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I'm interested in trying out Olympus' new OM-D E-M5, and since I'm used to using a normal prime (and just spent some time using one on Fujifilm's new mirrorless EVF camera), I'd like to try that combination.

Olympus doesn't currently offer a normal prime, though — there's a wide-angle 17mm (equivalent to the traditional 35mm focal length) and a portrait-range 45mm, both of which look nice, but there's no 25mm.

But, Panasonic offers the drool-worthy Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. I know Micro Four Thirds is a shared, semi-open standard — but there's compatible and then there's compatible. Even the best specifications have areas of ambiguity, and camera makers have the most incentive to test compatibility between their own products. With a modern electronic lens mount, where the lens itself has a microprocessor and its own firmware, it seems like there's a lot of potential for things to go subtly awry.

If I get this combo, will I be giving the camera a fair test, or will I find myself struggling with quirks that I wouldn't have if I stuck with Olympus lenses? Will there be any problems with focusing speed, image stabilization, or the like? (And of course, there's the flip question: if I want to use that lens, is a Panasonic camera the best place to attach it?)

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Great question. After having tried almost all Olympus and most Panasonic M4/3 cameras (along with lenses), never had both at the same time! –  Itai May 17 '12 at 0:35
    
There was a banding issue with the Panasonic 20mm 1.7f at certain ISOs and low light conditions (eg. patlu.com/olympus-omd-em5-banding-issue ) . However Olympus have recently released a firmware (v1.5) for this. It seems that Micro 4/3 are growing more and more and compatibility across brands should be very well supported. –  BBking Oct 10 '12 at 12:25

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I have an Olympus body (E-PL1) and a Panasonic lens (100-300mm zoom), and haven't noticed any special problems. It feels kind of silly to have 'paid' for in-lens stabilization that I keep turned off, but even when I've accidentally knocked the switch into the on position, it doesn't ruin the average shot (it makes for odd effects during long exposures on a tripod though).

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Thanks — that's helpful. Do you also have Olympus lenses to compare? –  mattdm May 19 '12 at 12:12
    
I have the Olympus 14-22mm as well. Auto-focus behavior seems to be the same between both lenses. –  Don Simon May 21 '12 at 15:43
    
Having tested the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 17mm f/2.8, I can definitely agree — no problems observed. Thanks! –  mattdm Jul 1 '12 at 18:57

My Oly EPL2 works well with my Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 prime. No quirks at all. The autofocus and image quality work precisely as one would expect.

I can't say on the 25 mm f/1.4, but there seems to be a good ethic of m43 interoperability.

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The only drawback is that they sometimes won't have the lens auto correction and calibration for the other brands. And as far as I know Olympus is the only one producing splash and dust proof lenses to go with the sealing on the E-M5.

Lenrentals.com just did a wide angle resolution test using the E-M5 with all of their wide angle Micro Four Thirds lens. The Leica 25mm is an awesome lens, and I enjoyed using it when I've had it, but it surprisingly did poorly in relation to some of the other primes at the f-stops tested.

The E-M5 is an extremely high IQ camera, even compared to fullframe cameras, and I personally plan on picking it up and the Panasonic 14mm and 20mm primes. It also works really well with the Leica M mount and Canon EF adapters that are available on the market.

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Both Panasonic and Olympus have exactly one weatherproof model at this time: neocamera.com/… –  Itai May 23 '12 at 3:42
    
Does this mean that sometimes the lens auto-correction will work across brands? What are the circumstances in which it will not work? –  mattdm May 23 '12 at 14:01
    
What does "calibration" mean in this context? Is that focus-related? –  mattdm May 23 '12 at 14:02
    
And finally :) thanks for the link to the tests. I'm not particularly concerned with MTF50 scores for this lens, though. –  mattdm May 23 '12 at 14:11
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The newer camera bodies will have support for the distortion correction for cross brand lenses. And I guess it really just depends on how up-to-date Olympus keeps the firmware for future lens. And that's really only go to come into play if you're shooting in JPEG. I shot it raw when I was using both the Panasonic and the E-M5. –  Benjamin Anderson May 26 '12 at 2:10

There has been a banding issue with the 20mm f1.7. Check out this article here: http://cyleow.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/another-banding-problem-of-om-d-e-m5.html

But please, DO NOT LET IT SCARE YOU!

Simply, Micro 4/3 is a system that not only Olympus and Panasonic use, although they are the leaders, but it does not matter what brand you use.

It's not like batteries where the brand will advise you to use genuine products.

This is a good website: http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/lense.html

Sigma also make lenses and Voitlander do too, but they are manual focus.

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