Help me decide on a new lens

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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:50 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Cheap FD to micro-4/3 adapter:
http://www.adorama.com/CZFDM43.html

Are there any extension tube sets that would maintain the auto-focus capability of your existing lens?



No, theres no micro 4/3 macro tubes. There is an Oly made macro converter though, and I may just pick that up as its only $50. I also fail at taking advice. I went for the Oly 17mm f2.8 lens as well today. I'm don't think I'm really a good enough photographer to notice the difference between it and the Lumix 20/1.7 to justify the $150 extra. I got the 17 for $205 shipped. I have 2 more lenses to buy and then I have my 'complete' system with my Oly. 17mm f2.8 prime, 14-42mm f3.5-5.6, 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 acquired. Still desire a nice 35 or 50mm macro and a fisheye. I do a lot of car photography, so the fisheye would be used fairly often, but I could also just shoot @ 14mm and do the fisheye in software in the meantime.

Any thoughts or comments on my decisions, contrary to them not being what was suggested earlier?
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:14 pm

A 50mm or shorter macro lens is going to have a very close working distance. You're likely to scare off any bugs that you might be trying to shoot, and there's the challenge of getting enough light between the end of the macro lens and the subject. imtheunknown176's suggestion of a 90 to 100mm macro would give you much more working distance. This wouldn't matter much with inanimate objects, but it would be easier to shoot bugs, spiders, etc.

The old Canon FD manual-focus lenses are available cheap (or cheaper) because the FD mount's short flange to sensor focal distance makes it difficult to adapt those old lenses to the more popular modern mounts (Canon EOS, Nikon F, Sony Alpha, Pentax) with deeper flange to sensor focal distances. Micro-4/3 cameras can take almost any lens with the appropriate adapter.

I'm not a big fan of fisheyes. What would it take to adapt a Sigma DC 4½mm f/2.8 HSM fisheye to micro-4/3 from Nikon, Canon, Sony/Minolta, Pentax or Sigma mounts?
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:17 pm

I don't take many photos of insects and the like. Its mostly machined parts I make for my car, or random pieces of electronics around the house, such as the iPhone backing plates in my first post. The macro adapter (http://www.olympus-europa.com/consumer/ ... _23910.htm) actually attaches to the 40-150 and the 14-52 (with an adapter). I think this will actually fulfill my needs very well without the need to spend $100s on a dedicated lens and adapter for it. If it doesn't, I'm sure I can sell it for $5 less than I pay for it and move on from there.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:39 am

On m43, a 50mm macro has a life-size focusing distance of just under eight inches. I wouldn't do the 35mm, though -- now you're down to 5.5 inches, and the lighting becomes increasingly awkward the closer you get. Also, check to see whether one or both of these lenses is actually capable of lifesize magnification.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:49 am

Actuallly a longer working distance is helpful for inanimate objects as well. You will likely be shooting indoors where lighting isn't very good. A longer working distance makes lighting your subject easier. You will be less likely to cast a shadow on you subject when you are farther away. As long as you are careful with your lighting this is more or less a moot point though. Still, it's something to consider.

I don't think you need to be a good photographer to notice the difference between the Panasonic 20mm and the Olympus 17mm. The 1 1/3 stop difference in speed speaks pretty loudly. And I don't get the impression that the 17mm is any better then the kit lens lens apart from a 2/3 stop speed advantage.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:49 am

imtheunknown176 wrote:I don't think you need to be a good photographer to notice the difference between the Panasonic 20mm and the Olympus 17mm. The 1 1/3 stop difference in speed speaks pretty loudly. And I don't get the impression that the 17mm is any better then the kit lens lens apart from a 2/3 stop speed advantage.


Reading various threads on mu-43.com, from people who have had both the 20 and the 17, the consensus is that, yes the panasonic 20mm is better without a doubt... on a panasonic body. On the Oly body the AF on the 20 leaves something to be desired and the AF is very loud.

I noticed that the lens (the 20) was much better on the GF1 which is why I switched.


I just picked up a Panasonic 20/1.7 after having had my EPL-1 for a little over a year. I've been using the 17/2.8 and have never really felt like I was missing something but I wanted to try the Panasonic 20 as it has become something of a cult favorite. ... If first impressions are anything to go however I'm not quite sure WHY it's such a cult favorite. It's fast, small and sharp (and that's good) but it's also noisy and slow to focus. The first few shots I took with it are nice but not spectacular. ... So far I'd say I have mixed feelings about it. I expected the 20/1.7 to be AMAZING and it's not...but it is very good.


...spent the day with it [the 20mm]. Images look great but not that much better than the 17 and the slow focusing is not much fun. It's more fun to manually focus but if I'm using it that way I'd rather use my Pen-F lenses. They're sharper and faster.

I have the E-PL1 and GF1 in hand at the moment, with the 17/2.8 and the 20/1.7. For the most part I am just confused :), but I definitely prefer the 20 on the GF1. I can't say it is much faster (if at all), but something makes that combo click for me. On the E-PL1 the 17mm really holds it own vs the 20, despite giving up some speed.


Just for the record...now that I've had the 17/2.8 for a while I don't think I would trade it for the 20/1.7.


The 17 is my natural FOV as I've stated many times. That being said.... I have the 20...now I have the 14 also...so there's not much spread between either of the 2 to the 17..
If I could have only 1 lens... the 17 would be it. Bunk to all that IQ nonsense... it's a great lens...

The contrast on the 17 is second to none. It's very Nikon like.
Slightly soft with a punch.
The Pannys are contrastier but that's not always good for tone separation.
Now that I'm writing this.... I'm getting to thinking maybe I need the 17 again for the 3rd time..... An old age moment.


The Olympus 17mm is a really great lens and I love it. But it is not as good as some other lenses for one single application, which seems to be of extraordinary importance today, that is photographing test charts. These tests are preferred to the real world behavior of a lens by so many gear freaks, because these laboratory tests awaken (false) impressions of objectivity to them, while real world experiences and aesthetic qualities are subjective and subjectivity is something bad for these people.

Although I am fascinated by technology and photographic gear, too, photography is an art to me and therefore I value the aesthetic qualities of a lens much more than some pseudo-objective numbers of laboratory tests. This is the reason for my high opinion on the Olympus 17mm.


Much is made about the speed of the 20 vs the 17 and I have to say I haven't found the 17 to be too slow so far. I suppose if I were shooting available light in a candle lit bodega that might be a problem but so far it hasn't come up.


will concede in advance that i know nothing about photography so my opinion may be invalid but i just returned my panny 20mm and am enjoying the oly 17mm i replaced it with much more.
its hard to quantify but i prefer the way the pictures look with the 17 and i dont know why.
i find the camera (epl1) feels nicer to use and carry around (and although it shouldnt matter, i think it looks a beautiful object) and i figured, right or wrong, the best pictures i take will be the ones i take at all, if i prefer to carry my camera around with the smaller dimensions of the 17, then its a better lens for me as i will use it more.
i know nothing of lens tests and as far as i can tell, the pictures produced with the 17 look spot on, i dont go looking for errors in the lens.


So with all that said, + $150 difference in price, I'm not sorry I chose what I did. I also have 30 days to return it if I don't like it.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:00 pm

Corrado wrote:Reading various threads on mu-43.com, from people who have had both the 20 and the 17, the consensus is that, yes the panasonic 20mm is better without a doubt... on a panasonic body. On the Oly body the AF on the 20 leaves something to be desired and the AF is very loud.


I love the 20mm on my epl1. Focus is fine. perhaps not as fast as the 17 in bright light, but it is consistent and stays acceptable even in quite dark conditions.
I definitely don't see my 38mm f1.8 PEN F being sharper than this.

You don't appear to mind size...

some fun considerations
- 55mm f1.2 SSC FD - can be had for as low as $200
- nifty 50 f1.4s - didn't see you mention any. you have OM adapters and a 50mm f1.4 is cheap
- OM/FD 50mm macro - you need to get closer, but if you're on the go not using a tripod it's easier to keep steady.
- 3rd party sigma/tamron/tokina 90-100mm macro
- used bellows!
- 14-54mm F2.8-3.5 II 43rds - requires an adapter so even if you get it used, it's still a fair investment. I LOVE this lens though. Using a cheap bounce flash, I'd say I prefer this to large aperture shots most of the time.

ps - staples had a great deal on the 40-150mm oly recently. I got one for $109.


I have the Ronkinon fisheye. It's a soft lens. Soft enough that focusing at all doesn't make much difference. Stopped down it's nice though.

edit: even if you've bought already, take a look through keh.com. Their bargain stuff is excellent in quality, and prices are good.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:29 am

I ended up with a used 17mm Oly for $140 shipped with two B&W filters that go for $45 a piece retail. Next is going to be the 9-18 Oly or a fisheye I think. Do you have any samples of the rokinon fe on your pen? Curious to see real examples. Thanks.
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Re: Help me decide on a new lens

Postposted on Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:33 pm

imtheunknown176 wrote:I don't think you need to be a good photographer to notice the difference between the Panasonic 20mm and the Olympus 17mm. The 1 1/3 stop difference in speed speaks pretty loudly. And I don't get the impression that the 17mm is any better then the kit lens lens apart from a 2/3 stop speed advantage.


This is a very good point that got missed. The OP got a good deal on a used 17mm, but for anyone thinking to buy one new, there is no appreciable advantage to the 17/2.8 over the kit zoom other than size (which can be important for portability). Whereas the 20 has the speed and sharpness over the kit zoom (at the cost of slower focusing speed and "lack" of zoom).
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