Photography / Buying Guide

Best Lenses of 2017 for the Micro Four Thirds System

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One thing that Micro Four Thirds shooters have always had in their corner is premium optics. The smaller sensor of the camera system really lends itself to shooting through the center area of any optics placed in front of it, and that leads to unsurpassed edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity. While some shooters balk at the 2x crop factor, others enjoy the benefits of the exceptional Micro Four Thirds cameras made by Olympus and Panasonic, the technology packed inside, and the choice of exceptional native optics or the benefits of adapted glass.

The New Workhorse Wide Zoom

Released this year is the 16-36mm-equivalent Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. lens. The lens is packed with exotic elements, including an aspherical ED lens, one UHR element, three standard aspherical lenses, and two ED elements. Its weatherproof design contains a rounded 7-blade diaphragm and a 240-frame-per-second autofocus system.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. Lens

More PRO Lenses

Olympus added to its already impressive lineup of PRO lenses with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO optics. Both prime lenses feature super-wide f/1.2 apertures for exceptionally shallow depth of field work and light-gathering capabilities. The 17mm lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 34mm, making it a great street-shooting, everyday lens. Like other Olympus primes, it does not shy away from multiple elements, with 15 pieces of glass inside the barrel. The 45mm lens is the equivalent of a 90mm lens on a full-frame camera and packs 14 elements with several specialty optics to optimize performance. Both lenses are weather resistant.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO Lens

The Big One

Hot off the presses since it was just released is the new Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S. lens that gives Micro Four Thirds shooters an equivalent of 400mm at f/2.8. Compare the size of this lens to a full-frame-capable 400mm f/2.8 lens and you will see one of the advantages of the Micro Four Thirds system. The Panasonic weighs approximately 2.75 pounds and is 6.85" long. In comparison, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens weighs 8.4 pounds and is 14" long. This new lens is packed with tech and should make some big waves with Olympus and Panasonic shooters when it arrives at the store. You can also add a Panasonic 1.4x teleconverter for an even longer reach—560mm equivalent at f/4.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens

The Kowa Option

If you have ever had the pleasure of looking through Kowa binoculars or spotting scopes, you know that they make exceptional glass. Micro Four Thirds shooters and filmmakers now have some new lens options from the Japanese manufacturer that include the Kowa PROMINAR MFT 8.5mm f/2.8, PROMINAR MFT 12mm f/1.8, and PROMINAR MFT 25mm f/1.8 lenses. The 35mm equivalent fields of view of the lenses clock in at 17mm, 24mm, and 50mm. They all can switch to click-less aperture adjustments for filmmakers and have T-stop ratings of T3.0 (8.5mm), and T1.9 (12mm and 25mm). All three lenses are available in black, silver, and Kowa green.

Kowa PROMINAR MFT 8.5mm f/2.8 Lens

Sigma’s Latest Micro Four Thirds Lens

Sigma has added to its Micro Four Thirds lineup with the new 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 32mm. The lens has that ultra-modern Sigma look and the f/1.4 aperture is great for letting in a lot of light when the lights get dim or the sun goes down, and it’s weather sealed for rainy days.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens for Micro Four Thirds

Lensbaby-ing with Micro Four Thirds

A part of recent Lensbaby offerings are made with the Micro Four Third mount. The new Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 lens is a longer focal length cousin to the Velvet 56mm f/1.6 that was not available for Micro Four Thirds. On a Micro Four Thirds camera, users may find the 170mm focal length equivalent a bit long for portraits, but it might work well for close-up work with its 1:2 ratio magnification. Check out this hands-on review of the lens.

Lensbaby Velvet 85mm f/1.8 Lens for Micro Four Thirds

And for more traditional Lensbaby action, the Composer Pro II and Sweet 80 Optic are available for the Micro Four Thirds mount. See the field test here.

Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Sweet 80 Optic for Micro Four Thirds

What Micro Four Thirds lenses are on your wish list? Let us know in the Comments section, below!

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