It seems most of the camera manufacturers these days think that full-frame cameras are the only solution for top-notch quality and versatility. But, someone with a thick, heavy-weight DSLR dangling around their neck should know that this chunky camera design will soon make you frustrated. This where Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera systems and their lightweight and compact-sized lenses come into play.
Thanks to newly developed, incredibly affordable, and feature-loaded full-frame and mirrorless cameras, Micro Four Thirds cameras don’t get much attention these days, however, they are still capable enough to achieve the perfection you need. There are some outstanding cameras out there, produced by both Olympus and Panasonic, that can be ideal for travelers, professionals, and other so many enthusiasts.
There are some terrific Micro Four Thirds lenses as well, and some of them won’t cost you a bundle. If you are looking to find the best Micro Four Thirds lenses but don’t know where to start, this roundup will help you a lot. So, let’s take a look at some of our top picks below.
1. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2 (Overall Winner)
This incredibly small micro four-thirds lens feels like a toy in your hands. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2 features an optical diameter of 46mm while the overall size along with its mount is only 56mm.
With an aperture of f/2, it’s truly an impressive lens from Olympus. Although it has a compact size, there isn’t any compromise made on the image quality. You get extremely sharp images, especially if you are using the lens with a semi-closed aperture. Chromatic aberrations and geometrical distortions are very well controlled.
The lens features a silent AF mechanism. It’s cheap and offers an easy and quick transition between manual and auto focusing.
2. Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8
The Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 is the most versatile Micro Four Thirds lens on the list. Paired with the image stabilization system of the camera, it allows you to capture handheld images even in the dark.
The lens offers outstanding sharpness even with an open aperture. It’s nearly suitable for all the photography needs, thanks to its focal length.
This 25mm lens produces a soft and appealing bokeh if there aren’t any contrast glares in the frame. You get an unusual pattern when there is a lot of difference in the brightness, however, this can be used to add an artistic effect to your images and it’s something you won’t get with other Micro Four Third lenses.
The lens features a quick focus and has a compact and lightweight design. Moreover, chromatic aberrations are kept to a minimum.
3. Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm f/2.8 II
The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 35-100mm f/2.8 II is an expensive and reliable lens as you feel upon the first touch. It’s well built and has a compact design but with a lot of weight.
The body is fully static as the shifting from 35mm to 100mm happens inside the lens barrel. The autofocus system is incredibly fast and deserves a lot of praise. It’s among the few of the Micro Four Thirds lenses that offer a quick focus setting regardless of the distance.
Along with a fast, precise, and noise-free AF system, it offers dust and water-resistant capabilities. The AF also works well in poor lighting conditions, however, you may notice false adjusting or fluctuation at a very close focusing distance.
Optical image stabilization system works well overall, but it may worsen the images at high shutter speeds.
4. Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8
The Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 may prove to be a great option for those who are looking for a solid and reliable lens, featuring a focal length that matches 35mm and a moderate wide-angle. This can be one of your favorite lenses for travel photography.
The compact size adds less weight to the lens, as a result, you get a great companion for your travels. At a closed aperture, it delivers incredible sharpness throughout the frame, especially if you are capturing landscapes. You will appreciate how it blurs the background at a short distance with an open aperture as your targeted object is visually highlighted quite well.
It features a fast AF system and chromatic aberrations are kept very low. And, as for construction, all the components are enclosed in a metal case.
5. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8
The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 is a must-have if you own a Sony camera. At a very lower price, you get amazing quality. The lens works incredibly well in backlighting. It produces extremely sharp results at wide apertures. Very low-level chromatic aberrations may appear sometimes, but they can be corrected in aperture settings.
Another feature you may like more about this Micro Four Thirds lens is its incredibly soft and pleasing bokeh, which makes it best for portrait and wedding photography needs. The focal distance is rather universal, and with a compact design and lightweight body, it can easily fit in your pocket.
6. Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH
This incredible Micro Four Thirds lens from Panasonic is an ideal choice for landscape, architecture, and portrait photography. Its compact size allows you to take it anywhere.
What the Panasonic LUMIX G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH produces in low light and the golden hour is just wonderful. Although it’s one of the best Micro Four Thirds lenses, it comes with some flaws. For instance, the absence of an image stabilization system may force you to use it with a gimbal or a tripod. This is also one of our most popular Panasonic lenses.
7. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R (Budget Winner)
Among all the best Micro Four Thirds lenses we have on this list, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R is the cheapest one. At an open aperture, it delivers slightly smoothed results, however, they become really sharp when it is set one step up.
The AF System is super-fast and for the situations where you are unable to reach an object, it performs like no other. You would enjoy shooting various urban scenes with this lens.
It’s compact, lightweight, and built with plastic. You won’t observe any chromatic aberrations.
Final Thoughts on the Best Micro Four Thirds Lenses
One of the benefits of the Micro Four Thirds system is the broad range of choice when it comes to lenses. Most of them are being offered at much more reasonable prices than the DSLR equivalents. However, we believe that the lenses listed above represent the absolute best performance for your money.