m.zuiko 45mm f/1.8 any good as all rounder?

Started Nov 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 27,433
General talk about lenses....

fender22 wrote: The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 seems to be a lot more popular than the 14-45?

The 12-50mm is weather proof, of fixed length (internal focus and internal zoom) has good close-up ability and is good general purpose kit zoom but not the sharpest thing available. No lens hood supplied and the recommended hood is the rather pathetic one that fits the 9-18mm, it is barely a hood at all.

The Panasonic 14-45mm is the best kit zoom found, seems to offer good performance wide open at any focal length - it's my standard kit lens on my E-PL1. Come with a proper lens hood and that makes a difference.

My general remark about the 12-50mm is that I see nothing spectacular from it, I had the chance to go through thousands of shots taken by a friend with E-M5 and 12-50mm and I saw little that would be better than what my E-PL1 could do with the 14-45mm as far as general image quality was concerned seen on a calibrated 24" IPS monitor. I'm really not so sure about that lens.

Your original post about 45mm only would be too limiting. If going for one prime lens only, the starter would be the 17/1.8 (when it arrives) as that is a truly useful general focal length for every day. The 45mm focal length is for people shots and for picking off small parts of the scenery.

In film days the logical basic set of primes to carry (always a few, never just one) was 28mm, 50mm, 135mm seemed to be a very common and useful selection for many years. Of course zooms did away with that for general daylight photography and people found say 28-105mm zooms or 28-200mm or 28-300mm as the most popular ranges to use, decreasing in image quality as the zoom range increases.

It all depends on your style of photography and what you like to take. In fact you may get surprises if you analyse what you have taken already. Use a tool like ExposurePlot to see which focal lengths that you have used most in the past and then base buying decisions on that.

Analysing any single zoom lens you mostly find that it is most used like two primes, both ends of the zoom getting most activity and little in between, like an old plot of my Panasonic LX3 with its 24 to 60mm equivalent zoom.

Panasonic LX3 focal length activity by Guy

I think that was from a holiday to Japan, next holiday there I took E-PL1 and 14-150mm and 9-18mm lens and then the 14-150mm was hardly off the camera and used extensively all through the range and again with bumps at both ends of the zoom.

Back to the OP question, the 45mm lens is a gem and one to have in the kit for special situations and in the end a decent kit is made up of both useful zooms and useful primes (that is, useful to the way you shoot) and the bag is packed appropriately for the individual occasion, never or only very rarely would the whole kit of lenses be carried at the same time.

Regards....... Guy

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Olympus PEN E-P5
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