Eric L. Woods

That’ll do series: Olympus OMD E-M5/Lumix 14mm f/2.5

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A lot of virtual ink is regularly spilled, myself included, about the latest and greatest gear. Perhaps a product of my nature and/or my Industrial Engineering degree minimum requirements are a bit of an obsession. This “That’ll do” series focuses on minimum requirements for my photography. The latest and greatest gear available is fantastic, but not everyone wants to, is able to, or even needs to buy into the latest gear. I focused on individual components already. Now I will focus on pairings as compared to much more expensive current alternatives. I will spend a little time on specs, make some comparisons, and then will share sample photos. Any combination suggested is not the only older gear that could suffice. Meant as a sample of what can be accomplished with gear that has a few years on it at a lower price. Or if you already have something similar it stands as an example of how upgrades are an option rather than a necessity for many.

The brief:

  • Pancake lens.
  • 28mm -ish full frame equivalent.
  • 16MP minimum.

Main Purpose:

  • Compact daily shooter.

The title gave away the subject of this post…

OMD E-M5/Lumix 14mm f/2.5
Olympus OMD E-M5 and Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5

…but I will start with a few more recent set ups that cost significantly more. Modern options outnumber my ability to try or mention. I will pull from past set ups I have owned or own so I can speak from experience and provide sample shots for comparison.

  • Full frame sample
    • Sony A7III w/ Rokinon/Samyang 24mm f/2.8
      • Pluses
        • Better in low light, of course, owing to the larger sensor and aperture.
        • Better battery life.
      • Minuses
        • Considerably more expensive.
        • Larger and heavier.
Rokinon/Samyang AF 24mm f/2.8 FE Lens
Rokinon/Samyang 24mm f/2.8
  • APS-C sample
    • Sony a6000 w/ Sony 20mm f/2.8
      • Pluses
        • Honestly not much if anything in my experience.
        • More advanced AF but that is lost on this lens in my experience.
        • Larger sensor theoretically should yield better low light performance but not really noticeable in real world use.
      • Minuses
        • No IBIS.
        • No touch screen.
        • Meh IQ. Tried it twice because its form factor should have done it for me, but I will just say it. I do not like this lens. Sony really needs to release an updated version II.
        • Both the camera and lens are considerably more expensive but at the same price I would still likely choose the E-M5 and 14mm instead.
Sony a6000
Daily Life
  • MFT
    • Olympus PEN-F w/ Olympus 17mm f/1.8
      • Pluses
        • This combo is purdy.
        • Brighter aperture.
        • Better for video.
      • Minuses
        • Far more expensive.
        • Considerably larger and heavier set up.
        • On paper I like the 17mm’s f/1.8 aperture, but in the real world I prefer the 14mm’s smaller size and weight and wider field of view (28mm vs. 34mm full frame equivalent).
        • Once the aesthetics pixie dust wore off I found a pretty standard issue Olympus camera, not a bad thing, underneath.
Olympus 30mm f/3.5 Macro
Olympus 40-150mm review
Olympus PEN-F

All of the options above are great. While they are not the most expensive options on the market at all by a long shot they will all set you back a few hundred dollars at least. Some thousands. The least expensive option listed above, the a6000 and 20mm, will run you around $600 used. Even more new.

Value:

How does about $300 all in sound? Seriously. I paid $132 for my bargain grade used OMD E-M5 and only paid a little more for a EX grade used Lumix 14mm f/2.5.

Features:

I point you to my write ups on the camera and lens for details but here is a high level overview.

  • 16MP.
  • 9fps… 9fps!
  • 1/4000s top shutter speed.
  • Solid IQ.
  • Fast, silent AF.
  • Touch AF.
  • Many, many actually useful image modes and special features.
  • Articulating touch screen.
  • Lens is downright tiny.
  • Camera is downright tiny.
  • Combined they are tiny.
  • f/2.5 is nothing spectacular, but the camera and lens make the most of it.

What is missing?:

Practically speaking not much actually. Especially given the price point.

  • Oddly you cannot review images in the EVF, only on the back screen.
  • Contrast only AF does not impact stills performance honestly, but video AF suffers. I was surprised when I found out it did not have phase detect. But that was not what this camera was made for.
  • Battery life is not the best. A common malady for mirrorless cameras. Nothing surprising, but carry extra batteries.

Samples:

The two together.

Lumix 14mm f/2.5
Lumix 14mm f/2.5
Lumix 14mm f/2.5
Kipon Baveyes 0.7x Optical Focal Reducer Lens Adapter

Below are shots w/ the lens alone since I have owned it before.

Lumix 14mm f/2.5
Olympus OMD E-M1
Olympus OMD E-M1
Rehearsal.
A Southern Season Store
Harlem
Co-Op City, The Bronx
Grand Central Station
P8010232
Co-Op City, The Bronx

Summary:

This is a great set up. Plain and simple. Far better than the tongue in cheek “That’ll do” descriptor in the title. This is a fine set up that I would have no issues using on a daily basis. Which is good because I often do.

Pics for Blog Post - Olympus OMD E-M5
Lumix 14mm f/2.5
Len Test - Lumix 25mm f/1.7
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