Seeking advice as a new forum member

Dear all,

I have just found this new forum through DPReview…

I am looking for advice from all of you concerning my first MFT purchase (available funds around 1.000 Euros). I have been mainly using Sony and Fujifilm APSC-camera in the past. I like to do some travel photography, portraits and landscape from time to time. Initially I was interested in a used Olympus OMD EM1 and 45, 18 lens combination. But as this specific camera had 35.000 actuations, I am now more inclined to buy the OMD EM Mark 2, better battery, 4k video. I was thinking to buy the Panasonic 12-60 kit lens or the 12-32mm lens and the Oly 45, 1.8.
Would that be a good starting point? Do you still recommend the EM Mark 2 today? I can later on ad something like the Panasonic 9mm, 1.7 and a tele lens, of course (which I count among the big advantages of the MFT-system). Or shall I just get the Oly 12-40mm, 2.8? Thanks for reading and giving me some advice.

The EM1ii got some awesome updates, checkout the firmware changes if you havent seen them, red35 on youtube covered them quite well if memory serves.
I dont shoot olympus so I let the others answer the rest, but you’ve outline a good kit imo.

Panasonic G9 + 12-60/3.5-5.6 would probably be in your price range. I bought that setup last year and have been very impressed. Panasonic did a superb job giving the G9 firmware updates that made it almost like a new model in some ways.

If you go Olympus, I agree with @kalisti that the EM1 ii looks very good and has benefited from significant firmware updates as well.

There are so many good options in the m4/3 world - in addition to the Oly 45/1.8, you could get the Panny 42.5/1.7 or Sigma 56/1.4 (I have it, tremendous lens) - there really aren’t any “bad” choices, just the challenge of finding what works best and gives you the most pleasure in shooting.

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The E-M1ii is a fine choice. However, the E-M5iii is essentially a smaller E-M1ii and I prefer it over the 1 series for travel, just because it’s smaller and lighter and often does make a difference for packing and for carrying around a city. Some people don’t like the less pronounced grip and smaller controls, so if you are considering a 5 series you need to see if it fits you ergonomically.

I’m sure you know that the crop factor is 2, so a 45mm f/1.8 lens may be fine for portraits but not something I would choose primarily for travel. You have mentioned both primes and zooms. I assume you know what focal length primes would work for you, so I’ll comment on zooms. The Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 is optically excellent and sturdy and would be OK for everything you mentioned. The Olympus 12-45 f/4 is smaller, lighter and less expensive and also excellent and sturdy and is my choice for travel. The one stop difference certainly doesn’t matter for me since I almost never shot at f/2.8 with my FF 24-70 travel lens anyway, usually it was at least f/5.6 even indoors. I can’t recall a time when very thin DOF was wished for, and I’m not much into taking photos of artworks in museums or of church interiors. The IBIS is so good with Olympus cameras that long shutter speeds are usually OK for stationary indoor subjects.

I have no experience with Panasonic bodies but I’m sure they are every bit as good as Olympus. If you go with one brand or the other, it is usually recommended to stick with lenses from the same manufacturer, even though the mount is interchangeable, to be sure of 100% compatibility with every feature. However, people often mix and match Pan and Oly gear so it may not be a major factor for choosing. Just be sure to research which features, if any, might not work when you mix.

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35,000 shots isn’t really that many - the 45 1.8 is a great portrait lens.

You could easily make that a very nice system by adding eg the Panasonic 25 1.7

If it’s a good price I might well consider it.

IMO, the EM1-II is a real bargain, here in the US. Now found used for around $600 USD. I think it’s worth the small cost increment from a EM-1 (vers 1). But, depending on your funds, and EM-1 is also a very good body.
Lenses really depends on what your photo intent might be. SO hard to peg down. I don;t think you can go wrong with ANY of the lenses available in the M43 universe.
Personally I find the Oly 12-40 f2.8 definitely too ‘short’ for my use. I also have the Pany/Lumix 12-60 and find it as good as the Oly 12-40 for IQ and that extra 40-60 mm makes its my go-to when I’m not needing long tele.
One thing I can recommend is the Oly Plastic Fantastic 40-150 f4-5.6 - a truly wonderful lens, which can be had used for $100 to $150. It constantly amazes me how great the images are which it produces. And it super light and small, given the range.
I consider it a ‘must-have’ for any Oly body user who’s not totally dedicated to birds/wildlife. It actually works great for all nature photo, given the range and light limitations. Big Thumbs up to the Oly Plastic Fantastic. You can prolly find some illustrative images by searching for this lens on Flickr.
Thx, Yuri
EDIT: meant Pany/Lumix 12-60, not 12-40… :crazy_face:

Thanks for your feedback. Would it be a problem to mix a Oly body with a Panasonic Zoom?

Can’t imagine why mixing would be an issue. I have a range of Panasonic lenses; all work great on my Oly bodies.
Since Panasonic M43 doesn;t have IBIS (AFAIK), using an Oly lens would preclude and image stabilization…
caveat: I don;t consider myself an equip. expert - what I ‘know’ is based on the bodies and lenses I have… There may be considerations I’m not aware of…
Thx, Yuri

Most Panasonic bodies introduced over the last few years have IBIS; the G100 famously does not.

From what I’ve read, each brand tends to do better C-AF with their own brand lenses except for the OM-1, which (and this is only from what I’ve read) tops all m4/3 bodies with any lens for C-AF.

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Indeed, although Panasonic’s implementation isn’t in the same league as Olympus - and I write as a Panasonic user. I’ve used Olympus bodies in the past and shared lenses both ways without any kind of problems, but IS is better on Panasonic bodies when Panasonic lenses are used; Olympus bodies don’t really care, their IBIS is already so good without any help from the lens.

My advice
Oly Em1 II plus Pana Leica 12-60 or Oly 14-150 II - it’s a remarkably good lens and WR. Wider and light could be one of the Lowas. I have the 7.5mm. The 45 1.8 is a great lens and very small and light

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No Panasonic and only certain Olympus lenses will work with Olympus in-camera focus stacking. This would be a deal breaker for me. However, focus bracketing will work with Panasonic lenses and is more robust than in-camera stacking anyway, just a lot less convenient because you have to do the stacking on a computer. Dual IS sync will only work with same-brand lenses and bodies. IIRC, there is some frame rate limitation in Olympus Pro Capture with Panasonic lenses. These are the things I can recall, I don’t know if there are others. The incompatible features may or may not be important to someone, but it’s a good idea to be aware that there may be a few when mixing in either direction.

A second hand E-M1 MkII camera with a second hand 12-100mm f/4 would make an excellent combination within your budget. Perfect dual image stabilisation and a focal range covering almost everything you will want to photograph, close focusing included.

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The EM1ii is a good camera. I took it to Europe last summer with the 12-45 f4, 9-18 and 14-150. Most of my photos were taken with the 12-45, which is just a gem of a lens.

That said, for overseas travel on planes and trying to pack a camera and a couple of lenses into as small as shoulder bag as possible for walking around cities, I found the EM1ii to be a chunky guy. The weight didn’t bother me, but compared to an EM5 or EM10, I found it to be bulky and wished I had taken my Pen F instead. It didn’t rain, the Rhine was in drought mode and the only birds I saw were some slow-moving swans and ducks so I didn’t need all the advantages of the EM1ii. So, if small for travel is what you’re looking for, maybe think about an EM5iii or an EM10iv. There are great Panasonic cameras, too, but I’m not very familiar with them.

I have already ordered a olympus Em1II and the Panasonic 12-60 from
And seperately I found a good deal on the 45mm, 1.8. I might try out the plastic fantastic 40-150mm later on. Thanks for all your thoughts. This is a great forum.

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Ooh, congrats! I hope you have a lot of fun with your new gear.


“No Panasonic and only certain Olympus lenses will work with Olympus in-camera focus stacking. This would be a deal breaker for me. However, focus bracketing will work with Panasonic lenses and is more robust than in-camera stacking anyway, just a lot less convenient because you have to do the stacking on a computer”…
end quote

Very true in the ‘O-Fish-L’ world of Olympus; but I’ll note that there is an easy ‘adjustment’ which can be made. There is a ‘revised’ firmware for the EM-1, EM-1ii, EM-1iii and EM-5ii, which allows Focus Stacking to work with ANY AF capable lens, on these bodies (in addition to the Oly PRO lenses).
thread is here:

I have done the firmware updates for both the EM5-II and the EM1-II & III and they all work Great ! Tested with Oly 14-150, Plastic Fantastic 40-150R, Pany Lumix 12-60 and Oly 75-300.
No issues with any of the various settings or uses for any of these bodies.
I used the downloadable EM-5ii modified firmware noted in the thread.
For both the EM1-II, v3.6 and the III v1.5, I did the simple firmware modifications myself (I have no need for v3.7 or v1.6 since I don;t expect to ever have the Oly 90mm macro) . They work great! I’m greatly pleased with the ability to do Focus Stacking with ANY AF lens. Using it a bunch!
I had uploaded my modified firmware for the EM1-III v1.5.
EDIT: I had added an available download for the EM1-III, but turns out it’s no longer available /EDIT

The EM5-II firmware update is in the mentioned thread, I believe is the latest firmware.
I can post my EM1-II v3.6 and EM1-III v1.5 modified firmware, if there’s some interest…
they usually stay download active on File.IO for a week or 2.
I have NOT tested the video duration to determine if that the mod firmware does remove the limit - that might happen in the coming months …
Thx Yuri

I think you’ll be very happy with that setup. The EMIii is going for great prices now. I’ll be interested to hear what you and others have to say about the Panasonic 12-60. Did you get the kit version or the 2.8-4 PL version? The 45mm is one of my favorite lenses. It’s sharp, light and versatile.

Thanks to all who have been stepping up and offering advice! What a great thread.

Yes, thank you for your advice and all the information I received. As soon as I receive the camera I am going to report back.
I am looking at the 25mm, 1.5 Panasonic Leica Mark I right now. Would that be a good choice for a 50mm equivalent prime? Or shall I get the Mark II? Or the Olympus 25mm, 1.8?

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