Best Lenses for the OMD-EM5

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by elliot|1, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. I have an E-PL1 and just bought an OMD-EM5. I have only one lens currently, the Lumix 20mm f1.7 which I am very satisfied with. The body I ordered comes with the12-50mm. What high optic quality lenses, either prime of zoom would you recommend?
  2. Another OM-D / Nikon user here. I have the 45mm Oly prime, Pany 14-45 & 20mm, Oly 9-18 and 40-150 zooms. For HQ, I'd look at the Pany 12-35 and 35-100 f2.8 options & the Oly 17 f1.8, 45mm f1.8, 60mm macro and 75mm f1.8 lenses. 12mm f2 Oly also good.
  3. My prime trinity with the OM D EM5 is 12/2.0 and 45/1.8 (Olympus) and 20/1.7 (Panasonic). I'm happy with all three. One word of caution - the first 12/2.0 I got was simply not sharp and had to go back; so did the Olympus 40-150 (very good value once you get a sharp one) and 12-50 kit lens - both badly decentred. I'd recommend a careful test of any M43 lens and only buying from a source with a good returns policy.
  4. What and how you shoot, and what you do with images afterwards, determines what lens you need. Don't say "I shoot everything", because that would include professional sports and you'd be less than happy with an E-PL1 & 20/1.7 for that.
  5. Up until recently I have shot primarily with higher end Nikon gear. The E-PL1 has been my 'fun' camera. Due to illness, weight has become an issue and because I have always enjoyed my E-PL1, have decided to upgrade to the OMD for superior AF plus all the other improvements/features the OMD has to offer.
    I originally used my E-PL1 with the kit lens but was not extremely satisfied its IQ. The Lumix 20mm was always highly recommended and I have been extremely pleased with it. I am looking for other lenses that give similar IQ quality to the 20mm.
    I process with DXO software and its lens softness correction feature is excellent but I still prefer high quality glass to start with.
    Simon, thanks for the recommendations. I am considering several of your choices.
    Bruce, while I do shot a variety of subjects including sports on occasion, I still have my Nikon gear for that if necessary. Frankly I don't know what to expect with the OMD (I have never even handled one). But as I have always been extremely pleased with the IQ of my E-PL1/Lumix combo, I am know I will enjoy the OMD!
    FWIW, my first camera when I was around 10 years old (long ago) was the Olympus 35RC, an amazing little camera with an incredibly capable/sharp lens.
  6. For high end, native lenses there are basically two paths: primes and zooms. I started with µ4/3 before Panasonic brought out the 12-35/2.8 & 35-100/2.8 zooms, so I went with primarily primes. The primes are excellent. I get better IQ with any of the 16mp µ4/3 bodies than I did with my D7000 and Nikon primes. (primarily due to more consistent & accurate AF - the strong suit of CDAF) The weakness of primes is that if you shoot in rapidly changing environments (no time to "zoom with your feet" or change lenses) zooms are more practical. Unless you make very large prints, pixel peep at 200% or want a very shallow DOF look, the image quality is comparable. Again, the lenses should compliment your style of shooting.
    One thing to keep in mind is that at the far ends of the focal length ranges, zooms are the only game in town and Panasonic and Olympus lenses zoom in opposite directions.
  7. Yes Elliot, it was health issues that got me too! I loved my D300, but couldn't manage the weight. The OM-D has been a photographic life saver. IQ betters the D300 for colour, noise and detail. I went away for a week recently and left my Pany 14-45 at home by mistake. The 40-150mm saw a lot of action! The 45mm is outstanding for portraits and is excellent value. I now have a D7000 for weddings and events, mainly due to the superior flash capability and dual SD cards.
    I process with either DxO (brilliant lens correction capability) or Lightroom 5. DxO gives me better colour and noise reduction, Lightroom better highlight and shadow recovery if needed. Sharpness is about the same with either.
    The OM-D has relatively poor (compared with Nikon) TTL flash. The pre-flash is obvious and the delay before exposure noticeable. The lowest ISO of 200 is also a pain when balancing flash outdoors (1/160th max sync speed). Battery life is also poor (I have six). Auto WB is better than the D7000 by quite a margin. Focus accuracy is very good, as is AF speed, but focus tracking not up to D300 standards. Only the flash capability kept me from getting a second body for weddings and events - an area where Nikon excels.
    You'll enjoy it, especially as you are much more likely to have it with you than a bag full of Nikon gear. The OM-D, 9-18mm, 14-45mm and 40-150mm lenses are my standard walkabout kit - and combined, they weigh about the same as a D300 body and 35mm f1.8 (less in reality as the OM-D is on a OP-TECH strap over my shoulder and the spare lenses are in a shoulder bag).
  8. All depend on what you shoot. For me, 60mm is good for marco & portrait.
  9. Basically I am starting an Olympus system almost from scratch, the only lens I have is the Lumix 20mm f1.7 and I have the FL 14 flash which I hope will work with the OMD, and I want to invest in top quality glass.
  10. In which case Elliot, it's the Pany 12-35mm and 35-100mm for zooms (someone I know who normally prefers primes has admitted defeat given the excellent quality of the 35-100mm f2.8.) For w/a, I'd go for the 12mm f2 Oly if you want a prime. Of the ultra-wides, the pany 7-14mm f4 is well regarded but cannot take filters, unlike the Oly 9-18mm (I have this and it's pretty decent). You also need to remember that diffraction sets in quite early (about f6.3) but is acceptable up to f11.
  11. Simon - is it safe to conclude that the two Panasonic zooms are good choices for the OM-D? I've read several reviews, and followed this thread, and that's the conclusion I'm coming to. I'm considering buying a body and those two lenses to replace a bunch of other stuff I have now. Interested in anyone's thoughts.
  12. Yes Bob - expensive, but sound choices! I sold all my Nikon gear to go down the OM-D route, but still cannot afford those zooms! Is it happens, I've now bought back into Nikon for other reasons, but have kept faith with the new Olympus gear.
  13. if i was building an OM-D system, i'd start with the 12/2, the panaleica 25/1.4, and the 45/1.8. you may not need more than that. the 12-35/35-70 zooms are nice if you're shooting video, but i'm not sure their cost is justifiable, since the OM-D isn't great at focus tracking. for sports/events/concerts, i would rather use a full-size DSLR.
  14. Thanks all. I am expecting my camera early next week and have just ordered the 45mm f1.8 as I really like shooting with my 85mm on my Nikon gear and this lens should give me the focal length equivalent I like. I know I am going to love that lens. Thanks Eric, John and Simon for suggesting it. I will probably add the 75mm f1.8 next. The idea of having 150mm FOV at f1.8 is quite appealing!
    For now, I think I will stick with primes to save weight although I am considering the Panasonic 100-300mm - I have several long Nikon lenses and they are quite bulky and heavy - I like the idea of having 600mm FOV in a lightweight lens.
  15. your lens selection should reflect what you shoot. Sometimes I shoot outdoors in less than nice conditions - for me, the 12-50 is ideal for that. If I have to pick, I would go with the 7-14, 12-35, 35-100, 100-300. Add the 17/1.8 and the 75/1.8 and I'm fine. I like versatility.
  16. Also thanks from me for the responses. I prefer zooms, or at least one high-quality mid-range zoom for the landscape work I do. It's kind of "intimate" landscapes, shooting in streams, around waterfalls, at lake shores, and the versatility of a zoom allows me to frame what I want. I can shoot primes with my Hasselblad/film or Nikon D700 equipment, although not as conveniently, of course. Thanks again.
  17. "your lens selection should reflect what you shoot"
    Until now, that has worked for me. Things are a little different and changes are necessary. I have numerous prime and zoom lenses for my Nikon gear, but think I will need to stick with primes for now because of weight issues. I truly just want to be able to keep shooting - photography has been a lifelong hobby.
  18. Elliot, the Panasonic f2.8 zooms are surprisingly light. My standard walkabout kit is the OM-D plus 9-18, 14-45 and 40-150mm lenses. The 20 & 45 tend to stay at home! That said, the 45mm is exceptionally good for the money - and even lighter! I think my three prime walkabout set would be the 12mm f2, 20mm f1.7 and 45mm f1.8 lenses. No tripods to worry about either thanks to a combination of fast lenses and in body image stabilisation. As I have some peripheral neoropathy in both hands plus other medications which increase clumsiness, I try to keep lens changes to a minimum.
    To help with weight issues (formerly ruptured disk & other spinal degeneration plus sciatica & dodgy knee) I use a OP_TECH strap with the slidy sling thing attachment so I have the camera over my one shoulder plus a very lightweight shoulder bag with the other lenses and the usual walking about stuff.
    For those of us with health issues, the OM-D has been wonderfully liberating. My Nikon D7000 looks like an overweight monster in comparison, although I prefer it for some applications.
  19. I received my camera yesterday, and I'm quite impressed. Both Canon and Nikon could learn a good lesson from Olympus as far as design and functionality. The original purchase I made fell through, and I ended up getting the Olympus 14-42mm kit lens with it. I only took a couple of shots with it, but is actually quite good and very light. I plan on giving that lens to my son with my old EPL-1.
    Thanks to all for your recommendations. It appears the 4/3 zoom lenses are quite light in weight and offer excellent IQ, so it is making my lens decisions difficult. I plan on getting one long zoom (either the Olympus 75-300mm or the Panasonic 100-300mm) for my outdoor sports photography needs- and am not sure what right now to do for my other lenses... fortunately I am not in a rush and am very pleased with my 20mm.
    Although I have primarily shot with zoom lenses for my Nikon gear, I have been forced to use my primes and like their IQ and don't mind cropping on the computer.
  20. Good news Elliot. There are a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to OM-D users - I've found the UK group (closed, invite only) to be very good and very non-judgemental. PM me if interested.
  21. I prefer primes. For my taste, the 25 f 1.4 and 75 f1.8 are the best native lenses, but big and heavy.

    I suggest you look at images taken with each lens in real-world use. Flickr and (which has lens specific image
    threads) are great places to see what a lens is capable of.

    If you are looking for small and lightweight, mine are not great choices. If you want light, handy primes, the 14 f2.5 is
    handy, focuses quickly (not as fast as the 25 f1.4 speed daemon, but faster than most) and it is low cost, too. The 45 f1.8
    is surprisingly small and not at all heavy.
  22. I have just started with the Olympus OM-D system myself. So far I have the 12-50 and 40-150. Next up is the 45 f1.8 which I will buy in January. Although there are many great lenses out there I have decided to stick with system lenses. I figure there is really no way for me to determine if all the electronics and features will work out to my satisfaction otherwise. Since the Zuiko line looks great I will just stay with that and I am sure I will be in good hands.
    The 45mm f1.8 will be next as I said and then after that I will let my shooting needs determine what I might want to have. I may not need more glass then the 3 lenses. I am not going to buy the new fast zooms coming out. They will be to expensive and the weight of them will not work out with my idea of a light kit. I understand 30lbs of Olympus gear weighs about the same as 30lbs of Nikon gear. I want to avoid that for the future. As a older very fit adult I am finding that all day hikes with 30lbs of camera gear sucks the life out of me. No more of that for me.
  23. I use 20mm F 1.7 and 45 MM Olympus 1.8. Both are amazingly sharp and are now my regular travel companions (professionally I use Canon 5d3 with assortment of L series lenses). I've used them both on several road and backpacking trips and I always get excellent results. They are ultra light too and In my opinion yield the best quality to weight ratio.
    Just get another prime (45 mm) and keep it simple. It will make you a better photographer and force you to be more creative. I still own the ultra wide angle, Panasonic 7-14 F4, which is an excellent lens and has great build quality but I rarely use it these days as I started to dislike ultra wide angle shots in recent years.
    Here's my travel blog post, shot exclusively with Olympus OMD-Em3 and 20 and 45 mm lenses.

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