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Old Jun 8, 2018, 1:15 PM   #1
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Default Olympus EPL-5 Lens Compatibility (also Lumix GX85)

Hi - First time poster here, hoping to pick this community's collective brain on a baffling issue that I haven't been able to find anywhere else with some rudimentary Google-fu.

I have an Olympus E-PL5 body which I purchased in very good condition last year to match with existing lenses I had bought for an older PEN model. Those lenses are:

-Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6
-Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6

I experienced an odd issue which left me baffled at the time, where I had initial success in mounting the lenses and having the camera recognize/work with them, but after the first test fitting out of the box with the new body, they would not work at all or be recognized by the camera body as being mounted, displaying a black screen even though lens was extended/uncapped.

Specifically, I would mount either lens (attempted in multiple ways, with body powered off, hot-swapped while on, etc). Interestingly, an unfocused image from the exposed sensor would show when the lenses were detached/hot-swapped, giving me the impression that it was not a camera body issue, but a problem with the lenses. They were relatively inexpensive eBay purchases, so I chalked it up to bad luck with Caveat Emptor, and put the E-PL5 and the two lenses aside in disappointment.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 w/12-32mm & 45-150mm lenses, which I just received yesterday. I bought this kit because of the well-established reputation, and the assumption that the E-PL5 and related Olympus lenses were a wash/lost cause.

Given that it had been a few months since I had last tried/failed with the Olympus lenses on the E-PL5, I tested them together again, and still no luck with the Olympus body recognizing the Olympus lenses... However, out of curiosity, I tested the GX85's lenses with the E-PL5, and vice versa, and to my chagrin the Olympus lenses worked perfectly fine with the GX85, and the Lumix lenses worked perfectly fine with the E-PL5!

Can anyone offer any insight or explanation into why and/or how to fix the issue with the Olympus to Olympus issue, or why the swap worked with the E-PL5 to Lumix lenses, and GX85 to Olympus lenses?? I had always understood that all M43 lenses were basically universally compatible/interchangeable.

I'm a bit frustrated now, since I now have two functioning M43 camera bodies with 2 pairs of roughly equivalent lenses, but the Olympus body only works with the newer Lumix lenses, which is a waste for my intended uses in my opinion.

Any advice, insight, or opinions? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 8, 2018, 5:52 PM   #2
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Don't know the cameras in question, but can offer some generic advice.

First, any digital camera should be switched off before removing or installing a lens. If you take a look at the way the lens/body contacts line up, you will see that when you turn the lens to lock, the contacts will be moving across each other, and if they are live, are likely to create problems.
If I were trying to resolve this problem, I would mount one of the problematic lenses to the camera and do a factory reset first, and if that failed, remove the camera battery for a short period, and then restart with the lens on the camera.
Just guessing, of course.
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Old Jun 9, 2018, 8:58 PM   #3
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That sounds like the contacts on the lens or body are worn or dirty.

When my Panasonic doesn't make perfect contact, it has a warning "lens not attached" on the screen. I don't know what Olympus does, but they act similarly.

My older lenses will do that now and then. I just wiggle them a bit and they come back on. I think they lose tension over time.

Some say it doesn't hurt to swap lenses powered up, but I don't like doing it.

A "Reset" should bring everything back to the default settings. Someone could have locked some obscure setting deep in the menu.
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Old Jun 10, 2018, 9:27 AM   #4
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Resetting a camera before you use it, new or used, is always a good idea.

As for the contacts, the simplest and most effective way to do that is to use a pencil eraser, being sure not to allow the scraps to fall inside the lens or the body.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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