Need an advice on prime lens for travel

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golffore
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Need an advice on prime lens for travel
3 months ago

My wife and I are  going on a week cruise and four day stay in Barcelona in June. I am thinking of getting a prime lens for my Epl2 for the travel. Photography will be mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape and others. My choices are  the  19 mm and the 30 mm Sigma lenses and the new Olympus 25mm f1.8 .  Any advice?

Thanks in advance.

Nick

Olympus PEN E-PL2
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areichow
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

IMHO, it's hard to beat a the normal FoV. If it was my choice. I'd go for the Olympus 25mm over the other two.

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EarthQuake
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

golffore wrote:

My wife and I are going on a week cruise and four day stay in Barcelona in June. I am thinking of getting a prime lens for my Epl2 for the travel. Photography will be mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape and others. My choices are the 19 mm and the 30 mm Sigma lenses and the new Olympus 25mm f1.8 . Any advice?

Thanks in advance.

Nick

I would go with the Oly 25 if those are the choices, its faster so it will be of more use in lower light.

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Lumixdude
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to EarthQuake, 3 months ago

If it's the choice purely between Olympus and Sigma lenses, then Olympus 25mm is streets ahead, in fact all Olympus primes are really except maybe the pancakes. I would much prefer to have the Olympus 17mm if I had to have just one lens, although my normal lens has predominately been a 35mm since I took up photography.

Bear in mind though that the 35mm has been the weapon of choice for most street photographers for longer than I've been alive on this planet. A 35mm frame will also do a lot better for landscapes as well. In terms of architecture... Well if it's let you get closer to the subject while fitting more in the frame? It's just a matter of composition that one has to get used to.

I think the 17mm F/1.8 is well worth a look, while the 25mm will be slightly sharper, do you really want to give up another 8mm of your frame to get there? Really that is quite substantial.

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pocketpygmy
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to Lumixdude, 3 months ago

henri cartier-bresson is king in my book and his weapon of choice shot a 50mm.

so, go for the olympus 25mm. its size and hence its handling are ideal for m4/3; its FoV is ideal for a single focal length solution -- not too wide, not too close. i've travelled with just a 50mm equiv FL in the past and it was just right.

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photohounds
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

golffore wrote:

My wife and I are going on a week cruise and four day stay in Barcelona in June. I am thinking of getting a prime lens for my Epl2 for the travel. Photography will be mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape and others. My choices are the 19 mm and the 30 mm Sigma lenses and the new Olympus 25mm f1.8 . Any advice?

Thanks in advance.

Nick

I second Lumixdude on this - consider the 17mm-f/1,8
I have also found it a very versatile lens and will use it for a little night street photography soon.
In the meantime t h e s e . were all shot with the Zuiko 17 (the morning I unboxed it)! With exposures down to 1/6th in places, there is a little subject movement here and there, but tolerable.
Outdoors it is also quite good to use.
.
One more thing:
The 17/1.8 also has that nifty manual focus ring for the surreptitious snap. I find that feature very useful.
.
Just remember to reset it after using it :).(your camera will tell you there's no focus lock when it in MF mode)

.

OH, if you find room in the bag (and budget) for a second fast prime, consider the 45mm f/1,8.  It's a little gem too, you'll likely love that one.
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s_grins
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

I have my travel soon too, and I'll go with 14-45 ZOOM as my primary lens. Also in my bag (you can call it travel bag) I have the rest of my gear - long end ZOOM, several primes, monopod, mini tripod, and small stuff like SD cards, US/EU power socket adapter, so on...

My (travel) bag outer measurements: 40cm x 17cm x 25cm (H) and total weight around 2kg

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Lumixdude
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to photohounds, 3 months ago
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jackkurtz
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

I would say either the 25mm f1.8 or the Panny 20mm f1.7. The bigger aperture will be very handy for interiors and low light. The Panny gives a slightly wider FOV and is smaller. The Olympus lens focuses faster. Both are excellent though.

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JeanPierre Martel
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

golffore wrote:

My wife and I are going on a week cruise and four day stay in Barcelona in June. I am thinking of getting a prime lens for my Epl2 for the travel. Photography will be mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape and others. My choices are the 19 mm and the 30 mm Sigma lenses and the new Olympus 25mm f1.8 .

Barcelone is an extraordinary city, where many very talented people tried to realize their wildest dreams.

At all cost, please avoid lenses with a narrow angle of view. Inside Park Güell and in front or inside of Sagrada Família, you'll pray God for a wide angle or else, a normal prime. So anything between 12mm and 20mm.

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spotfromoz
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

I travel now with a zoom 12-40f 2.8 and a 20f1.7 for indoors if I need it. I Carry a long zoom as well if I plan on a zoo visit but not all the time. Used to travel with 3 primes 14 20 and 45 but the pro zoom is so good and not that much heavier. Your on holidays so changing lenses all the time can make the Missus impatient or at least it does mine.

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Joe Sesto
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Add one more vote for the 17...
In reply to photohounds, 3 months ago

I am a long time FF user and find the 50mm eq. the least used prime in my FF gear..and the 35mm eq., the most useful, especially in travel.  Over the years I have collected 3 Canon L zooms from 16mm to 105...all of which include 35mm in the FL range...I may take 1 of them on a trip, but I always take the 35/1.4 prime...never the 50/1.4.

I recently took a 17 day trip to Italy and decided to only use my 5D (FF) and the 35/1.4L for everything, day, night, inside, outside, scenic, portrait, groups, etc.  It worked great.  If I need to crop tighter, I just used the proverbial 2-foot zoom.

The Oly 17 was not out when I started with the E-M series, so I bought both the Panasonic 14 and 20...kind of bookending the FL I really wanted.  The Oly 17 will soon be in my bag...next time it is on sale...I missed a sale a few months ago.  I will sell the Panasonics and pick up the Pro wide zoom when it is released.  That will give me 17 - 45 primes and the 2 Pro zooms.

The OP may find the 4 days in Barcelona will be the highlight of his trip.  There were 2 hop-on/hop-off bus routes when I was there a few years ago.  You can easily spend a day on each covering the galleries, museums and city sights, not to mention the shoreline sights, Gaudi Cathedral and the unique architecture (those units built out to the perimeter of the blocks hide huge interior courtyards that have a variety of uses...each block looks like a square donut from the air.)  The greatest people watching is on the main street, Las Rambla(s), where the 25 will push you back to where others get in the way of your shot.

Enjoy the cruise...and Barcelona.

PS However, the Panny 20 is not a bad compromise.

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jeffharris
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

golffore wrote:

My wife and I are going on a week cruise and four day stay in Barcelona in June. I am thinking of getting a prime lens for my Epl2 for the travel. Photography will be mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape and others. My choices are the 19 mm and the 30 mm Sigma lenses and the new Olympus 25mm f1.8 . Any advice?

Get a 17mm.

In New York a 25mm is great. In the narrow streets of Europe, 17mm is the way to go.

I was in Paris last summer and juggled between a too wide 12mm and too narrow 25mm. For my next trip, to Marseille and Genoa, I picked up a 17.5mm and used it for nearly half my shots.

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Lumixdude
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Re: Add one more vote for the 17...
In reply to Joe Sesto, 3 months ago

Having a 50mm prime comes from a period where those black and white photos come from. Back then it wasn't possible to have a "wide angle" lens without distortion. With the advent of cinema and reportage photography and environmental portraiture 35mm became "normal." It seems a few people missed that step along the way though.

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Richard Weisgrau
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

golffore wrote:

My wife and I are going on a week cruise and four day stay in Barcelona in June. I am thinking of getting a prime lens for my Epl2 for the travel. Photography will be mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape and others. My choices are the 19 mm and the 30 mm Sigma lenses and the new Olympus 25mm f1.8 . Any advice?

The words "mostly landscape, architectural, steetscscape" are basically incompatible with you narrow angle of view lens choices. You want wider angles.  And why primes? Just n=more to carry and miss shots because you have to top and change lenses.

I have doen assignments in Barcelona, Madrid, and many other western European cities. I January I did an assignment documenting the maiden voyage of a new cruise ship. If I were doing a city exterior and interior and surrounding areas, I would take my 7-14. 14-42, and 45 -150. The latter would get little to no use. I'd also take 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 for interior shots. Shooting the subject matter does not require large aperture lenses. You will want to have good depth of field and you can get with zooms. Larger apertures are good on the primes for shooting interiors and Barcelona offers some great places to shoot inside of.  The 14mm is more useful that the 20.  You can a 14 to a 20 but you cannot expand a 20 to a 14.

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Lumixdude
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to Richard Weisgrau, 3 months ago

The biggest issue with zoom is that it makes you lazy and so your photos suck because you haven't thought about it. It's the definition of "happy snapping." Instead of thinking about what you're doing you simply take the photo.

Although, when you're only there with a prime and you can't get the exact shot you want, you'll be forced to become a better photographer because, at least in theory, you should begin to think about how you can compose the shot with the element you want still in the frame.

Force of habit though really, you can still think about what you're composing with a zoom lens, it just takes more discipline to get out of the bad habits we've developed from using zoom lenses, that's why I like step zoom on my Panasonic camera, it actually gives you options with common frame sizes.

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john isaacs
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to Lumixdude, 3 months ago

When I travel in cities, I carry the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8, Olympus 17mm f1.8, and Olympus 45mm f1.8.  Outside, I'm usually using the zoom for flexibility.  I usually want some DOF, and the zoom provides flexibility to frame.  Indoors, I want speed and use the 17mm for artwork.  The 45mm covers many special needs; you can get back a bit for portraits, pick off pieces of architecture, etc.

I want to add a fast 12 or wider prime, but haven't done so yet.

These lenses are so small, they all fit in a travel bag (doesn't look like a camera bag).  I also carry a very small travel tripod modified with a small ball head and a remote shutter release cable.  This allows me shoot indoors with the wide end of the zoom with longer exposure times.  But sometimes you can't use a tripod, so the faster 12 would be useful.

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SLOtographer
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+1 for the Oly 17/1.8
In reply to Lumixdude, 3 months ago

If it's the choice purely between Olympus and Sigma lenses, then Olympus 25mm is streets ahead, in fact all Olympus primes are really except maybe the pancakes. I would much prefer to have the Olympus 17mm if I had to have just one lens, although my normal lens has predominately been a 35mm since I took up photography.

Bear in mind though that the 35mm has been the weapon of choice for most street photographers for longer than I've been alive on this planet. A 35mm frame will also do a lot better for landscapes as well. In terms of architecture... Well if it's let you get closer to the subject while fitting more in the frame? It's just a matter of composition that one has to get used to.

I think the 17mm F/1.8 is well worth a look, while the 25mm will be slightly sharper, do you really want to give up another 8mm of your frame to get there? Really that is quite substantial.

For the subject matter you mention a 35mm equivalent would seem like a good fit. I say this in particular because you mention landscape, architecture and street. A bit wider view will come in handy. Take along a kit zoom and you have the other focal lengths just in case.

Happy Travels!

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Zenjitsuman
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Re: Need an advice on prime lens for travel
In reply to golffore, 3 months ago

Panasonic has a 15mm f1.7 designed by Leica just like the 25mm f1.4. This lens is a 30mm equivalent field of view. Its just now available for pre order.

Here is the first pics from the lens on a Olympus body

http://www.thephoblographer.com/2014/04/02/first-impressions-panasonic-15mm-f1-7-micro-four-thirds/#.U0InkvldV8E

This is a really useful focal length and the lens size is small, making it for me a good travel lens.

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Joe Sesto
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Re: Add one more vote for the 17...
In reply to Lumixdude, 3 months ago

Lumixdude wrote:

Having a 50mm prime comes from a period where those black and white photos come from. Back then it wasn't possible to have a "wide angle" lens without distortion.

I probably qualify as a "back then-er"...my first SLR  was in 1960, an Exakta VXIIA (made in Dresden) with a Wollensak 35, Meyer 50 and 135.  The 35's aperture control was spring loaded.  You set a ring on the front of the lens preset to the taking aperture. I could focus wide open...then a part of the lens base went over the camera shutter release located on the left front of the camera body. The lens base extension had a contact to the camera shutter release, so when I hit the shutter release the lens first stopped down to the taking aperture...some apertures automatically reopened to max, others had to be re-cocked. There was no mechanical aperture connection between the camera and the lens...back then.  The Meyers had to be manually set to the taking aperture after focusing wide open, but the aperture ring had a preset stop at the selected aperture.

The film advance/shutter cocking  lever was on the left side of the top...a large knob on the top right of the body set the shutter speeds...so the left hand took the shot, advanced the film, cocked the shutter and the right took care of focusing, aperture and shutter speed...making it faster to operate as both hands were involved in the process.

There was an internal hook-shaped knife that sliced the film when you had taken the last shot. We handloaded B&W casettes and got about 40 shots on a roll.  There was a removable take up spool that was left in for normal 35mm film carts.  We removed the spool for sports and handloaded the film in 1 cart and taped the leader across into another cart...and rubber-banded the 2 together.  Once we hit the advance limit at roll end..it went from right to left...we pulled the knife across the film from its bottom position...advance the last frame, or so,  into the takeup cart.  Popped out the 2 casettes, dropped in a new pair.  Reloads took maybe 15-20 seconds.  Came in handy at sports car races "back then"!

I don't recall any great distortion on the 35, but I would not swear to that.  Film grain was a bigger issue...but developing and printing our own shots was the best part of the process.

Incidentally, Exakta created the first SLR to use 35mm film...in the '30s.

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Joe Sesto
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