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Best Lenses for the OMD-EM5

Elliot Bernstein , Jun 28, 2013; 12:20 p.m.

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?


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Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Jun 28, 2013; 01:06 p.m.

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.

John Farrar , Jun 28, 2013; 01:58 p.m.

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.

Bruce Rubenstein , Jun 28, 2013; 03:49 p.m.

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.

Elliot Bernstein , Jun 29, 2013; 04:58 a.m.

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.

Bruce Rubenstein , Jun 29, 2013; 10:37 a.m.

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.

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Jun 29, 2013; 11:23 a.m.

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).

Pine forest: OM-D, 40-150mm, hand held.

LIU Kwok Wah , Jul 01, 2013; 09:14 a.m.

All depend on what you shoot. For me, 60mm is good for marco & portrait.

Elliot Bernstein , Jul 01, 2013; 02:44 p.m.

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.

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Jul 01, 2013; 06:04 p.m.

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.

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