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Nostalgia Nexus - early and pre-digital discussion Want to discuss the really early days of digital and even film - here is the place for you.

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Old 19th December 2015
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Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

I've just posted a new thread in Foto Fair, about a trip to Cambridge with my daughter to get some street shots for her latest school project. As I mentioned in that thread, we discovered an unfortunate fault with the recently acquired rangefinder camera purchased specifically for this project and we returned home a little earlier than planned as I needed to urgently find a replacement on the internet.

Freya has made it clear that she would prefer an SLR with AF, otherwise I would naturally buy one of the classic OM series, and I did some basic research on some Nikons, Canons, Pentax and Minoltas that were available from Ffordes, LCE, etc. What really surprised me was the shocking reputation amongst users for kit zooms of the era from all these brands. Modern designed for digital zooms may well have improved (I certainly hope they have) but it was an eye-opener for an Olympus user like me who takes it for granted that kit lenses will be good performers.

For those who are interested, I have bought a Minolta Dynax 4 with crappy 28-80mm lens from SRS for 39. I partly chose this on the basis that SRS have a good reputation, they state that they thoroughly check all their used stock and provide a one year guarantee. I didn't want to spend a fortune on a camera that might not get much use after this project is completed. I've paid a bit extra for next day delivery in the hope it will arrive on Tuesday, as we have a short window of opportunity for another outing on Wednesday, our last chance before Christmas all kicks off!
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

Did you consider a 50mm or 35mm prime rather than a MBB zoom?
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

Bad news about the Ricoh, but even in tip-top condition I think it would be a tall order for anyone to become proficient using a RF without hours of practice, they're not easy especially if you've grown up on AF cameras. It will be interesting to hear how she gets on with the SLR, but it should be easier actually seeing what the lens sees.

Regarding f/l, it's personal choice of course, but I always think a fixed f/l is better for street work. It's one less variable to consider, ie whether to shoot long or short or something inbetween. By the time you've worked out the f/l the moment may have gone. Optical quality is generally better with a prime, and a medium wide like a 35mm allows slightly less precision on focusing if stopped down somewhat. I think HC-B used a 50 for his entire shooting career, and the benefit of a fixed f/l is to learn to see as the lens does, before raising the camera to the eye.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
Did you consider a 50mm or 35mm prime rather than a MBB zoom?
If it was for me, yes, but I think Freya will need weaning off zooms first and the deadline for her current project is getting nearer all the time. She has actually got a very nice Zuiko 25mm f2.8 for her E-620, which was very kindly donated to her recently. I need to encourage her to get out more using just that.

Many years ago, when I was shooting landscapes almost exclusively and using a bag full of primes, no zooms, my focal length (or equivalent) usage was something like this:

50mm 40%

35mm 30%

24mm 20%

100mm 9%

Others 1%

It always surprised me that the 50mm got so much use compared to the others.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

Many years ago a friend showed off his new Canon EOS-summat-or-other with a standard zoom lens, I think a 28-70 or thereabouts. The camera was a nasty plasticky thing and the front element of the lens wobbled like a jelly, and it was enough to put me off Canon for life! Recently a local friend has sent me a few pics taken with his Canon DSLR and the chromatic aberration, especially in the corners, was horrendous so I stick to my original decision .

Minolta had a pretty good reputation for lenses I think so hopefully your Dynax will prove its worth. Shame about the Ricoh, maybe it just needs new foam light seals - a common issue with old cameras.

I hardly ever used my 50mm Zuikos, it was mostly 24mm and the 35-105 zoom for me, but then I don't do street photography.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

Samyang and Voigtlander make excellent manual focus primes and the automatic Sigma ART lenses are excellent too.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

I understand the Canon 18-55mm kit lens had a dreadful 'bottle bottom' reputation.

I think it's a bit 'tacky' for manufacturers to cash in on the reputation of their professional range of lenses, by making poor consumer lenses, in an effort to catch ignorant buyers.

Jim
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

John I have owned the Dynax 4 and 5 and also the Dynax 7.best film cameras I have ever owned.

I found the kit 28-80mm to be a fair lens for film and would say that presuming proper camera handling technique film choice will effect sharpness more than the lens.

A couple of shots taken with the Dynax 4 and kit 28-80 kit lens on Kodak Supra 400 at Weston Super Mare.





Dynax 5 and Tamron 28-200 Kodak Supra 400
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

I weaned myself of zooms, I went for a walk with the 12-60 and forgot it was a zoom. My zooms are used for my commercial work and landscapes, manual focus primes for everything else.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
I understand the Canon 18-55mm kit lens had a dreadful 'bottle bottom' reputation.

I think it's a bit 'tacky' for manufacturers to cash in on the reputation of their professional range of lenses, by making poor consumer lenses, in an effort to catch ignorant buyers.

Jim
My experience of a certain makers 'luxury' zooms is that some of them are no better than the plastic Olympus kit lenses.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

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Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
Bad news about the Ricoh, but even in tip-top condition I think it would be a tall order for anyone to become proficient using a RF without hours of practice, they're not easy especially if you've grown up on AF cameras. It will be interesting to hear how she gets on with the SLR, but it should be easier actually seeing what the lens sees.

Regarding f/l, it's personal choice of course, but I always think a fixed f/l is better for street work. It's one less variable to consider, ie whether to shoot long or short or something inbetween. By the time you've worked out the f/l the moment may have gone. Optical quality is generally better with a prime, and a medium wide like a 35mm allows slightly less precision on focusing if stopped down somewhat. I think HC-B used a 50 for his entire shooting career, and the benefit of a fixed f/l is to learn to see as the lens does, before raising the camera to the eye.
I must admit that I use a zoom for street work and for pretty much everything else these days, but if I could afford it I would certainly have a few more primes, particularly the 12mm (which I have hired from Ian in the past and absolutely loved) and the 17mm f1.8. When doing street however, I tend not to zoom whilst the camera is raised to my eye because that's when you are most conspicuous and anything that adds to the time taken in this position is best avoided. Instead, when I see an opportunity coming up I rotate the zoom in advance to the focal length I anticipate I will need. At least that's the theory, it doesn't always work! But, to be fair, I'm still very much a novice in the black art of street photography.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

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Originally Posted by OlyPaul View Post
John I have owned the Dynax 4 and 5 and also the Dynax 7.best film cameras I have ever owned.

I found the kit 28-80mm to be a fair lens for film and would say that presuming proper camera handling technique film choice will effect sharpness more than the lens.

A couple of shots taken with the Dynax 4 and kit 28-80 kit lens on Kodak Supra 400 at Weston Super Mare.





Dynax 5 and Tamron 28-200 Kodak Supra 400
Thanks Paul, these examples certainly confirm my instinct that the lens should be capable of rendering perfectly good photographs, despite the negativity I found on various forums. It's just something that we tend to take for granted with Olympus kit lenses.
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Old 20th December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OlyPaul View Post
John I have owned the Dynax 4 and 5 and also the Dynax 7.best film cameras I have ever owned.

I found the kit 28-80mm to be a fair lens for film and would say that presuming proper camera handling technique film choice will effect sharpness more than the lens.

A couple of shots taken with the Dynax 4 and kit 28-80 kit lens on Kodak Supra 400 at Weston Super Mare.





Dynax 5 and Tamron 28-200 Kodak Supra 400


Those are superb images Paul. Indeed, I could easily be convinced they were taken on MF.

My favourite fixed length lens by far is the Zuiko 35 mm f2.0, which always accompanies my OM's on outings. A good quality medium wide lens can capture detail than many mediocre 50 mm lenses will miss, and you can always crop if needs be.
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Old 21st December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

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...Freya has made it clear that she would prefer an SLR with AF, otherwise I would naturally buy one of the classic OM series..
OM707? No idea how good the AF lens was for quality but I understand the AF was a bit slow. Still, it had the OM bayonet mount for when you want to ditch the power zoom control and go properly manual.
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Old 21st December 2015
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Re: Is it only Olympus and Panasonic who make decent kit lenses?

I'm with Paul on the Minoltas, a very well thought of camera back in the day. Unlike him I can't provide such great proof. Fingers crossed for this one though!
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