Prime as first lens for a beginner

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lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner
1

Photodog2 wrote:

I am about to send my college age niece an Olympus OM for her first real camera. As is common for her age group, she has not used anything other than a phone for photography.

Now, the OM is a beautiful, to my eyes the most beautiful, camera ever so I am tempted to put a small 50 or 28mm prime lens on it to send her as a package. However, I learned photography with a zoom lens many years ago and I suspect most people did likewise. I wonder if she will just get frustrated and might be disappointed if her first lens is a prime.

Anyone here whose first beginners camera lens was a prime instead of a zoom? Any thoughts or advice welcome.

My first camera was a Brownie. It did not make me a better photographer. The idea that limitations force learning/creativity is rubbish.

The problem is that what will work for your niece is dependant on your niece. For some, a prime will be fine and it will drive their process. For others a zoom will allow the flexibility to inspire creativity and keep them interested.

There is no right answer in general, only what is right for the individual and their situation.

OP Photodog2 Regular Member • Posts: 281
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

It's not been known for pictures to look ugly just because the camera that took it was pretty.

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John Michael Winterbourne
John Michael Winterbourne Senior Member • Posts: 2,787
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Sorry, I'm going to break a personal rule and respond before looking at more than a small handful of the replies you've already had.

Photodog2 wrote:

I am about to send my college age niece an Olympus OM for her first real camera. As is common for her age group, she has not used anything other than a phone for photography.

Now, the OM is a beautiful, to my eyes the most beautiful, camera ever so I am tempted to put a small 50 or 28mm prime lens on it to send her as a package.

I did pick up that the camera in question is an OM10.  But what do you have in the way of primes that you can put in the package?  If you have a 28 and a 50, why not just send both?

However, I learned photography with a zoom lens many years ago and I suspect most people did likewise. I wonder if she will just get frustrated and might be disappointed if her first lens is a prime.

Does her phone have a zoom lens?  If not, I very much doubt she would be disappointed.  Although I do tend to pick up that phones tend to have wide angle lenses about 28mm equivalent, so she might find a 50mm not what she's used to.

Anyone here whose first beginners camera lens was a prime instead of a zoom? Any thoughts or advice welcome.

What I (or any other responder) had as a first camera is completely irrelevant.  Advice? Simple - discuss things with her before you do anything.

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OP Photodog2 Regular Member • Posts: 281
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

John Michael Winterbourne wrote:

I did pick up that the camera in question is an OM10. But what do you have in the way of primes that you can put in the package? If you have a 28 and a 50, why not just send both?

I currently own 80+ lenses but none of them have an OM mount so I'll have to buy one or two to add to the body. I do have a couple of Tamron adaptalls and a couple of TX lenses which have removable adapters that can be changed to OM but they're the wrong focal lengths.

Anyone here whose first beginners camera lens was a prime instead of a zoom? Any thoughts or advice welcome.

What I (or any other responder) had as a first camera is completely irrelevant. Advice? Simple - discuss things with her before you do anything.

Her current phone only has a wide angle prime but she's used its pinch to zoom based on her Instagram. We've had some discussion but not to the extent of asking whether she prefers a zoom or a prime or two.

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Richard B99 Senior Member • Posts: 2,297
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Photodog2 wrote:

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions! Great group of people here at DPR forums.

To clarify, it is an OM10, the non-pro version of the classic OM1 that I am gifting her. A beautifully designed film camera. Arguably one of the prettiest of all time. I never used it or any other OM during the film days as my budget and interest in gear at that time was limited to compact 35mm cameras. Most of them were less expensive Olympus clamshell models with zoom lenses, not the famous XAs.

My niece expressed an interest in film cameras during a Skype conversation (she studies in Australia and I'm in the U.S.) and she keeps an active Instagram account with all the photos taken by whatever smartphone her parents have bought for her.

I decided on the OM10 because it is stylish and I know for my niece that is an important consideration. I think a big zoom lens ruins the aesthetics and a small prime keeps it looking at its best. But as some have pointed out a zoom lens might make her taste more success as a beginner and encourage her interest. She is used to the wide angle of smartphone cameras but pinch to zoom works well nowadays in good phones.

I have a nephew that I "converted" from smartphones to "real" cameras by gifting a Sony A3000 and zoom kit lens. Recently he has discovered the joy of adapting old lenses after I gave him 3 of my classic Minolta prime lenses. In return, he has become an expert in using Rawtherapee and sometimes coaches me on how to use it. This was a case when the versatility and convenience of a zoom lens I think helped encouraged his interest in ILCs. Well, I suppose if my niece finds a film camera and prime lens too inconvenient, I can always ask her to send it back and I would not mind to regain possession!

I’d beg to differ a bit on the OM10.  It was certainly an amateur derivative of the OM1 OM2 family.  My first an main SLR was an OM2n and I then added an OM1n and shot with them for many years with a a variety of Zuiko lenses.  They were beautifully designed and a true pleasure to photograph with.

However, I always thought the OM10 was a bit of a runt.  It was auto (aperture priority) only and to use manually you had to add a plug in dongle which was a nasty cludge.  Plus it lost a bit on the prism top design.  Not as  elegant as the 1/2.  Though the hot shoe was built in.

As a minimum the 10 needs the optional manual dongle.  Better get the real job, the OM2n that’s a real beauty.  Mine was going strong and working perfectly when I sold it after 25 years use.

(The Zuiko 50mm f1.8 was the standard kit lens back then.)

OP Photodog2 Regular Member • Posts: 281
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

If it was for me, I would get the OM1 or 2 and I still might since my appetite has been stoked by looking at and holding the OM10. But it's a gift to my niece who is still early in her journey in photography. Thanks for the insights on the OM system.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,809
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Photodog2 wrote:

If it was for me, I would get the OM1 or 2 and I still might since my appetite has been stoked by looking at and holding the OM10. But it's a gift to my niece who is still early in her journey in photography. Thanks for the insights on the OM system.

Does she have access to facilities to develop and print film?   Sending the film out to be developed and scanned defeats some of the purpose of shooting film.

When you scan film you end up having to deal with the limits of both digital and film, and you lose some of the grain in the conversion process (unless you scan at a ridiculously high resolution).

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Jonsi
Jonsi Veteran Member • Posts: 4,501
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Michael Fryd wrote:

Photodog2 wrote:

If it was for me, I would get the OM1 or 2 and I still might since my appetite has been stoked by looking at and holding the OM10. But it's a gift to my niece who is still early in her journey in photography. Thanks for the insights on the OM system.

Does she have access to facilities to develop and print film? Sending the film out to be developed and scanned defeats some of the purpose of shooting film.

When you scan film you end up having to deal with the limits of both digital and film, and you lose some of the grain in the conversion process (unless you scan at a ridiculously high resolution).

She's using a phone for Instagram.

Hardly doubt IQ is that important to her.

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CMCM Senior Member • Posts: 4,798
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Jonsi wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

Photodog2 wrote:

If it was for me, I would get the OM1 or 2 and I still might since my appetite has been stoked by looking at and holding the OM10. But it's a gift to my niece who is still early in her journey in photography. Thanks for the insights on the OM system.

Does she have access to facilities to develop and print film? Sending the film out to be developed and scanned defeats some of the purpose of shooting film.

When you scan film you end up having to deal with the limits of both digital and film, and you lose some of the grain in the conversion process (unless you scan at a ridiculously high resolution).

She's using a phone for Instagram.

Hardly doubt IQ is that important to her.

I've seen with my adult daughter that IQ on a photo is a non-concept, she jut never thinks about it.  She shoots many horrendous photos in terms of IQ  (too dark, crooked,  not framed well, etc) that  are almost always family and friends, yet she's happy as a clam to have the photos, nothing else matters.  I guess if you quizzed her about it she might say she would like the photos to look better, but ultimately, this is not on her radar and she's not even concerned enough to find out if there might be a way to shoot better photos on her phone.  So there you have it.  She's NOT a candidate for any kind of camera.

She also shoots little videos of things ALWAYS in the vertical position.  I've asked her many times why she doesn't shoot horizontally, but she just doesn't think of it when she wants to record something.  ***Sigh***

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OP Photodog2 Regular Member • Posts: 281
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Michael Fryd wrote:

Does she have access to facilities to develop and print film? Sending the film out to be developed and scanned defeats some of the purpose of shooting film.

When you scan film you end up having to deal with the limits of both digital and film, and you lose some of the grain in the conversion process (unless you scan at a ridiculously high resolution).

She lives in a university area and is a student so she might have access. I am guessing that the images will end up in Instagram and will be viewed on smartphones so at that point, just about anything will look good and it will be up to her composition skills. But yes, film grain is a quality that makes film special so I might have to talk to her about adding it back by PP on the scans although I have no experience doing that myself.

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Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,216
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Photodog2 wrote:

I have a nephew that I "converted" from smartphones to "real" cameras by gifting a Sony A3000

That was a risky proposition ... I'd bet the A3000 would more likely turn someone off from "real" cameras ! Glad he took to it, though.

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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 11,809
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner
3

Photodog2 wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

Does she have access to facilities to develop and print film? Sending the film out to be developed and scanned defeats some of the purpose of shooting film.

When you scan film you end up having to deal with the limits of both digital and film, and you lose some of the grain in the conversion process (unless you scan at a ridiculously high resolution).

She lives in a university area and is a student so she might have access. I am guessing that the images will end up in Instagram and will be viewed on smartphones so at that point, just about anything will look good and it will be up to her composition skills. But yes, film grain is a quality that makes film special so I might have to talk to her about adding it back by PP on the scans although I have no experience doing that myself.

Shooting on film for Instagram is quite a challenge.   It sorta takes the "insta" out of Instagram.

She will have a hard time getting grain to be visible on a small Instagram image.  If your goal is to move her from smart phone photography to something more interesting, I would start with a digital Interchangeable lens camera.  I think by jumping straight to manual film cameras, that require developing and scanning, you may end up convincing her that smartphones make the best cameras.

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The Incredible Hoke
The Incredible Hoke Contributing Member • Posts: 908
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner
4

Photodog2 wrote:

I am about to send my college age niece an Olympus OM for her first real camera. As is common for her age group, she has not used anything other than a phone for photography.

Now, the OM is a beautiful, to my eyes the most beautiful, camera ever so I am tempted to put a small 50 or 28mm prime lens on it to send her as a package. However, I learned photography with a zoom lens many years ago and I suspect most people did likewise. I wonder if she will just get frustrated and might be disappointed if her first lens is a prime.

Anyone here whose first beginners camera lens was a prime instead of a zoom? Any thoughts or advice welcome.

I'm not sure my comments are relevant to your zoom/prime question, but I couldn't resist replying with my own story about a young person and an OM-1.

When my wife was in high school, her dad gave her his Olympus OM-1 and a Zuiko 50mm f1.8 lens to use for her photography journalism classes. Judging from the photos I've seen, she loved the combo and got excellent results.

Fast forward several years later, when her father realized that his new son-in-law (me) was into photography, and mostly film photography. He pulled the same OM-1 and 50mm f1.8 out of his closet and gave it to me. My wife was like, "Oh man, I remember that camera!"

So, suddenly I inherited the camera/lens combo that my FIL purchased in 1972. He had used it to take all the photos/slides of my wife when she was a kid. I've seen and scanned many of these photos. It was also the camera my wife used for three years in high school.

Now today, I've been using that exact same combo for the last 10-12 years, taking photos of my wife as an adult.

It's incredible that a camera and lens purchased in 1972 has had so many lives and is still in use today. It remains my favorite camera/lens combo of all time. It's still in my bag and will always be in my bag until they find it in my belongings when I pass.

LoneTree1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,567
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Dennis wrote:

Photodog2 wrote:

I have a nephew that I "converted" from smartphones to "real" cameras by gifting a Sony A3000

That was a risky proposition ... I'd bet the A3000 would more likely turn someone off from "real" cameras ! Glad he took to it, though.

- Dennis
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MDonald Regular Member • Posts: 120
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner
1

Not a zoom  Definitely a prime  Personally a 50mm  which is what I learnt on but a 28 would do  Wouldydo for portrait though

you’re doing a lovely thing  She’s lucky

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BrownieVet Senior Member • Posts: 1,872
Surprise Gift or your disappointment

Photodog2 wrote:

I am about to send my college age niece an Olympus OM for her first real camera. As is common for her age group, she has not used anything other than a phone for photography.

If your niece is NOT aware of your plan to give her a camera,  perhaps you should tell her.

MDonald Regular Member • Posts: 120
Re: Prime as first lens for a beginner

Wouldn’t

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MDonald Regular Member • Posts: 120
Re: Surprise Gift or your disappointment

I couldn’t disagree more  Why would you tell her? I would to  love to open that surprise parcel

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BrownieVet Senior Member • Posts: 1,872
Re: Surprise Gift or your disappointment
3

MDonald wrote:

I couldn’t disagree more Why would you tell her? I would to love to open that surprise parcel

I gave one to my niece for her birthday "surprise".
She gave it to her boyfriend because she prefer her cell phone camera.

MDonald Regular Member • Posts: 120
Re: Surprise Gift or your disappointment

Hey, listen you’re probably right.  Not arguing I’m irrationally thinking, I wish I had an uncle like that. I still have my first camera, a Nikon fe from when I was 18

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