25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

Started Jul 29, 2013 | Questions
MiroM Regular Member • Posts: 289
Re: 9-18mm for just a single lens
1

sigala1 wrote:

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

You will certainly find some people say that they only use one prime lens, but now that I own the 9-18mm m.zuiko lens, I think that is the only lens I want to use for daytime photos.

I think the prime-only guys are foolish if they are using only the prime for situations where wide apertures are not called for.

I too like the 9-18mm, it's brilliant lens.

but...IMO, it depends what are you using the camera for. I like the wide angle as well and could happily live with 12mm or 14mm on the camera all the time. But, I also like to shoot nature, so 60mm macro is at the moment my daily lens.

I've the 25mm 1.4 and I hardly use it, but it's handy for the low light indoors. So, I guess, you will always have the situations when you will miss the opportunity if you have only one lens.

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sigala1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,820
Re: 9-18mm for just a single lens

MiroM wrote:

sigala1 wrote:

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

You will certainly find some people say that they only use one prime lens, but now that I own the 9-18mm m.zuiko lens, I think that is the only lens I want to use for daytime photos.

I think the prime-only guys are foolish if they are using only the prime for situations where wide apertures are not called for.

I too like the 9-18mm, it's brilliant lens.

but...IMO, it depends what are you using the camera for. I like the wide angle as well and could happily live with 12mm or 14mm on the camera all the time. But, I also like to shoot nature, so 60mm macro is at the moment my daily lens.

I've the 25mm 1.4 and I hardly use it, but it's handy for the low light indoors. So, I guess, you will always have the situations when you will miss the opportunity if you have only one lens.

But you know beforehand when you are going to be indoors.

So if you are going on a nature hike, you can leave the 25mm home.

Peng Bian
Peng Bian Contributing Member • Posts: 608
Re: 9-18mm for just a single lens
1

Agree with most of the people in this thread. Each lens has a purpose, given the diverse (or not) nature of your shooting, you may be perfectly happy with 1 lens. Say for example I only shoot portraits in a studio setting. I will not need any other lens than the 45 1.8 or 75 1.8. An extreme example to prove a point.

If you are going out hiking, and you tell yourself you will not be shooting any wildlife and concentrate on scenery, why not just bring that 14 2.5 pancake or 12 2.0 and save yourself the burden of carrying more gear.

I like to go out with 1 or 2 prime lenses, giving myself a purpose (and a style) for each trip out the door. Am I going to miss a few shots? Sure, but shooting is also about discipline, and you get a good dose of it when you limit your focal length selection.

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Tombear
Tombear New Member • Posts: 6
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

Although I plan to add a few more lenses eventually (just ordered an ancient OM 135/2.8), there are currently only 2 lenses I own - Oly 12-50 and PL 25.

There are really two kinds of photos I take

1. Pics of my 4 year-old daughter

2. Anything else.

For most of my purpose for 1 and some for 2, PL 25 is great and it stays with my OMD. For some other instances, however, the 50mm equivalent focal length is too limited.

As a few already mentioned, this really boils down to what kind of pics you take. If one focal length pretty much covers most of what you do, then go for it. If not, grab a few more.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,890
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?
1

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

I prefer primes. Generally I'll carry several. Sometimes I'll go out with just one prime on my GH2 to keep things simple… carry less… and for a little personal challenge.

I was just in Paris, with a bunch of primes (SLR Magic 12mm, Voigtländer 25mm, Voigtländer 75mm f2.5 and Nikon 105mm f2.8 AI-S macro) and a 7-14mm. I debated whether to bring 35mm and 50mm f1.4 lenses, but decided against it at the last minute. I also want to carry less gear, but I carried a monopod which I never used. Anyway, looking at EXIF data in Lightroom, I used the 25mm for about half my shots. The rest were split pretty evenly between the other four lenses. The 7-14mm a few more, the 105mm a few less.

So, yes, in a way, one prime can work. One prime at a time.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,890
Re: just a single lens

sigala1 wrote:

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

You will certainly find some people say that they only use one prime lens, but now that I own the 9-18mm m.zuiko lens, I think that is the only lens I want to use for daytime photos.

I think the prime-only guys are foolish if they are using only the prime for situations where wide apertures are not called for.

Foolish? Very funny. How so? Geez, I guess using manual lenses is downright retarded, eh?

What I carry really depends upon what I'm going out to shoot and what else I may be doing. Generally, I'll carry 3 primes, one on the camera, 2 in my bag… SLR Magic 12mm (or the 7-14mm depending on the time of day), Voigtländer 25mm or 35mm and 75mm. It's a compact, light and pretty versatile kit. There's also no ONE, GOOD zoom that will give me the range, light gathering ability or image quality of my 3 little primes.

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niekirk Regular Member • Posts: 221
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

I use mainly primes on my OM-D.  I find it useful to have only a few alternative focal lengths to think about, rather than the many that a zoom offers.  I find primes and the OM-D a great combination, not least because the primes are so light to carry.

If you like primes, and the 25mm angle of view and depth of field opportunities suit your style, it would be a sensible, indeed a classic choice as your main or sole lens.  The f/1.4 speed could sometimes be very useful too, and that offers soething you cannot get in a zoom.  It's not a focal length I would use much.  I mainly use the 45mm, switching to the 12mm when I want to go wide.  I still have a 14-42mm kit zoom for the gaps in the middle, but have used it on only one occasion in the last 12 months.

Paul JM Contributing Member • Posts: 600
Use what works for you

I would ignore all the shyte about using a single prime being counter intuitive. Use what works for you.

You will hear a pile of advice about 50 35mmequiv being too long etc, but just ignore it. I used the OMD with the 20mm pancake for about 18 months before I bought three other primes. For me, as a walk around, the OMD with a standard prime of high quality is just fantastic. I ended up buying 12 45 and 75 mm Oly primes, and use them sometimes, but usually just walk around with the 20mm

Frankly, the only prime for MFT worth its salt is the panny 2.8, and it is just so expensive, that it is cheaper to buy a fuji xe1 with zoom than to buy the panny lens alone

If you like the focal length of the 25mm, use it alone. If your heart ends up crying for a different length, get that when you can afford it.

Ignore the naysayers. As I have said 1000 times, you will develop your photographic skills much faster using a standard length prime than any other lens.

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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 36,347
Whatever churns your butter
1

Well, I just spent 3 days with a 4 lens kit and chose to only use a 25mm lens the entire time. Reason? I wanted to stay in the 50mm perspective and to 'see' what there was to see with that FL alone.

Same difference as what you're proposing. Except I had the other focal lengths on hand in case something particularly special presented itself that called for other than the 50mm FOV (insurance against shoulda-woulda-coulda). Making due with the 25mm lens alone can mean dismissing some opportunities (so it goes, w/o regret just move on to the next opportunity).

Having both a 25mm and a zoom that incorporates 25mm in its range isn't a bad idea, either. One for all the reasons one would use that prime, the other for when the the prime isn't quite the right choice (when a little wider or a little narrower FOV is the best choice).

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Elemental Photography Contributing Member • Posts: 960
For walking around, yes. Long term, no.

BHPhotog wrote:

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I often put my 20mm f/1.7 on a GX1 as a purse camera if I'm not carrying a full setup. It's fine for most casual usage.  However, I could not imagine owning only a single lens for an interchangeable lens system.  There are too many other creative choices that would be lost if I was limited to a single focal length.

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A photograph is a creative interpretation of reality.

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walkaround Senior Member • Posts: 2,551
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

I never leave the house with more than one lens, and it's always a prime. I just don't like zooming, although I put up with it when using my LX7, S110, etc.

The Olympus 17mm 1.8 is also a good choice as an "only lens".

Gregm61 Forum Pro • Posts: 15,393
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

BHPhotog wrote:

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

I think it all depends on how specialized or versatile you want to make your photography. There have been a lot of people who "made do" with either a 50mm lens on their film SLR, Leica or used cameras like Rolleiflex TLR's with fixed standard lenses. You could do a lot worse.

I prefer a little more varied approach with at least one additional prime to cover the wide and at least the short telephoto range. This past weekend I visited a local garden with my E-M5, 25mm f1.4, 12mm f2 and 75mm f1.8 as well as the 60mm f2.8 macro for closeups. Of the 62 images I wound up processing and uploading, only 6 were captured with the 25mm f1.4. The 25 is more a part of the range rather than my primary lens. Far and away, the 12mm f2 was my most used lens this past weekend.

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Iskender
Iskender Senior Member • Posts: 1,328
Re: 9-18mm for just a single lens

sigala1 wrote:

I think the prime-only guys are foolish if they are using only the prime for situations where wide apertures are not called for.

Since we are talking about hobbyist photography, the only foolish lens choice is telling someone else what lenses he ought to use. You know how lenses work for you - and that's it.

Why did you even think the word 'foolish' applies to having fun? Are you taking this hobby too seriously?

Iskender
Iskender Senior Member • Posts: 1,328
Try It!
1

Fundamentally, only you can learn what works for you. But it's certainly been done before!

Back when I shot exclusively with Four Thirds, my 14-42 zoom broke. For a long time I shot with mostly just the Sigma 30/1.4 (and rarely with a 40-150). In the 12-50 mm range the only focal lenth I used was 30mm, pretty much.

I got used to it and now work best at 60mm equivalent. 50 mm equivalent is significantly more conventional and should be easier to get used to.

I wouldn't sell the 12-50, but do put it aside and try using the single lens for weeks or months. You'll see if it works, eventually. You're right that you don't have to change lenses, just because you can: 50mm equivalent compacts are rare (are there any?), and you can't get a fixed-lens OM.

Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,875
I doubt I'd be happy w just one prime.

OK, for my morning walk I may take a single lens, sometimes a prime, to force me to look at things differently. But I'm walking the same rout daily, so if I see something that particular lens doesn't work for I can come back the next day w a different lens.

Again, walking through town at night, a single lens may work, but if I take two, I will use both before the end of the night.

Now on a longer hike, or a trip to someplace I'm not likely to visit frequently, if ever again, I'm going to want to cover the full range... For a hike that would mean wide, tele and macro. For a museum or cathedral it might mean ultra wide and a fast prime or two

But that's just me... some people 'see' in a single focal length or limited range, while I tend to be all over the place.

In 4/3 the 12-60 was my primary lens, but in m43 I don't really have a favorite.  I'll pick up a lens as the mood strikes me, or for what I'm expecting to shoot that day.  For primes I have two- the 45/1.8 and 14/2.5  Eventually will pick up the 17/1.8 which will be a better walk around lens for me than the 14.  For some reason, I don't find 25mm a particularly exciting FL...  maybe too 'normal' for my taste?

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gak44 Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: OP response

BHPhotog wrote:

 I ask one question but get an answer to a different one.

Welcome to the M43 forum. That's the norm, not the exception.

But after weeding out those replies you then will get useful and on point information.

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TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,488
It's my only 25mm prime, but not my only lens.

I took my OMD plus three lenses to a car show not too long ago: 7-14, PL25 and ZD 35-100.

Ended up using just the PL25 (4/3 version, just a terrific lens), it was perfect for car photography. For that situation, the PL25 worked great. But, it doesn't work in all situations.

But... I do use the ZD 7-14 on occasion. Among its many virtues, it's a 'fun' lens, that's limited only by your imagination. Get right up in someone's face for a very clownish distortion. Get low on the ground for a 'bugs eye view'. Hold over your head for a panoramic view. Or use it to create what I call 'anti-bokeh'. Get near, but not too near your subject, and you kill the background, not by blurring it, but by shrinking it. The 7-14 doesn't work in every situation, but when it works, it works very well.

The 45 1.8 is remarkably tiny for what it can do. That one is a keeper, at least until I can get a 60M.

Or my faithful ZD 50-200. Wicked sharp, even wide open, and it remains sharp when the light gets dim. I wouldn't want to give that one up.

I'll put it this way: the PL25 will be my only 25mm prime. There's just no point in looking for something better. But, it won't be my only lens.

georgehakim
georgehakim Regular Member • Posts: 221
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

Although I agree that the 25mm Pany is great and I use it 60% of the time on my OM-D, I can't use it in all situations. That is why I also carry the Pany 14mm and Oly 45mm macro. They are small and fit easily in my pockets. With those three lenses, I cover all my shooting needs. I carry no zoom with this camera.

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grey0135 Regular Member • Posts: 223
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

BHPhotog wrote:

I just spent 4 days with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm, comparing/contrasting to my 12-50 OM-D kit lens.

As expected, the IQ of the 25mm is stunningly good; the ability to shoot wide open and soften/blur the background was a revelation; the ability to shoot low light amazing. It is as good as the reports say.

But now the question: is anybody using only one prime on the OM-D or comparable MFT camera?

I accept the greater flexibility of the zoom, and the ideal setup would be a range of primes, but what about a single lens prime setup? This one or another. How is that working out for anyone out there? Problems, benefits of the one-lens kit...

Brian

Depends on your style of photography. I tend to use high quality zooms during the day (either the 9-18 or 12-35) and primes at night or in low light (either the 17mm or 25mm). I find both zooms more than sharp enough for my purposes; the advantage of using the primes is ability to shoot at low light with reasonable ISO or (in the case of the 25mm) to reduce depth of field. At the long end, you can also get pleasing background blur with the 12-35 at 2.8, although the effect won't be as strong as with the 45mm prime.

Owning multiple lenses doesn't mean you have to travel heavy or carry all of them. If I'm doing outdoor sightseeing in a city, the 9-18mm by itself is often enough. The 12-35 is also an excellent one-lens solution--thanks to the ISO capabilities of the newer Olympus sensors, it can take very good pictures indoors without flash as long as there's reasonable light.  If I'm in a non-urban setting and want to travel light, I tend to prefer the 12-35 over the 9-18.

As for the primes, it depends again on what I anticipate doing. The 17mm is excellent for photographing a dinner table, or several people in a compact area (although at f1.8, you have to be careful to get everyone in focus...). But if I've got room to move around, I usually prefer the 25mm lens. I do own the 45mm, but mainly use it for indoor events (like photographing speakers at a podium).

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RV Abbott

MatLD Regular Member • Posts: 447
Re: 25mm as single-lens for OM-D?

I started with the 14mm then added thr 45 and last, the 25mm.

Now, I shoot 90% of the time with the 25mm. I just like that focal length. I use my 45 for specific shots, but the 14mm is very handy for landscapes and size/weight/cost I'm happy to take it out in harsch environments.

If there were a very good 50mm equivalent fixed lens camera with optical VF, I would consider selling everything to get it.

35mm is too wide for people shots for my taste.

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