Which standard zoom with an OM-D E-M10?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by SojiOkita, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here as I'm just getting into micro 4/3.
    I'm planning to buy an Olympus OM-D E-M10, and I'm wondering which standard zoom to get with the E-M10.
    I will get for sure a 45 f/1.8 in addition at first (and probably a 9 mm pancake... and later, maybe, another prime like the 20/1.7 & a tele like the Pana 45-150)

    I currently own an APS-C Canon DSLR that I like (I like the image it produces), with lots of lenses... and I want something smaller, but with an equivalent image quality.
    I'm not sure yet if the E-M10 will be in addition or in remplacement of the DLSR, but it will replace it at least for the most casual uses like family photography and for all the times when I want to take photos without having to carry several kg of gear.

    My standard DSLR lens is a big f/2.8 zoom. An equivalent in m43 would be the Oly 12-40 f/2.8 (the Oly would be a little wider).
    But the Oly is far too expensive to my taste... and also quite big.
    And for most photos I take with my standard zoom, I don't use the f/2.8 aperture.

    The E-M10 kit lens is the new 14-42 pancake electrical zoom, and I don't want an electrical zoom.
    So, I've selected a few possible other lenses (from the cheapest to the most expensive):
    - Olympus 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 II R
    - Panasonic14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario II ASPH
    - Panasonic14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Mega OIS
    - Panasonic12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS

    The Pana & Oly 14-42 have nearly the same size (50 mm long), the Pana seems to get better reviews.
    The Oly looks nicer on the E-M10 but it won't make the difference unless the IQ between the two are closer that I think.

    The Pana 14-45 seems to be a little better, but is less compact and harder to find.

    The Pana 12-32 is a shorter zoom but have to major advantages: it's very compact, and the 12mm end can be interresting.
    It's also more expensive than the other 3.
    (it's worth noting that with the current cashback on GM1... it will cost only 200€ more to get the GM1 in addition to the 12-32 - not very reasonable but very tempting).

    With these considerations... it's hard to choose...
    Thanks in advance for anyone that can help me to find which one would suit me most.
  2. LoneRider

    LoneRider Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2014
    Marysville, WA.
    Real Name:
    I just picked up an E-M10 today, so will be watching this thread.

    For now, I got the Olympus 14-42mm (version 1) used for $60. It is a start, and I wanted something to learn the camera with before dumping a lot of money into lenses.

    I like the range of the 14-150mm, not a fan of the price though.
  3. Swandy

    Swandy Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2009
    I have the 14-42IIR Olympus (probably about the third or fourth variation of the lens over the years) and the only thing that I don't like is the fact you have to "unlock" (zoom the lens outward) before you can take an image. Otherwise I have been very happy with it - and still am on my EM10.
    Having said that I have the 14-42EZ Pancake on pre-order (in the US it is not part of the kit, the 14-42IIR is) and want to compare the IQ - and whether I will like the electronic zoom.
    BTW - the Panasonic 12-32, while it is not an electronic zoom - everything else about the lens is electronic and controlled by the camera body. That includes focusing - there is no manual focus - so if that is important to you, I would not look at this lens. Also, since the focusing is controlled by the body, I don't know how it would work with your EM10 - or other Olympus bodies for that matter. It was designed for the Panasonic GM1 which controls everything through the touch screen.
  4. Swandy

    Swandy Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2009
    #1 - the later versions of the 14-42 have I believe slightly better sharpness but they both (the 14-42II and the 14-42IIR) improved on the AF speed over the original version. The only difference between the II and the IIR is cosmetic.

    Personally, I had the 18-180 way back when I was shooting with 4/3 bodies, and while I liked the convenience of an all-in-one zoom, the compromises (size, weight, aperture and AF speed) were not worth it for me. If I wanted a lens like that, I would get a super zoom camera. (Oh yes - I do. I have the Olympus Stylus 1 - 28-300 equivalent f2.8 constant aperture in a MUCH smaller package than the EM10 once you add a lens like the 14-150 to it.)
  5. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2014
    I'm assuming you had/have the Canon 24-70/2.8 L. If you have the Mk II version of that lens, the Olympus 12-40 is pretty much it's equal in many ways and in some ways, even better. It would replace your Canon APS-C camera completely in that case. If you're looking for a secondary system to carry with the Canon as well, you might be better off going with a prime like the Olympus 25mm or 17mm. Even better yet, you could probably just get a GM1 with the 12-32mm and just call it a day. It really depends on how much stuff you want to bring when you are out with family or going on a trip.
  6. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I had the 14-42 II R on mine the other day. I have the 14-42EZ on pre-order, and I am looking forward to receiving it. I like the size and the fact that you can control the speed of the zoom. The other lenses that I have used with this body are the O17 & O40-150. Those three lenses, 14-42EZ, O17 & O40-150 will be this body's basic kit.
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    The most versatile is the 12-50/3.5-6.3, but it's also the biggest and optically the least interesting. If you can find it for a good price (<200 Euro) that's be my first choice though - the combination of range, near-macro ability and internal zoom (so weather and dust sealed) makes it very handy. If that's too big, the Panasonic 14-42/3.5-5.6 II would be my next recommendation. I'd avoid the electronic-zoom Olympus 14-42/3.5-5.6 because of the delay the zoom mechanism introduces, and the 12-32, nice as it looks, because of the price. The Olympus 14-42 II R is okay, but it's optically weaker than the Panasonic 14-42 II and it's much larger when in use. The Panasonic 14-45/3.5-5.6 is optically the best of the bunch, but it's also fairly large and generally higher-priced.
  8. Plus 1 for the Olympus 12-50

    That's what I chose for my E-M1, after a bit of angst. The perceived optical deficiencies of this lens aren't significant for all but the largest prints. The weatherproofing made sense for me considering the E-M1 is weatherproof, and the macro is a bonus. It also has the choice of EZ or manual zoom.

    On the negative side, it is a very "sticky-outy" lens when not using the camera. It gets in the way. If one of the main reasons for you getting the E-M10 is to go compact: look at the EZ pancake zoom again. I wasn't keen on the EZ feature of the 12-50, but in use, hardly notice if I'm in manual or EZ.

  9. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2014
    Yes, no focus ring is not perfect... but I prefer that to an electronic zoom.
    I don't think I'll miss it much, but I was assuming the zoom would work correctly with the E-M10.
    AF speed and accuracy is an important thing for me (as much as sharpness)... so I've got to figure out if it is a possible combination.
    I was assuming that all m43 lenses worked on all m43 bodies.

    In fact I have the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS.
    The 12-40 is a fine zoom, but a little too big to my taste, and clearly overpriced for my use.
    (and it's "only f/2.8"... Sigma makes a f/1.8 18-35 zoom for APS-C, it should me possible for m43. Anyway, that's not the subject of my post ;) )
    However, I would consider buying it I totally abandon my DSLR.

    For now, I have a big set of gear for my DSLR: 3 zooms including an ultra wide angle one, and two primes: 50 f/1.4 & 85 f/1.8, a flash, polarizing & ND filters, etc...
    It will take more than a 12-40 f/2.8 to be able to completely replace what I accumulated during 10 years of DLSR ;)
    For instance, I would need the 9-18 and the 75f/1.8 to replace my 85 f/1.8.
    (the 75 seems to be an incredible lens and will tempt me eventually...)

    I thought of that at the beginning... but no viewfinder... very few controls... that would be hard for me;)

    What is sure is that I'll try the 14-42 EZ before totally eliminate it.
    I can't see myself using an electrical zoom... but who knows.
    The 12-50 has a very interresting range, but size & optical quality (even if I think it may not be as terrible as some say) put it out of my shortlist.
  10. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2014
    Whatever my choice will be for the std zoom, I think I'll end up with two m43 bodies. One OMD & one smaller body.
    So I can mount for instance a zoom on the OMD and a pancake prime on the smaller one (or the opposite).
    It could be a GM1, or something else (EPM2, EPL2). The GM1 is sexier and smaller (and has an aperture dial, compared to the EPM2), but the Olys have body IS & same batteries than the EM10 (and as battery life is very short... that may be important).

    So maybe the 12-32 is not the best choice as the price is interresting only if I get the GM1 with it...
    (too bad as I think 12 is way better than 14 for a standard zoom, and that 12-32 is small & with good image quality)
  11. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    Don't dismiss the 12-50 too quickly - whilst not a stellar lens I can advise that the copy I got with my EM-5 is better than both copies of the Oly "R" 14-42 and single copy of Pana 14-42 we have in the house.

    Yes it's much better at the 12mm end than the 50mm end (buy a 45 for this).

    The "macro" mode is far better than you would expect.

    So even though I am a prime user (P14/O25:):)/O45) mine keeps it's place in my camera bag for 12mm POV and quick macro work.

    For kit zooms with better IQ then
    P 14-45
    P 12-35
    O 12-40

    However if you are not fully replacing your other cameras yet why not just a couple of primes 14, 25 and an adaptor to fit your current lenses and then if you do change over fully at some point in the future then buy one of the F2.8 zooms?
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    If you get the 12-40 (or 12-35, both very good; owned both, now have the former), you will probably soon be DSLR-less. I know I was...
  13. Kilauea

    Kilauea Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2012
    Real Name:
    I have an EM-5 and I used to have a 12-50, now it is replaced by a 12-40. I love the lens, but sometimes I wished I had a standard zoom which was smaller, more like micro 4/3rd. In that case, the only lens I'd really consider are the Pana 12-32, the Pana PZ 14-42 pancake zoom and the Oly 14-42 pancake. I think that if I were to have a standard kind of kit lens, I'd want a compact one, preferably with slightly better image quality, like the 12-32. I forgot, I've also had the oly 14-42 II, but I disliked how the lens worked and never used it despite being a bit compact.
  14. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2014
    Yeah, I jettisoned my 3x Canon 5DmkIIIs and all L lenses for a set of 2 E-M1s with 12-40/2.8. That's how good I think the m43 lenses and cameras are. I was considering a smaller body but the E-M1 seemed to be a good fit even for non pro work and fits in bags easily so I carry it around sometimes with just the 17/1.8. It's surprising how small the system is yet maintains better quality than most of the Canon lenses out there. The rendering is still slightly different but overall it has completely replaced full frame 135 format for me.
  15. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    The 12-32 is a wonderful little lens. I picked one up for my wife to use with her EM5 (I have the 12-40 with my EM1) as she prefers smaller zooms. The size is really wonderful and it weighs basically nothing. Image quality is great if you don't mind 3.5-5.6, and the range is very useful if a little short on the long end, IMO the 12mm wide end is more useful than 40-45mm on the long end.
  16. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2014
    That's also what I think.
    And there are only 2 zooms with a 12 mm end, if you forget the 1000$ ones,
    The small and not-so-cheap 12-32, and the huge 12-50.
    When I say huge... it's still more compact than my current set:
    But I think it's a better companion to the E-M1 than to the E-M10.

    My current lenses zoom range are made for APS.
    I never used 24x36 zooms on APS-C because the 24-xx range was not very interresting imho. It's the same for APS-C lenses on m43.
    The first purpose of the E-M10 will be the "casual" photography.
    For this, I need a lens that focuses well and fast, have a decent image quality, and that allows me to do have different angle of views.
    I like primes, I will get a 45 f/1.8 at first, if I begin to like m43 I will probably get more of them because there are several ones that seem very good... but I will always need a standard zoom for when I just want to take different types of photo without changing lenses and without much preparation.

    I'm not worried about image quality.
    The things I may not like in m43 are:
    - no OVF, only EVF
    - the native 4:3 aspect ratio
    - less abilty to smaller depth of field (but if you really want narrower DOF, then APS-C is not the best choice either...)

    In fact, a few weeks ago, I planned to switch to 24x36 (Canon 6D or Nikon D610), and I began to read gear forums & reviews (I never cared about this for the last years, so I didn't even knew Olympus OM-D existed).
    I read about Fuji mirrorless, and I became curious about m43... and then came the idea that maybe, switching to mirrorless was a viable option too.

    If I decide to fully switch, I will probably eventually get a E-M1 with the 12-40 f/2.8 (it's the same price than the 6D + 24-120 I wanted at the beginning),but it will take some time (none of these photographic systems are cheap ;) ).
  17. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2014
    I was very hesitant to switch at first due to the same concerns. The current m43 system have a larger margin of error when photographing which is one of the reasons why I really love it now. I have used EVFs before back in the days when they first started showing up due to framing errors with OVFs that don't show the entire image like most of the APSC cameras a few years back. The newer APSC cameras seem to have more models with full coverage OVFs but still look like you're viewing stuff through a drinking straw. The new EVFs starting with the Olympus VF4 just look much better. It's so good and the results are so clear that it's almost like having a really great OVF like on the 5D3s. The one thing that still bothers me a little is the lack of ability to frame when the camera is off. It's not the end of the world but I may purchase an extra OVF for 35mm 135format equivalent so I can frame when the camera is off.

    The 4:3 aspect ratio threw me off at first because I was losing resolution when printing 3:2 which is what I normally shoot but for most electronic formats for online viewing, 4:3 is actually better and if I was cropping 3:2, I would have extra pixels just in case I made a small error framing.

    When comparing 135format to m43, the DOF stuff starts making less of a difference for normal photos and if I want thin DOF, I just use one of the voigtlander lenses wide open and the problem is solved. Using the zoom, I definitely wanted more DOF since I would need more depth at given apertures for low light shooting and shooting groups of people.

    I was looking at the 6D at first since I was looking to get rid of weight but then realized the bulk of my system comprised of heavy L glass so I did the math for how many kilos I was carrying on a weekly basis and found the results quite shocking. Now that I'm on m43 for the bulk of what I do, it's much better and then if I need detail, I just go medium format.
  18. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2014
    Having seen the 12-50, it is not so huge... it's just that most m43 lenses are so small.
    I am not a big fan of the zoom ring ("by wire") but the 12-50 range is very interesting, the IQ seems not to be so bad, so it's back in the race ;)
    (I have read this topic a few days ago... not very positive... : https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=59036 )
  19. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    As a general-use, all-around outdoor lens, the Oly 12-50mm zoom is tops. A 24-100mm focal range with weather resistance. Does anyone need that much more for outdoor shooting - especially if one is on a budget? For the total package, toss in the 40-150 and one or two fast primes for indoor/low light/night use (Panny 14, Oly 17 and/or Oly 25).
  20. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I like the 12-50, but it is a larger lens and sort of defeats the purpose of the smaller E-M10. If the 12-50 the preferred lens you are almost better off buying bundled with the E-M5. For me, YMMV, the E-M10 screams to have the small 14-42 EZ and fast prime like the O17 or O25. Biro brings up a good point about the 40-150, I have that lens mounted to my E-M10 ready to snap pics of wildlife if they wander into the backyard.