Last Updated on 10/10/2018 by Mark Beckenbach
While the system may not be for everyone, there’s no doubt that there are some outstanding Micro Four Thirds lenses available for Olympus and Panasonic adopters.
Since its launch back in 2008 the Micro Four Thirds format has gained a set of devoted fans and lovers who swear by the system. There are some truly fantastic cameras on the market from both Olympus and Panasonic, and there are some killer Micro Four Thirds lenses too. If you are thinking about giving the platform a try, or have bought into the system and aren’t sure what glass to buy first, this article is for you.
Whether you prefer to shoot with primes or telephotos, there are plenty of Micro Four Thirds lenses available to suit your needs and they are all pretty great. In this article we will take a look at three lenses that are not only affordable, but would also make an excellent starter kit for those who have adopted the system.
Olympus 25mm F1.8
The first piece of glass on our list is the Olympus 25mm f1.8, and while it may be small in size and price, don’t let that fool you. This lens packs a serious punch and it’s on our list for good reason. Thanks to the 2x crop factor of Micro Four Thirds cameras, this 25mm lens effectively becomes a 50mm, and no matter what platform you shoot on, everyone needs a nifty fifty. This one is just happens to be outstanding.
In our review we said:
“The 25mm f1.8 is one of the most affordable and bang for your buck lenses out there for the Micro Four Thirds system. In general, we’re quite impressed with the sharpness, bokeh, fast focusing speed (coupled with accuracy), small size, and the overall feel that it is the single lens that you may want to keep mated to your camera forever.”
This 25mm f1.8 lens is an absolute gem. Inside the lens you will find nine elements in seven groups, along with seven rounded aperture blades. The optics Olympus has used produce gorgeous bokeh, images that are sharp from corner to corner, and colors that are natural and as accurate as you can get right out of camera.
Overall build quality is good (high end plastic), and focus speeds are fast in both good and not so great lighting conditions. The lens is incredibly light at just 0.3 lbs. You can slap this lens on your camera and forget about it. It’s the perfect lens for street photographers, documentarians, and portrait photographers too. For the price, this lens is a no brainer, and it should be a part of everyone’s kit. When it comes to Micro Four Thirds lenses, this one is a must have.
Buy now ($349): Amazon
Olympus 25mm F1.8 Image Samples
Pro Tip: By using a camera sling instead of a regular factory supplied camera strap you can take the weight of your gear off of your neck and disperse it more evenly across your upper body. This will make shooting for longer time periods much more comfortable. This sling is not only comfortable, it also won’t break the bank.
Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm F1.8
If you’re a portrait shooter, or want to start in the portrait business this is another one of the outstanding Micro Four Thirds Lenses you should own. The Olympus 45mm f1.8 is effectively a 90mm lens on this system, and its performance to price ratio makes it a perfect lens to start building your lens collection.
In our review we said:
“Overall, I can’t help but recommend the Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens. It should be the portrait lens in the bag of every single Micro Four Thirds camera user and I will not retract or take that statement back. Though Panasonic has a lens that doubles as a Macro lens (45mm f2.8 with Leica branding), it gets utterly destroyed by this lens.”
The 45mm f1.8 is another seriously lightweight lens at just 0.25lbs. The small footprint and weight make this piece of glass incredibly easy to use for long periods of time, and makes it a viable option as a walk around lens. As you would expect at this price point the lens is made from plastic, but overall build quality is still very good.
Nine elements in eight groups, and seven aperture blades fill the inside of the body and they produce very good, very sharp images with accurate colors, nice bokeh, and little to no fringing. The focus speeds on this lens range from good to blisteringly fast depending on the camera used, but most users with newer camera bodies will have no issues at all. While this lens is designed to be a portrait lens you can of course use it as you wish. No matter what you shoot you will get great results for little outlay.
Buy now ($299): Amazon
Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm F1.8 Image Samples
Pro Tip: It happens to the best of us, and it usually happens at the worst possible time. SD cards can and do fail so don’t be caught out when it happens to you. Make sure you have plenty of spares in your camera bag just in case the unthinkable happens during a shoot. With this 32GB Sandisk card being under $11, now is the time to stock up.
Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 PRO
The Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Pro is by far the most expensive lens on this list, but when it comes to Micro Four Thirds lenses in the telephoto range, this one is hard to beat. This lens is for the pro portrait, wedding, sports, and event photographer who demands the absolute best image and build quality regardless of price.
In our review we said:
“The Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 PRO is a lens that exhibits exceptional image quality that is sharp, contrasty, and detailed, enough to give any Micro Four Thirds user exactly what they want. In some events, like shooting portraits, it’s easy to say that it can be too sharp. Of any Olympus lens that we’ve tested, this one has given us the best results–understandably too for the price point!.”
Weighing in at 1.94lbs, this lens is significantly heaver than the two offerings above, but you are getting a lot of lens here in a body the size of a Canon 24-70mm. Sixteen elements in ten groups, coupled with nine rounded aperture blades ensure that the images from this lens are nothing short of spectacular. You can expect sharp images from edge to edge, colors that are natural, and bokeh that is nice and creamy.
On your Micro Four Thirds camera this lens will have the equivalent focal range of 80-300mm which is perfect for the above mentioned photography genres. Focusing is very fast, and when combined with the image stabilization, your images should be blur free. There is also a custom function button on the lens which can be programmed to perform just about any job you would like, which is a nice feature.
The overall build is of an insanely high quality. The all-metal construction, retractable lens hood, and class-leading weather sealing leave no doubt as to why this lens has been dubbed the Pro. If you want to round out your collection of Micro Four Thirds lenses with a telephoto, this is the one to get.
Buy now ($1,399): Amazon
Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 PRO Image Samples
Are you a Panasonic or Olympus user? Which Micro Four Thirds lenses did you start out with? Let us know in the comment section below.