Panasonic is not the only manufacturer to make third-party micro four-thirds lenses that are compatible with Olympus EM Series cameras. Other manufacturers like Rokinon make them, as well. But will they complement your workflow? Author Richard Harrington discusses working with third-party micro four-thirds lenses on Olympus EM Series cameras.
- Because of popularity, with the Micro Four Thirds Standard, for both Olympus and Panasonic, as well as Blackmagic using it for many of their video cameras, we've seen a rise in third party lens. For example, Sigma, which makes lens for many different manufacturers, offers a series of auto-focus primes. Now, these primes are great, and they do give you the ability to quickly auto-focus, and they're fully compatible with the Mirco Four Thirds cameras. They tend to be priced a little bit lower, then traditional prime lens from most manufacturers. But they do provide good quality.
You'll also find a company called Rokinon, or Samyang depending upon where you're buying it. Now these lens tend to be very affordable. I've got one here, this is actually a Fisheye lens. And you see that it provides a really wide field of view. But the lens itself is all manual. You'll have to use the dial here to adjust the aperture, as well as this one for focus. Now this means that all of the dials on the camera can't be used, rather it's a purely manual process. But sometimes that's desirable. For example, this is one of my favorite lens for shooting time lapse.
It means that once I set it, I can forget it, so if I'm shooting a sunrise or a sunset, or the night sky, I don't have to worry about the camera making adjustments. I've locked things in, which is very important for time lapse. And with a really wide field of view, it's a great lens. And, let's be honest, it's quite affordable. Now, Lensbaby is another manufacturer that makes lens for many different camera models. And I've got two of 'em here. This is another type of Fisheye, a circular Fisheye. And you can see with the shape there, that its got a little bit of a curve to it.
This gives us a real wide field of view. It is a purely manual lens however, so you'll have to manually adjust aperture, from 3.5 to 22, as well as use the focus distance. Now you'll notice here, that it's got a very wide range, that this wheel turns quite a bit. And that's great, if you need to manually focus for something like a video project, this is a type of lens that you can operate hand-held. Another lens that they offer, is the Velvet, and this is a prime lens, that does some really interesting things.
It's great for incredible shallow depth of field, as it opens up incredibly wide. It also gets into some very interesting characteristics, as you open up that aperture really wide. You'll see for example, it goes all the way to 1.6, which is an incredibly wide aperture. And, like the other lens I've mentioned, great controls here. We really have a nice physical control, to turn that dial for manually focusing. But these type of lens do require you to manually focus. Now, a couple other lens to think about.
Tokina is well known for their wide angle lens. I actually have three small lens here, from a Lomography kit. These can be used for things like double exposure, and they're a plastic toy style lens. Different options here for standard, and more wide-angle-type lengths. But these are a lot of fun, and very affordable, but very experimental. With this particular lens, you can actually slip in colored gels into it, to really tint the image. And it gives it sort of that toy camera look, which is actually the last lens I have connected.
A company called SLR Magic makes a Toy lens, like the one you see here. This lens is really designed for a manual operation, and is very prone to lens flares, as well as other aberrations. Now the controls are really quite simple. You may notice here on the side, it's simply labeled near and far. That's the only control. There is no distance, there is no set focal length. Near and far is about as good as it gets. Let me show you what it looks like. We have a really wide aperture.
So we can open that up, and let a ton of light in, but you'll notice there, that it is prone to lens flare. Sometimes though, that's a desirable characteristic, if you're going for a low-tech look. I can stop that down though, manually adjusting it, and you can see how it actually opens and closes the aperture, creating even a little bit of a vignette at the edges sometimes. And using that near and far dial, we can control what is in or out of focus. And we can turn that, giving us really shallow depth of field.
Now the Tokina and the Sigma lens, may fill in some holes in your kit. And the Sigma lens might be a bit cheaper then some of the alternatives you've looked at. The Velvet 56 from Lensbaby, can be very much used as a traditional lens, but also pushed to specialty purposes, for really shallow depth of field. Lensbaby also makes other lens that are all about manipulating shallow depth of field, or getting more of a tilt-shift look. The Toy lens, the circular Fisheyes, the ones here from Lomography. These are all about getting cool looks in the camera.
Now, I don't recommend that you run out and buy these right away, but, if you're looking for something a little bit fun and playful, and you wanna start experimenting a bit more, switching to manual focus and low tech can be a lot of fun.
In this course Richard Harrington and Rhed Pixel demonstrate a set of customization strategies aimed at making your EM series camera far more responsive. They show you how to master the exposure by modifying ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. They take you through several specialty shooting modes including Bulb, Art Filter, panoramic, and 3d mode. In addition to showing you how to get the most out of the in-camera settings, they show you how to control the camera remotely, connect the camera to Wi-Fi, record video, and more.
Get ready to go beyond the factory settings and make shooting with your Olympus EM-D series camera faster and more responsive with this collection of settings and customizing tips.
- Modifying focus points
- Setting a custom white balance
- Building lens kits
- Adding flashes, grips, and remote cable releases
- Adjusting exposure settings and locking exposure
- Shooting with specialty shooting modes
- Connecting your camera to Wi-Fi
- Recording video and attaching an external microphone