Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions
tron555
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Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
Apr 26, 2013

On Amazon, the E-PL5 comes with this lens: OLYMPUS: M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II (seems OK to me)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-Digital-Camera-14-42mm/dp/B0096WDMGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366994436&sr=8-1&keywords=OLYMPUS+E-PL5

I am not an expert in lens design or specifications, but wonder if there is not a better lens that is sharper/faster that I should order my E-PL5 with. From what I read (as best I can understand), this looks like a very good alternative: Panasonic: LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. I would prefer this lens since it is much smaller and lighter, but is it still as fast and sharp as the one that comes as the kit lens? I don’t really want to give up quality and speed just to get the smaller lens. I don’t want to get too many lenses and want to get the best I can from to begin with.

http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/standard.html#i_014-042mm_f035-056_olympus

My priority is to be sharp and fast, not worried about movies. Since I am upgrading from a Canon G12 and want much faster AF and sharper images, should I just get the lens it comes with? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

Canon PowerShot G12 Leica X Vario Olympus PEN E-PL5
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Paul De Bra
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Get the kit and wait for the 12-40 to be announced?
In reply to tron555, Apr 26, 2013

There are many different kit lenses and opinions vary a lot, probably because of sample variation more than because of inherent differences in the design. The Panasonic 14-42PZ may require using anti-shock delay because it has a blur issue depending on shutter shock.

The Panasonic 12-35 is currently the best standard lens that satisfies the requirements of being fast and sharp. But I'm holding off until Olympus announces its competitor to that lens, either a 12-40 f/2.8 or a 12-40 f/2.8-4, we don't know yet and we also don't know how long the wait will be...

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Jeff Tokayer
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 26, 2013

The kit lens on the E-PL5 is priced at $50. That means you'd get only $50 reduction in price if you take the body only.. For that price, take the lens.

As a fast prime lens, in addition to the kit lens, you should look into getting the 17/1.8, 20/1.7 or 25/1.4. If portraits are your thing, then the 45/1.8 is the bargain in µ4/3.

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Chas2
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 26, 2013

tron555 wrote:

On Amazon, the E-PL5 comes with this lens: OLYMPUS: M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II (seems OK to me)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-Digital-Camera-14-42mm/dp/B0096WDMGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366994436&sr=8-1&keywords=OLYMPUS+E-PL5

I am not an expert in lens design or specifications, but wonder if there is not a better lens that is sharper/faster that I should order my E-PL5 with. From what I read (as best I can understand), this looks like a very good alternative: Panasonic: LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. I would prefer this lens since it is much smaller and lighter, but is it still as fast and sharp as the one that comes as the kit lens? I don’t really want to give up quality and speed just to get the smaller lens. I don’t want to get too many lenses and want to get the best I can from to begin with.

http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/standard.html#i_014-042mm_f035-056_olympus

My priority is to be sharp and fast, not worried about movies. Since I am upgrading from a Canon G12 and want much faster AF and sharper images, should I just get the lens it comes with? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

I would get the kit lens for the value proposition.  You won't be able to touch the PZ lens for anywhere near the kit lens price, and there are discussions of potential weakness with the PZ lens with certain cameras.  You will also have time to figure out what lens(es) makes the best sense for you in the future.  In the meantime, the kit lens should do you fine.

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Robert Deutsch
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 26, 2013

tron555 wrote:

On Amazon, the E-PL5 comes with this lens: OLYMPUS: M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II (seems OK to me)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-Digital-Camera-14-42mm/dp/B0096WDMGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366994436&sr=8-1&keywords=OLYMPUS+E-PL5

I am not an expert in lens design or specifications, but wonder if there is not a better lens that is sharper/faster that I should order my E-PL5 with. From what I read (as best I can understand), this looks like a very good alternative: Panasonic: LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. I would prefer this lens since it is much smaller and lighter, but is it still as fast and sharp as the one that comes as the kit lens? I don’t really want to give up quality and speed just to get the smaller lens. I don’t want to get too many lenses and want to get the best I can from to begin with.

http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/standard.html#i_014-042mm_f035-056_olympus

My priority is to be sharp and fast, not worried about movies. Since I am upgrading from a Canon G12 and want much faster AF and sharper images, should I just get the lens it comes with? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

I have a Panasonic 14-42x that I use with the EM-5, and I find this to be a good combination.  (This lens performs better on the EM-5 than it did on the GX1.).  However, I got the 14-42x at a very good price as part of a kit with the GX1.  Bought separately, it's quite a bit more expensive.  I agree with Jeff  Tokayer that, for what it costs in the kit, you might as well get the Olympus 14-42 II.  When/if it comes to selling the PL5, you'll at least get your money back.

To step up from the various kit lenses means spending a lot more money.  The Panasonic 12-35 and 35-150 f/2.8 are the best of the zooma, and the Oly 45mm and 75mm are the best of the primes (the 45 is relatively a bargain).

Bob

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sigala1
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 26, 2013

tron555 wrote:

On Amazon, the E-PL5 comes with this lens: OLYMPUS: M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II (seems OK to me)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-Digital-Camera-14-42mm/dp/B0096WDMGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366994436&sr=8-1&keywords=OLYMPUS+E-PL5

I am not an expert in lens design or specifications, but wonder if there is not a better lens that is sharper/faster that I should order my E-PL5 with. From what I read (as best I can understand), this looks like a very good alternative: Panasonic: LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. I would prefer this lens since it is much smaller and lighter, but is it still as fast and sharp as the one that comes as the kit lens? I don’t really want to give up quality and speed just to get the smaller lens. I don’t want to get too many lenses and want to get the best I can from to begin with.

http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/standard.html#i_014-042mm_f035-056_olympus

My priority is to be sharp and fast, not worried about movies. Since I am upgrading from a Canon G12 and want much faster AF and sharper images, should I just get the lens it comes with? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

The Olympus 14-42 II is sharper than the Panazonic 14-42 PZ. The Olympus lens has a nice-feeling manual zoom ring, much better than using power zoom. The Olympus only weighs slightly more (I think less than an ounce difference). So yes, the PZ lens doesn't stick out quite as much, but you are paying $300 and giving up IQ and a manual zoom for this benefit.

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shihhan
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 26, 2013

What do you shoot? and what's your budget?

Primes are typically the most affordable fast glass options at the moment.

17/1.8 for street photography
45/1.8 for portraits

Both are excellent.

Budget options are: 14/2.5 (wider, landscapes/architechture), 19/2.8, 30/2.8

Zooms, the only fast aperture is really the 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8. Expensive.

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tron555
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to shihhan, Apr 27, 2013

OK, it makes a lot of sense to get the kit lens (Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED) for only $50 extra. Since 95% of my shooting is done outside (in sunny Florida) it should work out well until I get familiar with the E-PL5. Since I do very little low light shooting, I will need to get a telephoto lens and I am planning on getting this lens: OLYMPUS ZUIKO DIGITAL ED40-150mmF4.0-5.6 for an extra ($209). Can anyone tell me if this telephoto lens would not be a good complement to my kit lens? I read some good reviews that said this is also a good lens, Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 45-150 mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH ($253). I would rather stay with OLYMPUS ED lenses if possible. If there is a much better tele lens that is sharper/faster and cost less than $400, please advise. It would be nice (not mandatory) to have a slightly weather sealed lens and I don’t care about the size or weight, only build and optical quality is that matters to me.

Thanks for all your help!!!

PS, someday I will get a quality prime lens if/when I feel the need for one "or" if the kit lens really lacks in the 5% of low light shooting I occasionally do. But for now, I just need something to put in a padded fanny pack I have, take on fishing trips and fun family vacations.

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sigala1
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 27, 2013

tron555 wrote:

OK, it makes a lot of sense to get the kit lens (Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED) for only $50 extra. Since 95% of my shooting is done outside (in sunny Florida) it should work out well until I get familiar with the E-PL5. Since I do very little low light shooting, I will need to get a telephoto lens and I am planning on getting this lens: OLYMPUS ZUIKO DIGITAL ED40-150mmF4.0-5.6 for an extra ($209). Can anyone tell me if this telephoto lens would not be a good complement to my kit lens? I read some good reviews that said this is also a good lens, Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 45-150 mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH ($253). I would rather stay with OLYMPUS ED lenses if possible. If there is a much better tele lens that is sharper/faster and cost less than $400, please advise. It would be nice (not mandatory) to have a slightly weather sealed lens and I don’t care about the size or weight, only build and optical quality is that matters to me.

Thanks for all your help!!!

PS, someday I will get a quality prime lens if/when I feel the need for one "or" if the kit lens really lacks in the 5% of low light shooting I occasionally do. But for now, I just need something to put in a padded fanny pack I have, take on fishing trips and fun family vacations.

The Olympus 40-150 is worth the very affordable price if you want a zoom lens. The zoom is a little stiff, but what do you expect for such a low price? It often goes on sale. I paid only $100 for mine, brand new.

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LMNCT
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 27, 2013

I have the EPL-5 body and routinely use the Pana 14 2.5, 20 1.7 and Oly 45 1.8.  I also use the Pana 45-175GX (the companion lens to the 14-42GX) for telephoto shots.  I have the Pana 100-300 and use it on my GH2, but I do not mount it on the EPL-5 because the balance is not good with a longer and heavier lens.  The joy of the EPL-5 (and GX-1) is that it is small and light.

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Cuegeee
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 27, 2013

NewEgg has a sale right now E-PL3 - $299 GO GO GO GO...

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tron555
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to Cuegeee, Apr 27, 2013

If the E-PL3 was as good as the E-PL5, I would definitely do that, but when I compare this...

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cameras-side-by-side/%28appareil1%29/839|0/%28brand%29/Olympus/%28appareil2%29/725|0/%28brand2%29/Olympus

... I just don't think it is worth compromising, what do you think? I may be value conscious, but cheap I am not. Upgrading from a 4 year old Canon G12, I think the E-PL5 will be a huge leap in IQ and MUCH more, I can't wait to get it!

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Michael's Photos
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 28, 2013

I suggest the Panasonic 14-45. B&H still sells it for I believe less than $300, and if you do a google search/comparison between the 14-42mm (either panasonic or olympus models) you'll see the somewhat older but better built 14-45 is a better lens. You said you don't care about the size but the longer zooms you mention are quite large for the small epl5 body, and believe me, I've used them and it's not ergonomically good.

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Cuegeee
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to Michael's Photos, Apr 28, 2013

The 40-150 is a great sunny, day lens.  I sold my 50-200 ED 4/3 f2.8 and don't miss the weight nor speed.  It also looked ridiculous on my e-pl2.

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bluelemmy
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 28, 2013

tron555 wrote:

On Amazon, the E-PL5 comes with this lens: OLYMPUS: M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II (seems OK to me)

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-Interchangeable-Digital-Camera-14-42mm/dp/B0096WDMGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366994436&sr=8-1&keywords=OLYMPUS+E-PL5

I am not an expert in lens design or specifications, but wonder if there is not a better lens that is sharper/faster that I should order my E-PL5 with. From what I read (as best I can understand), this looks like a very good alternative: Panasonic: LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. I would prefer this lens since it is much smaller and lighter, but is it still as fast and sharp as the one that comes as the kit lens? I don’t really want to give up quality and speed just to get the smaller lens. I don’t want to get too many lenses and want to get the best I can from to begin with.

http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/standard.html#i_014-042mm_f035-056_olympus

My priority is to be sharp and fast, not worried about movies. Since I am upgrading from a Canon G12 and want much faster AF and sharper images, should I just get the lens it comes with? ANY advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!!

I have both lenses. In performance they are very similar but the Panasonic is much smaller and therefore better to suited to the camera if compactness is what you desire.

If you want speed and sharpness, the 12-35 f2.8 Panasonic is a good lens (I have one of those, too)and  is better than both, as it should be at around 3 times the price!

But it is much bigger and in my view doesn't make a lot of sense on such a small body. You may have different criteria, of course.

Given the size and performance of the 14-42 Olympus, I'd stick with that and spend my money on a 45mm f1.8 for when you want shallow DoF and excellent sharpness. But then I would say that, since I think that everyone with an M43 camera should have the 45mm in their bag

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Reto
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to bluelemmy, Apr 28, 2013

I would go for the Panasonic 14-45. This lens would be a nice upgrade to the kit zoom. It is sharper and has better contrast as well. Definitely worth the money.

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richarddd
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Re: Need help deciding which lens to get for my new OLYMPUS E-PL5
In reply to tron555, Apr 28, 2013

I'd buy the kit and, if you want a telephoto zoom, the Olympus 40-150.  Shoot with these for a while.  If you're happy, great.  If you notice a specific problem with either lens (e.g., not fast enough, not wide enough), then see if there's another lens that solves the problem.

As others have noted, the kit lens is cheap and the 40-150 is not very expensive.  I wouldn't recommend spending more initially (unless there's some fabulous promotion that won't be available later). You can always get another lens.

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