Olympus PEN Cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jr24, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. jr24, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2012

    jr24 macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Hi, all.

    Do any of you have the Olympus PEN? If so, which model? And what lenses/accessories have you really liked using?

    I'm leaning towards getting a PEN, but I'm having a hard time deciding (and there's so much info to wade through) on which one to get.

    Thanks for any feedback :)
  2. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    I don't currently have a PEN, but used to own an E-PL2, which I think is a great camera. I now have an E-M5, and an array of lenses. My favorite lenses are the Olympus 12mm f/2 and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7.

    Photokina is coming soon, and there should be new PEN models announced within a month, so I'd wait before buying anything unless you need a camera immediately.
  3. ToddSD macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    I just recently bought the PEN E-P3 as an easy to carry option for a trip I was going on. Wow! Do I love this little camera. I only have the 14-42 kit lens, but I'm happier with it than I am with my Tammy 28-75 on my T3 (minus bokeh capability with the Tammy). At f8 the PEN kit actually seems better to me.

    I've heard nothing but effusive praise for the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. Haven't gotten one yet, but it's next on my list.

    It's a joy to use, takes excellent quality photos, and with its small size is a camera I actually enjoy taking with me. As opposed to my bulky DSLR which often feels like a chore to carry around. My DSLR kit's days may be numbered.

    Sorry to sound like a m43 fanboy, but I really do like this camera!
  4. driftless, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2012

    driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    E-PM1 as the always have with me camera. E-P3 was recently replaced by the OM-D E-M5.

    Which camera you select really depends on how involved you want to be with your pictures. Sticking with the Pen series, the E-P3, or it's successor, w/ an EVF gives you a lot of flexibility and options. There is better and more & more glass coming to the m43 world so whatever body you pick, the lenses should serve you for years to come.
  5. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    I have the epm1 with kit lens. I also have an FD adaptor for some other lenses, most used is a 50/1.8. I love it - got it refurbished at Cameta. I'd wait for the new ones at this point - the updated sensor will hopefully be a better high-ISO performer.

    I love the size, the colors, and how it handles.
  6. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    I've picked up the E-MP1 a few months back. I´m pretty happy with it so far, but I´m a little miffed that you can't record more than 29 minutes AVCHD (this is a super minor complaint as I really don´t take too much video, but I don´t understand the limitation). The stock lens can be noisy (actual sound using auto focus, not the picture quality) at times but it takes nice photos.
    I've been saving for the panny 20mm - man is it ever a pricey lens.
  7. runlsd macrumors 6502


    Mar 17, 2009
    I feel like the GX1 is a nice bargain at the moment, price-performance wise. But that's a Panasonic. I had the E-P3 for a bit. Snappy AF, compact, easy to use, decent amount of external control. The external control is pretty important to me. If you have the budget, EM-5 should also be a good choice.

    M43 has the best selection of lenses for any mirrorless system at the moment. 20/1.7 and 25/1.4 are excellent performers in my experience. Heard great things about Oly 12/2, 45/1.8 but have no experience with those.

    I think the EVF is a popular accessory choice. If you shoot on a very bright day, you might want to pick one up.

    Currently, I have a Sony NEX-5N. Wanted a APS-C sensor and focus peaking for manual lenses, which is all I use at the moment. IF I didn't use manual lenses, I'd choose a M4/3 camera any day. Good luck hunting!
  8. emorydunn macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2006
    Austin Texas
    I've got an E-P2 and VF-2 (viewfinder) and a couple of kit-type lenses. I've got the M.Zuiko 45mm on order which should be here in the next couple days, which I'm super excited about.

    I'm very happy with it so far, it takes a while to dig through the menus to set it up just how you want it, but once you do it's great. It's very small and unobtrusive and easy to handle. The biggest downside is that while using the EVF you can't use the hot shoe (honestly, one of the biggest reasons why I would love to get an OM-D).
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have the Olympus OMD E-M5 - not a pen, but a mirrorless camera. I love the camera, and in reading reviews the Pen series was on my short list.

    I have the Panasonic 20mm prime which I love and I'll probably get the 45mm prime from olly soon too.
  10. jr24 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    THanks for all the replies so far! I keep re-reading them and jotting down notes.

    I am still trying to decide which of the PEN cameras to get. I -think- I want the e-p3 but I'm not sure about the expenses so I might try for something cheaper. (maybe the e-p2, or something even older than that?)

    I've been doing a lot of searching online and browsing topics from all kinds of forums, all the while writing out an ever-growing list of lenses that people use so I could look them up and read about them. It's kind of overwhelming! What has been your favorite lens? And what do you use it for?

    I'm kind of a minimalist, hence wanting a small more portable camera. I have a few lenses for my canon rebel xt, which are the tamron 90mm and the canon 55-250 telephoto zoom. I like both of them but they are the first lenses I've ever used for telephoto and macro work.

    Would those work on the PEN? with an adapter? Or should I consider selling them along with the other dslr stuff and go for something completely different for the PEN? I'd like as little equipment as possible but if the tamron and the telephoto would work just fine for this, I'd get adapters for them. [ETA: I suppose they might be too heavy for the PEN, since they are geared toward the bigger dslr's?]

    I would like to get more into portrait type work and I keep reading that the kit lens would be ok for this?

    Sorry for all the questions, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some. I'm a mix of excited, overwhelmed, and confused. haha I got the rebel xt way back in 2004, so it's exciting shopping for a newer camera.
  11. driftless, Aug 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2012

    driftless macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2011
    As much as I like Oly cameras, you may also want to look at this new m43's Panasonic. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/880964-REG/Panasonic_dmc_g5ks_Lumix_G5_Digital_Camera.html

    Edit: as much as I like the Pen series, I like the OMD more. This Panny is closer to the OMD than some of the Pen cameras.

    As to using your existing lenses on a Pen? I wouldn't, they would be too big and heavy. I am not sure there are adapters except for 43's lenses. For lenses in addition to the 14 - 42 kit lens, I would suggest the 40 - 150 (80 - 300 in 35mm equivalent) and a couple of primes like the 12mm f2.0 and the 45mm f1.8.
  12. jr24 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    ^^Thanks for the link. In a lot of my searching, Panasonic was coming up a bit.

    Yes, I am realizing now that the Tamron would definitely be too heavy, and then add in an adapter. Still trying to decide what to do there; I really do like that lens. I did see someone take some great macro shots with a Cosina 100mm f/3.5 AF lens. I don't know about weight of it yet, though. It was just one of the many that I scribbled down. There was another one that I saw: Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 macro. I like the longer lenses, though, because I do like a lot of macro and I don't know how much the 35 would end up spooking critters.

    More reading up to do.
  13. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    I highly recommend the following user site: http://www.mu-43.com

    The forum there is fantastic.


    There are adapters of every kind out there. I use my fd adapter all the time with my Canon 50mm f1.8 (best $10 I've spent in a while). If I could afford the Olympus 45mm f1.8 I'd be all over it, but for a combined $30 or so (with adapter), this does just fine for me. People seem to have a lot of fun with the C-mount adapters, too.

    My Tamron 35-100 looks a little crazy on my EPM1, and it's way too out of balance to ever use:
  14. Melbourne Park, Aug 22, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012

    Melbourne Park macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I have the OM-D, or EM-5, and its the first micro four thirds that I've bought. Of course, its fantastic. It has many features that make it excellent.

    But cost is not one of them. Eventually, they will bring out an all plastic body, that will still have the computer power and the IBIS technology that makes the OM-D more special. Having weatherproofing is great, but most camera makers do not bother. In fact the OM-D is far more weatherproof than big pro Nikons are. But ... you don't need that either.

    And you mentioned portraits. And having a small camera. The two do not really go together. Unless you have a big budget, and can buy a Leica (which are small but can have big sensors).

    Really, for portraits, a full frame (35mm sized) sensor does provide more fuzzy backgrounds more easily than smaller censored cameras, such as micro four thirds and APS-C sensors found in most Nikon and Canon and Pentax etc DSLRs.

    Of course, a full frame DSLR is huge compared to a micro four thirds.

    So ... the way to get around the longer depth of field (less fuzzy backgrounds which assists subject isolation) is to buy fast aperture lenses. The faster the aperture lens (i.e. F/1.4 allows in twice the light of an F/2.0 lens and provides much more fuzz in the background than the F/2.0 lens does) then the more like a full frame camera will the micro four thirds camera behave.

    Hence, I would recommend you buy a Panasonic Leica 25mm lens, which is F/1.4. And buy an Olympus F/1.8 45mm lens. And then, after you buy those lenses, then buy the micro four thirds camera that you can afford.

    And if you just want one lens for starters, then buy the Panasonic Leica 25mm F/1.4 lens, because IMO its a very special lens.

    Remember too, that the lenses do loose value, but they do not loose much of their value. But the new cameras plummet in price. So ... consider hunting down an older Olympus for instance, such as the E-PL2, typically they cost new now, only $250 or so, and often with a kit zoom lens.

    As far as third party lenses go, yes, they will work, if they have a manual adjustment for aperture on their lens, and also a non electric i.e. manual focus on the lens.

    An adapter for such lenses, can cost around $30.

    Be aware though, that having a camera with an in built viewfinder may assist in manual focusing ... and that adds many issues!!!!!

    As far a portraiture goes, a longer lens can also give you better fuzzy backgrounds. Some older lenses can achieve this, and they can be cheap. For instance, they are many many 50mm old lenses that have fast apertures i.e. F/1.4, and their size becomes on m43 equivalent in zooming, to a 100mm lens on a Full Frame camera (35mm), which is ideal for portraiture. However note: that on an m43 camera, the blurring of the background will be much less, than on the Full Frame camera.

    And --- you can buy a FF Canon 5D second hand, for $750. Its pretty big, but for portraiture, IMO if the bulk can be handled, most Pro photographers would say its worthwhile.


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