If you want to move on from using your Olympus PEN Kit Lens and start adding lenses to your collection then this post is the one for you. From understanding the lenses themselves to a guide to which lens to use for what, you’ll find lots of helpful information in this Tips & Tricks post to get you started with the huge range of Olympus lenses, all compatible with your Olympus PEN .
What do the numbers mean?
The first number on the end of your lens followed by mm is the focal length of your lens, eg. 45mm or 14-42mm for the Kit lens for example. This is essentially an indication about your angle of view. If there is only one number then the lens has a fixed focal length and is often called a Prime lens. If there are two numbers it is a zoom lens and it can move between the two focal lengths using either the auto or manual zoom.
Generally speaking the longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view and the lower the magnification. Standard lenses are ones that have a field of view closest to the human eye, for example the Olympus 25mm F1:8 lens. Wider angle lenses have a field of view wider than the human eye can see, for example the 17mm F1:8.
The second number on your lens is the aperture. Aperture refers to the opening of a lens's diaphragm through which light passes, essentially it is an adjustable hole. The number is the size of the largest possible aperture for that lens, so the 25mm or the 17mm lens can go to F1.8 . For the 14-42mm Kit lens the largest possible aperture changes with the zoom, so the largest aperture is F3.5, and when zoomed in fully it is F5.6
Why do I have to stand so far back with some lenses?
The biggest question that often gets asked when starting to use different lenses on the Olympus PEN is “Why do I have to stand so far back?” Often the first lens to be added to the Olympus PEN kit is the 45mm F1:8 lens and this has an extremely different field of view to the 14-42mm Kit Lens which can often be quite confusing.
So, as said above the longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view and the lower the magnification. This means your 14-42mm kit lens has a much wider view with little magnification whereas your 45mm lens has a much narrower angle of view and is much more magnified.
Take a look at the diagram and you’ll see how the 14mm kit lens takes in much more of the subject whereas the 45mm only captures a small section of it. Therefore, to fit in the same amount of subject you would have to move considerably further back with the 45mm.
Some other things to note
• Always experiment with aperture, along with using a lens with a different focal length, adjusting your aperture can affect your photo enormously.
• Note that some lenses for example the 17mm F1.8 and the 12mm F2.0 have a manual focus ring which can be used for greater control over the lens focus.
• Some M.Zuiko Lenses only come in the black body colour eg the 30mm F3.5
Come back in November to read the second part of this article.
Author & Photographer: Debs Stubbington