Just got my 1st M43 (E-PM1) What lenses should I get?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by jimithing616, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. jimithing616

    jimithing616 New to Mu-43

    Apr 17, 2013
    I just got my first M43 or any mirrorless camera for that matter.

    I have shot basically all film since selling my Nikon d90 about 2 years ago.

    Anyway, I have a nice stable of MF lenses, Canon FD, Minolta SR, Konica AR, Nikon Ai's, Pentax M42 & K mount. Right now I have the Kit zoom lens 14-42 and I have a M42 adapter so I can use my Pentax, Yashica, and FSU lenses... Which I have maybe 8 or 9 of... so I have a nice selection...

    Anyway, what are some of YOUR favorite lenses to use on M43... what are some good focal lengths... one of my favorite lengths to use on 35m is 24mm, 85mm, and 135mm ... so obviously I would need a 12, 42, and 70ish lenses... haha

    But besides all that... what are your favorite MF lenses to adapt to your M43... what has great color, sharpness, etc... And then what are some good m43 lenses to start with? Maybe a good prime lens to start with in the 350 and under used market...

    I appreciate the help!

    By the way, i shoot candid walk around stuff... I walk the small towns around where I live, Minneapolis area, I take candid portraits, architecture, landscape-ish shots sometimes... Things like that. I prefer to be able to carry the lens though... but I am not afraid of a big lens... I have noticed some lenses are harder to handle on the E-PM1 regardless of their weight or size.. some just dont feel right... so let me know what you all think!! thanks!

    James B
  2. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    Hi James,

    I use the EPM1, although only with native AF lenses. The handling of the small camera can be greatly improved by an after market grip. I use a franiec grip which is a black anodized stick on grip which makes the handling significantly better with larger lenses. I also use a VF3. I am not a fan of holding the camera at arms length and using the LCD.

    My favourite focal length is 17mm on M43. There are 2 options for this; both Olympus.

    Some lens options for M43 are quite cheap. For your 28mm preference the Panasonic 14mm F2.5 is a quality pancake lens at an affordable price. They are everywhere on EBay for around the $170 price.

    85mm can be satisfied with the Oly 45mm F1.8. This is a fast and sharp lens that delivers crisp results. The longer option you seek would be the Oly 75mm F1.8. A wonderful lens and one of the best ever made.

    There are some third party lens also. Sigma sells a 19 and 30mm. F2.8, and soon to be released a 60mm F2.8. Although these are designed for Sony Nex, they carry the M43 mount. Some wonderful images can be taken with these lenses also, and their cost is minimal.

    A search of the threads here will list each lens, user opinions and images for you to assess.
  3. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    In terms of focal lengths anything wide and affordable is going to have to be native. The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake (~US$275-300 used) is my personal favorite: fast, small and sharp, although the common complaint is that it's a bit slow to focus. Other options you might consider are the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 (from ~$475 used) or Olympus 12mm f/2 (from ~$600 used), both of which are very capable, but bigger and more expensive, or the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake (~$170 used) or Sigma 19mm f/2.8 (~$125 used).

    As far as MF lenses, some of my favorites are the Konica 40mm f/1.8, the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Helios 44.

    Sent from my Android tablet using Mu-43 App
  4. jimithing616

    jimithing616 New to Mu-43

    Apr 17, 2013
    Thanks guys, I have the Konica AR 50 1.7, which most people like better than the 40/1.8 at least in the posts I have read they even rate it as one of the best standard lenses and it sells for like 30 bucks on ebay so hopefully that secret doesn't get out! I had a 40/1.8 early version (better build) but I sold it due to never using it.

    The Canon 50 1.4 I can agree is a spectacular lens. I own 3 of them Chrome nose, SSC, and nFD... Of those my Favorite is the SSC for some reason.

    The helios 44 I do not have... how does it compare to the FD 50/1.4?

    And I think the Oly 12/2 sounds amazing from what I am reading... I just dont have 600 bucks... how much better is it that the panny 14/2.5?
  5. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I am sucker for CMounts and Pentax 110 glass.... I have used both on my pen mini and they work great... The Cmounts have some character to them... The 110 glass is pretty awesome... I have the 25 & 35 Cmounts with the 35mm being my favorite.. and on the 110 I have the 18, 24 & 50... Right now the 50 gets the most use with a close up filter...

    I am looking to get some AF glass eventually.. but right just having fun with the MF stuff... I will probably end up selling off my K-5 and glass to help build a nice trinity AF lens setup for my m43s...
  6. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    Oly 12mm, Pana 20mm, Oly 45mm and Oly 75mm are the ones that i noticed i use quite alot, and the quality from them are great even though i like the 75mm IQ the most, but it´s quite expensive also, but you get what you pay for. And the Canon FD 300mm F2.8 is my most used adapted lens.
  7. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    Panny 14/2.5! Mine is permanently attached to my E-PM2! Such a sweet combo.

    I never used the 20/1.7 but I love the perspective of 28mm (in 35mm speak).
  8. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    A lot of guys mentioned the primes so I thought I'd rate them in order of optical performance (weight on sharpness but distortion, flare, CA, fringing are all pretty much consistent as well as we go down the list). I got these ratings not only from one test or a few sample shots but from ALL tests, samples, and forum users' I've seen on these lenses. Hope this helps:

    1. 75mm 1.8 - Conclusive. One of the sharpest lenses to grace the planet. The BEST m4/3s corner to corner, no distortion, sharp corners, etc.
    2. 60mm 2.8 - Inconclusive, but very sharp. There's not a lot to go one with this lens because although it's the only weather-sealed macro lens it's not too popular. Probably better than the 45.
    3. 45mm 1.8 - Inconclusive. Could be better than the 60, but corners definitely do beat the wider 20 and 25. Then again I've seen samples where the 20 looks sharper. Note, only $400.
    4. 25mm 1.4 - Inconclusive. Some say it's an upgrade to the 20, some say a downgrade. I personally feel the 20 is sharper, but from a non-biased standpoint looking at the data, my personal feeling could be wrong, so I put this higher than the 20. $400
    5. 20mm 1.7 - Inconclusive. Looking at center sharpness, this could be rated as high as 2. It beats the 45 in some instances I've seen. Worse corners though. That said, at $350 and 25mm thick, this is THE m4/3s lens, by far the most popular.

    <<< OPTICAL DROP OFF POINT >>> (The lenses above, in nearly every pro or amateur's opinion, out-perform those below)

    6. 12mm 2.0 - Conclusive. This is the best wide-angle lens. Same silver metal build as 75. Unfortunately $800.
    7. 17mm 1.8 - Conclusive. This is new, and not horrible, but not as good as the 12 and usually better than the 14. Metal build like the 12 but a bit smaller. Due to the existence of the 20mm, most won't pay $500 for this lens.
    7. 14mm 2.5 - Conclusive with probable sample variation. I've seen horrible softness, distortion, and corners. I've seen some very sharp centers. LensRental rated this above the 25. Maybe they got a good one. Benefits of this are obvious: TINY and $200, so pretty popular considering you could buy four of them for the price of a 12mm. Note that many feel this is no sharper than the 14-42mm kit zooms at 14mm. The 7-14mm will outperform this lens even at 14, where it's at its worst.
    9. 17mm 2.8 - Conclusively the worst lens. Very good on a purple PM1 in P-mode to give to your GF. Not sharp. I would buy a P&S instead of this lens.

    If you're on a budget you can get the Sigma 19mm or 30mm 2.8s. Optically they're very good, probably similar to the 12mm. The 19mm is useless if you have the 20mm, but the 30mm does fill a void. These can be had for under $200. There are also the very good Voigtlanders, and a few other lenses. I didn't include them above because frankly, I haven't read much about them: Micro Four Thirds Lenses - HENNIGArts : Gear.
  9. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Impressions of the lenses I have:

    14/2.5 - Fairly sharp, cheap, small, fast focussing, moderately fast. Not terribly exciting in an optical sense. The IQ is good, but it's the packaging and price that make this lens desirable.
    20/1.7 - Very sharp, small, fairly cheap, fast. But slow to focus - those who don't think so are kidding themselves. It's fast enough to be usable, but objectively it's much, much slower than a modern lens need be (note: my reference is Canon USM or Sigma HSM AF motors).
    45/1.8 - Very sharp, fast, cheap. Maybe a little 'clinical' in terms of rendering, but I cannot fault the optical performance at all. Build is a little plasticky, but I'll put up with that considering the pricing and pure image quality.

    Then the zooms:
    7-14 - some purple flare issues with the E-M5 and direct sunlight, seems to be some copy to copy variation. I've seen it, but I can usually avoid it and the quality of the results is fantastic. Really, really amazing ultrawide lens. Pricey, but got it second-hand.
    12-35 - expensive, sharp, very useful. I like standard zooms, though I'd prefer slightly more range on the tele end of things. In a functional sense, replaces the 14 and the 20 for me, since my E-M5 doesn't really fit in a pocket anyway, and the RX100 has an f/1.8 at wideangle.
    12-50 - decent optical performance, but mostly a very practical all-rounder with good macro function. Probably the most useful 'kit lens' in the system, with it's wider range at both ends of the zoom range, good performance stopped down and macro.
    100-300 - maybe slightly worse than my Canon 100-400L, but responds very well to a little stopping down and post-processing, weighs nothing (relatively speaking) for a 600 mm fov equivalent lens.

    I got everything but the 14/2.5 and 45/1.8 second hand, which saved me a decent amount; the 14 came with a GF2 kit making it almost free, and the 45/1.8 is cheap in Europe (235 euros tax included, I believe it was).
  10. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    The Konica 50/1.7 is indeed a nice lens. However for a 50mm FOV, I simply prefer the output of the Canon 50/1.4. I appreciate the K40 for it's wider FOV and it's pancake form factor. I don't think there's a huge danger in Konica prices spiking in the near future, since their lens register makes them difficult/impossible to adapt to most modern SLRs, which limits demand considerably.

    The Helios has a narrower FOV (58mm) than the Canon, and at least my copy (which is a 44-2) has a certain "character" that I like. If I remember when I get home, I'll try to provide some examples, but in the meantime you can see some in this thread. Since you mentioned you own several FSU lenses I figured you might have a copy. It's probably not a lens I'd rush out to find, but you might keep it in mind if you don't love the other M42 options you already have.

    Obviously the Oly is wider and faster than the Panasonic. But the P14 really is a nice lens and its size allows it to match up well with the smaller bodies like your E-PM1. In fact, it's so tiny and light that I'll often just throw it in a pants pocket when I'm walking around just in case I want something wider than whatever lens happens to be on my camera at the moment. The P14 is easy to find for around $170 (many are split from kits and sold as new on eBay around that price). It's a pretty painless decision to try it out -- if you don't like it you should be able to re-sell it pretty easily.
  11. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Sounds like you'd be pretty happy with Olympus M.Zuiko 12 mm f/2, 45 mm f/1.8, 75 mm f/1.8.

    I have been very happy with Olympus 17 mm f/1.8. It has supplanted all of the other lenses I have and it is the one I go out and walk around with. Out of all the reviews currently published on the web, Lenstip is the only one that dislikes it.
  12. jimithing616

    jimithing616 New to Mu-43

    Apr 17, 2013
    Thanks everyone.

    I think my next move is probably going to be in the direction of the 2 sigma's since I can probably get them both used together for around 200-250 or 100 each with some bargaining.

    Either that Or I will look into the Panny 14mm.

    How would you rate the Sigma's (either) image quality and overall compared to the Panny 14mm? I know the FOV is a litle different but still.

    Or how about the 2 sigma's compared to the 20 and 25 that TJDEAN ranked so highly? Do they compare favorably or do the sigma's get blown out of the water? Any opinions?

    Thanks again, you've all been a LOT of help. Vintage lenses I know well... M 4/3... not so much... I never saw myself using a m 4/3 camera until I kinda fell into the E-PM1... and now its like the best thing ever... I am addicted. Which is no real surprise if you know me.. ha.
  13. BLT

    BLT Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Real Name:
    the sigma lenses seem to have very good IQ.

    Their problem is that they are not particularly fast lenses and that is one of the big reasons to go for the prime lenses with M43, particularly with the older oly 12mp sensors.

    But if that doesn't bother you then they seems to be very respectable lenses. Everything I've seen on the net about them, people are happy with the IQ.

    You'll find image threads for these lenses in these forums. . . search "sigma 19mm image thread" or 30mm.

    Re:pana 14mm - I have this lens, and while I like it for its tiny size, good value, fast AF etc. . I don't think it is noticeably better than the kit zoom at 14mm in IQ terms. But lots of people do rave about it.

    For me the 20mm is still the must have lens for the system. Small, Fast, Cheap-ish, Normal-ish FOV. Done.
  14. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Real Name:
    Get the EVF. I have the VF2 and having an actual viewfinder made a huge difference in my over-all enjoyment of this camera. If you are used to using a viewfinder for photography this will make the biggest impact.
  15. YGB

    YGB New to Mu-43

    Apr 3, 2013
    Hi, newbie here. Currently using Sammy EX1 1/17 sensor 2.4 at 72mm equivalent. Thinking of getting an older gen Olympus and the 30mm sigma to do some better (SMALLER) depth of field portraits of my kids on the cheap. I don't really understand how sensor size fits in to determine dof and if this would better than the compact I have now. Thoughts?
  16. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Cambridge In Colour has a great series of tutorials that help understand the central concepts of depth of field (and exposure, colour management and so forth):

    Learn Photography Concepts

    Simplistic version: if you're standing in the same place, and framing the subject the same way, the camera with the larger sensor will have a smaller depth of field. This is because the larger sensor has a longer focal length lens to achieve the same framing.

    However, put a lens of the same actual focal length on both cameras (say a full frame DSLR and a MFT body), say 50mm, and crop the full frame image so it matches the field of view of the cropped sensor, and the depth of field will be identical. Which is nice to understand in theory, but for practical use purposes: the bigger the sensor used for any given framing/subject distance/aperture setting, the smaller the depth of field.
  17. YGB

    YGB New to Mu-43

    Apr 3, 2013
    Thanks! Very interesting read.
  18. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    Well with little actual experience with the 12/45&12-50 (500 shots so far) I can say that i'd rather have either the 12 or 45 on my OMD 90% of the time, I'm sure I could get pleasing results with the kit lens but for point and shoot style I think these two lenses are fantastic.
  19. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    The 45/1.8 is my favorite, even more so than my 75/1.8. Both give outstanding images.

    The Sigma 30/2.8 is a good lens for the money. I paid $200 for it and think it's worth it. If you can find it for close to $100 like some the deals out there, jump on it.

    I'm one of the few that likes the 17/2.8, mainly because it's small and I think the IQ is okay. Not sure I'd buy it again since there are many other options now, but if you can find it for cheap, I think it's nice. Then again, the Panasonic 14/2.5 can be found cheap and it may be better. I don't know.

    Now that there are plenty of good primes for MFT, I don't use as many old lenses anymore. I'm lazy, and happy with a lens that will AF for me.