Building a small system from scratch – lens choices

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Samuel Dilworth
Samuel Dilworth Regular Member • Posts: 310
Building a small system from scratch – lens choices

I’ve used Nikon SLRs for many years and know the image-quality implications of going to Micro Four Thirds but not, I’m sure, the finer details of practical usability.

Purpose: a compact, lightweight, low-cost system for general artistically minded photography of people and things. Stills only. No need for tracking autofocus.

I’m thinking of a small Panasonic body (I briefly owned an E-M10 Mark II and found it technically superb but couldn’t get on with the user interface) with variations of the following lenses, acquired slowly over time so I learn to get the best out of them:

Olympus 9–18 mm f/4.0–5.6 True to the format’s promise. Cheaper and much smaller than alternatives, since no autofocus primes wider than 12 mm appear to exist. Otherwise I might prefer a reasonably priced ~9 mm prime. Antiquated appearance but who cares? Neat little review here.

[Olympus 17 mm f/1.8 Annoyingly expensive but otherwise attractive in all regards. Sample images look fine in contrast to persistent negativity about its image quality.
Panasonic 25 mm f/1.7 Super cheap and feels it, but fast and optically good. Barely larger than the Olympus 25 mm f/1.8 that costs twice as much.]
Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 If the autofocus is fast enough, which is hard to tell from reviews.

Olympus 30 mm f/3.5 macro If it’s decent at infinity, which I haven’t figured out yet.
Panasonic 30 mm f/2.8 macro. Which is a bit faster and optically stabilised.

Olympus 12–40 mm f/2.8 To eventually replace the slow 12–32 mm kits lens that I might get with the body, since it’s so cheap that way. The point being to have an excellent zoom for travel, etc., when I don’t know what I’ll be photographing and might not want to subject an accomplice to the faff of lens changes.

Wild card: the Olympus 17 mm f/2.8 instead of the f/1.8 model. Has a bad rep but is that justified? Mark Hahn, username mh2000 on this site, has taken plenty of good photographs with it.

Considering each of these lenses in turn, what do I need to know about using them on a GX80, GX9, or GX8? Any gotchas, however minor?

Any other comments?


Olympus OM-D E-M10 Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
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