Best budget prime?

Started Mar 31, 2014 | Discussions
Vlad S Veteran Member • Posts: 3,751
19mm and shallow DoF

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

I like shallow DOF, love it in fact, however I cannot afford a lot, and take my camera everywhere so having a lens that works in different situations is perfect.

The 19mm at f/2.8 does not have a particularly shallow DoF, and even 20mm f/1.7 needs care to create a blurred background. It's enough for some people, and not enough for others. I suggest you search Flickr for images made with the Sigma to see if it would work for you and the images that you would like to create. If you want the blur, you might want to go with something longer, like the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. It's not as general purpose though...

Vlad

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ambercool
ambercool Contributing Member • Posts: 911
Re: Best budget prime?

Not only are the review for the 20mm very good, but I recommended to a friend new to the m4/3rds world and all of her shots were great.  It was on an E-PL5 and she captured her trip to India just beautifully.  She's not a professional photographer; however, the photos still told a great story because of the perspective.  She said she never took the lens off.  She was also carrying the kit lens and the 45mm.

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-Viet

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jamiegoldsworthy
OP jamiegoldsworthy New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Best budget prime?

mh2000: So for my budget I think it looks like Sigma! I am think 19mm over the 30mm, purely from the fact I hardly ever zoom on my kit lens, but don't want it quite that wide. Will also keep an eye out in case the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 crops up cheap because that looks like a winner too!

rmxa: I shoot RAW anyway I should be able to do all that in CameraRaw I believe

Vlad S: I think budget wise any more is a push for me. I'll check out sample images but pretty sure the 19mm f2.8 should get the job done

ambercool: If one crops up I'll definitely consider it

As I say I have maybe 2 or 3 months before I buy one so never know what I'll find

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Fredrik Glckner Veteran Member • Posts: 3,678
Re: Best budget prime?

I think the Sigma 30mm is the best among the "Shorter" Sigmas:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2012/07/sigma-30mm-f28.html

The Sigma 19mm lens is not as good as the Lumix 20mm in my experience, but still very good:

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/2013/01/sharpness-comparison-19mm-vs-20mm.html

If you want thin DoF, the simplest and cheapest is to use you kit zoom lens, and go closer. The closer you focus, the thinner is the DoF.

jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,858
Re: Best budget prime?
1

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

Ah you all posted while I was typing

Thanks for your advice! Is there places you could recommend on-line for sourcing used within the UK or that ship here?

So general consensus looks like the Sigma 19mm!

The 30mm is a better, sharper lens, but still f2.8.

I would love the 45 1.8 but it is still a little steep for me at this point, however legacy lenses are something that hadn't even crossed my mind, Is there certain ones that work best with micro 4/3. Does using adapters and such affect the focal length of the lens?

Adapting manual lenses is an excellent way to get great lenses and not go broke!

Don't bother with wide angle lenses, since faster ones are rare with prices to match.

I'm a big fan of Nikon AI-S lenses. Something like a Pentax 50mm f1.4 SMC Takumar (M42 screwmount) would be perfect. They're fast, have beautiful rendering and sharpness. They're a bit more expensive than dirt cheap f1.8 kit lenses, but it's the sort of lens that makes adapting and shooting with manual lenses worth the effort.

A lot of people really like some of the Russian Jupiter lenses. They look tempting.

One thing you could try would be to ask friends and relatives if they have an old 35mm camera kicking around. You'd be surprised what you can find. I inherited my grandfather's Olympus 135mm f2.8 and also two Pentax SMC Takumars (50mm f1.4 and 105mm f2.8) from another friend's father.

Also, if you go to used camera shops and buy a camera kit (camera + lens) it's often cheaper than buying a lens alone. There are tons of old film cameras nobody (but hipsters ) want and dealers are thrilled to get rid of them.

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Oli4D Regular Member • Posts: 471
Re: Best budget prime?

Well of all the newer primes, the 45mm 1.8 is probably the one you find most on ebay to buy cheap.

It's even pretty cheap new. It's great for group shots, portraits, if you wanna keep a bit distance between you and your suspects in streetshoting...

But as an everyday, "always on camera" lens, it's probably better to get the 25mm 1.8

It's very new and therefore maybe hard to find on ebay... but yeah, I think 25mm is a better allrounder than 45mm

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Ron Evers
Ron Evers Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
Re: Best budget prime?

I have the Sigma trio & the 19 is used most.

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The wood is clear between the knots.

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jamiegoldsworthy
OP jamiegoldsworthy New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Best budget prime?

jeffharris:

I will definitly have a look at this them! One of the things that preented this idea was that I know nothing about older lenses and have no idea what works well and is a good choice for adapting and no idea about makes and brands etc

As I said earlier I thik my dad and brother already cleared everyone out :/ will defintiyl have a look though!

Thats a good idea actually, I'll have to see if there is any near to me

Oli4D:

I do really like those lenses. The 45mm 1.8 is probably not impossible, but I think I might try a shorter focal length having looked at what people have recommended here

Ron:

Thanks Do you find much difference ietween the 19mm and 30mm lenses with distortion and sharpness round the edges when wide open?

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Mark Thornton Veteran Member • Posts: 4,058
Re: Best budget prime?

A more direct link for SRS:

http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk/9369/Sigma-19mm-F2-8-DN--A--Silver-Lens---Micro-FourThirds-Fit.html

They have a physical shop as well though it is a bit far from you.

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Mark Thornton Veteran Member • Posts: 4,058
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around
1

At new prices yes, but the 20mm is readily available second hand (the mark 1 version).

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Mark Thornton Veteran Member • Posts: 4,058
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around

My objection to the shorter Sigmas is that don't seem to offer me much of a gain over the kit lens (about 1 stop), whereas the 45mm (for example) is three stops faster than the kit lens.

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jamiegoldsworthy
OP jamiegoldsworthy New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around

Mark, can I ask where you would look for a mark 1 version? Ebay seems primarily full of Mark II and ones that don't say they are Mark II are still not noticeably different in price?

Thanks!

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Mark Thornton Veteran Member • Posts: 4,058
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Panasonic-Lumix-G-20mm-F1-7-Lens-/281289891592?pt=UK_Lenses_Filters_Lenses&hash=item417e2f1f08

The mark 1 version will only appear in auction, so filter on that to remove the numerous buy it now listings for the mark 2.

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jamiegoldsworthy
OP jamiegoldsworthy New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around

Ah I see brilliant thanks

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Klarno
Klarno Veteran Member • Posts: 4,167
Sigma all the way.
1

For a budget prime... there's nothing better than the Sigma primes. New, they're about $200 apiece. The Panasonic 20mm costs twice as much, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 doesn't test nearly as well. The 19mm is a good general purpose walk-around focal length, and I like the 30mm for portraiture. I don't have the 60mm yet, but I probably would get it right away if I were doing more studio photography-- it's pretty much the perfect FL for me for that kind of work. I got the 19mm and 30mm in theory to replace the original 14-42 kit lens that came with my GH2...but I really don't have anything against that lens either.

A bit over a year ago the original versions of the Sigma lenses were being outcut for half-price to make way for the new ART version with the shiny barrel which as near as I can figure is just visually designed to go with NEX cameras, at the expense of ergonomics (the older 19mm and 30mm have a much, much better MF ring, by all accounts). The older lenses are optically and mechanically the same, and the image quality of these lenses is simply stellar. I got the two original versions while they were being cleared out, altogether for $200. See if you can pick up one of these lenses used; they should be very reasonably priced used.

If you want shallow DoF for compositions that aren't very close to the camera, that's where things will get spendy, for any system. Shallow DoF might have street cred, but it's tough to get very shallow DoF with any lens in this system. You're really better off learning how to control the background in the composition itself, because a modest defocus blur on a bad background still looks like a bad background.

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Mellowmark Contributing Member • Posts: 679
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around

Some Sigma 19mm photos on Flickr:

http://www.flickriver.com/groups/sigma_19mm_f28_ex_dn/pool/interesting/

(Some may be from different mounts)

Sigma 19mm review:

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/sigma-19mm-f-2-8-ex-dn-a-art-m43-lens-review-18971

If you prefer the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 you can set up an alert here, for when they get used stock in (last one went for £180 I think - they do a 6 month warranty on all used items):

http://www.mpbphotographic.co.uk/search/Panasonic%20Lumix%20G%2020mm/F1.7%20Pancake?search_flag=true&keyword=Panasonic+Lumix+G+20mm%2FF1.7+Pancake&search_submit=SEARCH+PRODUCTS&simple-search=simple&used=on

The classifieds below are worth keeping an eye on too (you can always post a 'wanted' ad), just check the sellers feedback and be prepared to haggle for a bargain:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/digital-camera-camcorder-classifieds.343/

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=29 (One sold for £165 on there last week)

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mh2000 Senior Member • Posts: 2,813
My tests

Ok, in my tests the 30 comes out really good:

Other than test shots, here are some real shots from the 30:

http://markhahnphotography.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/fight-or-flight/

http://markhahnphotography.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/pink-alley/

I really like the lens!

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JCB123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,274
Re: Best budget prime?

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

Im a student, and consequently poor. I'am relatively new to photography and was bought my first 'proper' camera for Christmas, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, with kit 14-42mm and the Panasonic 45-150mm zoom lens. I know its slightly outdated camera but it does the job for me and I do really love it and so far have learnt alot and started getting the results I want.

However, over the next couple of months whilst working in the summer I am hoping to buy my first prime lens and I am looking for some advice. I shoot a variety of subjects and I am looking for a good everyday lens. I can't decide what lens is best for me. I like shallow DOF, love it in fact, however I cannot afford a lot, and take my camera everywhere so having a lens that works in different situations is perfect.

So I ask you this, what lens would you lovely people recommend that is reasonably versatile, can get decent DOF when its wanted and is easy on the wallet?

I know there are other threads that deal with this but some peoples idea of budget is vastly different to mine. I am a student after all!

Thank you all so much for any advice! I dont want to ask anyone to look at my flickr to see what kind of photo I take because I dont want to look like Im fishing for views but if anyone is kind enough to take the time to have a peek please let me know

If you are going for a prime and want shallow DOF then you need a fast lens and a longer focal length. The Olympus 45mm f1.8 makes for a nice portrait lens and can achieve shallow DOF without too much difficulty. 45mm is not everyones idea of a general purpose lens, particularly for use indoors, unless in a large room. It is more affordable than some of the other primes, but still not cheap.

The Sigma f2.8 primes are less expensive but being f2.8 and shorter focal lengths you would need to have great distance between subject and background to create isolation through DOF.

If you don't mind manual focus you could pick up an older 50mm f1.8 to use with an adapter. Just be aware that mount misalignment can cause serious degradation in a lenses optical performance, and with adapted lenses you now have four mount surfaces from three different sources. If you go this route make sure that either the lens or the adapter has an aperture control.

Regards

John

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bryanbrun Contributing Member • Posts: 772
Re: Best budget prime?
1

jamiegoldsworthy wrote:

Thank you all so much for any advice! I dont want to ask anyone to look at my flickr to see what kind of photo I take because I dont want to look like Im fishing for views but if anyone is kind enough to take the time to have a peek please let me know

There are really only two lenses that any person needs.  An Olympus 40-150mm, and a Sigma 30mm.

All other lenses for all cameras should be destroyed, recycled and used to make more copies of these two lenses.  If necessary, adapters to other cameras will be created so that these lenses can be mounted to DSLRs and cell phones.

The Sigma 19mm is too short to create decent bokeh, particularly on portrait shots where you get facial distortions when pressing the 19mm in close to get the bokeh.

Shots from the Sigma 30mm:

jamiegoldsworthy
OP jamiegoldsworthy New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Sigma 60/2.8 for Portraits, Sigma 19mm = for walk-around

Klarno:

Ah I didn't realised there was an older version too! will be looking at these then

Mellowmark:

Great minds and all that, I was just 'flickr-ing' through some of those! Think I'am liking the look of the 19mm over the 30mm at the moment

However, I will definitely keep an eye on these classified ads! Never even thought of such a thing!

mh2000:

I like the 30mm and given the choice would have both, I think the 19mm fits the bill at the moment though. Thanks for the examples

JCB123:

Yeah that's my problem :/ think I will have to compromise, shallow DOF isn't the be all and end all, may just have to suck it up. The f2.8 should still do what I want it too

I don't mind manual focus per se, would just prefer autofocus at this point, makes my life easier

bryanbrun:

So you love the 30mm then? When I can afford it I will get both. I dont think that I do enough portrait work to require that focal length at the minute though!

I can see though, that is some nice bokeh

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