Help Me Choose a M43 Camera Lens

I finally pulled the trigger on this Oly M10 mk3: https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/693730

And need a lens for it! However, there are heaps of lenses and I'm not familiar with what's best 😅

My use case:
- Cosplay photography, mostly portraits and some landscape, most of my shots can be found here: (please don't msg my wife's account haha I'm @confidantduk on insta, https://www.instagram.com/felipokeyou/
- The more delish the bokeh the better
- Immovable budget of 800, ideally one lens to work with for now 💯 (unless you have some convincing argument haha maybe easy resale value?)

Since ebay's got something going on at the moment(15% off), I thought I'd pop a popular lens listings here to get your feedback on what's good (and if the prices were jacked). I'm splicing this together with the advice I've been getting and collated the following of what people are using (+1 each time someone recommended it):

Oly
12mm f/2 +1
17mm f1.8 +1
25mm f1.8 +2
45mm f1.8 +6 $389.27 https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/172322193048 (or 348.95 at https://www.becextech.com.au/catalog/zuikoed45mmblk-prt-p-37...)
50mm f1.8 +1
75mm f1.8 +2 $771.07 https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/403337760929
12-40mm f2.8 +5 cough $1,008.90 https://dccameras.com.au/collections/olympus/products/olympu...
12-100mm f4 +2 cough

Pana
15mm f/1.7 +1
20mm f1.7 +2 $369.55 https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/304372584323
25mm f1.7 +4 $206.67 https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/403562561226
42.5mm f1.7 +1
12-60mm F2.8-4 +1 cough $986.87 https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/401330134046

Sigma
16mm f/1.4 +2 $463.97 https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/233393303736
56mm f/1.4 +1

Coughs are things I post even though I can't afford it. Don't have a good gauge what's good to buy used too but would love advice on that too.

Thanks again for anyone who does end up helping 🤗 really appreciate it

Comments

  • +5

    45mm 1.8 Oly. Great bang for buck, and decent Bokeh. 75mm for more of the same (but quite long at 150mm equiv FOV).

    Go to the f1.2 pro lenses for really nice bokeh.

    • +1

      This is the only post you need

  • -1

    Sigma 18-35 ART … thank me later

  • +2

    At the risk of getting too technical, I'm still going to as I'm assuming you may not know the technicalities of getting good bokeh given your questions.

    If my memory serves me correctly, there are three things

    1. Longer focal lengths
    2. Larger apertures (i.e. the f number you see on the lens… the smaller the number, the larger the aperture it can open up to)
    3. increased distance between the subject and the background

    So with that in mind, #3 is what you mainly have control over with #1 and #2 (esp #2) making the job easier (and sometimes harder in the case of #1)

    I bought the 12-40mm f/2.8 (when it was a more reasonable $640 during sales) and the 15mm f/1.7 for ~$550 (again during a past sale).

    These two lenses were chosen for specific reasons. The 12-40mm f/2.8 for versatility with it being a zoom. I know 12mm on m43 is wide enough for me to take landscapes and 40mm f/2.8 is not bad for portraits with decent bokeh (as long as I ensure there's a gap between the subject and the background). The 15mm is a nice street photography focal length that doesn't excel for landscapes or portraits but you're able to get decent results if you frame cleverly.

    For your use, landscapes and portraits require two different focal lengths (usually) and there will be a compromise no matter which lens you go with.

    • One. Thanks so much for the context, I recognise I might not even be describing my needs accurately. What did you think of the pictures in the Instagram page vs the way I described my shooting style?

      Gonna ask some more silly questions, hope you don't mind:

      Two. Does this mean if I compare 2 prime lenses, a 75mm is going to give me more bokeh than a 12mm? Would 12mm still have bokeh?

      Three. Re 40mm f2.8, and the gap between subject and background, what's the usually distance (roughly in meters) that you've found that works for you?

      Trying to select the more versatile and well priced prime out of the lot.

      Four. Gonna sound really silly, but how far would I have to stand from the subject for a 45mm? I tried looking up all the focal length calculators but I don't feel certain enough I understand what to expect 🧐

      Thanks heaps for your input brah

      (Ignore the weird numbering, ozb doesn't format nicely)

      • +1
        1. Only took a short look at the Instagram page. My Mrs would have slapped me if she saw me looking at those cosplay photos ;-) On m43, you'd primarily want fast primes from 25m to 45mm for your portrait shots (anything covering upper body to full body to full body with some background).

        2. If you keep everything else constant, yes, 75mm will give more shallow depth of field/bokeh. As a reference point, 25mm on m43 is suppose to be the field of view your eyes see. Smaller focal lengths will be wider and focal lengths larger than 25mm will be like zooming into the subject.

        3. I usually don't take many portrait shots (and if I do, these days I just whip out the phone as that's what's on me). From memory though, it's anywhere between 3-5m.

        4. yogo's statement about standing about 5m back is on point. Of course, it depends on whether you're just after head and shoulders, upper body or full body in the portrait.

        I also agree with TurnipHead's advice below. Will add on some additional thoughts down there.

  • +1

    Definately go second hand is my advice. Most photographers (as you would know) are pretty particular about keeping things clean and functioning as they should. To that end, 80-90 of the used gear I have seen can be purchased sight unseen.

    Tried FB marketplace?
    Here's an ad I saw for the 75mm. @$450 it's great value but the only caustion and why I haven't bought it is it's from an event photographer so it has probably seen a bit of use. But having said that I'm sure it's been taken care of as it is his tool of trade (back to my point about photographers being particular and careful with their gear).
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/m43buyswapsellaustralia/perm...

    There's a 45mm in this bundle and in my experience they can be had for about $250-300 (shipping additional) that the seller might be willing to sell separately.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/m43buyswapsellaustralia/perm...

    Both ads from MFT FB page.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/m43buyswapsellaustralia/?ref...

    In my experience 45mm I have to stand about 5m back from the subject. And group photos or portraits might require an extra couple of steps, so it is quite tight. I bought mine from cash converters (I know right..?) About 1 yr ago and it basically hasnt left my camera. I mainly shoot portraits and events, and very rarely wildlife and landscapes.

    My 2c. Hope that helps!

  • +1

    BTW…I think you would probably find the rendering of the Olympus 40-150mm 2.8 pro quite nice. If you're interested in portraiture, it should be considered a great secondhand option if you're looking around the $800 mark. I paid $865 for mine in excellent used condition, with a 1.4x tele-convertor. Taking into account that the depth of field in this system is never going to be as shallow as full frame, the 40-150mm 2.8 Pro still produces a very nice quality bokeh in out of focus areas, and is sharp enough to cut. It's a great lens for shooting people.

    It should excel at the sort of pics you're doing, though you might appreciate a shorter wide end (40mm in micro four-thirds is like 80mm in full-frame - bang on portrait length, but not much good for environmental portraiture). The shots you've linked look to me like they're in the 35-50mm equivalent range - so you're looking for 17mm-25mm in micro four-thirds lenses to emulate that. You won't get a terribly shallow depth of field at these focal lengths in the micro four-thirds system (depth of field isn't necessarily tied to delicious bokeh though).

  • +2

    75 1.8 is bokehlicious

    Very tight to work in tho being 150mm effective focal length

    • +1

      Would I have to stand 10m away from my subject tho 😅

  • +1

    Assuming that you're coming from a smartphone getting a pro lens first up seems like overkill. I'd go for small lenses to take advantage of the size, weight and cost benefits of M43. If after a year or so, you want better quality glass, you can always upgrade to a pro zoom or pro prime.

    For portraits you'd want something like the Olympus 45mm 1.8 or the Panasonic 42.5mm 1.7. If willing to spend more, the Sigma 56mm is very good for the price. I'd avoid the 75mm as the focal length would take some adjusting to (+ the Sigma is better and cheaper anyway).

    For landscapes, a cheap zoom would do fine (Panasonic 12-32, Olympus 14-42 EZ or Panasonic 14-42 II) especially as it's not your primary use case. Any of the 3 can be had for $100-150 off ebay/Gumtree/FB.

    • cheers! appreciate the consideration :D

      • +2

        Agree with TurnipHead's advice to go for the cheaper lenses first. You can assemble a pretty decent set up with a combination of cheap zooms and primes.

        I would personally go into a dedicated camera store to try out different primes to gauge how far back from a subject you need to stand to get the shot you want. You'd be looking at primes between 25mm and 45mm that are at least f/1.8… set the aperture to max and take the "same" shot with each lens. You'd need to stand further back each time and the bokeh will change. You don't need to buy from them… just say you need to think a bit more about which lens is right for you and that you'll come back after you've made your mind up.

        If this isn't an option, I'd start with getting the 12-32mm… you won't be getting the shallow depth of field you want with this lens but it will solve your landscape needs and enable you to test out focal lengths between 25-32mm for portraits. If you find that at 32mm you are framing up the shot you want and cannot step back anymore, then the 42.5mm or 45mm lenses won't be suitable for you. One of the 25mm lenses or even the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 would be better.

        Ideally, you'd want to be able to walk back that extra few steps to use the 42.5mm or 45mm lenses. But you may need to compromise with a shorter focal length as opposed to getting a lens that's not practical to use in your situation.

        EDIT: If given the choice, I would always take a zoom lens that starts at 12mm vs 14mm. I personally don't find 14mm wide enough for my needs. 12mm is usually widen enough for any landscape shot I'm taking and also indoor shots where standing further back is often prohibited by the existence of a wall. That's why I recommended the 12-32mm as opposed to the 14-42mm options.

        • +1

          I totally agree around going into a camera store - even if they don't let you try the lenses that you're after, you can always play around with what's hooked up and have a look at the size of various lenses.

          Also echo Mugsy's thoughts re 25mm. It isn't a classical portrait length but it can be a more practical length when if you cannot step back more. You can't go wrong with any of the 4 cheapish options.

          And if you're totally overwhelmed by choice, that's one of the benefits M43 - it has an extensive, high quality (and generally affordable) lens library :)

  • Your photos are mostly partial to full-body shots, which the 17mm & 25mm lenses look best for.
    The 45mm will limit you to head shots and therefore necessitate moving back a lot (at least 5 meter) if you want any body part. Make sure you have the space in your studio with this lens.

    • Heard there are distortions for 17mm lenses, is that true for most lenses under 20mm?

      • Best to read reviews on individual lenses as distortion (amount and type) will most likely differ with each lens.

        That said, I think distortion matters more for landscape and architecture, much less for portraiture.

  • Helios 44 58mm f2 M42

  • +2

    Hey everyone! I went ahead with the Oly 45mm 1.8 first! Found a nice deal here: https://www.cccwarehouse.com.au/xcart/pc/Olympus-45mm-f-1-8-...

    $337ish with priority shipping cause the missus and I couldn't wait 2 more weeks for it to be shipped from Amazon at $322 here: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00CI3R53W/

    I'll camp until EOFY to buy the other lenses 👀

    Thanks for all your help everyone 🙏

    • +1

      Hope the lens turns out to be what you're after! And hope it arrives in a timely manner. Postage these days is a bit iffy.

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