To kick off 2016, Doug taps Gordon’s extensive knowledge of all-things MFT to bring you this roundup of the best micro four thirds lenses. Starting with kit zooms, they go through fisheyes, wide angle, normal, telephoto, macro and extreme telephoto glass.

Should you buy the kit lens with your next MFT body? Maybe an upgraded kit zoom? What about primes? And that most question question of all, “What’s the next lens I should buy?”

If you’re a micro four thirds shooter, Doug and Gordon have the answers for you.

For even more details on each lens in the roundup, visit CameraLabs.com.

  • Adam Collins

    Hi guys, great show! You covered a ton and answered all my questions. I especially appreciated the explanation of the field of view and DOF one might expect with these lenses coming from other platforms. Nobody else does this as well. I also liked how you focused the information around a potential buyer or use case and defined the double duty factor.

  • Romel Velasco

    Great show as always. I have more appreciation again for the m43 system.

  • Good review for newcomers to MFT. You didn’t mention two lenses of particular interest to me, and one of these omissions was a bit of a surprise. Given Gordon’s stated appreciation of lenses that serve multiple purposes, I thought you’d mention Panasonic’s 20mm f1.7 pancake. This, rather than either of the two 25mm primes you mentioned, is my recommendation as a first prime to supplement a kit zoom. It’s cheap. It has very high optical quality. It’s very small. And, it’s focal length slots nicely in between “normal” and moderate wide-angle perspectives. All of this makes it an excellent walkabout lens. The slightly wide perspective is well suited to street/candid shots. The fast aperture suits it to indoor use. And, the minimal size makes it really easy to carry everywhere. I use mine for everyday carry, indoor events, and as a nighttime street lens as a complement to zooms when traveling. It adds almost no weight to a travel kit and fits easily in a coat pocket.
    The other omission is more understandable, but I feel Samyang’s $500 manual-focus 135mm f2.0 deserves mention. For tele shooters working in low light, it’s the only lens over 100mm with an aperture faster than f2.8. Reviews indicate the optical quality is stellar, even wide open. I don’t have one, but as an indoor event shooter, I have this one at the top of my shopping list. I just wish Panasonic would make something similar with AF and OIS.
    The other gaping hole in MFT’s lineup is a zoom covering 100-300mm with an aperture faster than f5.6. I was really hoping Panasonic’s latest long tele zoom would be a 100-300 f4 to complement its 35-100 f2.8. Panasonic’s 45-200 and 100-300 and new 100-400 are all too dim to be of any use to indoor sports, event, and wedding shooters. Oly’s 40-150 isn’t long enough, and it largely overlaps Panasonic’s 35-100 f2.8 while being much larger, heavier and more expensive.

    • Thanks! In the early days of MFT, the 20mm f1.7 was a very popular option, but I personally prefer the newer alternatives, like the 17mm f1.8 or any of the 25mm models. But as I noted in the video, there are a LOT of options in this range which is what makes the MFT system so attractive and as you say, it remains a very compact option.

  • jpodcaster

    Have listened to this episode three or four times now (can’t remember ever doing that before!). Really informative for a new photographer that is investing in the M4/3 format as well as more experienced photographers. I have a Panasonic G7 and am pretty much ready to move beyond the kit lens (14-42mm) and have a couple of questions: (a) I am interested in street photography – people and dogs as well as some architecture. Would the Leica/Lumix 25mm f1.4 be suitable? (b) Does the Leica/Lumix 25mm f1.4 have built-in image stabilisation? I understand this is important as the Panny G7 doesn’t have in-body OIS.

    Thanks for a brilliant podcast, always look forward to new episodes.

    • jpodcaster

      oops – forgot my 3rd question – is the lens suitable for video?

    • Why not look through the shots you’ve made with the kit zoom and see which focal length you use the most, then select a prime that matches? Nobody can tell you which focal length is best for you. That said, for street candids and architecture a somewhat wider focal length than 25mm seems more suitable. The Pan 25/1.4 does not have OIS. You can learn this for yourself simply by reading any online review of the lens.

    • Thanks, you’re very welcome! As Jacques noted here, the Leica 25mm f1.4 is not stabilised, and neither are the Lumix 25mm f1.7 or Olympus 25mm f1.8! So if you want the 50mm coverage with stabilisation, you’ll need a body with stabilisation in it.

      • Or a zoom that includes 25mm, of course.
        After Panasonic released its 42.5/1.7 with OIS, I was disappointed that they didn’t include OIS on the 25/1.7, as that would have differentiated it from Olympus’ 25/1.8.

      • I agree, I was sad to find the Lumix 25mm f1.7 didn’t have OIS, but they wanted a low cost prime to compete with lenses like the 50mm f1.8 models from Canon and Nikon, and that meant leaving out OIS.

  • Mark Friedman

    Hi guys, great show! One kit lens you did not mention is the Lumix 14-140mm zoom, first version. In your opinion is this lens so inferior as to be not worth mentioning?

    • Hi Mark, I’ll confess this was a fairly selfish roundup of the lenses that I personally own or shoot with! I have used the 14-140mm and it’s a nice super-zoom option that’s surprisingly compact -indeed roughly similar in size to a Canon 18-55mm – but as you know I prefer primes or shorter zoom ranges for optimal quality.