Suggest a first prime lens for the Olympus E-PL8

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Cameras' started by The Kathmandu Cat, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. The Kathmandu Cat

    The Kathmandu Cat TPF Noob!

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    Hello! I'm a beginner with an Oly E-PL8 with kit lens as my only camera for now. I'm interested in street photography, some travel and family photos and some basic landscapes. I'm looking for suggestion for just one prime lens to upgrade from the kit lens.

    Definitely looking for better low light performance. It varies quite a bit but I find I'm more at around 25mm with the kit lens. Like I said I'm a beginner with no knowledge of the differences between a telephoto or wider lens etc but very eager to learn.

    Once I get better I eventually plan to upgrade to a better camera and more lenses but would like to continue with the E-PL8 for street, travel and family photos as it is such a light and pocketble camera. Just want ONE good dedicated prime lens for it that meets my requirement

    Been reading up a bit on this and the M.Zuiko 17mm f 1.8 seems quite a popular choice for the purpose. Anyone has experience with the E-PL8 and this lens combination? Any other suggestions? Would I be able to buy a used one online for a lot cheaper? Thank you!


     
  2. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    Good choice on a camera system! You're open to any micro four thirds lenses, which is awesome.

    My setup includes an Olympus EM1 with the following lenses (all Olympus):
    • 12-40 f/2.8
    • 14-150 f/variable
    • 17 f/1.8
    • 30 f/3.5 macro
    • 45 f/1.8
    • 75 f/1.8
    What is your budget?

    If you are looking for a single lens and for it to be a prime, the 17mm would be good. For street, the 17mm is great. Especially with the E-PL8, the 17 would be very small and discreet. If you want to look at some sample images, take a look at this site: Showcase - Olympus 17mm f/1.8

    The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 also seems to get pretty good reviews. If you like the slightly longer focal length than 17mm, this would give you a little more reach from the 17mm. Sample images here: Showcase - Panasonic 20mm f/1.7

    If you want something longer, look into a 25mm. Olympus and Panasonic Lumix both have 25mm lenses. From the above websites, find both of these lenses for examples. The Panasonic is cheaper than the Olympus.

    For travel exclusively, the 17mm is good, but the focal length is overlapped with the kit lens (14-42). Yes, it is faster and will allow more light, but my preference would be a good travel zoom. What's your budget? While I don't own it yet (soon, heh heh heh), the Olympus 12-100 f/4 has rave reviews. For something that's a bit more budget friendly, the 14-150 f/variable II is light, fairly small, and takes decent enough pictures. It's a good overall travel lens that doesn't require switching lenses.

    But, the zoom won't be as good for street, as it's larger.

    In any event, definitely look for used at B&H, KEH, or Adorama. You'll get great quality at a great price.

    Please keep us updated on your decision!
     
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  3. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 is popular, but if you find you are at 25mm a lot the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 is good, and it's cheap
     
  4. The Kathmandu Cat

    The Kathmandu Cat TPF Noob!

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    For now I plan to get two primes and a zoom. The 45mm f 1.8 for portraits and another one for street, travel, family photos etc. I’m still torn between the 17, 20 and 25mm. The zoom will be the budget 14-150. All M.Zuiko’s.

    Need more opinions on the smaller prime 17,20 or 25???
     
  5. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You'll probably find that image quality on all the primes mentioned is excellent, so it's down to your personal preference of focal length. Unless you've a preference for a specific length 17 gets more in, you can çrop if it's to wide but can't add in if it's to narrow
     
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  6. The Kathmandu Cat

    The Kathmandu Cat TPF Noob!

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    On second thought considering the size of the E-PL8 and the whole concept of a lighter pocketable package, I’m intrigued by pancake lenses. Would look really nice on this camera. I know nothing about pancakes. Any input on pancake vs. regular sized primes? Pros and cons?
     
  7. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's probably lens specific. When I originally bought the epl5 there was a deal for a free 17mm f2.8 that was described as a pancake lens. I quite liked it though reviews were not great. It was f2.8 which is relatively slow for a prime lens.

    You'll find when cuts are made to make things very small, something has to give. I believe the 20mm could be almost described as a pancake without the slow aperture penalty
     
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  8. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    With m43, regular sized primes in your focal length and with f/1.8 are already pocketable. I agree with @jaomul; the Panasonic 20 could be considered to be a “pancake” lens, while still working in your focal length range.

    In fact, there aren’t too many “pancakes” for m43. The only ones I can really think of off the top of my head are the 14-42, the Panasonic 20, and the body cap fisheye lens.

    The Oly 17 is only a half-inch longer. With the discussion of “pocketable”, are you actually going to put the camera in a pocket, or are you looking at just getting a small system?

    Do you have a preference between the 17, 20, and 25 focal lengths? Some people do, some people don’t. As jaomul said, you can always crop a 17, but you can’t get more room with a 25.

    I’m sure you’re aware of this with all the research, but something to keep in mind is that with m43, you need to take a crop factor of 2 times to compare to typical 35mm focal lengths.
     
  9. The Kathmandu Cat

    The Kathmandu Cat TPF Noob!

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    Thank you everyone for all the helpful replies so far.

    Like I said I’ll eventually be upgrading to a better Olympus mirrorless (Pen-F or OMD) than the E-PL8 when funds become available and I familiarize better with the Oly menu system and work towards improving my photography skills but I’ll definitely keep the E-PL8 around to use for street,family photos and to use as an everyday compact carry around kit.

    I am now considering hunting down a used Oly 17mm 1.8 in Silver to match the EPL8 and make that a permanent pair. Because of my location my only option is to look for one online and have a friend coming in from the US bring me one. Where would I be able to find the best deals on a used (like new) 17mm 1.8 on the internet (Bhphoto?Adorama?Amazon?ebay?craigslist?). Thank you once again!
     
  10. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    I'm drooling over the PEN-F.

    For used, there are several places online that I'd recommend (either based on my personal experience or based on that experience of others that I respect). B&H, Adorama, and KEH are three very good online used retailers.

    I've had personal experience and would recommend B&H. I'm always on KEH's website, but haven't ordered from them, yet. They have a lot of coupons, though, so sign up for their emails to get an occasional 10-20% off. I've had some personal experience with MPB as an online retailer, but it was subpar at best (description of product didn't match what I received).

    You can also look at online forums for people that are selling their equipment. From the links I gave you earlier, they have a buy and sell section of their site. I've seen several 17mm for sale at that site over the past year or so, so chances are there might be one for sale now.

    I personally hesitate to shop used from Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist.
     
  11. The Kathmandu Cat

    The Kathmandu Cat TPF Noob!

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    OK! After much research and contemplation here’s what I’ve decided. Some background first...

    1. I will be upgrading to a better body (Pen-F or OMD) when I feel I’ve improved my basic skills and when funds become available.

    2. I definitely want to continue using the EPL-8 as a compact carry around portable rig.

    So with the EPL-8 I’ve decided that a “Pancake Prime” is what I’m going to match it with on a permanent basis. The idea of a lightweight compact and portable camera for walkabout street photography and everyday carry around kit, the Pancake primes make the most sense to me. I will buy the regular sized primes once I get a better body but for the EPL8 its gonna be the pancakes.

    All fingers point to the Panasonic 20mm f.1.7 as the most popular pancake prime, so im gonna look into more detail on it. Any other recommendations on other pancake primes or zooms I MUST consider

    Thank you!
     
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  12. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    Enjoy! Stick around and share photos with us! :smile:
     

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