Olympus OM 135mm on the Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds

Written by Gary on November 1st, 2009

The Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera comes with a very expensive, unique HD video optimised, 14-140mm OIS lens, so why would I even bother putting a cheap $100 2nd hand Ebay Olympus OM 135mm f/2.8 lens on it?

As nice as the 14-140mm lens is, there is one major problem for me – its aperture at 140mm is f/5.6 which means I am not able to blur the background as much as I would like.

Now I could use the Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD which I love, or the brilliant Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L lens, but these are both big and heavy, not to mention expensive.

When I go hiking, I prefer to take a few lens options but still travel light, here is where the Olympus OM 135mm f/2.8 comes in.

The beauty of the Olympus OM lenses are that they are so compact and light – much more so than Nikon F, Canon FD, Canon EF or any other 35mm SLR lens.

Of course, I would not use this for sports or action shots unless I could pre-focus – accurate manual focus even with the very nice MF assist of the Panasonic GH-1 still takes me 1 sec or so.

But would this lens perform wide open?

On Friday, I decided to test it out on one of my bush walks in a mallee tree forest and although the image below is not going to win any prizes, it does show how nice even a busy distracting background can become. There has been no PS sharpening but some toning/contrast applied.

The background would have appeared even smoother had I not applied a bit of contrast, but the image needed a bit of contrast given the overcast day. Also, note that these were taken in the GH-1’s uncropped 16:9 aspect ratio – another great feature of the GH-1, just wish it had an in-built image stabiliser too like the Olympus cameras.


Compare the background with that taken at f/5.6 which would be similar had I used the Panasonic 14-140mm lens wide open:


I was very pleased with the performance of the lens wide open, although it will perform better at f/4.

Remember though, using this lens is giving you telephoto reach of a 270mm lens on a 35mm camera, while its f/2.8 aperture is allowing a fast shutter speed – even in overcast conditions as with the above, shutter speed was 1/2500th sec at f/2.8, ISO 400.

More photos by lens used here.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Avi Gal says:

    Hi Mr. Ayton
    I wonder if it is possible to mount the 135/2.8 on EP-2 using MMF-1 adaptor MF-1 adaptor. The reason for asking is that I already own the MMF-1, so buying the MF-1 will allow me to use tne 135/2.8 on both my EP-2 & my E-3.
    I will greatly appreciate your help on this issue.

    THX ,

    Avi Gal

  2. admin says:

    No problem, just get an OM to Four Thirds adapter and you can use the OM lens on both the EP-2 (via the MMF-1 adapter) and on your E-3.

    If you ever plan to get a Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera, the OM-Four Thirds adapter must not have a AF-confirm chip in it, but there should not be an issue with your Olympus cameras, and the AF-confirm should work on your E-3 but not on the E-P2.