What lens for the PEN-F?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by gressart, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. gressart

    gressart Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 22, 2017
    Hey guys! Until a few days ago I was sure I am going for Panny G85, but then I found out about PEN-F. Watched countless reviews and downloaded like a hundred of sample images. This camera has everything I need in terms of photos/video/articulating screen/DESIGN!!! and size.
    I am now looking for a reasonably priced lens. I want it to be a f1.8 lens, I had a kit lens for my Canon and it hasn't been used for years since I bought Canon's 50mm 1.8 nice and cheap piece of craft. What am I going to use my camera for? Amateur photography in general and videos for my youtube channel. So, it has to be a nice bright lens that will work for pictures, but also vlogging and videos where I would sit on a chair and talk or cook sth in the kitchen. It has to focus quickly and hold focus without hunting. What would you recommend? I am open to any suggestions. It doesn't have to be an Olly lens, but you know, it has to be a small lens that would also complement this state of art PEN-F camera.
  2. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    Four suggestions:
    • Olympus 17mm f/1.8 - the most stylish option to go with the most stylish body, but also great build, very good optics and small size. Perhaps the most iconic lens in the line-up as a PEN companion.
    • Olympus 25mm f/1.8 - apart from the huge 75mm f/1.8, the sharpest of the f/1.8 lenses, very crisp and detailed rendering, images really pop.
    • Sigma 30mm f/1.4 C - a bit big, but fantastic optics and great rendering; in spite of the long-ish normal, a great all-around lens. My personal favourite - but maybe not that desirable for the PEN.
    • Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 - beats the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (by a hair, but visibly) when it comes to sharpness, but offers O.I.S. (not that you need that with the F) and can focus a lot closer; very versatile lens.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
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  3. gressart

    gressart Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 22, 2017
    Thanks for the suggestions! I like Olly and Panny options. Sigma, although great, just wouldn't fit well in my opinion. Can you perhaps tell me which one would be the best for my vlogging purposes? Prices are similar, so it's only photo and video (AF) quality that matters.
  4. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    Usually Vlog using zoom lens such Pana 12-35mm F2.8 or Oly 12-40mm F2.8. Hmmm like this one, he is using GX8 with 12-35mm F2.8

    But if you want to stay in prime lens, either 12mm F2 or 17mm F1.8. I prefer 17mm F1.8 for price and performance.
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  5. gressart

    gressart Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 22, 2017
    You guys mentioned 17mm and it is a popular lens. Yet many people dislike it for vignetting, astigmatism and distortion. What do you think about that?
  6. astrostl

    astrostl Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 4, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Justin Honold
    "vlogging" is a vague use-case. What is your budget? What are your preferred equivalent focal lengths?
  7. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    A small correction - the Panny is 42.5mm f/1.7 - but it is a great lens to be certain.

    FWIW - the Panny 25mm f/1.7 is also a wonderful piece of glass and affordable too. I have not owned the Oly 25 f/1.8 so can not compare - but I really like the results I get from the Panny.
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  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
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  9. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I also use the Panasonic 20 1.7. A bit slow to focus but the F is a body that screams for a pancake sometimes.
  10. Indianpeaksjoe

    Indianpeaksjoe Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    I had the 17mm 1.8 before and sold it a few years back. But when I bought the Pen-F, I picked up the 17 again to have a small walk around package. I like it enough, not in love with the combo right now.

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  11. GarethB

    GarethB Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2016
    I love the 17mm f1.8 with my Pen-F. I got mine bundled with the camera body, and it instantly became my favourite lens. As MoonMind mention, it makes for a very stylish combo - especially with the metal lens hood attached.
    My next favourite lens is the 45mm, and even though sometimes the 45mm is too long and the 17mm is too short, my 25mm is rarely ever used. It's all personal preference obviously, but there's something about the images from the 25mm that just doesn't do it me.
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  12. Julia

    Julia Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    Dresden, Germany
    Can't say I've ever noticed any vignetting with mine (on the EM5 or EPL5) or any of the other issues you mentioned. For me, the lens is pretty sharp and I've been very happy with the results from it. I use it inside in low light (fantastic for family gatherings or hanging out with friends) and outside simply because it's so sharp and allows for nice DOF.

    P9240040.jpg P7060046.jpg Silvester-2016-23.jpg
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  13. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    The P20 focuses plenty fast for most photos that I take. If you are trying to photograph a running toddler, then go for something else. For adults and other subjects that will stand still for a moment, the 20 is my go to lens for a small prime. The 17/1.8 is great too. The 20 is a little sharper and for me, the field of view is just right. The 25/1.8 is another great lens but just a little tight for me sometimes. The 42.5/1.7 is another very special lens but is not a good single solution prime unless all you want to do is portraits.

    When looking for a single prime, I go back to recommending the 20mm.

    PS: I have not tried any of the lenses for video so if Video is the main issue, then I would defer to those with that experience.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
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  14. Jeffcs

    Jeffcs Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 20, 2017
    Toms River NJ
    Jeffrey Swank
    I plan on useing for light traveling gear so for me I went for the Olympus "trinity" 7-14f2.8 pro, 12-40f2.8 pro, 40-150f2.8 pro
    I can't beleave how sharp their lenses are
    THis coming from a Nikon D5 full frame user
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  15. saladin

    saladin Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 29, 2015
    15mm PL an excellent alternative to the 17/1.8, assuming the wider field of view doesnt bother you.

    Any of the 25mm's will be excellent.

    It really depends on the focal length you think you'll use.
  16. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Just one final thought from me... if style and perceived quality is important to you (and if you're buying a Pen F then it probably is!), then it's worth adding that the plastic primes don't really show it off at its best. As well as my 25 and 45 work on the camera, they look cheap in comparison to the body. Maybe it's the contrast between the silver metal of the body and the black plastic, but either way the 12, 17 or 75 look so much better (in any colour).
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  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Never seen those criticisms... sometimes the internet is not such a reliable source of information :)

    There is an awful tendency for people to accentuate the negative in their tools

    I have not noticed any of those characteristics in my use of the lens... though I actually never actively look for excuses like that to cover up my photographic inadequacies :)

    The 17 was something I bought when flush with cash and thought it would be 'nice' to have ... 3 or 4 years on its still my goto lens for general photography... its maybe a little narrow for the vloging thing, but thats down to your shooting style

    for me its sharp

    11076001295_a4f9f6da69_b.jpg PB250019 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    has a pleasant look

    21493395405_1c04174c23_b.jpg P9130067 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    and is versatile

    19879444802_6f58e9059c_b.jpg P7210021 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    more shots here

    Olympus 17/1.8

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  18. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
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  19. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    1) I know you are nuts..!! :)... I know what your day job is :)
    2) Must dig out my 17/2.8... after all it was the flagship lens for the launch of the E-P1... we all went to the pana 20 very quickly.. maybe we missed something good. I was into throwing legacy lenses, particularly leica stuff on the e-p1 back then


  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I've been on this site since day 1, and I don't think I've ever heard anyone dislike it for any of those reasons. Some people find it to be not quite as sharp as the Pana 20/1.7 but I've never heard anything about vignetting, astigmatism, and distortion from actual users of this lens. I recall reading some of that in the Lenstip review, but not from "many people".

    My favorite two lenses for the Pen F are the Oly 17/1.8 and Pana 42.5/1.7.
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