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  1. #1
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    Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Hi everyone, About a year ago I (a previous point and shoot user only) used these message boards to post a question about buying my first DSLR, which I eventually did, thanks to the extremely helpful members of this forum. I ended up buying a used Canon Rebel XT with 3 lenses and a bunch of accessories. I loved the camera, but for what I was primarily using it for (Outside shots, mostly for vacation travel), it was big, and bulky and hard to transport. I recently sold the Canon and am planning on buying an Olympus Pen, due to the more compact size. I'm on a VERY strict budget, so after reading countless reviews, I have decided to go with the E-PL1. I know many of you will argue for the E-PL2, but you have to know I am at the most basic level of beginners photography a person can be at. I don't need the upgrades the E-PL2 adds, especially when all I want is to be able to take nice pictures - as in, nicer than a point and shoot produces. With that said, I am heading to Alaska for 2 weeks this August and I want to be prepared with my new Pen camera. I was originally just going to buy the kit which includes the camera + the standard 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens. However, I do not typically change lenses (mostly because of my lack of knowledge about them), and I like having one, good, versatile lens that can cover me. I have been looking into the 40-150mm f/4-5.6 Zuiko ED Zoom Lens, as I read this is a pretty versatile lens that should suit beginners well. My question is this, do you recommend that lens for my needs? And if that lens is good, do I even need the 14-42mm lens that comes with the kit, or can I just buy the body + the 40-150mm lens? And are there any other lenses you would recommend?

    Any advice would be appreciated, Thank you all so much!

  2. #2
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    If it were me I would stick with the 14-42mm. Unless of course you are going to shoot wildlife.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  3. #3
    Katherine
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Hey Ashley,
    I got the E-PL1 back around March of last year and it was my first "real" camera. I don't feel like I've outgrown it yet and I haven't really been chomping at the bit to get one of the newer models. Maybe in another year or so I'll upgrade the body, but for now I'm still perfectly happy with it.

    I've gotten a *lot* of milage out of the 14-42mm kit lens and it has really taught me a lot. For Christmas I got the Panasonic 45-200mm and I've been really, really happy with it. It's pretty darn small (IMHO), lightweight and I can comfortably carry both the 14-42 and the 45-200 in a small camcorder bag. Changing lenses is a snap and has never really been a problem. Most of the time I still approach picking a lens with the idea that if I can't get up close to what I want, I go with the longer lens; If I can't back up far enough, I grab the shorter lens.

    I did quite a bit of research between that Pannasonic and the Oly 40-150 and went with the Panasonic for the slightly longer reach (I was often frustrated at not being able to zoom in enough on birds at the park, animals at the zoo, etc). The Panasonic seemed to edge out the Olympus a bit in image quality, but it was really close. For me, I think it has been worth the extra money for the difference between them. However, most everything I read about both lenses was complimentary and encouraging though.

    Unless you go with something like the Olympus 14-150mm, I think you may miss having the 14-42 focal range. Especially somewhere like Alaska where you might want to be able to catch wider shots of general scenery, etc. But you may also want to be able to zoom in on wildlife that you can't necessary walk up to. It just depends on what kind of sight seeing you are going to be doing. I know I've gone places with just the 45-200 and regretted it.

    If the Panasonic is out of the budget, I think Olympus is also offering the E-PL1 with the 14-42 and the 40-150 for $550 new/$480 refurb. They also have the E-PL1 with a 14-150 for around $700 I think; but that starts really hiking up the price and if I were in your situation, I'd rather spend that money on the VF-2

    If it was me, I would try to go with the largest range of focal lengths possible within my budget, so that I was prepared for whatever came my way. Don't be afraid of changing lenses. You may want to invest a little time researching when to use what, but being able to swap a lens out is what really makes these cameras special!

  4. #4
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Thank you SO much Katherine for that detailed answer, it was super helpful and insightful!

    The more I think about it, the more I do think the 14-42 would come in handy, and really, the price was about a $50 difference if I would only buy the 40-150 so in the grand scheme of things, it would be well worth it. I'm sure I will get the hang of which lens is more appropriate for each situation in time.

    I know in Alaska there will be a lot of opportunity for the wider landscape and scenery type shots, which is really what I look forward to capturing. Do you (or anyone for that matter) have any suggestions on accessories for those kinds of shots? I've read a lot about filters and lens covers but I've never purchased any so I'm not sure where to start.

  5. #5
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley8053 View Post
    Thank you SO much Katherine for that detailed answer, it was super helpful and insightful!

    The more I think about it, the more I do think the 14-42 would come in handy, and really, the price was about a $50 difference if I would only buy the 40-150 so in the grand scheme of things, it would be well worth it. I'm sure I will get the hang of which lens is more appropriate for each situation in time.

    I know in Alaska there will be a lot of opportunity for the wider landscape and scenery type shots, which is really what I look forward to capturing. Do you (or anyone for that matter) have any suggestions on accessories for those kinds of shots? I've read a lot about filters and lens covers but I've never purchased any so I'm not sure where to start.
    When I shoot landscapes I use a 2 stop ND grad most of the time. I am not sure what size you will need it just depends on what lens you end up getting. A ND grad will tone down the skies and bring out more detail in the foreground. Let me know which lens you wind up getting and I will help you with some options.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  6. #6
    Katherine
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Ashley -

    You're very welcome and I'm glad it helped some! When I was trying to decide between the Panny and the Oly lenses, it really felt like a win-win situation. So I think you'll be really happy with the Olympus 40-150.

    I don't know much about filters yet, but Greg certainly knows his stuff! I may do some reading about them in the next few days as I'm interested in learning more about them as well. If I come across any helpful information I'd be happy to pass it along but fair warning, I am going to be starting with the most basic info.

  7. #7
    Buglin Billy
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    For those of you who have this camera, can you tell me if it is mirrorless and if so is it a lot quieter than say the Olympus E3 or E5. Thanks and hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread a bit. Also is the new model that much better and that much more money?

    Thanks BB
    Olympus E-3

    Olympus E-5

    Zuiko Digital ED
    70-300mm
    F4.0-5.6

    Zuiko Digital ED
    12-60mm
    F2.8-4.0 SWD

    Zuiko Digital ED
    50mm
    F2.0 Macro

    Zuiko Digital ED
    50-200mm
    F2.8-3.5 SWD


    Zuiko Digital ED
    90-250mm
    F2.8

    A promise made is a debt unpaid!

  8. #8
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Quieter shutter? Yes it's a little quieter overall.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  9. #9
    Buglin Billy
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Greg, you say a little quiter. I need a camera that takes a great photo (better than a point and shoot) but as quite as one. Would this fill the bill?

    Thanks for any help. BB
    Olympus E-3

    Olympus E-5

    Zuiko Digital ED
    70-300mm
    F4.0-5.6

    Zuiko Digital ED
    12-60mm
    F2.8-4.0 SWD

    Zuiko Digital ED
    50mm
    F2.0 Macro

    Zuiko Digital ED
    50-200mm
    F2.8-3.5 SWD


    Zuiko Digital ED
    90-250mm
    F2.8

    A promise made is a debt unpaid!

  10. #10
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by buglinbilly View Post
    Greg, you say a little quiter. I need a camera that takes a great photo (better than a point and shoot) but as quite as one. Would this fill the bill?

    Thanks for any help. BB

    It is about half as quite. But I think it would spook a deer or any other wildlife. If that is what you are after. I would also find it hard to handle with the 50-200mm on it. The AF would be slower. You would also need the VF2 finder I would think. But it works well.
    I find the camera so small it is hard to hold up for long periods when shooting video.
    Not to be negative it is an awesome camera. But if I had to choose one to shoot wildlife it would be the E5.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  11. #11
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Hi Ashley, coincidentally I was just in Alaska with the new E-P3 and an assortment of lenses. I found that I used the 14-150 the most. I was able to get some decent zoomed shots of wildlife (whales, eagle) as well as nice shots of the scenery, and it worked well photographing people too. I have to save most of my comments and sample shots for the column, but I hope this little bit of experience helps. Not sure where you'll be, but I've got some great tour recommendations too if you're going to be on the ground in the Seward area!
    Megan

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  12. #12
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    I ended up getting the E-PL1 with the standard 4-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens and the 40-150mm f/4-5.6 Zuiko ED Zoom Lens. I've only played around with the camera a little since I received it, but the size and weight of the camera and lenses is fantastic! Knowing what lenses I have now, what accessories/filters would you recommend for my upcoming Alaska vacation?

    Megan - Great to hear the new Pen did well on your trip, It looks like a great camera! I hope my E-PL1 does just as well. Would you mind sending me your column when you get it all together? Our trip does not actually include Seward, we will be in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway on the cruise and then Denali and Fairbanks. I'm very excited, and I hope to come home with some great shots!

  13. #13
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    To be sure an extra battery. Plenty of memory. I would look into the Cokin A series nd grand.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  14. #14
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Congrats on your new camera! I'm sure you'll be happy. The column will be here on PhotographyReview, I'll come back and link it when it's up. In the meantime - I'd better go type it!
    Megan

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  15. #15
    Liz
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by megan View Post
    Congrats on your new camera! I'm sure you'll be happy. The column will be here on PhotographyReview, I'll come back and link it when it's up. In the meantime - I'd better go type it!
    Looking forward to it Megan. And the images. You lucky girl......hope you're enjoying the opportunity to be one of the very first!

    Liz

  16. #16
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    I certainly did. Was sad to send it back!
    Megan

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  17. #17
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley8053 View Post
    I Megan - Great to hear the new Pen did well on your trip, It looks like a great camera! I hope my E-PL1 does just as well. Would you mind sending me your column when you get it all together? Our trip does not actually include Seward, we will be in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway on the cruise and then Denali and Fairbanks. I'm very excited, and I hope to come home with some great shots!
    Megan's article was published today:

    Olympus E-P3 Pen Camera Alaska Adventure >>

    And if you haven't seen it already, here's a link to the travel-oriented Olympus E-PL1 review I wrote last spring:

    Olympus E-PL1 Pro Review >>

    I have an Olympus E-P3 review unit that I'll be taking to Italy next week. I really like the Pen cameras for travel - especially with all the new lenses. Most of the time I just use the 14-150mm. It's an awesome zoom range, it's super quiet and the optics are very good.
    Photo-John

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  18. #18
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    Question Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    Please don't be annoyed with me for my question. I haven't enough posts to create a new post. This is however about this camera.

    I have purchased the E-PL1 and received the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm for Christmas.... Much to my chagrin the lens doesn't fit That having been said would this lens work if I were to purchase the Olympus MMF-2 MFT Lens Adapter Olympus p#260964? If not, what would it take to make this work?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie Question about the E-PL1 and Lenses

    huh? Doesn't fit?? Are you lining up the dots?

    No, the Oly 40-150mm is an M43 lens, it should fit. Check the base of the lens and see if there are any scratches or anything that would obstruct the path, compare it to your kit 14-42mm.
    - Charlie

    Feel free to edit and repost my work as a part of your critique.

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