Best lenses for your Olympus PEN E-P5: Zooms and Primes

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday August 27 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best performing standard lenses for the PEN E-P5 | Best performing standard zoom lenses for the PEN E-P5 | Best performing wide-angle primes and zooms for the PEN E-P5 | Best performing telephoto primes and zooms for the PEN E-P5
Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. 1129 19 10
Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 II ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. 245 14 7
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 270 13 6
Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. 399 13 6
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ 499 12 5
 

We’ve yet to assess the range of Olympus ‘starter’ kit lenses on the PEN E-P5, however, if you’re looking to replace it with a faster (brighter) model then there is just one lens currently offered, the Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm (24-70mm equivalent) f2.8 ASPH Power OIS from Panasonic.

At $1,100 it’s hardly surprising to see it sits at the top of the four models we’ve have analysed so far. Although quite a large and heavy lens this stabilised zoom has very good image quality throughout the range with optimal performance being achieved at 25mm at f/4.

If portability is important, Panasonic’s ‘pancake’ zoom; the $399 Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS is light in weight (95g) and tiny when stored (just 27mm in length) though it extends on powering up. Bear in mind it’s video-oriented with a power-zoom feature (like the $499 Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ) and a manual focus lever.

The top three performing standard lenses analysed include the $245 ‘starter’ (often bundled with Panasonic cameras), which has better optical performance than the tiny $399 ‘pancake’ zoom. It may be an option, based on price and performance, but the other two models also have distinct benefits for PEN E-P5 users. For sharpness maps please

Panasonic_12-35_vs_14-42_PZ_vs_14-42_II_Sharpness

Besides the fast constant maximum aperture for low light photography, the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH has good optical quality with edge-to-edge sharpness achieved by f/4