Ten great Olympus Pen Lenses including example photos

I get so many people asking me which Olympus Pen lenses they should buy and invest in for their camera and so I wanted to put together a guide with side by side photos taken with a large selection of the Olympus Pen Lenses available for the Pen. Now as I don't own all the lens I did rope in a good friend of mine Jay McLaughlin who as well as being a professional photographer is an Olympus Ambassador too. So in a little cafe in Shoreditch I got my hands on 10 Olympus lens to create this post as well as being able to pick Jay's brains about his opinions on choosing lens and what each one is great for shooting. This is what he had to say

So the basic rule that most people follow is that wider angle lenses are better for landscapes, and longer lenses are better for portraits.
In the main, this is true, however, it isn’t set in stone. There are plenty of times when I use wide angle lenses for shooting people, and long lenses for landscapes.
The thing to keep in mind is that it’s harder to get blurry backgrounds with a wide lens, and also our own eyes are equivalent to around a 50mm lens. This is why lenses closest to that are considered most pleasing for portraiture.
 
So just to make that clear for any non techy types (me included) a wide lens is one that has a focal length smaller than a standard lens eg the 25mm, the 17mm or the 12mm lens. A long lens is one where objects appear magnified eg the 45mm, or 75mm hence why you have to stand so far back.
 

On each Olympus Pen Lens there will be a set of numbers. The first is the focal length. If the lens is fixed then there will be one number eg 45mm or 25mm. If the lens has focal length range then it will have two numbers and can move between them when you zoom eg 14-42mm.
The next number is the aperture. This will be the widest the aperture can be on that camera eg 1.8 or 1.2 for example. The kit lens has two aperture numbers as the more you zoom the lens the narrower the aperture will go.  To understand aperture more see my Olympus Pen Settings post.

Here are all the lens featured in this post all will fit both the Epl7 and Epl8 Pen cameras.

For this post I have taken two photos with each lens. The one on the left is taken close up to the cup of coffee to show how much blur is possible to achieve with the lens. The right photo is taken from a seated position as shown in the photo below. I placed my chair away from the table and took a photo with every lens from the same spot to give an idea of how zoomed in each lens in.
Often people ask why they have to stand so far back with the 45mm lens and this is because it is a fixed lens. You'll see as the focal length number increases from the kit lens, the image will get more and more zoomed in until with the 75mm lens I could only just fit the coffee in and both the left and right photo are taken from almost exactly the same distance.
All photos were taken with the widest aperture (lowest fstop) the lens goes to.

Sadly I didn't manage to shoot with the 30mm macro lens which is a recent blogger fave as it can capture amazing detail. BUT fear not as the macro adapter which is second to last in the list can attach to your 45mm lens, create the same amazing shots and for a fraction of the price!

Olympus Pen Lenses
olympus pen lens
Olympus Pen Lenses
olympus pen kit lens example photo

Most of you will have experience of the kit lens and this one is the Pancake zoom version. This lens is great for everything really and a brilliant starter lens. This lens has a wide angle of 14mm so you'll capture a whole room or landscape as you can see in the right photo. This lens can then zoom in and out using the optical zoom up to 3x. As you can see in the left photo, get close enough to your subject and you will get some background blur as long as the background is far away enough.

FOCAL LENGTH : 14 to 22mm
LOWEST F/STOP : 3.5
GREAT FOR : Flaylays, instagram, and all general point and shooting as well as filming.

olympus pen 12mm lens example photo
olympus pen 12mm lens example photo

The 12mm lens is a wide angle lens which shoots great in low level light. It has a fast focus switch ring which means by moving the ring you can swap to manual focus easily. Thanks to its low f-stop of 2 you will get background blur but as you can see from how much is in shot in the right photo you will have to stand quite close to your subject to get the blur shown on the left. The wide angle of this lens makes it great for landscapes and travel photography but it does carry with a high price tag of £679.

FOCAL LENGTH : 12mm fixed
LOWEST F/STOP : 2.0
GREAT FOR : Landscapes and Vlogging

Olympus Pen Lenses
olympus pen 17mm example photo

The 17mm lens is one of my most recent additions. It has a slight wide angle and the same speedy focus clutch ring to swap to manual focus easily. Its obviously less wide angle than the 12mm but a lot cheaper. You'll get some super blur with this lens thanks to its aperture of 1.8 if you are close enough and you'll also easily fit in a whole hotel room so great for on the go and travel photography. Its also great for food photography as you don't need to stand up to capture your table with some blur, its a great all rounder. The only thing I would say from experience it is very noisy when it focusing during filming so not necessarily great for vlogging, which is a shame as that is what I bought mine for.

FOCAL LENGTH : 17mm fixed
LOWEST F/STOP : 1.8
GREAT FOR : Street, Instagram, Coffee/food (without getting up), Full length outfit posts, flat lays

olympus pen 25mm lens example photo
olympus pen 25mm lens example photo

The 25mm lens has a standard focal length prime lens and is suited for a wide range of photography. It has a field of view that feels natural to the human eye and shoots great in low level light. It has lovely blur to it which you can see on the left and as you can see on the right is less wide angle than the previous lens. I did debate between this and the 17mm when I purchased but went for the 17mm due to it being slightly more wide angle and better for travel and interiors.

FOCAL LENGTH : 25mm fixed
LOWEST F/STOP : 1.8
GREAT FOR : Street, Instagram, Coffee/food, Outfit posts, flat lays

olympus pen 25mm lens example photo
olympus pen 25mm lens example photo

This 25mm lens is a pro lens and its unlikely that most Pen users will have the need or the budget to purchase this one but as Jay brought it I did shoot a couple of pics with it. It has a low aperture of 1.2 so you'll get even more blur and as its pro you'll find your images are incredibly sharp.

FOCAL LENGTH : 25mm fixed
LOWEST F/STOP : 1.2

olympus pen 45mm lens
Olympus Pen Lenses

This 45mm lens is the blogger fave. Reasonably priced at around £250 this lens gives gorgeous blur and is beautiful for portrait and product shots. I use the 45mm for all my product and outfit photography for that lovely blurry background as you can see on the left. As you can see from the right photo it is a fixed lens and is zoomed in so objects will appear much closer. This is why for outfit photos you do need to stand so far away.

FOCAL LENGTH : 45mm fixed
LOWEST F/STOP : 1.8
GREAT FOR : Portraits, outfit posts, details, products

olympus pen 60mm lens example photo
olympus pen 60mm lens example photo
olympus pen 60mm lens example photo

This is the first time I've tried the 60mm macro lens. As you can see from both photos there is some blur but not as much as others obviously the aperture is 2.8 at its lowest. But this photo on the left is the incredible close up detail you can capture with this macro lens. 

The lens has seven circular diaphragm blades that help to increase the “bokeh” effect formed in the de-focused areas of the image. A really stunning and lightweight lens and great if you love capturing close up detail.

FOCAL LENGTH : 60mm macro
LOWEST F/STOP : 2.8
GREAT FOR : Close ups, flowers, details

Olympus Pen Lenses
olympus pen 75mm lens example photo

This 75mm lens is such an incredible lens. This is my dream lens and if I wasn't moving house I would be snapping this bad boy up right now. I've used a couple of other bloggers 75mm lens and have been in love ever since. It has amazing blur which give outfit photos such an editorial feel and you can see this blur in the left photo. Its obviously fixed and very zoomed in as you can see from the photo on the right and it is super weighty when attached to the Pen but if you want to REALLY up your outfit posts and step up from the 45mm lens then this is the one. Bear in mind though it is a pricey lens so definitely an investment if you are seriously into outfit or portrait shooting. 

FOCAL LENGTH : 75mm fixed
LOWEST F/STOP : 1.8
GREAT FOR : Portraits, editorial outfit posts, beauty shoots

MACRO ADD ON 
MCON‑P02 Macro Converter
olympus pen macro converter lens example photo
Olympus Pen Lenses

This Macro Converter can turn your kit lens or even your 45mm lens into a macro lens that can capture close up details. Its a nifty bit of kit thats under £60. As you can see from the photos you can capture incredible detail close up and this is definitely going to be my next purchase as its so good for the price.

FISH EYE LENS
olympus pen fish eye lens example photo
olympus pen lenses

Now a fish eye lens isn't everyone's cup of tea and probably not most bloggers choice of lens, but you can create some really cool images. As you can see from both images you don't get any blur but you do get the usual fish eye distortion to images.


 

I really hope this Olympus Pen Lenses post has been useful. If you have any questions at all please do ask below and I'll try my best to answer and thank you to Jay who helped me with this post. You'll find his Youtube Channel here where he shares lots of photography videos.

Please do check out all my other Olympus Pen posts too.

Debs

x

This post may also contain PR Samples or gifted items. It may also contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

5 Comments

  1. May 18, 2017 / 10:37 am

    This was so helpful, thank you for putting this together. Seeing them all side by side makes it easy to decide which I need next!
    I currently have the kit and the 45mm, I did want the 17mm, but I’m thinking the macro adapter might be more helpful as a next step!

  2. May 18, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Fantastic post. I’m looking for a new lens for landscape photography during my honeymoon. Thanks for the help!

    Lauren x

  3. Caroline
    May 21, 2017 / 6:21 am

    Debs, this post is fantastic! Exactly what I needed.
    Been thinking of a new lens, but as such an amateur, it’s a minefield, I have no clue.
    So your short and plain explantions are perfect.
    Thank you!

    Caroline.x
    http://www.carolineelgeywhite.com

  4. May 22, 2017 / 5:40 pm

    This post was so helpful I’ve been looking for a new lens for a while and couldn’t decide! I have the kit lens and the 45mm lens and I love the 45mm but it is zoomed in so much! I was looking for a lens to do videos with, vlogging and sit down videos and was thinking of the 17mm but you said it can be quite loud. Is there another lens you would recommend for video?

  5. June 5, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    Really useful thanks! I’ve only got the pancake lens which has already frustrated me so may get the 45mm too

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