Best budget prime?

Started Mar 31, 2014 | Discussions thread
Klarno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,163
Sigma all the way.

For a budget prime... there's nothing better than the Sigma primes. New, they're about $200 apiece. The Panasonic 20mm costs twice as much, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 doesn't test nearly as well. The 19mm is a good general purpose walk-around focal length, and I like the 30mm for portraiture. I don't have the 60mm yet, but I probably would get it right away if I were doing more studio photography-- it's pretty much the perfect FL for me for that kind of work. I got the 19mm and 30mm in theory to replace the original 14-42 kit lens that came with my GH2...but I really don't have anything against that lens either.

A bit over a year ago the original versions of the Sigma lenses were being outcut for half-price to make way for the new ART version with the shiny barrel which as near as I can figure is just visually designed to go with NEX cameras, at the expense of ergonomics (the older 19mm and 30mm have a much, much better MF ring, by all accounts). The older lenses are optically and mechanically the same, and the image quality of these lenses is simply stellar. I got the two original versions while they were being cleared out, altogether for $200. See if you can pick up one of these lenses used; they should be very reasonably priced used.

If you want shallow DoF for compositions that aren't very close to the camera, that's where things will get spendy, for any system. Shallow DoF might have street cred, but it's tough to get very shallow DoF with any lens in this system. You're really better off learning how to control the background in the composition itself, because a modest defocus blur on a bad background still looks like a bad background.

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