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Olympus Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 5 of 7

Lens Review


Olympus Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 5 of 7

Lens Review


Lesson Info

Lens Review

All right it is time to get into the actual lens review where we're gonna look at each particular lens that Olympus makes so let's go ahead and dive in. We're gonna be talking about all different types of Olympus lenses here. Now first off they're organized by focal length 'cause that's the way you first choose a lens. There are different series of lenses as I mentioned before, the standard M. Zuiko lens, the premiums and the pros. And so in the M. Zuiko line is gonna be a lot of their more affordable lenses, their more compact lenses, their everyday general purpose lenses. The premiums are prime lenses, they are fixed focal length lenses, a lot of these tend to be very small, they're also very sharp. And at the high end of it we have the pro series of lenses and these are typically a little bit bigger, they have a little bit beefier construction, they're weatherproofed. If you wanna try to judge sharpness, they tend to be a little bit sharper than the other lenses. We have a mixture o...

f zooms and prime lenses here and that's kind of where the greatest excitement is in the lenses because this is where they are kinda performing on all cylinders, if you will. This is where they're putting all their best effort into a particular lens. Now which lens you choose depends on what you shoot and what style you like to shoot. For landscape, it's gonna be a lot of wide angles to short telephotos. Portraits is the short telephotos, sports and wildlife you're typically gonna want longer lenses. And then it depends you know the travel, close-up, and night, exactly what you're looking at doing. And so buying the right lens, choosing the right lens first is what are you gonna be doing with it? What's your interpretation of that particular style of work and then getting lenses that work in that range. To start with we're gonna look at zoom lenses first because I think this is the most practical lens for most people getting into photography, gives you a lot of different options to wok with. There's four different categories, wide, standard, super, and telephoto zooms. We have a couple of different options if not more in each of these categories. The wide zooms are gonna be typically most useful for landscape and architectural photography. The standard zoom is something that, well, kinda everyone wants to have because it's so general purpose for most everything but tends to be very good for travel photography. Super zoom is great for people who don't wanna change lenses very often for multiple reasons, good for adventure when it's maybe impossible or challenging to change lenses. The telephoto zoom is gonna enable you to get a little bit closer to your subjects and is very valuable for sports and wildlife. The first grouping of lenses we're gonna look at is a standard zoom lens, so in general it's gonna have a little bit of wide angle like 12 millimeters. It's gonna have a little bit of telephoto like 40 millimeters. It's a good all purpose lens, it's seems like everybody in photography can make use of this lens for something from time to time no matter what area you go into. The first of these lenses is the smallest and perhaps the most basic of the Olympus zoom lenses and it's the 14 to 42 which gives you a little bit of wide angel and a little bit of telephoto and also gives you a very small lens if you wanna have a extremely compact size. Now this, like many, but not all of the Olympus lenses, is available in black as well as in silver. As you saw earlier, the PEN-F camera is a silver camera here and we've got a silver lens on it so if you wanna match up your silver camera with silver lens, there's a few lenses that they make, not a lot, just a handful of them, that are available in that silver color, most of them are gonna be in the basic black. And so over on the left hand side you'll see some of the technology that we've already talked about that is employed in this particular lens. And I think this is nice for somebody who's looking for an ultra compact system, just general purpose, basic use, can work kinda pretty good with video as well as stills. And so that's a good place to start your Olympus exploration. For those wanting a higher standard for basic photography, is the 12 to which is one of my favorite Olympus lenses because it's so practical, it's got good wide angel, I like getting down to 12 millimeters, that's a really good wide angel and 40 millimeters is a good place to be for shooting portraits and other short telephoto type subjects. Moderate in size, less than a pound in weight. We do get into the pro lenses here which means we have some additional features. You'll see on the bottom left of that lens that L-Fn button, that's a lens function button and you can program in the camera what you want that button to do. You can have it activate focus, hold focus, or a whole host of other features depending on what you choose to program in for that. Also pretty good on close up focusing. So for the two standard zooms they are in my mind miles apart in who's gonna be interested in these. And so either you want something very compact and basic or you're wanting a more general purpose high end lens that covers a good focal range. Both good lenses, just working at different types of photography, you might say, or different needs from the photographer. Next category is the wide zoom, and so if you find that you're not able to get everything in the frame with the previous two standard zoom lenses, here's a couple of options for getting more in the frame. First up is the small compact option of the 9 to 18, variable aperture of four to five six as far the maximum aperture goes and this is gonna be very handy for travel and landscape, for anyone traveling and wants to keep their system very small, gonna be really good for that. If you were gonna be doing like a long distance hike or a bike ride, or something where you're very mobile in a kayak, something like this would be really handy 'cause you know you're gonna want that wide angle lens and if you don't have a lotta weight and space that you can dedicate to camera gear, this is gonna be one of the smallest and lightest options for getting a really good wide angel lens. Next up is their premium option, this is their pro option the 7 to 14 lens. You've got the fixed maximum aperture of f/2. which makes this very good for shooting astrophotography for instance, so if you like to do night work, this is really good but it's also really good for just travel and landscape work where you are wanting a little bit wider angel and a little bit higher quality product to work with. So once again we've got the lens function button on there, pretty good close-up capabilities. One warning on this lens, and I'll show you the lens right here 'cause I got the 7 to 14 is that that front element is quite exposed. This does not take front filters on the front and so wanna be careful of that glass in there and that's why it has a special lens hood that comes over and covers the whole top of it. And you can still rest it here, you can see that glass is not touching the ground so it's very durable in that regard. But you cannot put round filters in here and so there are ways of using very very large filters, it tends to be little bit cumbersome in that regard. But when it gets down to really wide lenses like this, it's hard to use certain types of filters like polarizers 'cause they don't work real well with ultra wide lenses. But something to note of on those really wide lenses. So for our wide angel zoom choices once again there is a pretty big difference between your ultra compact basic wide angel zoom versus your more premium pro lens. The next category is the super zoom and this is for people who want one lens and they don't wanna change lenses and that can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes new photographers just don't like the idea and they're uncomfortable with changing lenses. In other cases for more serious photographers there's a really practical reason like you're on a raft going down rapids and you can't change lenses, it's too difficult, you need to have one lens that can handle a wide variety of purposes. First of these is the 14 to 150, this is gonna be the smallest of the three options I'm gonna show you. And one of the things that I don't like about super zooms is that they tend to be a little bit bigger because they're doing a lot of different things and this super zoom tries to keep it in the smallest package possible. So if size is really important, this might be your top choice for a super zoom. So this fits more into the general all purpose travel type category. It's pretty light weight for what it is, well under a pound, and it still focuses pretty close. Next up is for the person who really wants more reach, especially at the telephoto range when it comes to their super zooms. And this might be good for the person who's going to Africa on safari, they're going to be doing wildlife and bird photography because at 200 millimeters, that's a 400 equivalent focal length for full frame, this is a really good quality telephoto lens as far as reaching out and capturing small subjects. And so if your intent is more wildlife photography or sports, then this lens is gonna be better than the previous option. The third super zoom in the category is my favorite. This is the 12 to 100 and one of the things I really appreciate on a lens is a fixed maximum aperture, and I've been a big fan of f/4 fixed aperture lenses because they tend to be more moderate in size than some other sizes that tend to be larger. But this one is a pretty compact lens and it gets you everything that I think is important in a lens, 24 millimeter focal length equivalent up to 200 full frame equivalent. So that 12 to 100 is the perfect range, it's what I don't wanna leave the house without it. Now we do have a 12 to 100 here, I can show you that and you can get a size of it. It's reasonable in size and very comfortable in the hand. It's a type of lens that if you really wanted to have just one lens with you, that would be the one lens that gives you all the focal lengths that are really gonna fit a wide variety of purposes. And so it's a great lens, very good quality optical, it is also one of their pro lineups so it is weather sealed, lens function buttons, nice wide focusing ring, manual focus clutch, all those extra features you get with this one. And so it's gonna be a little bit heavier, just over a pound, still pretty small for what it's doing in size. And this is one that has the stabilization on it so with the Olympus cameras with stabilization you're gonna get that sync IS which is gonna get ya 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 stops of stabilization for shooting under low light without a tripod. And so three different choices, three different sizes, three different price ranges on this. They're all good lenses, they're just different types of categories of lenses. Next up is the telephoto zoom. This is one of the most important because this is one of the things that pretty much all photographers need in their bag is the ability to narrow out all the garbage that you see and hone in on details and smaller subjects that are further away. The first step into this world is the 40 to and this is a pretty small and light weight lens. And so if you're new to photography, you're just getting into the game, you wanna keep your package a little bit smaller and lighter, this is a good first step into the game of telephoto photography. You're gonna be reaching out pretty far, 150 is a pretty good telephoto to start with and it does sell at a pretty reasonable price, actually it's a very reasonable price for this lens, and it's quite light weight too, at only 6.7 ounces it can fit in your bag and not weigh you down very much. And so it's the starter point when it comes to the telephoto zooms. If you want a bit more of what would be considered a super telephoto lens, this is a 75 to 300 which would be a little bit better for those of you wanting to shoot wildlife, especially birds. Birds are small, they're far away, they don't like to get close and so this is going to be a good very portable long walk birding lens getting out there to 300. And as I say, it's pretty light weight lens, still under a pound in size. The premium in this category is the 40 to and most manufacturers make a lens that fit the traditional category of the 70 to 200. Well this is doing 80 to 300, but it's keeping the aperture at f/2. which is not done by anybody else. And so that's nice to be able to shoot at that faster aperture of f/2.8. It's a little bit heavier of a lens because it's better quality, it's got the pro design to it so it's go the manual focus clutch, the lens function button, you can work this lens with the 1.4 and the two times converter and this is an internal zoom. Couple of things I wanna show you more closely on this lens and so let's take a closer look here. And so one of the nice things I like about this lens is that when you zoom it back and forth, let's get ourselves in focus. When you zoom it back and forth, the lens does not extend in any way, it's all internal zooming on this which means the balance is the same and you have less likely to have problem with dust and so forth. Now I'm gonna reach in here and I'm gonna find the lens hood for this character and the lens hood, there we go, okay. So we got a good lens on here that's blocking the light from hitting the front of the lens. Now normally when you have a lens like this and you wanna put it in your camera bag, you have to take the lens hood off, reverse it and put it back on, but this one has a special little clutch right here. I'll do it with this hand so you can see it a little better. And the whole thing just retracts right there to save space. And so now you have a much more compact lens, bring it out there, and it just comes back. The 300 millimeter lens right up here actually has a built in one, like that, but you can't take it off. On this one, you can take it off the lens itself completely but having it in that retractable position is really handy and I like that a lot. This also comes with a tripod collar and this is gonna be really handy for getting the center of weight right over your tripod and the nice thing is that if you don't like using a tripod or you don't wanna use this, you can loosen this up, and there's a special little place right here where you can take it out and you can save the weight of the tripod collar if you don't wanna bring that with you and you can just use this hand held. Now I prefer using the tripod collar 'cause it works nice in the hand and so forth, but that is removable and that comes with the lens which is the way it's supposed to as with the lens hood. So that is definitely one of my favorite lenses. So in development, not available right now, is the 150 to 400, they've announced that this will be available in about 2020. It's gonna have an f/4.5 constant aperture but the unique thing is that it has a built in teleconverter and that's gonna allow you to extend it out to 500 millimeter, it'll be a 500 millimeter 5.6. The beauty is is that you're also going to be able to use this with the two times converter on it. So this is gonna be fantastic for wildlife and adventure photography, it's gonna be weather resistant, it's designed for being out in the field and when you add the 1.2 converter or the two times converter, you're gonna get all the way up to 1,000 millimeter which is a 2,000 equivalent, so it's gonna be incredible for doing moon shots, surfing photography, birds, wildlife in general and that is gonna be really exciting to see. Steve from Olympus is here, he's gonna set this up for us to take a look at. I'm gonna leave the 300 millimeter lens out here so that you can compare the size of this and this is actually the first time that I have ever got to see this and my immediate reaction is that is way smaller than I ever expected. I thought this thing was gonna be like that big because this is not really much different than the 300 millimeter lens. That is much small than I was expecting. So this is not a working lens right now, this is just for us to look at and gawk at. And this is, got some cool features so let me get my notes out to make sure that I get this correct on here. So first off I love the name, 'cause it takes me like a minute to read the name. All right, so, this is the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 150 to 400 millimeter f/45 TC 1.25x which means it has a teleconverter in it, IS Pro lens. And so let's go through this. M. Zuiko so it's designed for the modern Olympus lenses like the EM1X and so forth. It's a 150 to 400, so we got a zoom lens 150 to which means that it's gonna be really good for sports, wildlife photography and if you are a birding photographer this is the dream lens right now. This is what you wanna have because it's relatively, it is very compact and it's gonna be able to reach out for a huge range. It's a four five constant and I thought that was kinda interesting, I thought well what if it was a four four, four five, but that comes into play here in just a moment. It's got a 1.25 teleconverter built in. Now the teleconverters which, stuffed them in here, these are little teleconverters for making the 300 1.4 times longer and two times longer. This one has a slightly different one, it goes 1.25 times longer which means it bumps the 400 exactly up to and it bumps the 4.5 aperture up to exactly 5. which means in my personal experience of using lenses, lenses that are 5.6 or faster tend to focus really well 'cause the more light you have coming in the faster it's gonna focus. So, what you can also do is you can bump the 1.4 converter on, so now you're up to 500, but you can also throw on the 1. or the 2x converter and get up to 1, which is effective focal length of 2,000 millimeters when you are comparing it to full frame cameras. And so if you just flip the converter it becomes, let's see, it's the equivalent of a 300 to 800 millimeter lens comparing it to full frame cameras but when you use the converter you can go to 1,000 equivalent focal length. And so some other things about this lens is it's IS so there is IS built in. Currently there are only two lenses from Olympus that have something that work with called dual, or is it sync IS, excuse me, and that is where there's image stabilization built into the lens and if you have it built into the body they work together. And in some cases with Olympus, they'll give you 7 1/2 stops of image stabilization and it sounds like this is gonna be able to achieve that, maybe better, who knows, but it's gonna image stabilization in the lens that'll work with the body as well. And it's a pro lens obviously, so it's gonna have all the great weather sealing and construction that you're gonna expect on the rest. And so once again, I am astonished at how small this is because I thought it was gonna be like some of the other manufacturers that have these big 200 to 400 lenses and this is notably smaller. It's not a working prototype so I can't pick it up and tell you how heavy it is. But once again, just comparing it to the 300, it is barely any longer than the and the 300 is one that I feel super comfortable hand holding and so for doing motor sports, hydros, planes, any sort of motorcycle action, this is gonna be really good. But for wildlife having that zoom ability is really nice 'cause it's hard to control where the animals are and so now you can really have some nice freedom with the composition on that. And so this is gonna be an exciting lens, it's due to come out in 2020, at some point. And so, I don't know how much it's gonna be. It's probably gonna be more than the 300 millimeter lens, it makes sense 'cause it's just more lens, but I would start saving your pennies if you're into telephoto work. If you're shooting birds, yeah, this is gonna be the ultimate birding lens because with birds you need to be mobile, you need long lens and little birds they just, they're very flighty, very flighty, and this is gonna help capture that. So I wanna thank Steve, I wanna than Olympus for bringing this in. This is a lot of fun, this is really exciting and man that thing is small. I know people are talking about a big lens but that is really small, I was not expecting that. So for our zoom lenses, they have three different options depending on how much weight, how much money you wanna spend, how important the maximum aperture is. So they give you a little something for everybody. The next category we're gonna get into is prime lenses which means fixed focal length lenses that just do one thing as far as one angel of view and they do it really really well. These can be broken up into our same categories of wide, standard, telephoto, and then specialty category. The wide ones are gonna be good for documentary and street photography. Standard lenses are good for general lifestyle work. The telephoto are great for sports and wildlife. And the variety of specialty lenses have macro, fisheye, and teleconverters, we'll talk about when we get to that section. First off let's talk about the standard prime lens. And so this is a lens that has a normal angel of view a normal perspective on the world. The first up is the 25 millimeter f/1.8, this is a very small and compact lens, it's available in black and in silver. It's downright tiny in size, to be honest with you. And so this is gonna be good for anyone who wants basic photography, wants to keep their camera system very light and small and it's very good under low light situations that 1.8 aperture combined with the in body stabilization on Olympus cameras is gonna allow you to shoot pictures whether it's just one light bulb on in the room and be able to do it at hand holdable shutter speeds that give you sharp photographs. The premium version in standard prime is the 25 millimeter 1.2 lens. Now this lens, this is serious lens. This is about a pound in size, it's not overly big but it's definitely bigger than the 1.8 version here. This is part of their pro series so they have thrown everything that they have at it when it comes to this technology. They've thrown all that they can to make this optically the best quality lens possible. And so this is not a cheap lens, but this is a lens that can last many many years and return many many fine examples. And so I do have one of those here, let me just show it to you real quickly just so that you can see how big it is because it looks huge when you compare it to the other lenses, but it's not actually that big as you can see. It just kinda fits in the hand pretty comfortably here. And so this is about the size of you know other companies normal 1.4 lens but this is a 1.2 lens. It does have the clutch focusing on it, it's got the lens function button on it, nice wide focusing range. And so it's a good standard lens, it's not that heavy as I say, it's just about a pound in size. And so nice premium piece of glass there if you like using that normal focal length. So once again they have two very different options. You have a small compact, relatively inexpensive option for your basic lens. And then for those pros and premiums that want the very best out there, they make something that fits that very best category. Next we're gonna look at the wide primes, and so single focal length wide angel lenses. To be honest with you, the wide angel zooms that Olympus has usually cover what a lot of these wide angel primes will do normally but the primes do offer something different. And so in the first case, the 17 millimeter is just an absolutely tiny lens. And so if you wanna keep the size of your camera down but still allow in a far bit of light, the 1.8 aperture is good for a lot of different types of low light shooting. Once again, combined with the in body stabilization you're gonna be able to shoot under a wide variety of lighting conditions with this while still keeping a very discrete look to your camera. And so for the street photographers, this a perfect little lens for that. Travel photography very valuable 'cause it fits that photo journalistic, documentary type focal length. Same focal length, much wider aperture, another 1.2 aperture lens, this is a sibling to the 25, 1.2, you might say, it's designed to feel, look, and perform very similar even in the look of the colors that you shoot and the quality of the bouquet of the out of focus areas gonna be similar between these 1.2 lenses. Once again, you get all that good stuff with the pro lenses, the environmental sealing, weather, water resistance, it's gonna have the beautiful bouquet. This is the lens when I was shooting the Lantern Festival here in Seattle when they're putting lanterns out on the water, right at dusk time, I knew it was gonna be dark, I knew I wanted to shoot a little bit wide angel but I needed to let in as much light as possible, this is the lens that I shot the vast majority of that event with because it was almost pitch black for the whole time, we just had little candles in these lanterns turned on and that returned so many good results. Stabilization with the body combined with the 1.2 aperture meant that I could work in virtually any lighting scenario possible. So it's definitely a very good lens. It also has pretty good close up capabilities. Another one is the 12 millimeter f/ and this is for people who are looking for something a little bit wider angel. And so this gets more to the moderate wide angel not, this is past moderate, this is what I call the middle of the wide angel category. Available in a silver and black version. This is one of those down right super tiny lenses. And this could be really good for travel, doing landscape photography, somebody who's doing backpacking or biking where they're taking equipment with them and they have a limited amount of space and weight for that. It's gonna give you good results while having a really small size but it's still a well built, kinda traditional style lens with a focus ring, hyper focal scale on it. Something that someone like myself who's been in photography for many decades really appreciates. So we do have some interesting choices that do offer something that the zoom lenses do not have. Now I thought it'd be interesting to compare 'cause I don't have all the lenses right in from of me. I do have the 17 1.2 and the 17 1. and so just to see the difference in size between these side by side, real world, you can see the size of these. And so it's not that the 17 1.2 is a huge lens 'cause it still fits pretty comfortably in my hand it's just that the 1.8 is just so tiny and small. There is a notable weight difference on it, it feels like it's about three times as heavy but it depends on your use. And so when you're actually shooting, I love having this one, but for traveling around that little guy is a nice one to have. So I though you'd wanna see that in person. Next up it's time to get into to telephoto primes. And so when you wanna shoot with a very shallow depth of field, these are the lenses that are gonna allow you to that better than anything else. First up is kind of our basic option, the 45 millimeter 1.8, and this is available in silver and black, once again. And so this is a very tiny lens and this is gonna be great for people who wanna keep the package of their camera system very small but they do wanna shoot portraits and they wanna shoot with shallow depth of field. You can take a look at my Olympus PEN-F where I have my 45 millimeter lens on it and you can see for a little portrait set up that is a very small discrete, and if I might say so, quite handsome set up right there especially people who liken some of those traditional silver cameras and I think that's a pretty nice looking camera and it's great for shooting portraits, you get some really good portrait quality photographs from that little tiny lens there. And so it's a good option for anyone who wants something very compact. If you want something that can shoot with even shallower depth of field, that's even sharper, has all those extra pro features like the MF clutch, the weather sealing on it so forth the 45 1.2 is the third in the series of 1.2 lenses that has a similar look to them with the color, the bouquet, the out of focus. They're a similar size, similar feel to em and they are all very nice lenses. And so if you do a lot of people photography, let me do you a little lineup here of the 17, the 25, and the 45, because you can see how similar in size they are and in style. And so if you use these on a regular basis you can just simply go back and forth from them, they all work and act very much the same which is something I've been wanting to see a lens manufacturers do more often is come up with a design idea and stick to it, don't change it every two years. And they have done this with the Olympus pro design, it really hasn't changed over the several years that they've been coming out with these pro lenses. And so these are you know three pods, three peas in a pod, I guess, you know they're all part of that same collection, very nice series. And so anyone who shoots a lot of people probably gonna be interested in those three lenses. All right. The 75 1.8, this is what I would consider an honorary member of the pro family. It's not technically a pro lens but it's got pro quality all throughout it. It came out before Olympus kinda branded their lenses, the pro lenses in that series came out. This is probably one of their sharpest lenses, pro or not pro categorize. It's a relatively small lens and it gets you into a medium telephoto with a really fast aperture. And so if you are look at shooting really shallow depth of field, this is one of the best ways to do it. Now for standard portraits, if you're like a traditional portrait photographer, the downside to this lens is that it does put you back a little bit from your subject. This is something that's gonna be a little tight to work with with small indoor spaces. You're gonna need a larger room, or you're gonna be shooting a little bit tighter shots with this, but it can be very good for sports that you are somewhat close to, maybe say volleyball or some indoor court sports where you're not too far away. It's not enough telephoto for big field sports photography but it's a really good, I would consider this the best outdoor portrait lens. And so if you wanna go down to the beach, go to the park, and shoot portraits with a shallow depth of field, this is the best Olympus option on that. Going into the super telephoto category is the 300 f/4, we have that mounted up here with the EM1X and this is the equivalent of a 600 millimeter lens 'cause of the two times crop factor of course, and this is another one of the best of series from Olympus. Olympus has thrown all their technology at it, the weather sealing, all of their best lens and coating elements in here. It's a little bit bigger lens but it need to be 'cause it's a 300 f/4. Great for wildlife and sports technology, pretty good in close-up, works with the teleconverters, and I can just show you here in my hands that this is a very hand holdable lens. I was shooting an air show and the airplanes are doing all sorts of crazy acrobatic work and so I needed to be very mobile as they're flying directly over my head. And so I was not able to shoot on a monopod or a tripod and really had good coverage but this is light enough that I can shoot an hour long air show with it, back and forth, with the heaviest of their bodies and it's all quite comfortable to work with. And then being able to throw on the 1. and the two times converter depending on where the planes are, the boats, or anything else really makes it very versatile. And something that I wanna thank Olympus for, is putting an Arca-Swiss mount on the tripod collar. So Arca-Swiss is a style of tripod connection that a lot of manufacturers use. It's not owned by any one company. Now you can put this on any old standard tripod you have because it's got the standard quarter 20 mount on the bottom but for people like myself, and there's a lot of us who use this Arca-Swiss style plate, I don't need to buy a plate to add it in here, I can just clamp it right onto my tripod or it will clamp onto any regular tripod as well and that's a great feature. The tripod collar does come off, if you want to save a little bit of weight for handheld work. Built in IS, lens function button on it, manual focus clutch, and it does also have a focusing limiter and this can be helpful for instance when I was shooting airplanes. If I did not want the lens to focus up close to the camera like you know 10 feet away where the planes are not going to be, I can force this to be at four meters to infinity. If I'm working only with close-up work, I can put it at 1.4 to four meters, or I can put it from 1.4 meters to infinity. And so that just limits the focusing range that the camera or the lens will look in in order to focus and it's intended to speed up focusing if it ever gets lost in doing what it does. And so this is a real premium lens that if you're shooting sports and wildlife it's pretty much a must have at this point until that 150 to 400 comes out. So looking at our telephoto prime lenses we have a number of different lenses and each of these are just completely different from the other. Whether you want in a small size 45, great standard portrait the 45, a more long lens outdoor portrait lens the 75, also good for close range sports, or there's super telephoto the 300 f/ which is the ultimate in wildlife, birding, and such type photography. Lastly, let's take a look some of the specialty lenses that are available from Olympus. We're gonna be looking at three different types of lenses, macro lenses, fisheye lenses, and teleconverters. First up is once again, our basic choice the macro lens. The 30 millimeter f/1.8 lens is a very small lens so if you want kind of a bonus lens to throw in the camera bag, which I love, love throwing the bonus lens, you get your standards in, your wide angel, telephoto zoom, you got room for one more lens, that's where the macro comes in. So if you're not used to macro photography, macro just simply means close-up, it allows you to get very close to your subject. Olympus has a couple of different lenses that are available for this. Great for those who do underwater work. Anytime you want to get really close to a subject, all lenses have a minimum focusing distance but the macro lenses allow you to focus really really close, inches away from the front of the lens. And there's a lot of great types of photographs that you can get. There's a whole world to be explored in macro photography. So the first of these lenses is the 30 millimeter, it's a relatively inexpensive lens, it's small in size, and it's still pretty good as a general purpose standard lens that lets in an aperture of 1.8. And so it does a very good job and it's kinda the jumping off block when it comes to macro lenses. If you're pretty serious about doing macro photography, you probably wanna take a look at the 60 millimeter 2.8. Not as fast of aperture, quite common with macro lenses to have a 2.8 maximum aperture. It's still a very small, very light weight lens but it allows you to get very very close. And so it's gonna give you a little bit more working distance between the front of the lens and your subject when shooting photographs. It's very small in size, in fact I have an example here I wanna show you. This lens is just, it's unusually small in barrel size, it's just so thin and small. It does have a little distance scale over here. Over on the side it has a focusing limiter that you can see and the only lens that I've ever seen that has a one to one switch so when you rotate this to one to one, it instantly takes the lens to the one to one ratio. And so if know you wanna get super close-up, you just press that one little dial, you spring load if over there, and it springs back, it instantly bring you to close-up photography. And so that lens is just so small it's easy to pack in your bag and so if you like close-up photography and you know you're getting into it and you're kinda serious about it, this would be the one to get. If you're not so sure, you just kinda wanna dabble with it but you also a general lens, that's where the 30 millimeter might be a better choice for some people. Next up let's talk about the fisheye lens. All right, this is another one of those perfect cases of bonus lens, this is not the first lens that you put in your camera bag, for the most part. This is that lens that you put in when you got a little extra space and you got all your other bases covered. The fisheye lens, let me show you some photos. Is an uncorrected wide angel lens. And when I say uncorrected, that means straight lines will not necessarily be rendered straight as they go around the edge of the frame. And so as you move to a high horizon or a low horizon, it's gonna bend that line. So here's a bit of a video so that you can see exactly what's going. If you keep the horizon in the middle, this is a fisheye lens, things get bent as they get over to the side but watch what happens when we pan down is that horizon gets bent significantly. And so it's obviously good as a wide angel lens when you wanna show a lot about what's going on but it can be used in many many other very creative ways. And so if you're new to photography, you know let's see if you can make yourself around the block once or twice before you get this lens. This is a lens for somebody who's really wanting to play with photography and look at the world in a different way. So for very large environments, it's gonna be a great way to encompass a lot of information into that area. You can also focus incredibly close and this doesn't look like a fisheye shot because the photographer who shot this skillfully put the horizon line right down the middle so that you wouldn't notice it. And our main subject, the feather, is towards the middle of the frame where you don't notice that it's a fisheye and this is my favorite type of fisheye shot, ones where the viewer doesn't even know that it's a fisheye shot. So the fisheye lens is much smaller than I expected. I thought it was gonna be kind of a big lens, it looked like a big lens, it's a big lens with other manufacturers but it's quite small in size. It's gonna see 180 degrees from corner to corner, it gives your photos just a very very unique look. Can focus very closely and let me show you this one a little bit closer up because once again, I was kind of amazed at how small a size this is. I thought it was gonna be much large than my hand and it easily fits in my hand here. And so it's another one of those easy lenses that can be a bonus lens. You gotta be careful about bringing too many bonus lenses, a lot of times my bag only has room for one of them. But in the right types of environment, going to a big sports stadium, going to the aquarium, going to the amusement park, that would be some fun places to take a fisheye lens. The final set of lenses are teleconverters and so these are lens that you add to other lenses to increase their focal length. They have two versions, the 1. and the new 2x are available. And these are gonna magnify your focal length by either a factor of 1.4 or 2x. You do get to keep your close focusing capability which can be really handy for bird photography, and other types of close-up work. You are gonna loose one stop of light with the 1.4x and two stops of light so your aperture is gonna go down by one or two apertures. So these are the types of things that you typically use in reasonably good lighted situations, outdoors during the daytime. And so let's go back and do a little example here, another series. We're gonna shoot with everything from the fisheye. So we got the horizon line in the middle so it's kinda hard to notice the curved lines but you might be able to see that the area I'm shooting this from is kinda bending around the edges there. We'll go from our wide angel, middle of the wide, moderate wide, our normal lens, short telephoto, longer telephoto, super telephoto. Add on a 1.4 converter and then add on a two time converter. And again, in our other series we'll just do the bit of it that shows the teleconverter. So our normal lens working up to a short telephoto, medium telephoto, 300 is as long as you can zoom to as long as they have a prime lens right now. Throw on the 1.4 converter, throw on the two times converter and you're filling the frame. And so you're gonna be doing this in times where you're really in need of stretching out that further distance. And so it currently works with just the three lenses, the 300, the 40 to 150, and the 150 to which is not yet released, that should be available in 2020. So the specialty lenses, once again, they're not the first lenses that you're gonna be looking at getting but they are lenses that once you get into photography they really allow you to explore the full world of photography in a very fun way. So we'll take another quick look at all of the lenses in the Olympus lineup. They have something for pretty much everyone in every category that you can imagine but I don't think it's too far, too much of a guess that they're gonna be coming out with more lenses, I don't know what, I don't know when but they do have a great collection now and hopefully this class gave you some insight as to which ones might fit your needs a little bit better.

Class Description


Working with interchangeable lenses can be both exciting and daunting to all levels of photographers. Olympus® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will prepare you to select the right lens and get the most out of all of your lens investments. John Greengo is the master of making complex photography concepts easy to understand and in this class, he’ll bring all of your Olympus lens options and operations into focus.


  • Focal length and aperture
  • zoom lenses
  • Which lens accessories to buy
  • Maintaining a lens system

John will cover the full range of Olympus lenses, from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, zooms to primes. You’ll learn how to match the right lens to your needs and get insights on the best ways to use it.

Whether you are thinking about buying a new lens or just want to get the most out of what you already have, Olympus Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will help you out.


elizabeth chambers

John Greengo's class on lenses was EXCELLENT! This information is very helpful for any prospective Olympus customer or any current Olympus user overwhelmed by the company's lens assortment and interested in learning how the individual components might fit - or not - in their shooting requirements.

user e1cde8

Very Helpful

Mel Sever

I was able to watch the first on microphotography but had to take my wife to the doctor so I missed what I most wanted to see concerning the lens. I have a OMD E-M1 and four lens for it as well as several pro lens for the E3 camera and was looking forward to learning which lens was capable of picture stacking? Is there a way for you to get that information to me? I have looked on the Olympus web site however did not fine it. Thanks