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View Full Version : Where to look and what to buy?


jonesy
15th June 2009, 08:06 AM
I've had my E410 for over a year and I currently own a 17.5 - 45 (came with the camera) and a 40-150.

I'm just starting to look at buying new lenses but as I have been out of the photography game so long I'm unsure which way to go, or what I should be looking for. :(

I would like a wide angle lens, but which one, and what should I look for. I would like to make my "kit" fully rounded, so I can have the correct kit for the correct time... so would I need a longer lens than the 40-150?

So, please, what should I be looking for in a lens, and (sorry for the newbie question) what is the difference between the lenses and why the vast differences in price :confused:

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Many thanks

dbutch
15th June 2009, 09:02 AM
You have a few options, and I guess budget and needs will dictate

option 1 - bugdet

9-18mm + 70-300mm - standard range both good value and would compliment your existing kit well. 300mm is a very long focal length on 4/3rds used for picking out distance subjects or bird watching etc - plenty of example in the various galleries here

option 2 - medium

14-54mm + 70-300mm - better quality standard zoom with more range at both ends, would replace your 17-45

option 3 - getting serious

12-60mm + 50-200mm - high quality lenses -replace both existing lenses - but bigger and maybe not what you want for the E410

Hope that helps a bit

Dave

baldyb
15th June 2009, 09:33 AM
Hi

I'd endorse Dave's comments. You'll get some great advice on here.

I'm only a beginner too but have recently ditched the original lenses and gone for the 14-54 and 70-300 combination.

I find that it gives me pretty good coverage across the range without breaking (perhaps straining!) the bank.

I'd love a 12-60 one day.....

Good luck.
Kevin

jonesy
15th June 2009, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the advice so far (but please, keep it coming :) )

What is the difference between the Olympus lenses and the Sigma lenses? On my old OM cameras I used to have Sigma lenses, but before I bought anything for this camera I thought I'd just make sure people are happy with them.

It is my intention to upgrade the body at some point, but not during the next year.

dabchick
15th June 2009, 01:12 PM
I guess it depends on what focal lengths you are likely to use the most. I would recommend getting a second hand 14-54mm. Its faster and has better contrast than the 14-42mm, its a great walkabout lens which is my most used lens. Its also fairly wide and covers you from 28-108 in 35 mm terms. If you want longer reach then go for the 70-300mm unless you can afford the 50-200mm (which is in a different class). The 70-300mm gives you 140-600mm in 35mm terms but is really only useful in decent light unless you are using a tripod for static subjects. Personally I would stick with the 40-150mm (which is a great lens) and save for a version 1 50-200mm. This lens is sharp at all apertures and much faster than the 70-300mm although the reach is obviously not so good. The 70-300mm needs to be stopped down to get decent sharpness although it is also useful as a macro lens if thats your thing.
I have the 70-300mm and have tried the 50-200mm and I wish I had saved for the 50-200mm as it is so much better. The 70-300mm is a good budget lens but I actually find my 40-150mm sharper. like all things, you get what you pay for.
The sigma lenses generally have more quality issues than the zuiko lenses and are not quite as nicely put together IMHO. I'd stick to zuiko glass if you want the best as a rule. I have read that the 70-300mm is a rebadged sigma lens, I do not know if it is true but it wouldn't surprise me.

StephenL
15th June 2009, 03:36 PM
With a E-410, given that it doesn't have IS built-in, I would tend to stick with the 40-150 for the long end, and get either the 14-54 or, if budget allows, the superb 12-60. Depends just how wide you need to go. The 9-18 is a good w/a lens, but the 7-14 is something else!!

jonesy
15th June 2009, 03:45 PM
Thanks StephenL
A friend told me that its the lens thats the most important... is he right? Being that I do intend upgrading the body to something "better" when I get back into photography, is it wise to get the better quality lenses now or would my 410 just not be up to the task

EH1
15th June 2009, 03:52 PM
Thanks StephenL
A friend told me that its the lens thats the most important... is he right? Being that I do intend upgrading the body to something "better" when I get back into photography, is it wise to get the better quality lenses now or would my 410 just not be up to the taskYour E-410 is up to the task, but you will need a good tripod to keep the images sharp with the bigger lenses, as your body does`nt have IS ;)

jonesy
15th June 2009, 04:17 PM
Ah right thanks :)

I do have a tripod, so I suppose thats one less thing for me to worry about. But I think my first buy will be a wide angle. Theres been times that I have been out and not been able to capture the whole shot because there was insufficient space to get the subject matter all in the frame :(

StephenL
15th June 2009, 05:34 PM
No, the lens isn't the most important thing - that's the photographer!
Seriously, your friend's basically correct. When buying kit these days, with it being a more-or-less level playing field despite what some pixel-peeping pundits may say, the lens is more important than the camera body. The E-410 can just as easily handle any lens you put on it as an E-3 can. If you buy into a system, get the best glass you can then keep it. You can always "upgrade" bodies.

Thanks StephenL
A friend told me that its the lens thats the most important... is he right? Being that I do intend upgrading the body to something "better" when I get back into photography, is it wise to get the better quality lenses now or would my 410 just not be up to the task

Archphoto
15th June 2009, 05:56 PM
There are 3 examples of me on the other 4/3 site: nightshots of Brasilia taken with a E410 and the very expensive 7-14mm on a tripod 'cause.

The E410 can handle any lens from Olympus, whether it is the 14-42 kitlens or the 11-22mm or the 7-14mm and the tele's.

Keep your E410 for what ever you do: I realy think it is a better camera than the E520 with it noise and banding.

Peter

P.S.
I will post those 3 pic's on this forum aswell.
:D

jonesy
15th June 2009, 09:41 PM
Thanks for the replies.

Archphoto, I have every intention of keeping the 410 body as a backup and family use camera. 2 of my kids love using it, and they take some lovely photos with it.

Stephen, I know this may sound dumb, but how will I know which of the lenses are better than the other ones? I think of them as an investment, so I'd rather save that little bit longer to get the right one, than a make-do one :)

Thanks again everyone for their input.

scanny
15th June 2009, 10:02 PM
Hi

I had the same choices a year and a half ago when i decided to upgrade my lenses from the two kit ones that came with my e400.

I opted for the 18-180 which proved to be a little dark and slow for the 400 so i swapped it for a 14-54-excellent lens and definatly my recomendation. i recently sold it for 230 so they are available far cheaper than the 12-60.

I then bit the bullet and bought a 50-200 and it is superb. The build and glass is excellent but i feel its a bit big for the smaller bodys so to get the best out of it i only use it with my e1/e3. i would stick with the 40-150 or try and get a cheap mark 1 version with the f3.5-4.5 range.

I have a few other lenses that were bought for indulgence really, the quality of the Zuiko lenses is superior to that of my sigma ones but at the added cost its horses for courses. Choose if you are really going to notice the difference between the lenses (the 40-150 and 50-200) for the costs involved. Theres allways the om legacy route which is much more fun and far cheaper, but if your pedantic over ultimate quality then possibly not the way to go.

On a side i have found when selling lenses they only loose 10% of the sale value that i purchased them from, so if you fancy a change then they are usually easily liquified to fund another toy


Enjoy

StephenL
16th June 2009, 06:57 AM
Good question!
From the Olympus range, everything in the Pro and Top Pro range are what I would class as lenses to save for. The ones in the standard range are still good, and optically in most cases you won't see a difference, but the "pro" (hate that word) range tend to be sturdier and more weatherproof.
Personally I would avoid Sigma, but that's just my prejudice having been bitten a few times by iffy build quality.



Stephen, I know this may sound dumb, but how will I know which of the lenses are better than the other ones? I think of them as an investment, so I'd rather save that little bit longer to get the right one, than a make-do one :)

michaelavis
16th June 2009, 12:47 PM
Good question!
From the Olympus range, everything in the Pro and Top Pro range are what I would class as lenses to save for. The ones in the strandard range are still good, and optically in most cases you won't see a difference, but the "pro" (hate that word) range tend to sturdier and more weatherproof.
Personally I would avoid Sigma, but that's just my prejudice having been bitten a few times by iffy build quality.

I've seen comments about Sigma on this forum a few times, build quallity and handling not being the Olympus Zuiko way. I'm worried now! Im looking to get into close up and had settled on the Sigma 105mm Macro as a good middle-road solution for decent working distance, magnification and sharpness as long as I could live with barrell going in and out for focussing and the famous "matte" finish and gold ring on the end of it. Oly don't have a 100mm macro and it would likely be over 600 if they did, so it's Sigma here we go, but it does worry me, especially as I'm lookign to get one as cheap as possible, maybe without a warrany if it's second hand. :confused:

StephenL
16th June 2009, 12:55 PM
I'm not saying that all Sigma examples are bad - when they are good, they are GOOD, but.... the words ship and cheap tar spring to mind.
Have you considered an extension tube on your 50-200? Just a throw-away thought, I've never tried it myself.

I've seen comments about Sigma on this forum a few times, build quallity and handling not being the Olympus Zuiko way. I'm worried now! Im looking to get into close up and had settled on the Sigma 105mm Macro as a good middle-road solution for decent working distance, magnification and sharpness as long as I could live with barrell going in and out for focussing and the famous "matte" finish and gold ring on the end of it. Oly don't have a 100mm macro and it would likely be over 600 if they did, so it's Sigma here we go, but it does worry me, especially as I'm lookign to get one as cheap as possible, maybe without a warrany if it's second hand. :confused:

michaelavis
16th June 2009, 01:11 PM
Plenty of good advice here, keeping your E410 is a good idea if you're prepared to use a tripod as once you get out into the tele-range of say the 40-150mm lens, you're likely going to need good light to get the sharpest images hand-held. I had an E420 and loved it in every way except that I wanted to hand hold all the time and found that with 40-150mm zoomed out it meant tweaking the ISO higher than I wanted too, too often, and with the 70-300, hand-holding is more of a challenge, unless you're one of these very lucky people who can hand hold a 300m lens at 1/30 and still keep it sharp!

The point made about lenses is all true, but I do think the E520 body is a bargain, it solves the IS issue once and for all and I would say easily offers the best value for money of any Oly body right now, it's not as small as the E410/E420 and totally overshaddowed by the E620, but it's great, I had one and wish I hadn't sold it (SRS has the body new for 299, they do P/ex too).

At the time, I had the 14-54 and 70-300mm, unless I'd wanted weather proofing, I think I still would. I'm still on the learning curve, but I haven't seen a dramatic change in my images now that I have the E-3 and SWD lenses (I actually miss the E520/14-54mm as a walkabout) but the muscles in my right arm have got bigger though!

I think you can shrewdly pick up an E520 and these two lenses or just keep your 40-150mm lens instead of the 70-300mm if you don't need the reach. The one thing you'd have on your wish list by the sound of it would be the 9-18mm, they're not cheap, but by all accounts, they are fantastic, so you might choose to keep your 14-45 and get one of those instead of the 14-54mm. All of this is the beauty of Olympus, no duff lenses and great value on the bodies, especially ones which had recently been "superceded".

michaelavis
16th June 2009, 01:19 PM
I'm not saying that all Sigma examples are bad - when they are good, they are GOOD, but.... the words ship and cheap tar spring to mind.
Have you considered an extension tube on your 50-200? Just a throw-away thought, I've never tried it myself.

I haven't, maybe I should, I could try the Ec14 option too, but I don't really know what it would mean for working distance etc, plus I hadn't really relished the idea of lugging that lens around the undergrowth :)

HughofBardfield
16th June 2009, 01:32 PM
I've seen comments about Sigma on this forum a few times, build quallity and handling not being the Olympus Zuiko way. I'm worried now! Im looking to get into close up and had settled on the Sigma 105mm Macro as a good middle-road solution for decent working distance, magnification and sharpness as long as I could live with barrell going in and out for focussing and the famous "matte" finish and gold ring on the end of it. Oly don't have a 100mm macro and it would likely be over 600 if they did, so it's Sigma here we go, but it does worry me, especially as I'm lookign to get one as cheap as possible, maybe without a warrany if it's second hand. :confused:

Sigma's quality control is not the same as Olympus's. They are also a lot cheaper, by and large. Most items are fine, but there is the occasional rogue. There is with Olympus as well, but Sigma seem to produce slightly more judging by remarks on forums.

I have three Sigma lenses, including two bought used and they all perform very well. One is the 105mm macro you mention. All macro lenses will have a barrel "going in and out for focusing" because the focus range is so great - the ZD 35 and 50 do as well, but obviously the lenses are shorter overall because of the lesser focal length. The ZD 100mm (if it ever makes it to production) will no doubt be very similar to the Sigma in that respect. Personally, I don't care about the cosmetics, but the one flaw that does irritate me is the double-switch needed for AF/MF, where you have to separately switch off AF and engage the focusing ring, as well as selecting MF on the camera. MF is absolutely essential for macro, so this is important. In fact, as AF is of little use for macro, you could look at some of the better (OM and Tamron for example) legacy lenses if you want to get into this area.

michaelavis
16th June 2009, 01:42 PM
Sigma's quality control is not the same as Olympus's. They are also a lot cheaper, by and large. Most items are fine, but there is the occasional rogue. There is with Olympus as well, but Sigma seem to produce slightly more judging by remarks on forums.

I have three Sigma lenses, including two bought used and they all perform very well. One is the 105mm macro you mention. All macro lenses will have a barrel "going in and out for focusing" because the focus range is so great - the ZD 35 and 50 do as well, but obviously the lenses are shorter overall because of the lesser focal length. The ZD 100mm (if it ever makes it to production) will no doubt be very similar to the Sigma in that respect. Personally, I don't care about the cosmetics, but the one flaw that does irritate me is the double-switch needed for AF/MF, where you have to separately switch off AF and engage the focusing ring, as well as selecting MF on the camera. MF is absolutely essential for macro, so this is important. In fact, as AF is of little use for macro, you could look at some of the better (OM and Tamron for example) legacy lenses if you want to get into this area.

Yes, I could, the Tamron 90mm has a great reputation, people on this forum have produced stunning images with it. I'm not too sure about the adapter needed, what version mount to buy, I know nothing about Tamron and using one on an Olympus 4/3. I'd also need to think though how much weight and cost that would add, I'll need to look into it. To be honest, I hadn't thought through that not having AF would be of little consequence before now. Thanks for that.

HughofBardfield
17th June 2009, 01:57 PM
I know nothing about Tamron and using one on an Olympus 4/3. I'd also need to think though how much weight and cost that would add, I'll need to look into it.

A Tamron Adaptall 2 mount lens will need an Adaptall mount (<20), which can then be used with any Adaptall 2 lens. Most (but not all) are sold with a mount of some kind. You only really need one - I swap mine between my 24mm and 500mm as needed.

If you get an Adaptall to OM mount, an OM to 4/3rds converter (fleabay clones of the MF-1 are usually quite good enough at a fraction of the price of the real thing) will also enable you to use any OM lens. Some OMs (like the 135mm f3.5 and 200mm f4) are very good, very small, pretty cheap and weigh next to nothing. The ubiquitous 50mm f1.8 gives you a fast portrait lens you can carry in a pocket for a few pounds.

However, apart from Canon, you can get 4/3rds converters on fleabay for just about any "normal" legacy lens mount, so if your Tamron lens happens to come with an Adaptall mount for Nikon, Pentax or Minolta, it's maybe not worth getting an OM one unless you already have an OM-4/3rds converter.

Legacy lenses are a major strength of 4/3rds IMHO if you can be bothered with the slight faff involved. OM lenses are particularly good as they were small and light to start with.

Things to remember with legacy lenses:

Focus is manual only (of course)
Aperture has to be set manually (ie focus wide open, stop down to taking aperture and shoot - this lends itself to tripod use, but live view can also be used hand-held with practice)
Metering is best used centre-weighted (or sometimes spot) - matrix/ ESP can be fooled
"Fast" lenses usually produce less good results wide open than their "normal" analogues (eg the 50mm f1.8 is better wide open than the f1.4)

michaelavis
18th June 2009, 02:32 AM
A Tamron Adaptall 2 mount lens will need an Adaptall mount (<20), which can then be used with any Adaptall 2 lens. Most (but not all) are sold with a mount of some kind. You only really need one - I swap mine between my 24mm and 500mm as needed.

[/LIST]

Thank you so much for the explanation. I have seen a Tamron lens that will not come with a mount so given that I don't currently have an OM to 4/3 converter, do you know if it is possible to get a adaptall adapter for Olympus 4/3 cameras - i.e. just have the one converter instead of going via the adaptall to OM to 4/3 route? I've seen an eBay item that says it is a "Tamron Adaptall lens to Olympus OM 4/3 Adapter" which is confusing me!

snaarman
18th June 2009, 07:59 AM
I've seen an eBay item that says it is a "Tamron Adaptall lens to Olympus OM 4/3 Adapter" which is confusing me!


That would be a new one on me.. but its about time someone made one I guess.

I have modifed several Tamron Adaptall/Konica AR adapters to work on 4/3 but its a very long and fiddly job, plus the lens ends up mounted about 30 degrees off vertical.

Its probably much easier to get a Tamron - OM then an OM - 4/3 adapters and stack them together :)

Pete

michaelavis
18th June 2009, 01:05 PM
That would be a new one on me.. but its about time someone made one I guess.

I have modifed several Tamron Adaptall/Konica AR adapters to work on 4/3 but its a very long and fiddly job, plus the lens ends up mounted about 30 degrees off vertical.

Its probably much easier to get a Tamron - OM then an OM - 4/3 adapters and stack them together :)

Pete

Hmmm, by the time I've bought an SP 90, maybe the achromatic 1:1 attachment, plus the Adaptall OM and OM to 4/3 adapters I reckon I'd be in the 150 area and have a set up that is a bit of a fiddle, doesnt do AF and from what I can gather aperture control either. That would put a new(ish) Sigma 105mm back on the radar :confused:

gphemy
18th June 2009, 11:08 PM
Thank you so much for the explanation. I have seen a Tamron lens that will not come with a mount so given that I don't currently have an OM to 4/3 converter, do you know if it is possible to get a adaptall adapter for Olympus 4/3 cameras - i.e. just have the one converter instead of going via the adaptall to OM to 4/3 route? I've seen an eBay item that says it is a "Tamron Adaptall lens to Olympus OM 4/3 Adapter" which is confusing me!

Yes, Chinese sourced adapters are now available on the auction site for Adaptall lenses on 4/3 bodies - and EOS bodies too. Look carefully, you can find them with AF confirmation chips.

One vendor is in Virginia Water!

petrovich
19th June 2009, 04:19 AM
I would highly recommend the 135mm f2.8 "Close Focus" macro OM lens manufactured by Vivitar with a OM to 4/3rd's chipped adaptor.

Regards

michaelavis
19th June 2009, 10:53 AM
I would highly recommend the 135mm f2.8 "Close Focus" macro OM lens manufactured by Vivitar with a OM to 4/3rd's chipped adaptor.

Regards

They seem pretty rare! If I come across one, or a Tamron SP 90 or a Sigma 105mm, I'd probably go for any of them I think, at the right price.

michaelavis
19th June 2009, 11:05 AM
Yes, Chinese sourced adapters are now available on the auction site for Adaptall lenses on 4/3 bodies - and EOS bodies too. Look carefully, you can find them with AF confirmation chips.

One vendor is in Virginia Water!

That Virgina Water vendor is the one Ive seen, I asked them to confirm that the adapter meant the Tamrom could be mounted straight onto a 4/3rds body with no other adapter, but they didn't reply, which worried me. Their's doesn't seem to have the AF confirmation chip.