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Seeking Advice on Lenses

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  • Seeking Advice on Lenses

    Hi Everyone
    I'm a seasoned Canon DSLR user but I've reached the age where some lighter kit is needed so I've just bought an E-M10 and I'm new to M4/3.
    I like the camera a lot and it certainly meets the size and weight requirement.
    However I think the 14-42mm f1/3.5-1/5.6 II R kit lens which came with the camera is probably not doing the camera justice.
    Can any users recommend lenses for wide angle, standard, telephoto and macro photography.

  • #2
    Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

    For wide-angle there are 2 choices: Zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6 and Lumix 7-14m f/4.
    The Zuiko is smaller, lightweight and cheaper.
    The Lumix is a bit more exotic, faster and with even more dramatic perspective but more prone to flare due to its curved front element.

    Both provide very good image quality with the Lumix having the edge in my opinion.

    There are more options for a standard lens (40-60mm).
    Lumix 20mm f/1.7 provides excellent image quality in pancake dimensions but I find it to be pretty slow in AF performance (even the newer version), especially for its price.
    Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 is a wonderful lens in all aspects, providing very good IQ in compact size and with stylish design. Maybe a bit expensive though.
    Sigma 30mm f/2.8 is quite a surprise in both IQ and price but it focal length isn't the optimal.
    Leica 25mm f/1.4 is the most expensive option but hey, it is f/1.4 and it says Leica on it!

    Telephoto options are also respectable.
    The cheapest option is the Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 but is not a bad lens. Compact, lightweight, with fast AF and adequate IQ it's very convenient lens to carry around.
    Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 provides longer focal lenght but is substantially heavier (though better built) and if you get a good copy, then you have a gem.
    Lumix 100-300mm f/4-5.6 is a personal favorite of mine, super-telephoto and great even wide open across the zoom range.
    Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 is a professional grade lens with great optics, bright and fast. Great lens.
    Zuiko 75-300 f/4.8-6.7 II is a lens i haven't tested but it is slower than the Lumix 100-300 and probably not as good.
    I have no experience from the Lumix 45-175mm but from what I read, it's not something special.

    As for macro, both Leica 45mm f/2.8 and Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 can provide excellent IQ but I would prefer the Zuiko for its longer focal length and more consistent performance.

    What you choose heavily depends on your budget and, of course, your specific needs.
    After breaking through the technology barrier,
    you run into the barrier of accepted wisdom.
    -Yoshihisa Maitani


    • #3
      Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

      Thanks for your very comprehensive reply.
      I may have to trade in some Canon lenses!


      • #4
        Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

        There's more....

        If you want an upgrade to the kit lens but without breaking the bank, the original Panasonic Lumix 14-45 3.5/5.6 is worth digging out: it doesn't have a fast aperture, but the image quality is very nice.

        Both Olympus and Panasonic make constant aperture fast standard zooms too (12-40/2.8 and 12-35/2.8 respectively) if your pockets are deep enough. If you think a pancake moderately wide angle zoom could be your thing, the Panasonic 12-32 is also very nice, and would work very well with the EM10 given its miniscule size.

        I'd suggest adding the Sigma 60/2.8 lens into the mix as a cheap and remarkably high-performing medium telephoto, and if you really want to have fun, buy a Leica lens adapter and look for some nice secondhand Voigtlander lenses

        For macro, if you don't mind manual focus I'd be tempted to suggest you consider a legacy MF macro lens and get a converter to use it on m43. It won't be small, but the image quality can be outstanding - I've had great results in the past using a Vivitar 55/2.8 1:! macro lens on m43 body.


        • #5
          Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

          Thanks for your advice. I think I might hire a couple of lenses to see how I get on - I just feel that the kit lens is not fully exploiting the camera's ability.


          • #6
            Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

            I guess you won't be short of opinions, so here's mine!!

            Wide-angle: In addition to the two zooms mentioned above by Zuiko-holic, there's the Olympus 12mm f2 and Panasonic 14mm f2.5. The Oly lens is a work of art with a metal barrel and real quality feel to it. The IQ is excellent with great contrast and sharpness even wide open. The Panasonic is much cheaper to the Oly, but it's a bit slower and the build is not as nice. Its IQ is close but not as good as the Oly. If you want super-wide, there's the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye. IQ is great and it's not too expensive.

            Normal primes As well the lenses mentioned above, there's also the Olympus 17mm f1.8 which is a great 35mm-equiv prime. Not uber-sharp wide open but most owners like them a lot (me included). Like the 12, it's got a metal barrel and a nice manual focus mode.

            Short telephoto primes No discussion of u43 telephoto lenses is complete without mentioning the Olympus 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8. The former is quite cheap but offers superb IQ. It's a great portrait lens. The latter is quite simply stellar. Probably the best lens I've used in any format. It's metal barreled too and just oozes quality.

            Longer telephoto lenses Personally, I think there is a lack of good longer lenses at the moment in the u43 camp. There are some new Oly lenses coming soon including a 300mm f4. It'll likely be good but expensive. Of the lenses listed above by Zuiko-holic, only the 35-100 lifts itself above 'consumer zoom' IMHO. That's not to say that you can't get good results with the rest of them, but they're all relatively slow and IQ is average only.

            Standard zooms The best examples in this group are the Olympus 12-40 f28 and the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8. Both are excellent (and weather sealed). They beat any of the 14-4x zooms available.

            Hope this helps and good luck!!
            E-M1ii, Pen-F and too many lenses
            Portfolio Site


            • #7
              Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

              The best way to get the right lens is to determine what one will provide you with the best value for money.

              You can use the "Exposure Plot" program to analise all your existing images and quickly identify what focal lengths you use most, what aperture is used most and that will indicate where to invest your money...


              We often repeat the mistakes we most enjoy...


              • #8
                Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

                A standard piece of advice for every m4/3 owner. Buy an mZuiko 45mm. Cheap as (posh) chips and so much fun!

                A camera takes a picture. A photographer makes a picture

                Fuji X system, + Leica and Bronica film

                My Flickr site


                • #9
                  Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

                  I have both the 60mm and 30mm f2.8 Sigma lenses. I the 19mm f2.8 is on a par with these lenses it will be a good, and cheap buy. Perhaps someone has one of the above and a 19mm to compare?
                  Too many cameras!
                  E-500, E-510, EPM1, EPL5, EP3, EP5, OM-D E M10, OM-D E M5, Trip 35mm, Samsung WP10 and Panasonic G6 plus lots of lenses many manual focus.

                  Photos at[email protected]/


                  • #10
                    Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

                    Hello Julian, welcome to the forum.

                    The answers to your questions depend very much on your priorities. The one lens that I would suggest is outstanding is the Oly 45mm f/1.8. It is tiny, weighs nothing, focusses lightning fast, delivers excellent quality, and best of all doesn't cost much.

                    Once you get past that you have to decide what is important to you - size, weight, cost, quality, flexibility of zooms vs size and faster aperture of primes etc. Most of which are mentioned in the earlier contributors' posts.

                    One area where native m43 is lacking at the moment is long and fast. There are some interesting things on the way - the Oly 45-150 f/2.8 and 300 f/4 - which will almost certainly be good and even more certainly will cost a fair bit. If you already have some Canon lenses which you like, you can get adapters to fit them onto your body. You will only have manual focus, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on your shooting style. Some people here have had great success shooting nature with long Canon telephotos, for example.

                    Good luck.



                    • #11
                      Re: Seeking Advice on Lenses

                      Thanks John - I had noticed the lack of wide apertures and long focal lengths. My priority is size and weight and I'm guessing that the new lenses you mention will be heavier. However they will probably still be a lot lighter than my equivalent Canon lens at 1.2kg.


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