Help on choosing new lenses

Started Aug 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
john isaacs Senior Member • Posts: 2,955
Re: Help on choosing new lenses

Rjansenbr2 wrote:

LMNCT wrote:

Do you really need a semi-fast, heavy and moderately expensive lens like the 12-40? Is it something that you will want to lug around? Would you be happier with lighter lenses...remember that you can raise the ISO to compensate for a slower lens.

The problem is I really find it hard to use a zoom with apertures ranging from 3.5-5.6. Only outdoors or with a flash. 2.8, on the other hand, is a very usable aperture, I think. Not great - it´s 5.6 on full frame - but good enough.

As for the weight, it´s a drawback for sure. But primes are the only alternative I see. And sometimes a zoom is very convenient.

First, the f/2.8 aperture on m4/3 is equivalent in speed to an f/2.8 aperture on full frame; it's equivalent in DOF to f/5.6 on full frame.  So you get the speed without the narrow DOF.  I find that to be an advantage when trying to keep focus.

You should look at the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8; it's lighter and shares the same filter size (58mm) with a lot of key lenses.  The Olympus 12-40 mm has a 62mm filter.  I have 26 m4/3 and 4/3 lenses, and the 12-40mm is the only one with a 62mm filter.  What a pain. If the upcoming 40-150mm doesn't use a 62mm filter, I'm going to be irritated.  I use filters frequently, and I don't like using step up rings.

The 75mm is an awesome lens, but its more specialized than even the 45mm.  It's a heavy lens, though (weighs the same as the Panasonic 12-35, and is the same size).

I like/hate the 45mm f/1.8.  It's a fast, sharp lens, but the 37mm filter size is a real pain; Olympus made the 12mm 17mm, 25mm and 60mm lenses with 46mm filter size; they couldn't be consistent with the 45mm?

Why the concern about filters?  I use circular polarizing filters, neutral density filters, and graduated neutral density filters.  I like quality, so it gets expensive.  I don't like step-up rings because then you can't use the lens hood or lens cap, and screw in lens hoods are a pain.

The lenses I use most are the following:

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 for most critical shooting. All 58mm filters.

Panasonic 14-140mm vII for walkabout.  It's a variable aperture, so not as desirable, but takes 58mm filters so it's compatible.

Olympus 17mm f/1.8, 25mm f/1.8, 45mm f/1.8, and 75mm f/1.8.  I use these for low light, especially concerts and museums.  For concerts, I use the 25mm for groups, 45mm for individuals, and 75mm for head shots.

Olympus 75-300mm vII for sports and wildlife, except for low light I use the Olympus 50-200 with or without the EC-14 teleconverter.  For parades, I use the Panasonic 45-200mm because of the wide end although it has serious lens creep.  The Olympus takes 58mm filters as well (yeah!).

For macro, I use the Olympus 60mm.

If I need narrow DOF and background control, then I dig out the Olympus 14-35mm f/2 or 35-100mm f/2.  These are big, heavy, expensive lenses, but when you can't zoom with your feet, they are what you need.

I recently got the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, but am still acquiring filters for it and haven't brought it into my workflow.

I keep the Olympus 12-50mm and Panasonic 45-175mm lenses because they have power zoom, a very useful capability when shooting on a boom with the remote control app.

I could go on, but it's just more of the same with less frequent use.  My philosophy is to let the shot control the lens, rather than let the lens control the shot. The big advantage of m4/3 is the lenses are generally small and light, so I can take what I may need and choose later.

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So here's my recommendation.

If you really want narrow DOF, then why don't you use the 45mm f/1.8 more?  If you aren't using it, then I don't see why you would use the 75mm f/1.8; and that's an expensive lens.  If you do want FF comparable DOF, then look at the Voigtlander Nokton lenses.  Personally, I find f/1.8 or f/2 to be plenty narrow.

Get the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm; they are relatively fast, constant aperture, 58mm filters.  They are 10.8 and 12.7 ounces, respectively; lighter than the 12-40mm which is 13.5 ounces.  All other zooms are either too slow or too heavy.

 john isaacs's gear list:john isaacs's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Nikon D7100 Olympus E-M1 +5 more
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