Help deciding whether to get a ~35mm equivalent prime, and which to get

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Sheeno Junior Member • Posts: 35
Help deciding whether to get a ~35mm equivalent prime, and which to get

Hi all! A bit of relevant background:

1) I'm still an amateur at photography (~3 months) and have a lot to learn in terms of composition

2) I've already invested quite heavily in the M43 system, currently having: 2 bodies (G9 and EM1 mk ii); 2 zooms (Oly 12-40 and 40-150 2.8); and 3 primes (Oly 25mm 1.8, Oly 60 mm 2.8 macro, Oly 45mm 1.2 that came free with the body) - possibly excessive for a novice, but I have no regrets about any purchases as I love them all, except for the fact that...

3) I never use, and don't particularly like, the Oly 25mm prime, due how awkward it seems in comparison to my zooms

So with the above in mind, I love having two bodies, and often awkwardly have both bodies on my person so I can use the relative strengths of each camera and also minimise lens changes. I'm also extremely happy with my existing lens collection as I never find myself wanting for focal length. However, as my general purpose set up is to have each of my zooms on each body, I worry that I am not developing my photography skills as much as if I were to be using some standard FL primes.

Although I have often been tempted to sell the Oly 25mm, I have started considering that a preferable alternative would be to keep it and buy a ~17mm prime to accompany it. I feel like not only would it be a generally more appealing FL for me, but I could then equip both a 17mm and 25mm lens on each of my bodies, which may over time help me to think a bit more like a photographer whilst stopping me from begrudging having to use primes from all the constant lens changes.

Firstly I would like to know if the above makes sense, or if I'm perhaps overstating the importance of learning with primes - I am sure my photography is getting better even just using zooms, but I could see how using fixed FL lenses might help me to improve more quickly.

Secondly, if getting a wider prime is a good idea, I'd please like some help in choosing one. If money were no object I think I'd get either a Nokton 17.5 0.95 or an Oly 17 1.2, but I don't think I want to spend that amount on something I don't know how much I'd use yet. I also don't think I like the Oly 17 1.8 on the basis of supposed softness when wide open and the fact that I would like to try some non-Oly glass. So the two I am considering are the PL 15mm 1.7 and the Laowa 17mm 1.8. In my mind, the advantages of each are:

PL 15mm:

  • FL is more differentiated from 25mm, the other standard prime I have
  • Better IQ, I assume (but by how much?)
  • Autofocus

Laowa 17mm:

  • Cheaper
  • 17mm seems to be a more enjoyable FL to me than 15mm based on brief experiments with my zoom
  • 17mm is a more common equivalent FL and so arguably more useful to get acquainted with
  • Manual focus only could also improve my photography skills further, which is my goal in buying the lens

So that's where I'm at at the moment - any thoughts will be appreciated! I I guess my main concerns are a) the IQ on the Laowa in comparison to e.g. my pro zooms and b) whether the wider FL on the PL might make it less versatile. Many thanks!

Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm F1.7 ASPH Venus Laowa 17mm F1.8
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