Our absolute favorite Olympus lenses include the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO and Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO. Read below for a closer look at these and other fantastic micro four-thirds lenses.
Olympus is a major player in the mirrorless camera world. Together with Panasonic, they have pioneered the micro four-thirds mirrorless sensor that allows for great image quality to come from a small camera. To match with their small, innovative cameras, Olympus and Panasonic have created a massive selection of small but high-quality lenses for the micro four-thirds format. As such, micro four-thirds is a great format for landscape photographers looking to save weight but maintain quality. To help landscape photographers navigate the sea of options, this article will provide a run-down of the best micro Olympus four-thirds lenses for landscape photography.
Also check out our picks from the Panasonic side of MFT: Best Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds Lenses for Landscape Photography
Best Olympus Micro Four-Thirds Wide Angle Lenses for Landscape Photography
The Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/4-5.6 is the most affordable ultra-wide angle lens available for micro four-thirds. While it might not be tack sharp at wide-open apertures, stopped down to f/8 it performs very well. It’s also a tiny lens that may be perfect for a micro four-thirds photographer looking for a small and capable ultra-wide that isn’t too hard on the wallet. Its full-frame equivalent focal length on the long end is 18mm, which isn’t as wide as the other micro four-thirds ultra-wide offerings, but still offers a very wide field of view. Overall, I wouldn’t call it a screaming deal or an exceptional performer, but does qualify as a good value buy that will suit the needs of most landscape photographers out there.
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The Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens is the absolute best ultra-wide angle lens in the micro four-thirds world. It’s features a full-frame equivalent 14mm field of view, a fast f/2.8 max aperture, and a weather-sealed exterior. If you have a weather-sealed camera body, this lens is definitely the obvious choice. And that f/2.8 max aperture might come in nice for night photography. Oh yeah, it also performs where it really matters: creating stunningly sharp images. Its price may be off-putting, but is a pretty typical price for a lens of this caliber. My only real qualm is the bulbous front element that prevents use of screw-on filters. If you want to save a few bucks, you might also consider the Panasonic G Vario 7-14mm f/4, but the M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 truly is a cut above.
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Best Olympus Micro Four-Thirds Mid-Range Lenses for Landscape Photography
The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO has got to be the ultimate all-around landscape lens for micro four-thirds! It’s definitely my favorite on the list. This lens pulls out literally all of the stops. It’s got a huge focal range (full-frame equivalent of 24-200mm), and stays tack sharp at all focal lengths. That fact alone makes it a fantastic lens. But wait, there’s more! This lens is weather-sealed, is superb in terms of build quality, and features on-board image stabilization. All that combined with its constant f/4 aperture makes this lens a straight-up rockstar. Perhaps the turnoffs might be its size (weighs in at 1.23 lb / 560 g) which is a little on the large side, and it’s fairly slow aperture. If you really need a fast aperture for night photography you might take a look at the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2 PRO, otherwise I do think the M.Zuiko 12-100mm takes the title as the best mid-range zoom for micro four-thirds!
Check current prices for the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-200mm f/4 IS PRO:
Rent it from: BorrowLenses.com
The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is perhaps the sharpest mid-range zoom available for micro four-thirds. It achieves tack sharp images, especially when stopped down to around f/8, at all focal lengths. It’s also built like a tank and is weather-sealed to match Olympus’ pro-grade camera bodies. While many landscape photographers might not necessarily need the fast f/2.8 aperture, it sure is nice to have, especially for night landscapes. It’s also priced quite reasonably for a fast pro-quality zoom lens. As such, I think this is a no-brainer for professionals and enthusiasts that are looking for a fast zoom and find this lens within their budget.
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While it might not be a pro-grade lens, the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R is not your average kit lens either. The design of the lens is on it’s third generation (hence the II R on the end of its name), and Olympus has done a good job of maximizing the performance of this inexpensive lens. It isn’t as sharp as the Olympus PRO lenses, but for most photographers, and especially novices, it is sharp enough to get the job done. If you need weather-sealing or a fast aperture, you will have to look elsewhere. Otherwise, I do think this a solid performer that will give you a ton of bang for your buck, especially when purchased as a kit with an Olympus mirrorless body.
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Filling the niche between the two lenses directly above is the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ. Technically a kit lens that typically ships out with the OM-D EM-5 series of pro bodies, the 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 is a weather-sealed lens that provides a solid performance all the way around. It might be quite as sharp as the 12-40mm f/2.8, but the difference likely wouldn’t be noticeable to most photographers. The only real turnoff for some might be the slow f/3.5-6.3 variable aperture. However, if you don’t have a need for a fast aperture and are already buying a new Olympus body, this is a reasonably sharp lens that is built to last. I do recommend trying to pick it up in a kit to maximize the value, otherwise you might want to look at the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-150mm f/4.5.6 II listed directly below.
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Really looking for some bang-for-your-buck? Check out the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150 f/4-5.6 II. With a full-frame equivalent focal range of 28-300mm, this an extremely versatile lens that covers wide-angle, normal, and telephoto focal lengths. Oh, and did I mention that it is also weather-sealed? Like I said, bang-for-your-buck. Of course, there are drawbacks. Obviously, it isn’t a fast lens, and its corner sharpness is pretty soft at every focal length and aperture. But if you value having a weather-sealed lens with a huge focal range over everything else, this might be the lens for you.
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Best Olympus Micro Four-Thirds Telephoto Lenses for Landscape Photography
Olympus has a couple great telephoto options below, but leaves a big gap in the mid-range price point. Panasonic picks up the slack in that area, read more: Best Panasonic MFT Lenses for Landscape Photography
The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150 f/2.8 PRO is the de-facto top pick for the best dedicated telephoto zoom. This lenses does have a lot going for it. It’s got a nice long focal range (80-300mm full-frame equivalent), a fast f/2.8 max aperture, excellent build quality with weather-sealing, and fantastic sharpness all the way across the board. However, this lens weighs in at 32 oz / 880 g, which is a behemoth in the world of mirrorless cameras. As such, I do think you really have to weigh your priorities before fully investing in this lens. This lens really does produce fantastic quality images, but if you are in need of a smaller and lighter telephoto lens, take a look at the other choices a this list, or consider Panasonic’s micro four-thirds offerings as well.
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The Olympus M.Zuiko 40-50mm f/4-5.6 R is a “consumer” grade telephoto lens that is actually a solid choice a great many landscape photographers out there. As you might expect from a lens of this price, it’s sharpness gets questionable as you zoom past 100mm, and it always needs to be stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond to maximize sharpness in the corners. Even if you are an enthusiast or a pro, if you only occasionally shoot telephoto, this might good enough to suit your needs, as long you can work within the limitations of the lens. As such, I think most landscape photographers would be well served consider this lens before automatically assuming that a pricey and heavy “pro” is absolutely necessary. To boot, this lens can be found for obscenely cheap when on sale. It really is a screaming deal if you can make it work for your needs.
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The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II is too long of a lens to be considered for landscape photography alone (it’s the full-frame equivalent of 150-600mm). However, I mention it because many landscape photographers also end up in the position to grab wildlife shots, especially if you are one to frequent places like Yellowstone National Park that have tons of wildlife opportunities. And if you have a few hundred dollars laying around to invest in another lens, this is a great long lens that may allow you to capture some images you might otherwise miss. It’s not at all a fast lens, so it will struggle in low light, so you will have to know its limits when you’re out in the field. If you’re going on a trip where you’re expecting to shoot more wildlife, you might even consider renting from a place like Borrow Lenses.
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