Best Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Micro Four Thirds is the most established of the mirrorless system camera formats. Jointly developed by Panasonic and Olympus, it brought mirrorless bodies and native lenses to the market at least one year before its first rival arrived. Being first to market along with having not one but two major manufacturers behind it are two major advantages Micro Four Thirds enjoys over the competition, and it really shows when you compare their respective native lens catalogues. Micro Four Thirds now has over 75┬álenses available from Panasonic and Olympus along with third parties including Sigma, Tamron, Samyang, Voigtlander and others. That’s a lot to choose from, so let me help you make the right decisions with my guide to the best Micro Four Thirds lenses below! Note like my other guides they’re also listed by review date, not in order of preference.

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Best Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Leica DG 8-18mm f2.8-4 review

The Leica DG 8-18mm f2.8-4 becomes the fourth ultra-wide zoom for the Micro Four Thirds system, and arguably the most compelling overall to date. It may not zoom quite as wide as the Lumix and Olympus 7-14mm models, but the extra reach at the longer end makes it more flexible, and crucially the ability to mount standard (or even serious ND) filters without vignetting will be appreciated by many (especially long exposure) photographers. The Leica may not be quite as sharp in the corners as the Olympus 7-14mm at wide apertures and it also lacks the constant f2.8 focal ratio, but in turn it's smaller, lighter and cheaper. It also out-performs the older Lumix 7-14mm f4, while mostly avoiding the purple flare issues of that model. Throw in quick and quiet focusing, and a weather-sealed body with smooth focus and zoom rings and you have a lens that's easy to highly recommend. It's become my favourite ultra-wide zoom for Panasonic and Olympus bodies, and a tempting upgrade for owners of the Lumix 7-14mm f4 or Olympus 9-18mm.

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Leica DG 100-400mm f4-6.3 review

The Leica DG 100-400mm f4-6.3 is a high quality super-telephoto zoom for the Micro Four Thirds system. Mounted on an Olympus or Panasonic Lumix body, it delivers an equivalent range of 200-800mm, giving it a longer reach than any other native lens in the catalogue and making it ideal for wildlife shooters. It also offers a step-up in optical and build quality over the existing telephoto zooms in the system, albeit at a comfortably higher price too. If you're on a budget, the Lumix 100-300mm remains hard to beat and if you can afford the Leica, you should also ask if it's worth reaching a little further to the Olympus 300mm f4 prime. But if it's a high quality super-telephoto zoom you're after, the Leica 100-400mm delivers the goods, and fills an important gap in the Micro Four Thirds catalogue.

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Leica DG 12mm f1.4 review

The Leica Summilux 12mm f1.4 is a high-end lens for Micro Four Thirds bodies on which it delivers the classic 24mm coverage. Olympus and Samyang offer cheaper - not to mention smaller and lighter - 12mm prime lenses, but the Summilux is a stop brighter, sharper in the corners when wide-open and the only one that's dust and splash-proof. It's also comfortably more expensive, costing around double that of the Olympus, so you have to ask yourself if you'll exploit its benefits. Ultimately the Summilux is an unashamedly premium lens that delivers the goods and is a welcome addition to the expansive Micro Four Thirds catalogue.

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Olympus 8mm f1.8 Fisheye review

The Olympus 8mm f1.8 Fisheye Pro is the first fisheye lens to sport an f1.8 focal ratio, allowing you to shoot in dimmer conditions without having to increase the sensitivity. Even wide-open at f1.8, the lens delivers very sharp details right into the corners, making it a great choice for interiors. It's also great for action and extreme sports, whether shooting stills or movies, especially with the dust and splash-proof construction. I'm often sceptical over the usefulness of fisheye lenses, but I find myself shooting with the 8mm f1.8 Fisheye much more than I expected thanks to its speed, quality and build - they make it much more flexible than the slower options. If you fancy a fisheye but have a tighter budget, consider the Samyang 8mm f3.5.

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Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 review

The Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 Pro is a high-end ultra-wide angle zoom that delivers an equivalent range of 14-28mm with a constant f2.8 focal ratio. The range matches the coverage of the Lumix G 7-14mm, but it's a stop brighter and boasts weather-sealing too. Like the Lumix G 7-14mm, the built-in lens hood means there's no standard filter thread on the front, but third party solutions from the likes of Lee are available. The brighter aperture and tougher build means the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 is inevitably larger, heavier and more expensive than the Lumix G 7-14mm, but it represents a step-up in all respects while also avoiding the purple flares that could plague the Lumix on some bodies.

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Lumix 30mm f2.8 Macro review

There's no denying the Lumix G 30mm f2.8 represents great value for a high quality macro lens. It may be the cheapest way to enjoy true 1:1 reproduction with AF on a native Micro Four Thirds lens, but there doesn't appear to be any compromise on quality. My only complaint is the lack of a focus limiter which could have improved AF speeds for non-macro situations, but even with the full focusing range at its disposal, the AF is fast enough. Considering the close-to-standard coverage also makes it the most flexible of the three native macro lenses, it's become a highly compelling option for any Panasonic or Olympus owner who's interested in close-up photography.

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Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f1.7 review

Panasonic's Lumix G 42.5mm f1.7 is a short telephoto prime lens that goes up against the hugely popular Olympus 45mm f1.8. In my tests the Lumix was sharper in the corners at large apertures and usefully could focus much closer, allowing it to perform double-duty as a basic macro lens; it also offer optical stabilisation for owners of unstabilised Panasonic bodies. While it out-performed the Olympus in many of my tests though, the Olympus delivered slightly better rendering of out-of-focus areas and is typically sold at a higher discount. Both are great options though and highly recommended.

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Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 review

The Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Pro is a high-end telephoto zoom with a constant f2.8 focal ratio. With equivalent coverage of 80-300mm, it's ideal for portraiture and street photography, along with nearby sports and wildlife. It handles quickly, shrugs-off inclement weather, and delivers very sharp and high contrast images right into the corners even at the maximum aperture. The focal range is also comfortably longer than the rival Lumix 35-100mm f2.8, although it is physically larger too. Personally speaking I prefer to shoot with brighter primes for a shallower depth of field, but if you're happy with the blurring capabilities of the Olympus 40-150mm, it's a powerful lens to have in your collection.

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Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7 review

The Leica Summilux 15mm f1.7 is a high quality general-purpose prime lens for Panasonic and Olympus bodies, and one that's also priced fairly compared to alternative options. Its focal length, equivalent to 30mm in full-frame terms, may be unique in the range, but it's ideally-suited as a versatile walk-around lens. A little wide for traditional portraits, but landscapes, architecture, even detail shots with a shallow depth of field are all comfortably within its grasp, and the optical quality is a step-up from alternatives with a similar focal length. If you don't already own any of the similar focal length primes, I'd say go for the Summilux 15mm if you can afford the premium over the Olympus 17mm f1.8. This especially applies if you're a GM1 or GM5 owner as it's a better physical match. If you already own the Olympus 17mm f1.8 though, it's a tougher sell. Sure it's optically a little better, but not enough for most to consider an upgrade. Ultimately the Olympus 17mm f1.8 remains a superb general-purpose lens that I can highly recommend, but it's wonderful to also have a slightly better alternative available at a small premium for those who can justify it.

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Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 review

Panasonic's Leica Summilux DG 25mm f1.4 is a high quality standard prime lens with an effective focal length of 50mm. It's the second Leica-branded lens from Panasonic for Micro Four Thirds, and like the 45mm f2.8 macro before it, Leica designs the optics and Panasonic manufactures it in Japan. The build quality and manual focusing ring are of a high standard and it delivers great quality results. The f1.4 focal ratio allows you to work in low light and deliver a shallow depth of field that can be great for close-range portraits; indeed I personally find it easier to photograph portraits of kids with this lens than longer models. Overall a worthwhile step-up from the 20mm f1.7 if you like the 50mm coverage and one of my personal favourites, although some owners of Olympus bodies have reported occasional rattling during composition as the aperture is adjusted. Note there are now a number of 25mm options for Micro Four Thirds, but I continue to be drawn to the rendering of this oldie but goodie.

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Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f1.2 review

The Leica Nocticron is an unashamedly high-end portrait prime lens with superb performance. The 42.5mm focal length becomes equivalent to 85mm in full-frame terms, making it a classic for portrait work, while the f1.2 focal ratio ensures very shallow depth of field effects are possible. What's really impressive though is how sharp the lens is right into the corners even at the maximum aperture, making it an extremely flexible option in low light. Suffice it to say the rendering of out-of-focus areas is also exemplary. The only downside, other than sheer size, is the price which matches the high-end performance. Luckily there are many wonderful short telephoto primes available for Micro Four Thirds if you can't reach the Nocticron, but for those who demand the best, here it is.

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Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 review

Owners of Micro Four Thirds cameras have the choice of three ultra wide zooms and I think there's merit in recommending all of them. I'll will start with Panasonic's Lumix G 7-14mm. With an equivalent range of 14-28mm and a constant aperture of f4, this is a very classy operator which delivers excellent results across the frame even at the maximum aperture. It features a built-in lens hood which does a good job at protecting the bulbous front element from knocks, scratches as well as stray light. On the downside there's no way to fit filters without a DIY bracket and owners of Olympus bodies may suffer from purple flare when shooting bright lights. But priced between the less extreme Olympus 9-18mm and the higher-end Olympus 7-14mm f2.8, it remains a popular choice and a personal favourite.

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Samyang Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye

Micro Four Thirds enjoys no fewer than three Fisheye lenses: the original Lumix G Fisheye 8mm f3.5, the high-end Olympus 8mm f1.8 Fisheye and the budget Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 Fisheye here. Samyang has gained a reputation for delivering good quality optics at affordable prices - indeed their Fisheye for Micro Four Thirds costs about half that of the Panasonic. The only things missing are autofocus and support for Auto exposure modes, but on a lens this wide they're something you can easily live without. So if you want to squeeze a 180 degree field of view across the diagonal without breaking the bank, this could be the lens for you.

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Olympus M Zuiko Digital 75mm f1.8

Olympus continues it run of high quality, metal-bodied prime lenses with the M Zuiko Digital 75mm f1.8. This delivers telephoto coverage equivalent to 150mm with a bright f1.8 focal ratio that makes it ideal for serious portrait work, along with picking out finer details in landscapes and urban environments. Maintaining the f1.8 focal ratio at a longer focal length though has resulted in a high price tag, around double that of the 45mm f1.8, and despite the robust construction it's not splash or dust proof; owners of Panasonic bodies should also know that like all Olympus lenses there's no optical stabilization, so they'll have to shoot at sufficiently fast shutter speeds or on a tripod to avoid shake. But even with these caveats it remains a highly desirable lens especially for serious portrait photographers. Meanwhile fans of long fast primes can also look forward to Panasonic's upcoming 150mm f2.8, albeit at an even higher price.

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Olympus M Zuiko Digital 17mm f1.8

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f1.8 is a prime lens designed for general-purpose use. With an equivalent focal length of 34mm, it delivers a field of view that's almost identical to the classic 35mm lenses adored by street photographers. As such it's comfortably wider than a 50mm equivalent without suffering from the distortion of 28mm equivalent and wider options. This makes it ideal as a walkaround lens, while the light weight and small size means you'll hardly notice it's fitted. The bright aperture is useful in low light and can also deliver shallow depth of field effects especially if the subject is close to the minimum focusing distance; if you're careful with distance and placement on the frame it can even take a reasonable portrait. Downsides? The lens hood is optional, there's no weatherproofing and the price is quite high, but the quality is great and it could end up being your most used lens, especially if you don't already own the 20mm.

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