Home Lenses & Filters Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Lens Guide

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Lens Guide


The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is like its predecessor, a small, attractive and usable 16MP mirrorless camera, using a micro four thirds sensor. In fact, at first glance it looks relatively unchanged. The most obvious additions are its more advanced movie capabilities and a clever multi-shot 40MP mode. In this article, we’ll give you on overview of the best lenses for Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.

overview of the best lenses for Olympus OM-D-E-M5 Mark II

LensFocal Range (mft)ApertureWeightTypePrice
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO12-40mmF2.813.5 oz.All-in-oneCheck current price
Olympus 12-50mm F3.5-6.312-50mmF3.5-6.37.5 oz.All-in-oneCheck current price
Olympus 40-150mm F2.840-150mmF2.86.7 oz.TelephotoCheck current price
Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6100-300mmF4.0-5.618.3 oz.TelephotoCheck current price
Panasonic LUMIX 7-14mm F4.07-14mmF4.010.6 ozWide-angleCheck current price
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 7-14mm F2.8 PRO7-14mmF2.818.8 oz.Wide-angleCheck current price
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.012mmF2.04.6 oz.Wide-angleCheck current price
Olympus 17mm F2.817mmF2.84.3 oz.PortraitCheck current price
Olympus 25mm F1.825mmF1.87.1 oz.PortraitCheck current price
Panasonic Lumix 20mm F1.7 II20mmF1.73.5 oz.PortraitCheck current price
Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm F1.425mmF1.47.1 oz.PortraitCheck current price
Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm F2.860mmF2.86.5 oz.MacroCheck current price

A Quick look at the improved Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Closer examination of the camera shows that almost every aspect of its design has been tweaked, refined and polished. Its main features are the 16MP micro four-thirds CMOS sensor, a 40MP multi-exposure mode, an improved 5-axis image stabilization in both stills and movie mode, 10 frames per second continuous shooting and on AF, 5 frames per second. This camera comes equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and a clip-on rotating, bounce flash.


Overview: Best Lenses for Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Knowing the impressive specs of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, you’ll want to pair this mirrorless camera body with the best possible lenses. When it comes to Micro Four Third lenses, there is a wide variety of decent lenses available nowadays. Most of them are manufactured by either Olympus or Panasonic. But which are the best lenses for Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II? We’ll give you a detailed overview, covering every area of photography.


Best ‘Allinone’ lenses (Standard Zoom)

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO


  • Very sharp lens, even wide open and throughout the entire zoom range.
  • Very fast autofocus.


  • This lens isn’t built for macro photography, with a maximum magnification ratio of 0.3x / 1:3.3.

The new Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO was introduced alongside the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and is part of the company’s new “Zuiko PRO” line. This new Olympus lens is a very versatile lens that should work great in low-light conditions. This lens is splash-, dust- and freeze-proof, which makes it a great match with the equally-rugged E-M5.

Very little corner softness at F2.8 was detected at each focal length we tested. We saw just a bit more corner softness at 40mm at F2.8, but it was extremely minor. Corner to corner, the lens displays great sharpness in the majority of apertures. The Olympus 12-40mm lens is great at controlling distortion. In fact, distortion is practically non-existent with this lens.


Olympus 12-50mm F3.5-6.3


  • Macro button on the lens that offers a special macro focusing mode.


  • When shooting HD/FullHD movies, you lose a bit of diagonal and vertical angle of view, but the range still remains useful.

The Olympus 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 was designed to fit the micro four-thirds mount. This zoom lens has a maximum magnification 4.2X. Diffraction limiting sets in at F8 with this lens, but there is no noticeable impact on sharpness until F16, and more so at F22. Corner shading is so slight that you will only notice it when the lens is used at its widest aperture.

This lens is very fast to autofocus, taking less than a second to go through its entire focusing range. The lens adepts the new MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) design, making it ideal for use in both still and video applications. The front element does not rotate when focusing, and is ideal for polarizer users.


Best Telephoto Lenses

Olympus 40-150mm F2.8


  • Stunningly sharp zoom lens.
  • Geometric distortion is practically nonexistent.
  • Excellent Auto-focus.
  • Unique in close-focusing abilities although it’s not a macro lens.


  • Slight appearance of chromatic aberration.

The Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 has a newly developed motorized zoom mechanism that is smooth, quiet while shooting movies. The AF system is based on the MSC (Movie & Still Compatible) mechanism enhanced by a newly developed linear motor drive that enables faster, quieter focusing. Inside the dust-free and splash-proof lens body are a variety of specialized elements that feature the ZERO lens coating, including one aspherical, one high refractive index, and five extra-low dispersion elements for improved imaging performance.

The lens also features a floating mechanism that allows users to focus as close as 27.6″ for a maximum magnification of 0.42x. Additionally, the outside of the lens body features a manual focus clutch for rapidly switching from auto to manual focus as well as an L-Fn button that can be programmed to change a specific setting. Included with the lens are a lens hood and a lens case.


Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 100-300mm F4.0-5.6


  • For a super-telephoto zoom, levels of chromatic aberrations are remarkably low.
  • Falloff and distortion are corrected by the camera’s image processing engine.


  • Shooting into strong light sources will result in a noticeable loss of contrast.

This Panasonic 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 is a super-telephoto zoom that covers a range equivalent to a 200-600mm lens on a 35mm camera, focuses internally, and includes optical image stabilization. The minimum focus distance of 1.5m makes this lens suitable for frame filling close ups at maximum zoom, as that distance is much closer than you would find on a typical 600mm lens on a 35mm camera.

With a little care, the optical stabilization system allows sharp shots to be taken just over half the time at 300mm at 1/40sec, and about two thirds of the time at 1/80sec which is roughly three to four stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would dictate. As is typical with zoom lenses, quality drops off a little more at maximum zoom, but at F5.6 the sharpness in the centre is still good. F8 will result in peak quality, as it does throughout the zoom range and sharpness is good across the frame.


Best Wide Angle Lenses

Panasonic LUMIX 7-14mm F4.0


  • Distortion is extremely well-controlled in this lens.
  • Focuses very quickly through its infinity-close-foci-infinity range
  • Due to its plastic construction, it is very light weight


  • Not ideal for macro photography

The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm F4 produces very sharp images. At the wider end of its focal length, images are sharp even when used at the widest aperture; between 7-12mm at F4. Diffraction limiting seems to set in at F8, with a marginal increase in

softness. Overall performance is still excellent, with the corners not exceeding two

blur units. With the lens fully stopped-down at F22, we note dramatic image softness – around 3 blur units in the center, and upwards of 6 blur units in the corners. The integrated, petal-shaped lens hood precludes the use of thread-mounted filters. The interior of the lens hood is ribbed to help reduce any stray light from entering the lens. There is some front element extension as the lens is focused and zoomed, but nothing that protrudes the element beyond the lens hood.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 7-14mm F2.8 PRO


  • An ultra-wide angle zoom lens with excellent sharpness.
  • Almost no vignetting found even at the widest focal length



  • No in-lens image stabilization

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 7-14mm F2.8 Pro lens is one of the widest rectilinear lens for the Micro four-thirds system with a 14-28mm-equivalent focal length range but it’s the widest one with a constant F2.8 aperture. Offering similar, high-quality metal construction, weather sealing and the pull-back manual focus ring as the previous two M.Zuiko Pro lenses, the Olympus 7-14mm is a serious lens with a focus on quality and performance for the advanced and professional photographer.

This lens has an all-metal construction that’s splash-proof, dust-proof and freeze-proof. The front element is weather-sealed, as is the lens mount with a rubbery gasket to form a tight seal against the camera. The lens also includes premium close-up shooting capabilities, thanks to the minimum working distance of just 7.5cm, which offers extremely sharp capture capability, even at the very edges of an image.


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0


  • Compact size with sophisticated image quality and a maximum aperture.


  • Slight barrel distortion in the corners.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm F2 looks and feels like a premium offering, with an old-school aesthetic, all-metal construction. The 12mm F2 is an excellently sharp lens. Wide open at F2.0 there’s just a hint of corner softness, and stopping down to F2.8 reduces this almost completely. Tack-sharp results are available from F4 all the way to F11, where diffraction limiting begins to set in. At F16 we note some slight softness, and just slightly more at F22.

Attractively packaged in a high-grade, sleek metallic body, this is the ideal lens for taking enviable wide-angle photos in a wide range of settings. Besides its suitability for shooting landscapes with optical clarity and precision, it can also be put to superb use in low light situations, as well as places where flashes or tripods are either not allowed or not practical.


Best Portrait Lenses (Fast Primes)

Olympus 17mm F2.8


  • All metal lens barrel, that is more durable.
  • Special glass is designed to eliminate chromatic aberrations.


  • Autofocus is a little slow.

The Olympus 17mm F2.8 is a pancake lens available for micro-four-thirds system cameras. The 17mm F2.8 is a fairly sharp lens wide open at F2.8, though its optimal results for sharpness are achieved at F5.6. The AF uses a conventional micro motor, however, the AF speed is pretty reasonable and the accuracy is spot on (which is typical for contrast AF lenses). Manual focusing works “by wire” so there’s no direct mechanical coupling. 

When it comes to street photography or candid photojournalism, photographers have relied on 35mm lenses for decades. The Olympus 17mm F1.8 lens is the ideal one to replace the 35mm and over come the fact that on modern crop sensor cameras the 35mm is transformed into a more telephoto-like lens. Now photographers who use micro four-thirds cameras like the OM-D E-M5 can have a 35mm equivalent lens with a fast aperture ready to capture any situation.


Olympus 25mm F1.8


  • The lens offers great depth of field.


  • Shows a little barrel distortion.

The recently released Olympus 25mm F1.8 lens burst on the camera scene with great fanfare. Portrait photographers using Olympus interchangeable lens cameras have been waiting for this wide aperture lens to make its way to their camera for some time now. Equivalent to the 50mm focal length in 35mm standards, the 25m lens offers this traditional length for a very reasonable asking price.

The 25mm F1.8 lens has a close focusing distance of 9.4 in. (24cm) with a maximum magnification of 0.12x (1:8.3 ratio), and as such, doesn’t provide overly good macro performance. Like many other Olympus micro four-thirds prime lenses, the 25mm F1.8 lens is very small and lightweight (about 2 inches long and only 136g). However, there is a nice solidness and a bit of heft, which gives it an enjoyable, high-quality and well-built feel.


Panasonic Lumix 20mm F1.7 II


  • Ultra-thin, light weight design.
  • Manual focus system.


  • Lacks hard stops at both ends of the focusing range.
  • No optical image stabilization.

The Panasonic 20mm F1.7 was introduced alongside the GF-1, to provide an extremely compact shooting solution. The lens is very small, owing to its efficient optical layout (seven elements in five groups) and micro four-thirds lens mount. The lens is only compatible with micro four-thirds camera bodies, and mounted on such a camera it will produce an effective field of view of 40mm.

The F1.7 aperture is impressively fast for a pancake lens, and to achieve this Panasonic has managed to squeeze a 7 element, 5 group design into that compact barrel, including two aspheric elements to help reduce distortion and chromatic aberration. There’s a 7-bladed aperture system, using curved blades designed to give an attractive, smooth effect to out of focus highlights. Rounding off the spec is a minimum focus distance of just 20cm. However it’s worth noting, that unlike many of Panasonic’s lenses, this one doesn’t have built-in optical image stabilization.


Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm F1.4


  • No noticeable distortion.
  • Fast aperture with high quality.


  • There is some chromatic aberration when the lens is used wide open at F1.4.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 is a fast fixed-focal length lens, designed to fit the micro four-thirds frame of the G3 camera. The lens is also compatible with other micro four-thirds mounts. Released in 2011, the 25mm F1.4 provides an effective field of view of 50mm when mounted on cameras using the micro four-thirds standard. The lens takes 46mm filters and comes standard with a rectangular lens hood.

The 25mm F1.4 Summilux is exceptionally sharp, especially when stopped down slightly. When used wide open at F1.4, the vast majority of the frame is incredibly sharp, tapering to very light corner softness in the extreme edges. The AF performance of the lens is outstanding and the silent lens drive is well suited for movie shooting without an annoying focusing noise.


Best Macro Lenses

Olympus MSC ED M. 60mm F2.8


  • This lens is made for outdoors.
  • Internal focusing mechanism.


  • There are no depth of field marks.

The Olympus  MSC ED M. 60mm F2.8 macro lens for micro four-thirds is a small and light lens that produces an effective focal length of 120mm when mounted on MFT camera bodies, with a 1:1 working distance of around 8 inches. The lens features a constant F2.8 aperture, though working at distances closer than a foot, the effective aperture will be impacted. Housed in a dust- and splash-proof body and equivalent to a 120mm lens in 35mm terms, the 60mm F2.8 macro has a 20° angle of view when focused at infinity.

Other highlights include an MSC (movie and still compatible) auto focus mechanism, a focus limiter, an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades and a close-focus point of 19cm. The lens offers a good combination of features. One of the most useful controls at your disposal is a focus limiter, which is a spring-loaded, four-position switch on the lens barrel. The Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro is impressively sharp. Even wide open at F2.8, the image produced is extremely sharp, with only the faintest corner softness visible at F4.


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