Your recommendation: Single lens

Started Aug 24, 2009 | Discussions thread
Panda9 Regular Member • Posts: 423
Re: Your recommendation: Single lens

I run into similar questions from other people coming from P&S to dSLR, and as you said, "what do you shoot" has a huge impact on body and lens decisions. Since I do not pretend to know what my friends will want, or that my preferences will match their preferences, I usually try to be very conservative about my recommendations, leaving a lot of room for personal choice and flexibility later.

If I were in your position of recommending a camera and lenses to a P&S convert who has $1500 to burn, I would have them buy the entry level kit (the E520 or E620 two lens kit) and use it for awhile. They should soon learn what they want for themselves. Although we as Olympus veterans (I own five bodies, a dozen lenses) think we know what's best, only your friend will know where he wants to spend his money, and he will only know this after he shoots for awhile. Just because he has budgeted $1500 for the system doesn't mean he has to spend it all right away. If he spends $800 on the E620 kit, he would be able to take his remaining $700 to Japan and buy additional lenses there if he chooses. While there is definitely a steep learning curve involving bodies, there is much less of one involving lenses so buying while on the trip won't be as big of a risk.

A potential danger while recommending systems to friends is to put too much of our own biases into the recommendation. I think flexibility is really what should be recommended here. Have him pay $500 for the E520 kit, or $800 for the E620 kit. Let him work with them for a month or two. After that time, he can decide if he wants to spend the remaining $700-1000 on upgrading his standard lens, or supplementing them. He might surprise all of us and decide that instead of upgrading his standard lens to a 12-60/14-54, he wants to expand his range and thus get the 9-18 or 70-300 (or both). An E520/E620 with the 9-18, 14-42, 40-150, and 70-300 is a killer system for the money. If he spends all of the $1500 in the beginning on the HG lens option, it pretty much locks him into that option only.

I know from reading other people's recommendations that the 12-60 and 14-54 are being mentioned, as are some primes. I would say that although it may be helpful for learning dSLRs to use primes, primes are usually frustrating for people coming from P&S cameras. As far as the 12-60 and 14-54 are concerned -- I know that although Oly veterans love the extra IQ of these lenses, the kit lenses are not all that far behind when used within their limits. Buying one of the HG lenses will limit his flexibility in making choices later.

Coming from P&S cameras, your friend will be stepping up regardless of which lens he uses, including the kit lenses. Even if he were to buy one of the two HG lenses, he should buy the two lens kit anyway. They add little to the cost of the kit (at discount, maybe $80 each), and the 40-150 will give him reach when he needs it, and the 14-42 will give him small-and-light when he wants it.

One other factor to consider -- after using the dSLR for a month or two, he may simply decide that he would rather go back to an advanced P&S like the Panasonic or Canon options. If he's only invested $500-800 in his sytem, he's out a lot less than if he goes all out and spends the full $1500.

Anyway, that's how I would approach it. Buying for myself I'd get the E620 and 12-60. Buying for a P&S convert who is unsure of what he wants, I'd start small with the two-lens kit and go from there. Note that the E620 is much better than the E520 at higher ISO shooting and is superior in low-light focusing, so it will allow the slower SG lenses to work in more situations. Hence I would recommend the E620 kit over the E520 kit for that reason (I've owned both). It makes the SG lenses more versatile.

Just my 2c.

BTW - you are to be commended for your open-minded approach to this situation. I have seen way too many enthusiasts try to impose their shooting style and gear choices on everyone they know. It seems they need validation for their choice of gear, or need to convert everyone to the way they shoot. With your approach your friend will have a mentor to teach him the basics, but who won't tell him how or what to shoot. He's fortunate he asked you for help.

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