about oly 45/1.8mm ane PL 25/1.4mm

Started Jan 24, 2013 | Questions thread
Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,114
About prime lenses

Prime lenses are specialists. The do something exceptionally well.

Zoom lenses are generalists. They do several things reasonably well.

Once you get deeper into photography you will find that you need both kinds. Don't worry about duplicating a prime focal length with a zoom lens. These lenses have different purposes.

As an example, there are currently eight different ways to buy a M4/3 lens that will give you 14mm. Each lens has it's own purpose, and if you budget is big enough you can justify owning all eight.

For example:

  • Panasonic 14mm f/2.5. The smallest and lightest way to get 14mm. It is reasonably fast, meaning faster than any zoom lens that includes this focal length, and it is a pretty good value. This lens is a good choice when you need this focal length, and want to make your M4/3 camera unobtrusive and easy to carry. With this lens, your camera can even fit in a large pants or jacket pocket.
  • Panasonic 7-14mm f/4.0. Another high end lens, that goes from ultrawide to wide. Relatively expensive, and unfortunately not weather sealed (perhaps the next version will be.) This is a specialty lens because ultra wide zoom lenses are more difficult to use correctly. In fact, using any focal length under 12mm properly can be challenging for the novice due to the inherent convergence of vertical lines. This is an expensive lens, but well worth it if you need this sort of lens.
  • Olympus (or Pananasonic) 14-42mm f3.5-5.6. This is a pretty good kit lens, that is very useful and versatile, and almost free when you buy it bundled with a camera. But it is relatively slow, which is why you might also want to own the 14mm prime.
  • Panasonic X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6. A compact, and more expensive version of the 14-42mm lens. When the lens is collapsed into the storage position, it is no larger than a pancake prime lens. This is a premium lens, and is optimized for video and should provide better image quality than the kit zoom lenses with the same range.
  • Olympus 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6. A very nice wide angle to almost normal lens. Very useful for street shooting, architectural shooting, shooting indoors in cramped spaces with good light. 
  • Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8. An absolutely wonderful high end normal zoom lens, with a relatively fast aperture. This lens is weather-sealed  making it a nice lens to use with an OM-D or GH-3. Unfortunately, this lens is pretty expensive, but you get what you pay for when it comes to high end lenses.
  • Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3. An extremely useful range for everyday use. Also weather-sealed, the large focal length range makes it ideal for folks who don't want to do a lot of lens swapping. This lens is fairly expensive, but reasonably priced if you buy it bundled with an OM-D.
  • Olympus 14-150 f/4.0-5.6 (or Panasonic 14-140mm). Even more versatile than the 12-50mm, this lens is great for vacationers or anyone who wants a large zoom range. This superzoom lens gives you an equivalent focal length of 28-300mm on a FF camera. It's like having a whole bag full of lenses with you, but it is relatively slow, large, and expensive.

Personally, I would love to own every lens on this list, but my budget won't permit it.

 Marty4650's gear list:Marty4650's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R +11 more
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