lens is best for me. I like shallow DOF, love it in fact, however I cannot afford a lot, and take my camera everywhere so having a lens that works in different situations is perfect.

So I ask you this, what lens would you lovely people recommend that is reasonably versatile, can get decent DOF when its wanted and is easy on the wallet?

I know there are other threads that deal with this but some peoples idea of budget is vastly different to mine. I am a student after all!

Thank you all so much for any advice! I dont want to ask anyone to look at my flickr to see what kind of photo I take because I dont want to look like Im fishing for views but if anyone is kind enough to take the time to have a peek please let me know

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Mellowmark
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

Sigma 19mm f2.8 is cheap as chips (used from £70 in the UK) and good quality + gives you a nice 38mm fov which is quite versatile. Or the Sigma 30mm f2.8 which is a similar price and just as good if not better but the 60mm equivalent field of view may not be as versatile. Depends what you want a prime for really, if you want f1.7 /f1.8 then you will have to spend a wee bit more - or get an old manual focus legacy lens for very little and an adapter. If you want shallow DOF then you have to play around with subject to background distance and subject to camera distance. Or set your telephoto lens to 150mm outside and you will get narrow depth of field wide open.

Nowt wrong with the G3 (I also have one).

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broody
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to Mellowmark, 5 months ago

Try buying used. A Sigma 19mm can reach rock bottom pricing, while it is excellent optically. But try scouring for a 20mm pancake. IQ and aperture are on par with the more expensive alternatives.

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jamiegoldsworthy
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to Mellowmark, 5 months ago

Mellowmark wrote:

Sigma 19mm f2.8 is cheap as chips (used from £70 in the UK) and good quality + gives you a nice 38mm fov which is quite versatile. Or the Sigma 30mm f2.8 which is a similar price and just as good if not better but the 60mm equivalent field of view may not be as versatile. Depends what you want a prime for really, if you want f1.7 /f1.8 then you will have to spend a wee bit more - or get an old manual focus legacy lens for very little and an adapter. If you want shallow DOF then you have to play around with subject to background distance and subject to camera distance. Or set your telephoto lens to 150mm outside and you will get narrow depth of field wide open.

Nowt wrong with the G3 (I also have one).

Ah brilliant that was a lens I hadn't seen. I see them for about £160 on Amazon is there a cheaper on-line retailer that could be recommended  whether its second hand or not? I know its slightly off topic but I have no idea with on-line shops for photo gear especially when it comes to second hand and reliability! Or even better, ebay sellers that are good? I'm always twitchy when buying on-line haha

I was looking at the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 but it might be a stretch at the minute but that 19mm sigma sounds like it could be about spot on!

I will definitely bare that in mind I haven't done much in the way of portrait stuff yet but I will remember this for then!

I do love this little camera! Does everything I need and more.

Thanks for your quick response!

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agentlossing
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

1. Buy used.

2. Sigma 19mm.

(If you want wider, consider the somewhat more expensive Panasonic 14mm f2.5. I have the olympus 17mm f2.8, which is not as sharp as either of the above but focuses very close, has nice contrast and color rendition, and is considerably cheaper than the f1.8 version for the 35mm equivalent field of view.)

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neil holmes
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

Im a student, and consequently poor. I'am relatively new to photography and was bought my first 'proper' camera for Christmas, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, with kit 14-42mm and the Panasonic 45-150mm zoom lens. I know its slightly outdated camera but it does the job for me and I do really love it and so far have learnt alot and started getting the results I want.

However, over the next couple of months whilst working in the summer I am hoping to buy my first prime lens and I am looking for some advice. I shoot a variety of subjects and I am looking for a good everyday lens. I can't decide what lens is best for me. I like shallow DOF, love it in fact, however I cannot afford a lot, and take my camera everywhere so having a lens that works in different situations is perfect.

So I ask you this, what lens would you lovely people recommend that is reasonably versatile, can get decent DOF when its wanted and is easy on the wallet?

I know there are other threads that deal with this but some peoples idea of budget is vastly different to mine. I am a student after all!

Thank you all so much for any advice! I dont want to ask anyone to look at my flickr to see what kind of photo I take because I dont want to look like Im fishing for views but if anyone is kind enough to take the time to have a peek please let me know

Without knowing your budget, I would recommend the 45 1.8 as a start....everyone should have one unless you have a faster similar prime....it may not be the greatest but is pretty good and in terms of value for dollar unbeatable I think.

If that is still too much, get a legacy prime cheap and a simple adapter.....manual focus but just about all are good and great value and a nice learning tool....lot of 50 1.7/1.8 lenses around cheap....f2 versions even cheaper.

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jamiegoldsworthy
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to neil holmes, 5 months ago

Ah you all posted while I was typing

Thanks for your advice! Is there places you could recommend on-line for sourcing used within the UK or that ship here?

So general consensus looks like the Sigma 19mm!

I would love the 45 1.8 but it is still a little steep for me at this point, however legacy lenses are something that hadn't even crossed my mind, Is there certain ones that work best with micro 4/3. Does using adapters and such affect the focal length of the lens?

Thanks all so much!

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Chas2
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

Try a used lens on eBay.  To meet your thin depth of field criteria you need something like a f1.8 lens, and or a longer focal length.

For general photography, a Panasonic 20 mm f1.7 (version 1 rather than version 2) is small, light, sharp, and relatively cheap, under $300 with some patience.  I believe that the Oly 17 f1.8, 25 f1.8 and PanLeica 25 f1.4 are much more expensive, $400 or more, and harder to find used since they are so much newer. The other f1.8 lens that you can get for under $300 is the Oly 45mm f1.8, a gem, but less useful as an all purpose lens.  Be careful as prices are changing, and you can, for example, get a new Oly 45 mm f1.8 has been falling steadily, and you can get one for just under $300 with free shipping from Asia, but many used lenses are selling for only about $20 less, still indexed to the higher $399 average price

Just my 2 cents.

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jamiegoldsworthy
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to Chas2, 5 months ago

Chas2 wrote:

Try a used lens on eBay. To meet your thin depth of field criteria you need something like a f1.8 lens, and or a longer focal length.

For general photography, a Panasonic 20 mm f1.7 (version 1 rather than version 2) is small, light, sharp, and relatively cheap, under $300 with some patience. I believe that the Oly 17 f1.8, 25 f1.8 and PanLeica 25 f1.4 are much more expensive, $400 or more, and harder to find used since they are so much newer. The other f1.8 lens that you can get for under $300 is the Oly 45mm f1.8, a gem, but less useful as an all purpose lens. Be careful as prices are changing, and you can, for example, get a new Oly 45 mm f1.8 has been falling steadily, and you can get one for just under $300 with free shipping from Asia, but many used lenses are selling for only about $20 less, still indexed to the higher $399 average price

Just my 2 cents.

I will have alook I think this is my issue, when on ebay it seems to just be chucking out new ones not used! I will certainly have a dig through and see what I can find!

Thanks for your advice

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007peter
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Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

The only true "affordable" prime are the Sigma trio: 19mm, 30mm, 60mm. I recommend buying:

"Poor Students" Editions

  • Sigma 19mm (36mm FOV) for walk-around prime and
  • Sigma 60mm (120mm FOV) for Shadow DOF portraits

"Middle Class" Editions

  • Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (40mm FOV) for walk-around prime
  • Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm FOV) for Shadow DOF portraits

"$$ Rich Baster $$" Editions

  • Olympus 12mm F/2.0 (24mm FOV) wide angle prime
  • Olympus 25mm f/1.8 (50mm FOV) for walk-around prime
  • Olympus 75mm f/1.8 (150mm FOV) for super narrow outdoor potrait
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EGenius007
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

Ah you all posted while I was typing

Thanks for your advice! Is there places you could recommend on-line for sourcing used within the UK or that ship here?

So general consensus looks like the Sigma 19mm!

I would love the 45 1.8 but it is still a little steep for me at this point, however legacy lenses are something that hadn't even crossed my mind, Is there certain ones that work best with micro 4/3. Does using adapters and such affect the focal length of the lens?

Thanks all so much!

Inexpensive adapters don't change the actual focal length of legacy lenses, so a 50mm prime is still 50mm on your m43 body, giving the same field of view as a 100mm lens in 35 terms.

Adapters are available for just about any imaginable mount, one advantage of the short flange distance of m43. Look for a 35mm f1.7 C-mount prime from Chinese sellers on eBay for $30 shipped, including the adapter. Blunty has a video on YouTube that will give you an idea of what to expect with the lens. You won't have autofocus or exif data, but it's certainly an affordable entry point for shallow DOF.

On eBay whatever you're looking for lens wise, check the seller's feedback and shy away from anyone below 99.7% positive, in my opinion. Though right now eBay seems to be favoring the buyer in any disputes, so don't be too worried about it.

Good luck with whatever you end up with!
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Mellowmark
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

Ah brilliant that was a lens I hadn't seen. I see them for about £160 on Amazon is there a cheaper on-line retailer that could be recommended whether its second hand or not?

SRS (very reputable UK camera shop) have the Sigma 19mm, 30mm and 60mm for £125 (new) on ebay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SIGMA-19mm-F2-8-DN-A-SILVER-LENS-MICRO-FOUR-THIRDS-BRAND-NEW-UK-DEALER-/141234533511

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SIGMA-19mm-f2-8-A-BLACK-MICRO-4-3-NEW-UK-STOCK-3-YEAR-SIGMA-UK-GTEE-/141239969930

For used try these places:

http://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/used-camera-gear-the-suppliers-list.30638/

MPB are usually good but don't have any at the moment: http://www.mpbphotographic.co.uk/used-equipment/used-lenses/used-panasonic-lenses/

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Impulses
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Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around
In reply to 007peter, 5 months ago

Isn't the Olympus 25mm just about the same price as the Panasonic 20mm? One's just newer and not currently on sale, I'm sure it'll be on sale for $350 often (like the 45mm) and cheaper on EBay. I would think the Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 would be the Richie Rich entry.

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neil holmes
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 5 months ago

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

Ah you all posted while I was typing

Thanks for your advice! Is there places you could recommend on-line for sourcing used within the UK or that ship here?

Not in the UK...I would try Ebay.......just about any 50 will work and then get the adapter from ebay to match.

Also, ask family and friends if they have any old film cameras lying around unused in closests you can have....if so, they will usually have a lens (or two) with them and often a fast(ish) 50mm....or 35mm or 28 ETC.

So general consensus looks like the Sigma 19mm!

I would love the 45 1.8 but it is still a little steep for me at this point, however legacy lenses are something that hadn't even crossed my mind, Is there certain ones that work best with micro 4/3. Does using adapters and such affect the focal length of the lens?

Thanks all so much!

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bradevans
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Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around
In reply to Impulses, 5 months ago

the 14/2.5 is a good value and the widest "cheap" prime

the samyang/rockinon fisheye is very interesting

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jamiegoldsworthy
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to neil holmes, 4 months ago

007peter:

Thanks for the breakdown that is absolutely brilliant especially to one of my (currently) limited knowledge about this kind of stuff, though I am trying to improve! Those two sigmas look about perfect, the 19mm is looking like a favourite at the moment for sure.

EGenius007:

Ah brilliant this is something I have always wondered when you see adapters that look a centimetre or two thick, never got round to asking anyone. I actually have that 35mm 1.7 'Fujian' lens. I didn't list it because it was about £20 including adapter and has always felt a little like a toy lens. Its great fun and the DOF is awesome, but I would like something that I can autofocus with, which is something that puts me off the idea of legacy lenses for sure.

Brilliant, thats great to know thank you

Mellowmark:

Thats brilliant thanks. As I say I am always unsure when using new sellers or sites without having someone say that they are reliable to use. Bit twitchy I suppose!

I'll keep my eye on those other sites and try to find something

Neil Holmes:

Thanks

Yeah unfortunately my dad and older brother have already thought of this about two years ago and bought adapters for all  our families old lenses to fit his DSLR I was just abit too late

Bradevans:

I'll have a look see if I can find that at a decent price. My only worry is that it might be a little too wide to be very versatile...

I noticed that too, the fish-eye effect just doesn't appeal enough to bump me getting a 'normal' lens at the moment

Just like to say a big thank you to you all for taking the time to help little old me out with my noobishness ad imparting all your advice onto me

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mh2000
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Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around
In reply to 007peter, 4 months ago

007peter wrote:

The only true "affordable" prime are the Sigma trio: 19mm, 30mm, 60mm. I recommend buying:

"Poor Students" Editions

  • Sigma 19mm (36mm FOV) for walk-around prime and
  • Sigma 60mm (120mm FOV) for Shadow DOF portraits

"Middle Class" Editions

  • Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (40mm FOV) for walk-around prime
  • Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm FOV) for Shadow DOF portraits

"$$ Rich Baster $$" Editions

  • Olympus 12mm F/2.0 (24mm FOV) wide angle prime
  • Olympus 25mm f/1.8 (50mm FOV) for walk-around prime
  • Olympus 75mm f/1.8 (150mm FOV) for super narrow outdoor potrait

Cheapest:

Any of the Sigmas depending on your FL preference. I'm personally really happy with the 30.
I am happy with my Oly 17/2.8, nice tiny little lens. Can be found used for very cheap.The P14 is decent, I'm not that thrilled with the edges, but it can be found really cheap for a wide.

I'm probably getting the Oly 25/1.8 soon. Looks stellar. Not much more than the P20, but better FL for me. The Oly 45 is nice if you want longer, but not 60mm.

If Lenses available today were available when I first went m4/3, I'd have bought the Oly 17/2.8, 25/1.8 and 45/1.8 (unless I was flush with money in which case I would get the Oly 17/1.8 for the scale focus feature).

On extreme budget, the Sigmas will work out really well! I think you'll be super happy with any of them!

Best!

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rmxa
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 4 months ago

I have the Sigma 30 and 60 lenses to complement my E-PM2 kit lens which isn't bad up to about 24mm.

I chose the 30 over the 19 due to the type shooting I do and it's the lens that's most often on my camera. The 30 is great but not as good as the 60 when it comes to sharpness and the latter obviouslly provides much shallower depth of field. I got both for less than the Olympus 45mm here in Oz.

But if you're a JPEG shooter, your camera may not correct lens distortion for Sigma lenses automatically. I now shoot RAW and correct the distortion in post when needed with Olympus Viewer 3 - your G3 should have come with something similar. I believe the 19mm has the most distortion of Sigma's 3 primes.

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Droogie45
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to jamiegoldsworthy, 4 months ago

I too have the Panasonic G3 and the Sigma 19mm and 30mm both take turns as my primes. Great combo with the G3.  Fast focus, very sharp and great color.

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stick30
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Re: Best budget prime?
In reply to rmxa, 4 months ago

rmxa wrote:

But if you're a JPEG shooter, your camera may not correct lens distortion for Sigma lenses automatically.

May not?  Can someone confirm if this is the case or not with Olympus OMD?

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