What lens(es) to go with OMD M5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by SanPedro, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. SanPedro

    SanPedro New to Mu-43

    Sep 23, 2013
    Hi all... 1st time posting here.
    Currently have a Fuji bridge camera and not happy with it's shortcoming. Image quality isn't great, focussing is slow, low light performance is poor.

    So.... am looking at getting an M5, which should hopefully get me the great leap upward in terms of image quality and functionality and performance, from what I've seen and read on various forums etc.

    My only real dilemma is what lens(es) to go with it. Do I stick with the standard 12-50 for the time being and see how I get on with it? Or go body only and maybe get the 14-150mm. This would be similar in range to the super zoom in the Fuji.

    But I really like the idea of having some fast lenses, for indoor use and portrait type stuff. So maybe go with a 17 and a 45, or even the 75.

    Would a 17 and a 75 make a good travel combo? Currently most photography I do is holiday and family events... but that might change substantially with getting some decent kit.

    But the.... the sample images in the 14-150 gallery look great from it's use as an 'all-in-one' travel lens. So maybe I just need a fast prime for indoor and low light use.

    I just need some help figuring out appropriate options.
  2. desleyjane

    desleyjane Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hi SanPedro
    I have OMD EM5 and am in love with it. I got it in February with the 2 kit zooms. They were really good, especially the 14-42, a really neat lens.
    I then got the 17mm f1.8 and the 60mm macro a few months ago and I now almost always alternate between those two lenses. I only use the kit zooms if absolutely necessary. The 17mm is a cracker all rounder lens, I used it heaps when I travelled recently, will be posting some photos soon.
    I found the 60mm fantastic for portraits, although the 45mm might be better so you don't have to get so far away from you subject. I got the 60mm because I'm keen on macro, but it's great for portrait as well.
    Those are just my thoughts, I'm certainly no expert, I just know what works for me so far!
  3. SanPedro

    SanPedro New to Mu-43

    Sep 23, 2013
    Thanks Desley
    Am just looking for anyone who has been in my situation and some real life experiences. Do I stick at the cheap end on the lenses or splash out on something better.

    I've been using superzoom type compacts for so long now I've forgotten what it's like just using a prime...

    It all sparked off recently after having a quick play with a friends Canon DSLR fitted with an 80mm prime. I couldn't believe how much better the images were - especially in low light. And the short DOF you get with a wide open mid tele lens. Lovely.

    Now I've seen it... that's what I want :2thumbs:
  4. desleyjane

    desleyjane Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Yep LOL that's what happened to me too!
    Will be interested to hear what other people say.
    There are some great dedicated image threads for the lenses that you're after if you haven't checked them out, although I don't think you need convincing on the quality of the glass!
    In some ways, I find it a good way to learn your limits when you don't have the soon available. But number one, the images are sweet.

    Here's my 60mm macro on the OMD:

    and the 17mm f1.8, my little workhorse:
  5. mperete

    mperete Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 11, 2012
    NSW Australia
    Real Name:
    From experience the 12-50 has really good IQ and decent reach. It can do awesome closeups too. It goes well with the OM-D because of the weather sealing. I don't know how the 14-150 performs, but I would sacrifice the long reach for the reasons I mentioned. But hey that's me. Then I would get a prime - the 17/1.8 or even the 20/1.7. Very good for close portraits. If size of the 25/1.4 doesn't bother you I reckon that's the one to get.

    As for a long prime, I had a Rokinon 85/1.4 and while the IQ was really good I found it too long so it didn't get much use, and It's tiring to keep changing lenses when I'm out shooting.

    Good luck deciding :)
  6. SanPedro

    SanPedro New to Mu-43

    Sep 23, 2013
    Thanks for the replies folks... keep 'em coming. And yes, been browsing through the dedicated lens sample threads. Great for seeing what each of these can do and then compare to the type of photography I think I'll be doing. Looking back at my holiday pics a zoom would be great for general daylight stuff. But I always struggle getting nice indoor shots in places like cathedrals or at family events in restaurants and suchlike... hence a fast prime would be ideal for these (I thinK).
  7. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    If you like the 80mm on a FF/APSC then I would suggest the following:-

    Buy the camera with the 12-50 kit lens (it's not as bad as some people make out). Although primes are capable of better images in good light it's hard to spot and it's better than most built in zooms. It will give you the 12mm at the wide end which can make quite a difference over the 14mm end of most zooms and gives you a form of close focus/macro that the 14-150 won't give you.

    Buy a 45mm F1.8 which is closest to the 80mm you liked and also a very good lens and may be reasonable second hand as people sell their silver ones for the new black ones.

    Buy new/second hand 40-150mm which perform far better than the price would suggest.

    Overall this is probably slightly more than body plus 14-150 but gives you a bigger range (12-150) some macro capability and an excellent low light/ portrait lens. The only issue depends on indoors with low light the 45mm can limit you to head/shoulders unless you are in a big room.
  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I went through almost exactly the same thing - from a Fuji S9500 superzoom to the E-M5. I decided to go with the O12-50/3.5-6.3 kit as a travel lens and bought a used PL25/1.4 prime as well. I really wanted a smaller kit as I mostly take travel photos - which was why I went m4/3 rather than to a DSLR. As for lenses, it really pays to think about what you like taking photos of - you should take a look through your best shots from your superzoom and see.

    Read on if you're interested in what I decided...

    1. O12-50/3.5-6.3 - convenient, cheap (as kit), macro, wide, weather seal
    Coming from a 24-270 equivalent superzoom that does macro, the O12-50/3.5-6.3 felt somewhat familiar with a similar FOV at the wide end and surprisingly good macro capabilities. I miss the reach of the superzoom a little but 90% of my keepers were 24-100 mm FOV, so it's not a big loss. It's relatively light and weather sealed, making it pretty good as a day travel lens. Of course it's slow and isn't super sharp - coming from superzoom territory those attributes will be somewhat familiar. As I prefer wider FOV, if I went body only + separate zoom I would actually get the P12-35/2.8 over a superzoom as it is also weather sealed, is better in low light, sharper, and has better DOF control.

    2. PL25/1.4 - low light, shallow DOF, environmental portraits
    My used PL25 was a really good deal, and the pictures from it are just stunning. I got the prime to complement the zoom for low light and shallow DOF stuff - mostly environmental portraits and evening/indoors stuff while out. If it wasn't for the banding issue I would have originally gone with the P20/1.7 for its size, cost, and slightly wider FOV. I keep getting tempted by the P14/2.5 as well for wider street/travel stuff - most of my best street shots were at 28-35mm. It's definitely worth considering despite its slower f/2.5 as it is tiny and much cheaper compared to the other two.

    Some other stuff I considered... If I was more into portraits and macro I would have gone for the O60/2.8 macro prime (I was tempted for a while). I felt the O17/1.8 with its size/cost/FOV versus quality proposition just didn't quite work for me compared to the PL25/P20/P14 offerings. As awesome as the O45/1.8 prime is, I'm just not that into portraiture. And I must admit, those silver Olympus lenses would look odd on my black EM-5 on the street...

    I've had my current kit for only about 2 months, so I haven't really had a chance to fully evaluate it for travel use. In time I may acquire a telephoto zoom if I feel I am missing the reach, and upgrade the wide/normal zoom if there is a good deal. In the meantime, I'll be eagerly using what I've got to the fullest. :D
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I like the kit lens, either 14-42 II or 12-50 with the O 40-150 for my zooms. As was previously posted, the 40-150 is a bargain. (I just used it 10 minutes ago to take picture of a fox in the backyard).

    For primes, low light situations and urban, I am a fan of O17 1.8 and O45. Although I have other lenses, the kit lens + 40-150 + O17 + O45 give me the ability to do everything from hiking to urban photography. If I had to pick only 2 lenses it would be the 12-50 plus the O17.
  10. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Real Name:
    I had a Panasonic superzoom and then "Graduated" to micro 4 3 (in my case an E-PL2).

    I'd start out with the kit zoom first to feel your way around and find out what is and is not important to you. Then go on from there. Learn the camera before getting more stuff. The Oly menus aren't exactly famous for being intuitive.
  11. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Real Name:
    The Oly 17mm 1.8, 45mm 1.8 and 75mm 1.8 will all excel at the 3 issues you mention above. Zooms, especially slower multi-aperture zooms, will will be OK for 1, semi OK for 2 and N/G for 3 (compared to fast primes).

    The great bokeh you mentioned on your friends Canon and 85mm will be reproducible with the 45 and 75mm, but no so good with the zooms. I have taken thousands of portraits with the OMD, 45 and 75, they are as good as it gets with M4/3. They compare very favorable with my Nikon D800, 85 f/1.4 and 135mm f/2 Nikkors.

    To start with you could go with the 17 and 45mm, a great travel kit and maybe a 40-150 or 45-175. The 75 is very specialized and unless you know you want/need it, it might not be suitable for your style of shooting. I have the 45-175GX and while a pretty good zoom, it falls down in IQ, bokeh, low light ability and AF speed against the 75. That said, I still use it for it's flexibility for general travel type shots. But anything serious and the 75 is in the kit.

  12. IDLookout

    IDLookout Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 26, 2012
    Northern Idaho
    I have the 12-50mm and the 17mm. I usually had the 12-50 attached (and it's great imo), but have found myself more and more taking the 17mm out and about for landscapes. I've read ad nauseam about how soft the 17 is, and how it's not any good for landscapes, but i'm really starting to enjoy it. It's plenty sharp (I usually have it at f4 or f5.6).
  13. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    If you like the look of the canon 85mm, the 12-50 will not give you that. If the 85mm was on a full frame canon, then the 45mm is for you. If on a 1.6X crop ( t-series), then the 60mm. Slow cheap kit lens should be 14-45 panasonic. Then there's the Panny and new Oly 12-35/40 2.8's.
  14. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The only slow cheap kit zoom worth considering for the E-M5 is the O12-50, in my opinion. Not because of IQ - it's just that buying a slow kit zoom outside a kit is no longer cheap... unless you find one used.

    Agree with others about shallow DoF wide open at mild telephoto, the O45 is ideal, else O60 if you want longer/macro.
  15. SanPedro

    SanPedro New to Mu-43

    Sep 23, 2013
    This, i think, could be the ideal starter and maybe add the 40-150 if feeling flush. Would probably get camera and zoom new and add other lenses 2nd hand. Am seeing a mate this weekend who has a mix of CSC and DSLR kit. Will have a play to see what works best for me.

    Many thanks for all the contributions. This is a great forum.