Lenses for Olympus om-D EM5 compatible with any others? DSLR?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Courtney, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. Courtney

    Courtney New to Mu-43

    Oct 8, 2016
    Hi all
    I got the retro looking OM-D EM5 as an easier to use camera for point and shoot rather than getting a DSLR. I know basic settings stuff but can never be bothered really.
    I was never overly impressed with the image quality of this camera and should have gotten a DSLR. Coincidentally the view LCD screen has a crack so I can't use it or edit settings anymore. I'm thinking of buying a new body, but want to get a better camera. Would this be possible and still use the lenses that came with the EM5?
    Or will it not really affect the output quality of the images? Any help and advice would be appreciated! thanks!
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi & welcome,

    If you expect a point and shoot experience, and can't be bothered to learn how to use it, moving to a DSLR isn't going to change anything other than the amount of money in your wallet and the weight you're carrying. Really.

    Here's what the E-M5 can do in the hands of other members of this forum:
    Top Rated: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Image Thread | Mu-43.com - Micro Four Thirds User Group

    If you are interested in learning, find a local group on Meetup.com or take a class though your city, or look for free online classes such as
    The Art of Photography (PHOT)

    To answer your lens question, your lenses will work on any Panasonic or Olympus camera bearing the Micro Four-Thirds logo. Some are more in the shape of DSLRs than others, but that is more of a user preference than an indication of image ability.
    There are newer bodies, but image quality today is mostly in the hands of the photographer, and is rarely limited by the camera or lens.

    Many amateurs and professionals are now using Mu43 and other mirrorless systems as they've tired of the bulk and weight of DSLRs, and have found they have not lost anything, and in fact have gained in usability and features. I am one of them.

    • Agree Agree x 7
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  3. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    It would be interesting to hear why you think you "should have gotten a DSLR".

    The point is, Micro Four Thirds, and all other Compact System Cameras (what some people call Mirrorless cameras) are the image creating guts of a DSLR, in a smaller package. The thing that's different, and allows the smaller packaging, is the way the viewfinder works. Now that might effect your composition, but it won't effect your image quality.

    You already have a camera with the image quality of a DSLR, so changing to a DSLR (at least, the models aimed at consumers) won't improve your image quality.

    The fully auto point and shoot mode on DSLRs won't be any better at the job than the auto mode on your E-M5. The great pictures you've seen from people using a DSLR will, probably, be because they've moved off from using auto mode and have learnt the "settings stuff".

    Of course if you've got a cracked screen you can't do that, you can't get into the settings and take more control. The first thing then, is to contact Olympus in your country and ask them where you can get your camera repaired.

    Lastly, the E-M5 uses the Micro Four Thirds System mount (the metal ring at the front of the camera the lens attached to). Sony DSLRs use something they call A-mount. Canon DSLRs use what they call EF-mount. Pentax DSLRs use what they call K-mount. And Nikon DSLRs use what they call F-mount.

    Five different mount systems. All different. None are interchangeable, so you can't use a Canon EF-mount lens on a Nikon F-mount camera, it won't fit, let alone work.

    So no, you cannot use your lenses from your E-M5 on a DSLR. But the point is, this lack of interchange isn't because you bought an E-M5, you get it with DSLRs too, there isn't one DSLR system, there are 4 (and there used to be more than that). If you'd bought a DSLR in the first place, you might not be able to use a lens from someone you know with a DSLR, because their DSLR might be a different system to yours.
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Andym72 is not quite right. Lenses from one camera can be adapted to cameras with other mounts but there are limitations.

    The big difference between a DSLR and a micro four thirds camera when it comes to adapting lenses is flange distance. That's the distance between the lens mount on the camera body and the sensor. DSLRs have a mirror between the lens mount and the sensor and that means there's a bigger distance between the lens mount and the sensor, the flange distance is longer. Lenses are designed to work with a specific flange distance. We can adapt DSLR lenses to micro four thirds because the flange distance for a micro four thirds lens is smaller, so we can place an adapter on our camera bodies and mount the DSLR lens to the adapter. The adapter serves 2 purposes, it accepts the DSLR lens which has a different mount diameter and a different mount fitting, and it increases the flange distance from the micro four thirds flange distance to that of the DSLR whose lens we are adapting. You can only focus a lens to infinity if the flange distance is correct.

    Micro four thirds lenses don't fit the lens mount on a DSLR (each camera make uses its own lens mount fitting) so we would need an adapter but the adapter will increase the flange distance of the DSLR and that flange distance is already too long to allow our micro four thirds lenses to focus to infinity. The effect of mounting a micro four thirds lens on a DSLR body is similar to using a set of extension tubes on a lens, it allows you to focus closer for macro work but it stops you from focussing to infinity, so mounting a micro four thirds lens on a DSLR body will allow it to be used for close up work but you could not use if for normal photography.

    There is a second problem. Micro four thirds sensors are smaller than DSLR sensors and they are designed to throw an image area large enough to cover a micro four thirds sensor. The image area you would get on a DSLR camera from a micro four thirds lens is likely to be smaller than the sensor.

    It's easy to buy adapters for a lot of DSLR lenses, and also for lenses from other cameras like Leica rangefinder cameras which also have a longer flange distance than micro four thirds, to allow them to be used on a micro four thirds camera but I don't think anyone makes an adapter which would let you mount a micro four thirds lens on a DSLR because of the flange distance problem but if you could find one, you'd be limited to close up work and you would probably end up getting an image that only took up part of the DSLR frame. One of the big advantages of micro four thirds over other camera formats is our ability to use lenses from many other camera systems on our cameras. DSLRs are largely limited to using lenses made specifically for their particular lens mount.

    That leaves your concern about image quality. The original E-M5 is still a good camera. I still use mine as a second body and an E-M1 as my main camera. My E-M5 still takes very good photos and if you look at the E-M5 thread here you will see a lot of great photos taken with the E-M5. It's also smaller and lighter than a DSLR and that is something which can be a big advantage, especially if you're carrying the camera for a day. You didn't say what kind of DSLR you were considering but there are 2 types, those with an APS-C sensor and those with a full frame sensor. The APS-C sensor isn't much larger than the micro four thirds sensor and there won't be much difference in image quality to a micro four thirds body. The full frame sensor is larger, roughly 4 times the area of the micro four thirds sensor, and can yield higher image quality but if you only view your photos on a computer screen or send them to friends in emails, you may never notice the difference. You will probably have to print your photos at a reasonable size, larger than 8" x 10", if you really want to start to see differences in image quality and many people don't do that.

    You can still use your E-M5 by using the electronic viewfinder rather than the LCD screen, and you can see the menus for changing settings in the viewfinder but using a viewfinder to change settings is awkward and would probably drive you crazy very quickly, if it hasn't already. You can get the LCD screen replaced and doing that will cost less than buying a DSLR. Alternatively you can buy a new micro four thirds body, quite possibly for less than whatever DSLR body you are considering, and you already have lenses for a micro four thirds body. You will have to buy new lenses with a DSLR body and many DSLR lenses are more expensive than their micro four thirds equivalents.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK

    David, it's clear that Courtney just wants a good camera to take good photos with. She's not interested in the technicalities. I realised this, I have the emotional intelligence to realise posting what you did is just confusing the issue.

    It's much simpler to just say different camera mounts are not interchangeable. And on their own, they are not. The simple answer is true.

    Sure, the absolute truth is if the mount a lens is built for has a much longer flange distance then there's room to fit an adapter in to fit it to an unrelated camera mount, and if the adapter is conplex then you might get full control of the lens (AF, aperture, stabilisation), but if it's less complex then you'll loose the control of some or all those features, and if that happens then the lens might not really be all that useful...

    But that sentence is "if... then... if... then...". Most people aren't interested in clauses. They want will it, won't it. In this case, no, it won't.
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  6. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    A couple of suggestions.
    1. Perhaps the lenses you have that you say came with it are bottom end lenses that are not producing the quality you expect. If you bought a really good lens for it you might get far better results. A bottom end lens that comes with a DSLR will have the same issues. Take a look at the Olympus 12-40 if you want a superb - but more expensive - lens.
    2. Perhaps you don't really need interchangeable lenses if all you need is point and shoot. There are some really superb non-interchangeable lens cameras around now, far superior to the old P&S cameras. If this sounds good, ask and I'm sure you will get good suggestions.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    The E-M5 is capable with some absolutely stunning results, even with the 12-50mm kit lens. If you can't be bothered to learn the ins and outs of camera operation and photography (which is perfectly fine), then as suggested before, a good compact is likely the best bet for you. To be quite honest, you'd have to be a pretty amazing photographer doing some very specialized things for the Micro 4/3 platform to be the limiting factor in your photography. Mid to high-end compacts these days have excellent sensors and outstanding lenses. For the average user shooting mostly Auto with a kit lens, a compact is a far better alternative: They're cheaper, smaller, simpler, and still provide very comparable results.

    Also, for the sake of simplicity, no your lenses will not fit on any system other than Micro 4/3.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. catmurphy

    catmurphy Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 1, 2013
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    I have several DSLR cameras with high end lenses and am still impressed with image quality of my Micro 4/3 camera, even with the inexpensive kit lenses. For use as a casual camera, I go to the Micro 4/3. I did start with a PEN EPL-5 and did find it somewhat limiting feature-wise, and rather obtuse control-wise. But I now have the EM-5 mark 2 and love it! I think of my DSLRs as my heavy duty pick-up trucks and my m4/3 as my Mini Cooper convertible.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. lchien

    lchien Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 7, 2014
    The OMD and all the m43 bodies are basically the thinnest interchangeable lens camera system bodies out there due to the compact sensor and lack of mirror box.
    The mounting flange of the M43 system is thus closer to the sensor that all the rest of the DSLRs and MILCs. And must be mounted at that distance.
    Since cross-mounting lenses involves using a adapter between the lens and body to match the bayonet mounts, and the other bodies are ticker, you can never successfully use a M43 lens on the other brands.

    However, because the m43 is the closest, it is usually capable of mounting other makers' lenses with a appropriate adapter since there other maker's lenses have to be set farther away from the M43 cameras, to work. But htere is always trouble with autofocus and auto diaphragm coupling.
  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    You can use the lenses that came with the E-M5 with any camera listed here Four Thirds | Micro Four Thirds | Products(Camera Bodies), but not with dSLRs.

    The major difference between a dSLR and the camera you have is the dSLR has a mirror to view the image through the viewfinder while the E-M5 lacks the mirror and uses an electronic viewfinder making it a smaller sized and less weight. The image quality all depends on how you are using these cameras, so you may be just as disappointed in a dSLR. But there are some modes which should help you get good photos.

    Have you tried setting the E-M5 to iAuto? The camera will make all the necessary settings so you don't have to worry about them. Or you could set SCN on the dial and then select the type of scene you are photographing, again the camera will make the needed setting so you don't have to. In today's market all cameras are pretty good, the difference between so so photos and excellent photos is the photographers knowledge in how to use the camera to capture what they want.

    Since the LCD screen is cracked just try iAuto or SCN using the viewfinder. If you find your photos are better, then you may want to have the camera repaired at a cost of about $166 instead of buying another camera for hundreds of dollars. For repair see - Olympus Service & Repair

    If your photos are not better you may find one of the popular compacts a lot more fitting for you photography like one of the highly rated models of the Sony Cyber-shot 100 series. Some of the most popluar ones are listed at 2016 Roundup: Compact Enthusiast Zoom Cameras
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    Your lenses will work with any Micro 4/3 camera -- basically any Olympus or Panasonic camera from the last eight years. But they won't work on any DSLR.

    What did you find lacking in the image quality? Depending on your particular issues, a DSLR may or may not be any improvement.
  12. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Obviously we have different ways of looking at things.

    There's an important point which you are forgetting: the OP who asks a question is never the only person interested in an answer that question. Other people want to know the answer to the same question and search for posts addressing the same issue and some of them want more than a simple yes/no sort of response, they want explanations for why something will work or not work. Over time I've found it's a mistake to think that the only person interested in the answer to an OP's question is the OP, or that all the OP wants is the simplest answer possible.

    I think it's worth posting the kind of response I did because even if it goes beyond what the OP wants, it is likely to help others and if it does that it helps avoid the creation of multiple threads asking the same question over time. There are advantages to having a thread which contains responses at a variety of levels of technical detail because most threads are read by people with varying degrees of technical knowledge and interest and they aren't all going to be satisfied by the simple answer you think is appropriate. I know that when I've been chasing an answer to a concern I had and I've read various threads I have been confronted with simple answers that raised more questions for me, and I've also been confronted with answers that made my eyes glaze over and my brain switch off, but I've also been confronted with answers that really did help me, all in the same thread. A difference in level to answers provided to a question is a positive thing in my view, not a negative.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    You want good photos but can't be bothered to learn how to do it. Clearly it's the camera's fault. Go buy yourself a DSLR I guess, and good luck.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Now THAT was an unhelpful response, and possibly an uncalled for response.

    The OP said:

    In my experience the people who can't be bothered to learn how to get good photos aren't those who bother to adjust settings that require delving into a menu on screen, and it's fair to assume that someone who does that with an E-M5 would also do it if they were using a DSLR.
  15. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Jeez can't I just troll once in a while? Ok perhaps I should have worded that a bit nicer.
  16. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    It was quite grumpy.
  17. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Of course you can troll, but trolls always attract stern responses :)

    I thought that reply was rather out of character for you, Vin. You're usually much more polite and helpful when responding to someone's question.
  18. Courtney

    Courtney New to Mu-43

    Oct 8, 2016
    Thanks so much everyone! It sounds like it is most likely an 'operator fault' haha. I know a bit about changing settings but really love living in the moment and no through the lens so wanted that point and shoot with amazing quality. I guess I was mislead as I’ve been using a canon DSLR for work in the basic mode, only changing ISO if needed and the photos seem to come out a lot crisper than the EM-5. Then a canon DSLR user had told me the mirrorless cameras are really not comparable in quality to the DSLR so I was convinced it was the camera's ability. After everyone’s help and seeing the images people take it seems like the camera is amazing and I will look into playing around with some settings at least so I can preset some good ones

    Barry 13 thanks for the image link, just wow! I understand some look edited but others not as much, so it must still be ok.

    David A thanks so much for explaining the lens. Your explanation wasn’t wasted on me like some may have suggested! I really appreciate it, especially as I was told that the DSLRs offer way better photos just because of the mirrorless design on the micro 4/3 cameras and that it’s the DSLR lenses that are superior. Maybe they are, I don’t own any so it’s not an issue and ill just stay with the micro lenses. And yes using the viewfinder to change things is driving me mad!

    Growl tiger that’s a good point. I’d say they would be the standard lens so I’ll look into the one you suggested.

    So I dropped the camera off to get repaired today :) It will cost me about $350 to replace the LCD screen (good ol expensive australia!) but that's cheaper than a new body.

    If anyone has any favourite lenses for the EM5 that I can google please share :)
    • Like Like x 4
  19. JamesD172

    JamesD172 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 18, 2016
    James Dolezal
    If images appear "crisper" on your work Canon, it's probably because the lens you're using for your E-m5 isn't as sharp. Which lens do you have now?

    If you need a zoom lens, the already-suggested Olympus 12-40 PRO is a wonderful (albeit expensive) lens.

    If you don't have a need for wide-angle or zoomed-in shots, a fixed, non-zooming "prime" lens might be a good option for you. The Olympus 25mm f/1.8 is a fantastic prime lens with excellent sharpness, colors, and low-light performance. And as far as lenses go, it's very compact and pretty affordable (~$300-400).
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    I've been following this thread and am glad to hear you decided to give it another go.

    Lens choice is a very personal and subject dependant issue, as others have said any recommendations would require a bit more info. I can help a bit in the meantime:

    First, posting a pic or two that you felt should have been better might help iron out any techincal quibbles, and give some idea of your subject matter.

    Second, judging from your avatar one of the f/1.8 or f/1.7 single focal length lenses could be a good addition to your kit lens (assuming that's what you have), especially for shooting little ones indoors.

    Third, peruse the following link for an overview of the available lenses:
    Four Thirds | Micro Four Thirds | Products(Lenses)
    That may or may not help...

    Fourth, the best bang-for-your-buck lens in the system is likely the Olympus 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R, which would complement any kit lens.

    And lastly, buying used can be a good way to save some $$.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
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