First prime

speedy

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I don't like swapping lenses on the go. It's bad enough swapping the UV filter for the polarizer (which I love) of which I only have to do once or twice a day.

Personally, I feel a Laowa 7.5, Olympus 12, and Panasonic 20 would give a good range without stepping on each other's toes.
Ummmmmmm -so why exactly are you looking at buying 3 primes? :)

Nothing to fear in changing lenses. In ten years of shooting primes, and swapping lenses like a mofo, in the middle of desserts, snow, rain, etc etc, I've yet to clean a sensor. The high frequency sensor shakers/cleaners on today's cameras do an outstanding job. The results are worth it I think
 
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Location
Covina, California
I purchased the OM-D E-M10 Mark iii kit with the 14-42EZ lens. I quickly purchased the Oly 14-150mm II and a polarizer which I love for lightweight travel. I'll be picking up the Oly 9-18mm as a wide lens for travel in the next few weeks/months for wide shots that I currently can't capture and if I can find a good deal on a Leica 12-60mm, I'll be jumping on that also.

My dad has had a SLR/DSLR for years for when he travels, but has always owned a nice zoom lens and didn't like primes (didn't use it enough) and I've used it enough to know what a zoom can do and what sort of shots it is good for. Additionally, I've had my camera and lenses for a few months to play with.

The thing is, I want to up my game. I feel a cheap(ish) prime might be nice to have for when I'm around home for throwaway shots. Just throw it on and go out to a local park, trail, or wander around town to see what I can capture. I've found a big part of learning with this is trying to replicate photos I see here (or elsewhere) and understand what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, and what various options do.

I wouldn't travel with it because i would have more variability and space/weight is at a premium when I travel (I onebag all my international travel). About the only reason I would carry it when traveling is if it's something I don't have covered by the 9-18mm and 14-150mm or I feel it would be ideal for my travels due to having a higher fstop.

I see people post the Pana 15mm, Oly 17mm, Oly 20mm, Oly 45mm, or the like around here but there are so many options and would love some suggestions. Someone posted the Yi 42.5mm lens on the Hot Deals board and it's tempting. I'm trying to buy a single prime to get my feet wet, and not buying a full set of 3+ lenses at the start to cover all my bases (might get there someday).

Ideally there is something out there that won't break the bank and will allow me to grow as a photographer to understand photography more, but also still be usable once I've got some skills and not be redundant with other overlapping primes as I expand (such as 15mm vs 17mm).
I think the biggest question you should be asking yourself is, What type of focal range do you want to use? Wide, ultrawide, nifty fifty, portrait range, macro, or somewhere in between?

I like to compare lenses with something like crayons or colored pencils. Any one of those can color and draw just as any lens can take a picture however when a specific color is needed, only one will do. Similarly, when a specific need is addressed, only certain types of lenses will fit that need.

Unless you specify what types of focal ranges you will be using your lens for or what uses, all I see are people suggesting- "get the red colored pencil", others: "get the green colored pencil", others "get they blue colored pencil" and so forth, but without knowing which color is best for YOU.

After you figure out which focal range you'll be needing, you can then choose which max aperture you will be needing and choose the lens accordingly. With that info we can then start helping you make an informed decision instead of random suggestions.

One thing I learned from the start is that different lenses serve different purposes and there is no one lens that can do it all. Because of that I have a full range of primes and zooms and before I go out and shoot, I ask myself what type of shooting I'll be doing and figure out which lenses I'll be needing/using and leave all the ones I won't at home.
 

ac12

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
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I think the biggest question you should be asking yourself is, What type of focal range do you want to use? Wide, ultrawide, nifty fifty, portrait range, macro, or somewhere in between?

I like to compare lenses with something like crayons or colored pencils. Any one of those can color and draw just as any lens can take a picture however when a specific color is needed, only one will do. Similarly, when a specific need is addressed, only certain types of lenses will fit that need.

Unless you specify what types of focal ranges you will be using your lens for or what uses, all I see are people suggesting- "get the red colored pencil", others: "get the green colored pencil", others "get they blue colored pencil" and so forth, but without knowing which color is best for YOU.

After you figure out which focal range you'll be needing, you can then choose which max aperture you will be needing and choose the lens accordingly. With that info we can then start helping you make an informed decision instead of random suggestions.

One thing I learned from the start is that different lenses serve different purposes and there is no one lens that can do it all. Because of that I have a full range of primes and zooms and before I go out and shoot, I ask myself what type of shooting I'll be doing and figure out which lenses I'll be needing/using and leave all the ones I won't at home.
Agree.
The video by Rob Trek is an example. I don't shoot portraits, so that shallow DoF that he (and others) like so much is of little interest to me.
So for ME, the 45 was/is NOT my first choice for a first prime. It is however on my list as a 2nd prime and companion to my 17/1.8.

Each of the different primes brings a different PoV and purpose to the picture.
I would not do macro with a 17/1.8, I can't do wide with a 45, etc.

So you either buy a lens and adapt to it, or define your need and buy a lens to match that need.
The former is, to get a solution, then find a problem to solve.
I have this lens, now what can I shoot with it?​
The latter approach, is to define the problem/need, then find the solution to solve that problem/need.
If I want to do macro, then what lens(es) would let me do macro?
Once you have or selected the lens to solve the problem/need, then you can take it the next step of, WHAT ELSE can I do with it?​
 

speedy

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
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The thing is, I want to up my game. I feel a cheap(ish) prime might be nice to have for when I'm around home for throwaway shots. Just throw it on and go out to a local park, trail, or wander around town to see what I can capture.
Just use your phone. It will be around 28mm equivalent FOV, learn to foot zoom & compose with that. It should also teach you, or at least point you in the direction, of what FOV, or focal length/s will work for you. If you are always wanting to shoot wider, or longer. Once you've done that, bought a prime or 2 to test in your own 2 hands, you won't even have to ask, as you'll KNOW what YOU want, & what will work for you.

I think the biggest question you should be asking yourself is, What type of focal range do you want to use? Wide, ultrawide, nifty fifty, portrait range, macro, or somewhere in between?
Nail, meet hammer :) That's the thing about shooting primes. They kinda force you into thinking in advance. It's not so much about the focal length, but more about the effect you want to achieve, or create.
I enjoy shooting automotive subjects, I can shoot the same subject (given enough room) at 8mm, or 200mm. The question is, what effect do I want to create? You are FAR more likely to think of this, when you have to physically change a lens to a fixed length, rather than simply welding yourself in one spot, & twirling that zoom ring.
It hit me, & was pretty much the catalyst for choosing to shoot primes, when I started dialing in a particular focal length on my zoom lens, then foot zooming to suit. If I'm going to do that, I may as well enjoy the advantages of lighter weight, smaller size, & larger aperture which will give me better subject isolation, & low light performance. Especially with the newer bodies, which have IBIS, to help compensate for a lot of zooms OIS
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2018
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Location
Gloucester, UK
Real Name
Deryck
I try to remember when I first started using primes on digital cameras. I never used a zoom on a film camera and for many years not a prime on a digital.

Like the OP suggested I got a prime to try it out and see for myself, so I could get the experience without others telling me what was better.

I bought the cheapest prime where most of my FL was centred using the zoom - 28mm hence the sigma 30 2.8. I had no idea what to expect from it or what I wanted it to do with it.

Once I had it and realised what fun it was I bought the S60 again not knowing why I wanted it, and that was a revelation to me. It was a FL that I didn't really use with the zooms and because of that I learned more than from the S30.

I am now able to make better informed decisions with my purchases, but only because of the suck it and see approach with the early purchases.

Buy any prime second hand at a good price try it and if it doesn't work out sell it, you gain the experience for little outlay.

My experience is that some lenses work for you others don't, and it is very personal. I have had lenses that the majority on here rave about and I didn't care for and vice versa.
 

mumu

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
242
The starter prime has two uses. The first is to carry it around when traveling for indoor/night shots. This thread and some other research makes me think a wide prime of <=25mm and f-stop of 2 or less, so the O25 or P20 are the obvious candidates, but the O12, P15, or a 17 might be good too. The second use is to use the prime as a walking around prime at home to up my craft. I would have the single lens, and use it like a homework assignment ('find something interesting you can capture with this lens').
For indoor use I think 25 is a bit too narrow. I love it as a street photography lens, though. For indoors and poor light the Panasonic 15/1.7 is my favourite. But if you ONLY want to use it for stills photography then the 20/1.7 is ok, too. (I have the 15, 20 and 25/1.4).
 

ac12

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Apr 24, 2018
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For indoor use I think 25 is a bit too narrow. I love it as a street photography lens, though. For indoors and poor light the Panasonic 15/1.7 is my favourite. But if you ONLY want to use it for stills photography then the 20/1.7 is ok, too. (I have the 15, 20 and 25/1.4).
Agree.
I figured when I was shooting in low light, it would be indoors, where I would be cramped for space. So in that scenario, the wider 17 made more sense to me, than the normal 25.
When I shot 35mm film, I got a 24mm as my indoor wide lens, because before that lens I was too often literally with my back up against the wall.
But a super-wide would not be choice for a 1st prime, it is a specialty lens.
 

Armand Di Meo

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Aug 28, 2018
Messages
32
I highly recommmend the two primes I own, the 45mm f1.8 Olympus Zuiko (great moderate telephoto) and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 "pancake" lens, which I use as a wide "normal" lens. Both are very reasonably priced and will not break the bank.
 

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