View Full Version : So much to learn 14-54 v Sigma 18-50 etc...

1st June 2008, 10:49 PM
After the experience I had last week in my local Jessops its not surprising that Canikon dominate the market, they were quite anti-Oly telling me the sensor was too small and the images needed a lot of work in PP and that they couldnt remember the last time they had recommended Olympus. They had me going for a while, glad I walked away without falling for a Canon 40D deal which admittedly did turn my head.

Anyway, to make myself feel better I have a E520 arriving tomorrow from SRS, my E510 twin lens kit sold first day it was on eBay (must have set the Buy It Now a bit too cheap). The E520 will come with the 14-42 (for 70 more than body-only I thought it was best). I still have my 18-180 and I also have a 70-300 on order ready to pick up on a US trip (180 US prices).

I know its not clever to have upgraded to the E520 just because its the latest, but it makes me happy to have the latest version of anything and Im as fascinated by the technology and physics of DSLR photography as the skill and craft so that's my excuse.

My background was Panasonic FZ50 fixed lens superzoom for kids/sports/boating snapping. I went on a week long Digital Photography course with the E510 and got the bug. I can see myself getting into wildlife small and large, street photography as well as the kids, sports, boats I was already into.

There are obviously a lot of experienced Olympus officinados on this forum and I would love to get some of your views. I've been pleased with the results my 18-180 has produced, its been on my camera 90% of the time, but I know it can make you lazy and I have read a lot about it being compromised versus shorter range zooms. How much of a difference would this be? Would it be under certain circumstances? Should I get into better habits and leave the 18-180 at home?

One thing I have noticed is that it and my 14-42 do seem to need a flash or tripod quite early in lower light. I would like to get a "brighter" lens. I have seen quite a lot comment about the Sigma 18-50mm and also the Oly 14-54 and the question I have is would they be noticably sharper and brighter than my standard lenses and out of the two which would be best on a E520 as an all round, sharp lens capable of indoor, portraits and close-up too. I like the way the Oly looks on the E510/520 body, but if the 18-50 was a better bet I would go that way as their prices are similar (around 200 in the US). The 12-60 is too much money for me to justify and I think it looks balanced on an E3, but huge on the E510/E520.

In the future I would like to get into wide angles and like the look of the new 9-18 lens coming in September. For genuine close up, then Macro comes into the equation and I would like to think the 35mm Oly would be a great buy, but it looks as if the 50mm is king. Are there other options, would the close up capabilities of either the 18-50 or 14-54 be sufficient for all but the really specialist requirements of ultra-closeup?

This is my first post so its a long one, there's so much great stuff to learn and yes I do realise the best way to do that is take more pictures and I have done that without streching my imagination yet. I really would like an initial good quality, solid, value for money line up. Im settled on the wide (9-18) and telephoto (70-300) end and I have what I think is a decent "utility" lens in the 18-180.

What I really need to understand is what way to go to give me a shot at the best quality images that standard zoom area plus also the close up question. It seems to me that its in these areas where quality makes a big difference. I dont want to waste money so if keeping the 14-42 and getting the lower price 35mm macro would do the job then fine, but if either the 14-54/18-50 and/or 100m macro would enhance my whole experience then I'd go for that.

2nd June 2008, 07:01 AM
I've no experience in using Sigma lenses on Loy, only on Canon. Suffice it to say I never kept one. The 14-54 Oly is a great piece of glass and a worthy investment - however, if you are happy with the 18-180 I see no reason to change for the sake of change.

2nd June 2008, 07:53 AM
Just to let you know, Sigma produce a 18-50 /f2.8 while the other also a 18-50 but a much inferior f stop. The 18-50/f2.8 is one nice lens.

2nd June 2008, 08:02 AM
Yes, its the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 or Oly 14-54 f2.8-3.5 that Im interested in for low-light, portraits and close up work so long as its a worthwhile step up from the standard Oly lens such as my 14-42 and 18-180. Some people say its a night and day difference, some seem to sy you'd only see it on large prints.

A friend of mine has the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 on a Canon 30D after reasearching the market and finding the equivalent Canon lens was twice the price so it was an obvious choice, with Oly it always seems that Sigma has a tough home grown competitor which doesnt carry the Canon or Nikon price tag.

Ray Shotter
2nd June 2008, 09:37 AM
Looking at your present range of lenses I agree that you have already got a good focal length coverage. However, I can certainly recommend the 14-54mm Olympus Zuiko lens as it is an excellent piece of lens engineering and, in addition, it is a weather proof lens should you ever decide to upgrade to an E-3. I have used my 14-54mm lens with the E-1, the E-510 and the E-3 and find it a very versatile lens for everything apart from long telephoto for which I use the Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm lens.

You don't mention the Telephoto converter lenses but, in my opinion, the Olympus EC-14 Teleconverter lens is an excellent adjunct to the 14-54mm and 50-200mm lenses and you only lose one aperture stop - ie - the minimum aperture becomes f/3.5 on both lenses. However, the telphoto gain of x1.4 is quite useful.

The Olympus Zuiko 35mm Macro lens is an excellent lens in value for money terms and I have used mine on the same three cameras as above but the f/3.5 aperture restriction is not fast enough to get the maximum out of focus backgrounds which I would like to achieve. Consequently, when funds permit I hope to buy an Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/2 Macro lens as I trust this will allow me to acquire the level of out of focus backgrounds I wish to achieve and give me a fixed focus lens for portraits.

As for the Olympus Zuiko 14-42mm lens - then I too was persuaded to buy mine when originally I planned to buy the E-510 body only. However, for light weight and reasonably bright light conditions it is, again, great value for money despite its limitations in low light conditions.

My experience of Sigma lenses has not been very favourable although I have never bought a Four-Thirds Sigma lens. My experience of Sigma lenses is confined to film camera days when I owned a Nikon FM2n. The two Sigma lenses I bought then, although significantly cheaper than the equivalent Nikon lenses, were inferior in both performance and handling. Consequently, I think twice before buying them. Nevertheless, I am sure you will find many contributors to this forum have nothing but praise for the Four-thirds Sigma lenses.

In conclusion, as you state that the Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm SWD lens is too expensive to justify at the moment - then I would strongly recommend you go to an Olympus retailer and try an Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm lens on your new E-520 before you make any further lens purchases.

I should add that I always search for high quality "used" or "reconditioned" or "shop-demonstration" lenses before I buy a new lens. My 14-54mm lens and my 50-200mm lens were both bought from reputable dealers as reconditioned or demonstration lenses - both in "mint" condition. the 14-54mm lens from Henry's in Canada and the 50-200mm lens from Cameta Auctions in the USA. Even after paying VAT and Customs Duty they still cost me 35% less than the current UK new price at the time.

You may have noticed on this Forum that members do refer to retailers who have proved to be reliable and offer lenses at substantially lower prices than many of the popular UK Olympus retailers. However, you usually only get a One year Worldwide warranty with these retailers whereas the UK retailers usually give the Two year European warranty.

Hope these comments may be of some use in making your decisions.


2nd June 2008, 10:52 AM
Yes, it does, many thanks, the 14-54 makes a lot of sense so I'll try to get one at the right price. Amazon.com has it for about the same in dollars as amazon.co.uk and other UK e-tailers do in pounds - i.e. half the £400+ price tag.

2nd June 2008, 11:24 AM
Yes, it does, many thanks, the 14-54 makes a lot of sense so I'll try to get one at the right price. Amazon.com has it for about the same in dollars as amazon.co.uk and other UK e-tailers do in pounds - i.e. half the 400+ price tag.

I have a 14-54 in excellant condition for sale if you wish to contact me. I don't even know what to charge for it? The reason for the sale is 12-60mm. I can't carry both!