XE1 with 35mm F1.4 Lens or 18-55mm Starter Kit Lens

Started Nov 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Andy Wilson Senior Member • Posts: 1,583
Re: XE1 with 35mm F1.4 Lens or 18-55mm Starter Kit Lens

If the zoom was your average kit lens then it would be a no brainer - get the beautiful prime.  Although there has been one concerning review with regards to the central sharpness at 55mm, most of the other feedback on this lens suggests it may well be a valuable tool to have in the bag and not just good value for money.

The points others have made are all valid - as Ryan said there is no black and white right or wrong answer here.  It comes down to personal preferences.

If I go with this system as a light weight alternative to my full frame set-up I will probably want both (though the other f1.4s on the roadmap are also high on my wish list and if they all existed now and were of at least equal quality and price to the 35 I'd probably aim to get the other two first).

So you need to ask yourself a few questions that may help you:

What do you like to photograph or what area of photography would you like to develop most in the next year or so?  Zooming with your feet will be great exercise when you want to fill more of your frame with a distant landscape feature...just make sure you don't walk off any cliffs getting there :).  Oh and set off in plenty of time to make sure you are where you need to be when the light is best.

Want to photograph people in a variety of lighting situations? The prime is almost certainly your best bet (90% of photographs are of people).  But what if you want a bit more depth of field on a less animate object, then the stabilised zoom comes into its own.  If I visited a night market here in Taiwan I would need the speed of the prime to photograph the hawkers and their customers but would value the image stabilisation of the zoom for the things they were selling (though you could take images with the limitation of small depth of field - some may be very artistic and expressive)

Another question to ask yourself is 'What social context am I photographing in?'  For example you might think, "Well, I'll just build a collection of primes and then switch them in and out as needed."  This may work very well but if you are on a hike with family or friends who are not so interested in photography then you may not want to spend large amounts of time on lens changes in case it influences their enjoyment.  This is especially true if you throw responsibility for small children (not to mention their mood changes).  If you are just out by yourself or with other photographers then your lens changing issue reduces to being able to keep up with rapidly changing light/atmospherics etc.  So think about your current life situation and where and with whom you are likely to photograph.

Only you can answer those questions for yourself.  You may well end up with both if and when resources permit.

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