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Old Sep 15, 2011, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default N00b - Olympus e420 - Low light lens suggestions?

Hello all, I bought an olympus e420 few years ago and barely used it, mainly because the kit lens that came with it did not take nice pictures in low light conditions...

Im sure this is a good camera but my ignorance in this field has made me skeptical into investing a few hundred bucks in a lens...

Can anybody please suggest me a lens or two that i can use indoors, in low light conditions, so I can make use of this camera?

The lenses that I have so far are the olympus 17.5-45mm and the 40-150mm

Thank you in advance
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Old Sep 16, 2011, 9:04 AM   #2
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We're happy to help, but we need to know a bit more about your needs. Are you trying to avoid using a flash unit? Are you trying to shoot fast-moving people or objects? There's a big difference in price between a good lens faster than yours plus a flash unit, versus a really fast lens that you can use indoors without flash. (You're looking at around $2K for the latter.) I'm asking because you didn't mention whether you have a flash unit (external, not the pop-up in your E-420).

Ted
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Old Sep 16, 2011, 11:55 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply Ted, sorry for the ambiguity, I don't have an external flash, let's say we go with approach one, flash + faster lens, what kind of flash and lens do you recommend? I don't really need zoom and the pictures would be of people looking at the camera and smiling, so im guessing i don't need a very fast lens either, I found the Olympus Zuiko Digital 25 mm F/2.8 Lens, from what I've read its a great match with my camera given the small size but I couldn't find anybody commenting on how it performs indoors, what do you think?

**I would prefer avoiding the flash as much as possible but not really planning on investing 2k on olympus, so looking for a cheaper alternative!

John

Last edited by dngloz; Sep 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM.
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Old Sep 16, 2011, 5:10 PM   #4
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Default Need help from this forum on an external flash recommendation

John, I don't understand why you don't want to drop 2 large on a lens - doesn't money grow on trees?

Just kidding. The 25mm f/2.8 is commonly called the pancake (due to its shape). It is a good lens and very small so it would do well with your small Oly, and suit your need quite well IMO. I use one and the photos it takes are far better than you might expect from such a tiny lens. That combination (the pancake on an E-4xx) is very commonly used as a walkaround (aka "street") rig because it's inobtrusive, and lightweight so you don't mind carrying it around for a long time. Many folks get a wrist strap for it, such as the Optech neoprene strap:

http://www.amazon.com/OP-TECH-USA-67...6210096&sr=8-1

With a lightweight combination a wrist strap is much less annoying than a neck strap, and you look much less like a tourist dork. (Ducking my head for the abuse I'm gonna get for that comment, from the folks here who use neck straps. )

F/2.8 is a decent speed and with an external flash it would be plenty fast. Oly makes two external flash units, the FL36R and the more powerful FL-50R. Oly flash units tend to be pricey and I believe Metz makes some good flash units that are less expensive. I don't use flash much so I can't help much on this part of your question. ANYONE ELSE HERE HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH METZ FLASH UNITS?

Regardless of which flash you get, you'll want to get the Demb Flip-It reflector - the 3" ("Photo-Journalist") reflector will be fine for what you're doing. You want that reflector because a flash aimed directly at the subject causes very harsh lighting. The Demb causes much softer, more flattering lighting, and is worth every penny of the $25.

http://www.dembflashproducts.com/flipit/

On the rare occasions that I use a flash, I always use that Demb.

Hope this is helpful.

Ted

Last edited by tkurkowski; Sep 16, 2011 at 5:14 PM.
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Old Sep 16, 2011, 6:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dngloz View Post
Thank you for the reply Ted, sorry for the ambiguity, I don't have an external flash, let's say we go with approach one, flash + faster lens, what kind of flash and lens do you recommend? I don't really need zoom and the pictures would be of people looking at the camera and smiling, so im guessing i don't need a very fast lens either, I found the Olympus Zuiko Digital 25 mm F/2.8 Lens, from what I've read its a great match with my camera given the small size but I couldn't find anybody commenting on how it performs indoors, what do you think?

**I would prefer avoiding the flash as much as possible but not really planning on investing 2k on olympus, so looking for a cheaper alternative!

John
Photography is all about light. If you have enough light to allow the lens and camera to 'see' the subject, then you're fine. I know that statement makes me sound like I'm, treating you like a moron. Trust me, I'm not. It's just that people forget how important light is to capturing a sharp image, properly exposed.

If you're indoors, generally, the light is artificial and not nearly as strong as sunlight. So, the solution is to add more light OR get a much faster lens- that lets in enough light to compensate for the lack thereof.

A flash with a simple diffuser can provide you with very pleasing results, does not have to look artificial, and does not have to cost you an arm and leg to buy. Frankly, I would suggest you get a used FL36 flash. It will work perfectly with your E-420. A used one can generally be found at KEH.com, B&H photo.com, fourthirdsphoto.com's buy/sell forum. or craiglist. I paid $125 for mine.

I use a fl36 and find it meets my needs quite nicely. I'm also cheap. So, instead of buying a demb diffuser, cut the bottom 2 inches off of a plastic isopropyl alcohol bottle and use that as my diffuser.

Another, option is to use a faster lens. The 50mm f2.0 macro is a great lens
and on the used market, you can pick one up for around $350.00.

Another cost effective option, albeit, will require you to really get comfortable with your equipment, is to buy a legacy lens (one that was originally used with a 35mm slr film camera). There are many fine legacy
lenses out there that could do what you. What would be required is:

An appropriate adapter.
Your ability to manually focus the lens,
use the camera in manual mode
after focusing, you can step down the aperture for the appropriate exposure.
Sounds like lot of work. but, it's quite simple.
You actually wouldn't be doing anything other than treating the camera as a film camera.

As for lens suggestions,
Olympus has a 50mm f1.8 lens
Konica has a couple of Hexanon series lenses that are great. Either the 40mm f1.8 or the 50mm f1.7 are wonderfully sharp.
My favorite is the Minolta Rokkor 50mm f1.4
All of the above can be bought on the used market for 50 bucks or less.
An appropriate adapter will run around 20bucks.

So, for around 70bucks, you too can take photos in low light.

Hope this helps.

Zig
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Old Sep 16, 2011, 7:57 PM   #6
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Hi: I don't currently own an accessory flash, but I have heard more than one enthusiastic recommendation for the Vivitar 285HV flash for Oly E-series cameras.

It is usually on Amazon for about $95 to $100. If I decide to add a flash in the future, it will be at the top of my list to investigate.
While I guess it would not have the bells and whistles that the Oly Flash Units would have, for the price, I have heard that it is an excellent value.

It you decide to get one, be sure and tell us on the forum your experience with it.

Good luck.

Steven R.
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Old Sep 17, 2011, 7:11 AM   #7
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Default re inexpensive flash

I had a Vivitar 383 which worked well and was TTL capable. However, after it took a fall, I can tell you that I could not even get a reply from Vivitar...zero customer support despite several attempts to contact them.
Although it has its critics, I picked up a used Olympus FL-36 and find it a pretty good flash, especially when you need TTL capability. I also have a Sunpak 283 flash that has worked well and is much sturdier than the Vivitar. If I were to buy a new cheapie, I'd give serious consideration to one of the Yongnuo units you can find on Ebay for around $40. I suggest that if buying a cheapie, make sure it is a unit that allows you to easily adjust the output power of the flash.

Once you start using a flash, you may want to experiment with using the flash off the body using a cord or some cheapie wireless flash triggers.
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Old Sep 17, 2011, 10:17 AM   #8
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I've got the Vivitar DF-383 and have had no problems with it. I had the FL36R and did NOT like it. Went through batteries like crazy because there's only 2 AAs. And, because of only 2 AAs, recover time for the next flash was abysmally slooooooooowww. I like the 383 but have never had to use the tech support.
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Old Sep 17, 2011, 4:05 PM   #9
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G'day dng

I have today posted a reply to "toshi" regarding inexpensive flashguns
You might also find it of interest

Regards, Phil
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Old Sep 18, 2011, 1:22 AM   #10
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Thank you all for your replies,

Ted, I tried getting the 25mm off ebay but i lost the auction at the last few seconds so i'm now thinking of starting with the 50mm that Zig suggested, I will try it without a flash initially, I think f2.0 would be enough for low light, I had never seen this lens before, it has amazing reviews everywhere! I messaged a couple of local sellers, I even found one who was selling the flash fl36r and the 50mm along with other things, offered him 450$ for the flash and the lens, hope he gets back to me and I start taking nice pics

Thank you all for your great support, congrats Zig on the photo of the day, I hope one day I'll be able to take such nice photos myself


John
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