First non-kit lens for a young photographer.

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Jeff Veteran Member • Posts: 6,135
Re: First non-kit lens for a young photographer.

Marty Lo wrote:

Ramyeah wrote:

Marty Lo wrote:

Hi all,

Firstly I'm not a photography orientated guy but have fair technical background and able to research/learn fairly quickly.

I've needed to do this since my eldest child (9) have fallen head over heels with photography.

I familiarised myself with the concepts such as focal lengths, stops/qty of light and can shoot a subject fairly well exposed and focused on subject, they lack any appeal which is fine by me as I'm simply the purchaser, driver, archiver and sometimes settings advisor when light/speed of subject gets a bit challenging.

Recently, I acquired for her an OM-D E-M 5 Mk2 with 2 kit lenses:

That's a great camera

Our local store had great patient staff, my initial intent was for something compact with interchangeable lenses, they let her try the whole range, canon, Lumix, Sony, Fujifilm. Straight away she preferred a having viewfinder and gravitated to the OM-D after the second visit. Then a week later Olympus cameras were on sale.

1. 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ

2. 40-150mm F4-5.6 R

The two kit lenses cover most of the range required to try out different genres of photography, especially, for a beginner. (I started my DSLR journey with similar set 15 years ago, with Oly DSLR). And, are really good quality to provide great pictures.

Along with other improvements to her kit in general such as more comfortable sling, small tripod, spare battery, cleaning kit etc, I'm planning to acquire another lens for her in the near future. Hampered by not having an eye for photography I stuck to reviews and specifications in forming a short list for that fits the budget.

1. 12-40mm F2.8

pros: 1.5-4x more light throughout a focal range she's used to, weatherproof (great where we reside), rated highly by Olympus youtubers(?)

cons: 2x weight of current 40-150.

This one seems to be the easy choice as it's similar yet superior to her current lens in every way except for a near 2x increase in weight and bulk.

The next three are primes:

2. 17mm F1.8

equiv. of ~25mm on Fujifilms that gets raved about for everyday photography

3. 25mm F1.8

equiv. of 50mm. Closest to the eye's perspective. Everyone needs one????

4. 45mm F1.8

Looking at her photo metadata, a lot of her favourited shots were taken between 40-62mm.

They're share common traits being not waterproof but allows > 2x the light again to the 12-40mm. They are all quite compact and seem suitable to have as the lens to leave on the camera ready to go.

I personally feel, 12-40/2.8 Pro would be an overkill (in terms of size, weight and price) though I see your point regarding weatherproof.

I thought about this a lot. Compared to the 14-42/3.5-56, it's +5x the size 4x the weight for essentially 1-2 steps on the ISO dial or holding the shot a that little longer. Unlike price tag where pain eases heavy things don't lighten with distance...or inclines.

I have the 12-40/2.8 Pro and it is one of my most-used lenses. Good performer. But I'd have to think a fast prime would open more doors from a photographic perspective.

To make matters even more complex (to me) I've read that standard lenses are commonly shot with a reduction of 1 stop to the aperture for sharpness and the 12-40mm is equally sharp throughout it's aperture range, so does that mean for optimal use the prime lenses are effective F2.8 lens anyway?

No need to worry on this aspect, they are adequately sharp even wide open.

Great to hear!

Apologies if I'm way out of my league here, I generally lack an eye for aesthetics and simply thinking in terms I can fathom i.e. amount, duration of light vs amount of signal noise.

Looking forward to your advice.




I must say that, you have done your homework pretty well, in order to support the passion of your kid...appreciate the effort put in to understand the subject, and you are not off the mark at all.

I would stress upon learning the basics of photography - the techniques, skills and the aesthetics aspects first and later go for upgrading the gear to overcome it's shortcomings, if any, for a specific use-case.

At the moment it's sufficient light, not so much dawn to dusk but whenever we go indoors. Outdoors the sun here is a killer, literally.

My general suggestions would be: As a beginner, let her start with the available kit and click all and sundry photos to her liking - which is what she's doing, I guess.

However, learning with a Prime lens has it's own merit, as one has to think of framing and composition, without the flexibility of the zoom. From your data, that looks like 45/1.8 - another exceptional High Quality-High value lens (and so are the other two). Adding that to the kit, would help enhance skills and progress next level

I'm of a mind to take her to the store to try all 3 and let her decide on the right angled prime. I have a gut feeling that this constraint is a good thing, been stressing to her to only walk forwards but with both eyes open, camera lowered in any other direction.

Then, ask her to work on some specific "project' say every week or so, based on her interest and aptitude. You can jointly review the pictures in terms of focus, framing, composition, etc. and discuss how to improve - a great way to learn.

Have to pass that duty of to her teacher =D, she can compose and post process far better than I can. If someone told me to shoot something, I can pick a lens, dial it in and give a clean, clear photo of the subject in the centre, completely contained in the frame. It's been totally bewildering to me at what and when she decides to shoot along with her choice in lighting and colouring back home.

Submitting photos to some photographic forums which are mostly topic specific like street/macro/action/wildlife etc. for Comments & Critics from other enthusiasts/seniors is a great way for learning, especially for a beginner.

Any recommendations in this regard? She currently uses only an old instagram account converted to her use.

Give it a few months and you would know which is the type of photography she's more interested in. Then, it's easy to chose the appropriate lens to suit that genre and help her learn specifics and enhance skills.

^ That sounds like a fine idea and our most likely course of action!

My best wishes to your child and cheers to her supporting dad,


My thanks.

 Jeff's gear list:Jeff's gear list
Olympus 45mm F1.2 Pro Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M1X Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 150mm 1:2.0 +9 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow