View Full Version : Advice on my next lens ( or two or three....)

06-05-2014, 3:50pm
I have had my Olympus OMD EM-1 for 4 months now and am enjoying the experience of learning to use it . Still lots of learning to do but thought it might be time I got another lens or two , or three.... Olympus are having a cash back offer at the moment so it might be a good time as well.

Appreciate advice from other m4/3 , OMD users , or anyone else who has an opinion.

I have a few options. Currently I have the kit lens -Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3. My photography interest is very general. Whatever is the current APF challenge or comp I will use as a theme to focus on over the next few weeks. Also enjoy general travel photography - scenery , architecture , people etc. (You can see my comp entries on the forum and my other entries into the weekly challenge.)

Options I'm thinking about ( with a few newbie questions thrown in)

1. Replace the kit lens with the Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8. I read it is a much better lens , but it seems similar in focal length to what I have now . What is the advantage of getting a lens that has f2.8 over f3.5 - 6.3? I would probably keep the 12-50mm just for the macro function or sell it and get the Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro lens.

2. I am missing the bigger zoom I had with my old P&S. It was 10x . I notice it when going to places like the zoo for example. Therefore thinking about adding a zoom lens . Olympus have a 14-150mm and a 75-300mm so which of these might be best.?

3. I don't have a prime lens. Should I have one? When would I use it ? If so what would be a good general one to get?

Thanks in advance for advice and if you need any more info just ask.

07-05-2014, 6:13am
Hi Brad,

I have been using Olympus gear since I bought an OM2n back in December 1980. My first DSLR was an Olympus E300, which I bought in late 2005. I bought an E3 (with a 12060 lens) about six years ago, about six months after they were released. Somewhere between the two, I bought a 40-150 zoom, but found it to be a bit short for my wild game needs. So I bought a 70-300.

I bought an E-M1 (with the 12-40 PRO lens) about a month ago and also an MMF-3 adaptor to go with it so that I can continue to use my 4/3 lenses.

My answers to your questions:

1. Never having used it, I don't know what the 12-50 is like. But I can say that the 12-40 is one awesome lens! - Just a very high quality lens that integrates well with the E-M1. Given the 4/3 system's less than desirable low light capabilities, the f2.8 doesn't do it any harm too.

2. That depends on what type of photos you want to take. Looking at photos which I took at Australia Zoo a couple of months back, I get the feeling that 150mm on a micro 4/3 would be sufficient. However, if you wish to take photos of birds in flight or of wild game on the grasslands of Africa, you might want to look at something with a bit more reach.

3. I also don't have a prime lens, but judging by what I am getting from the 12-40, I can't see myself getting one in the forseeable future.

07-05-2014, 11:35am
Thanks Larry .
Looks like I will have to get myself the 12-40mm and might start with the 14 - 150mm zoom and see how it goes .

07-05-2014, 12:58pm
What is your budget ?
I'd consider the 75-300 to go with the 12-50
If your really keen on macro the 60mm macro is a nice light and quite sharp lens that works well on the EM1
I would probably not bother with 4/3rds lenses, they work ok on the EM1 but not as good as m4/3, they are also a lot bigger and heavier, well the hg and shg are anyway.
There are a couple of f2.8 lenses due next year too, they will be more expensive but weather sealed and better quality…but they are not here yet!
Prime wise there are none (olympus) wider than the zoom you have so unless light or dof is an issue I wouldn't worry yet, maybe the 9-18 to give a wider angle.
So if you have the 9-18, 12-50 and 75-300 you are only really missing the 50-75 range and you can use the old 2 feet zoom to move closer or further and you can crop closer if need be.
I have the 12-40 and 60mm macro in m4/3 and they get most of the use, the vast collection of 4/3 lenses i have seldom get any use anymore, generally the 90-250 f2.8 more than anything and I'll get the 75-300 soon and retire the 50-200.
I don't have the 12-50 but I have had a play with it, it seems fine and is weather sealed and it does do macro, the 12-40 doesn't do macro.
Sorry for a disjointed and rambling post, I'm a little busy today :-)

07-05-2014, 1:22pm
Thanks Dave.
Budget is not a problem - all potential purchases are WIFI - Wife Is Favourably Inclined!

It's a good point , if I have the 12-40mm then the 14-150mm is doubling up to some degree.

"I would probably not bother with 4/3rds lenses, they work ok on the EM1 but not as good as m4/3," . What is the difference between 4/3rds and m4/3 lenses ?

07-05-2014, 1:37pm
Thanks Dave.
Budget is not a problem - all potential purchases are WIFI - Wife Is Favourably Inclined!

It's a good point , if I have the 12-40mm then the 14-150mm is doubling up to some degree.

"I would probably not bother with 4/3rds lenses, they work ok on the EM1 but not as good as m4/3," . What is the difference between 4/3rds and m4/3 lenses ?
:lol: WIFI, I love it…can I use that one .

4/3rds lenses were designed for a DSLR i.e with a mirror so the flange mount distance is greater so they are bigger and heavier, go to a shop and compare your 12-50 with a 12-40,( both m4/3) the 12-40 is twice the diameter and heavier, the 4/3rds 12-60 is 4 times the size of the 12-50. they were also designed for phase detect not contrast detect af so focus while very accurate still is slower, they get close first move using contrast then rack a little back and forth using phase to achieve fine focus ( it could be the other way round but the end result is the same) in slow focus. Still if you want a bloody good weather sealed solid performing 100-400 equiv to ff zoom lens they are available but you also need a mmf3 weather sealed adapter.
Have you a flash? other than the little one that came with the EM1, if not a fl600 maybe worth considering to compliment your growing system. I don't have one but do have a couple of fl50s and an fl36, again designed for a larger camera but still work fine on EM1

07-05-2014, 1:45pm
WIFI - It's all yours .

I only have the standard flash , but found I hardly use it . So far I mostly just get by going up in ISO . Maybe that will be my next purchase ,after the lenses.

07-05-2014, 1:50pm
flash is great to fill in for macro…..but yes the achilles heal of 4/3 being low light noise is much less now than it was, higher iso is much better

07-05-2014, 6:38pm
Somewhat echoing what Dave said. -> I have an FL-50R flash and, although a bit large, it works beautifully with the E-M1. My only reason for buying the MMF-3 adaptor was to provide support for my existing stash of 4/3 lenses. I wouldn't advise you to buy a new 4/3 lens for the E-M1 unless you can't find what you are looking for in micro 4/3. I was fully expecting to get a fair bit of further use out of my 4/3 12-60 lens but, as the micro 4/3 12-40 is so good, I just haven't bothered using it. I have played around a bit with my 4/3 70-300 using the MMF-3 adaptor and it works fine in decent light. It does struggle to focus a bit under low light conditions, though.

08-05-2014, 12:34am
No advice, but look forward to replies to your request.

08-05-2014, 1:26am
If an all-day lens appeals, the one to get is the Panasonic 14-140 Power OIS (the new 'mk2' version). My wife absolutely loves hers. When on overseas holiday lately, I was green with envy at her magical way of always having the right lens (!). She got so may shots that I missed while changing to a longer or shorter zoom.

Mary Anne
08-05-2014, 12:32pm
I am surprised that no Members have mentioned Panasonic m4/3 Lenses before.. Arg that looks like a great choice for a walk around lens.

Anyone using the E-M1 body with a Panasonic lens as I see that Panasonic has OIS on their lenses
Olympus has IBIS in the camera body, what would happen if you forgot to turn off the OIS on the Panasonic lens ?

If you need a longer Telephoto lens have a look at the Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm f4-5.6 m4/3 lens also.
I am not ready for it yet and by time I am hopefully there will be a longer m4/3 prime lens out there as I really like prime lenses for Birding.
Thinking of getting the 60mm Macro Lens one of these day as I have seen davsv1 large print of an Ant and to me the detail on this Insect was mind boggling.

08-05-2014, 12:50pm
Thanks MaryAnne ,
I will look into it. From my understanding if you have IBIS in the body then turn the lens IBIS off (or visa versa) , or they can work against each other .

I had not really thought about Panasonic lenses . I knew this would happen , when I ask for advice I end up with more options and more confused. :confused013

I'm not in too much rush , and the $100 cash back offer by Olympus doesn't end until 30th June , so time to make a decision.

12-05-2014, 4:56pm
Hi Brad,
A few thoughts.
1. Keep the 12-50. It's not worth much on the second hand market, like most kit lenses. And on top of that the m43 used market is much smaller than Canon or Nikon with many converts to m43 already owning a 12-50. If u get lucky and can sell it at a good price then go for it I guess.
I'm very tempted by the Oly 12-40/2.8 myself. It's not just the f2.8 constant. The sharpness and micro contrast improves with the higher quality lens. But I feel it's a bit pricey.

2. There are upcoming f2.8 tele zooms coming soon from Oly that'll reach 150mm. Panasonic already does a 35-100/2.8 but that range may not be big enough for you. It depends what you're after. As the quality goes up, so does size and weight, defeating some of m43's advantage.

3. Prime shooting is very different to zooms. I have a 75/1.8 that I love but gets used much less than the 12-50. I believe top dog honours in the m43 world now goes to the PanaLeica Nocticron 42.5/1.2. Though I haven't used the Nocticron, both it and the 75/1.8 will achieve results unlike any zooms. But you do pay a high price for the gains at the top end. So for ultimate quality in m43, I think primes still have the edge. Whether you can see or care about that difference is another story.
Then there's the size/weight equation. Lots of primes covering the range of a good zoom like the 12-40 will be much bulkier to carry but a single prime will be much smaller. So can you restrict yourself to just a 17/1.8 or 25/1.4? Many photographers eg. X100/s buyers, are as happy as Larry shooting 35mm equiv all day long.

Lastly think about how you can pair prime/zoom combos with 1 or 2 bodies.
I myself am thinking of buying a GM1 and 15/1.7 kit when it becomes available. That way the 75/1.8 stays on my E-M5 all day long with a 2 camera 2 prime combo.
Or buy a 12-40 which would replace my 12-50 but my shooting habits would stay the same.
Lots of choices, just depends how you like to shoot.


03-02-2015, 4:05pm
Hi there,

Although I would agree to many of the posts recommending the high end lenses, either prime or the f2.8 pro-zooms.
I find it in particular useful to have a long-range zoom (14-150 etc) for traveling. The photo taking opportunities change in unknown places so dramatically that I find it a bother to have to change my wide to a tele for example. Still useful to have a fast prime in your bag...
Cheers Moxi