The Olympus EP-1 has become an exceedingly popular camera. Besides the mass amounts of media coverage that one sees/reads, they’re very hard to get your hands on as the units move very fast. But besides being able to take pictures, this camera and its relative the Panasonic GH1 shoot video: good quality video too. One of the criticisms of the system is not having lots of lenses available for the system. That criticism is very, very untrue.
Voightländer just announced an adapter that will allow for Nikon F and Pentax K lenses to be used in front of the 4/3rds sensor in each of these cameras. That means if you’re a longtime Nikon user or a Pentax user that you’ll be able to put your glass on these cameras as your backup.
Let’s explore what else is available to shooters if they want to buy a m/43rds camera:
Micro 4/3rds Lenses
These lenses are the ones specially made for the system. In terms of these lenses there really isn’t a whole lot available. The nicest ones so far may be the Panasonic 14-140 F3.5-5.6 movie lens and the Olympus 17mm 2.8 prime. These lenses are very small and many are simply just parts of the available kits.
These need to be used with an adapter but at least they allow users much more flexibility when it comes to shooting pictures or movies. These lenses have been rated as being amongst the best zoom lenses. Unfortunately, the system lacks many good primes. Putting them on your m 4/3rds camera will be a welcome treat to current 4/3rds users.
Olympus OM Lenses
Olympus users from way back in the film days will appreciate the fact that they can use their OM lenses with an adapter. Be warned though that some of the lenses meant for the power-focus cameras will not work with the adapters as they were constructed differently. However, all of those other ones will provide m 4/3rds users with excellent manual focus lenses. This can turn an EP-1 into a great rangefinder for a college student to learn on as manually focusing will teach them to think more about the shots they are taking and the fact that they are learning on it will allow them to be well suited to any similar cameras that come out.
Canon FD Lenses
These lenses are amongst some of the most beautiful pieces of glass I’ve shot with. In addition to being great for just photography they can be very good movie lenses as they are cheaply priced, of good construction and are very easily found. Putting a Canon FD 50mm F1.8 prime on your Micro 4/3rds camera will allow for some very beautiful bokeh in your videos. After personal trials, these are best used with the Panasonic GH1 because of the 24p recording option.
PL Lenses (Zeiss Ultra Primes)
Yes, you just read that correctly. A shoot was done recently that used these expensive movie lenses on a Panasonic GH1. Granted these lenses are terribly expensive, but nonetheless they can accompany your GH1 on a shoot. This effectively provides Indie Filmmakers with another alternative to something like a Red One, Canon 5D MK II, etc. Further, much of what we see on television is shot with Sony camcorders (which use Zeiss lenses).
Nikon F Lenses
These lenses began to be manufactured back in 1959. That means that providing you have the mount available you can have a large number of lenses available. Many of these lenses are still used by Nikonians with cameras like the D3. Additionally, Nikon lenses have been used in actual movie filmings. If a Nikon lover wants a digital rangefinder then perhaps the EP1 might be a good backup camera providing they buy the mount.
Pentax K Lenses
If you look at sales charts of cameras, Pentax isn’t one of the brands that moves units as fast as Canon or Nikon. However, Pentax does have many users (some of which include Samsung). Rumors of a Full-Frame format camera from Pentax have been abound though. If there is a large resurgence of Pentax users because of this then the lenses will be able to work well with a compact camera like the EP1.
Strangely, no word has been given yet on whether Samsung’s NX format will allow for interchangeability or mounting with Pentax lenses.
Leica M Lenses
Providing you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these or inherit them from a previous family member, Leica lenses are buttery smooth in their focusing abilities and deliver spectacular shots.