Recommendations for Lenses for Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Cameras - High Resolution Mode Lens Test

October 11, 2016  •  2 Comments

Best of the Best!
M43 Lenses that Pass the High Resolution Mode
Tested on the Olympus Pen F, EM5-II and EM1 II

 

Updated 7/11/17

Here is some lens advice and this will be short and sweet. Zooms really don't come into play with Micro 4/3rds because of the higher f-stops you will have an increased depth of field not matter what you do so this limits creativity except for one thing. Ultra wide interior and landscape shots. For that I would recommend the Olympus Zuiko 7-14 ED Pro f2.8. There is also  a 12-40 f2.8 and a 40-150 f2.8 if you are onto birding or sports. These zooms are the only weather sealed zoom lenses for this system. With that being said, this camera system is all about the primes and I do love primes. So here we go. This is the list of the best lenses out there according to multiple reviews and test data. These are the lenses I either own or will own at some point. All of my testing is done the Pen-F on high-res mode at 80mp and the EM5 Mark II at 64mp which is a major hurdle for most lenses but there are a few that stand out and just shine. These results will also be the same for the EM1 Mark II at 80mp.

This list is updated regularly.

Wide Angle Lenses:

Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 MF Fisheye - Currently testing it. I feel it's too wide. The apsc 8mm maybe a better option. 35mm eqv = 15mm, viewing angle of 180 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $250

Buy it on ebay

 

M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 PRO - I have tried it. Liked it. It's big for MFT and you can't use filters but it is weather sealed. 35mm eqv = 14-28mm
viewing angle of 114 to 75 degrees
Buy it here on Amazon $1100

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 7-14mm/F4.0 ASPH - Positive Reveiws, not as sharp as the Zuiko, Untested Not weather sealed and also can't use filters.
35mm eqv = 14-28mm, viewing angle of 114 to 75 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon  $800

Buy it on ebay

 

*M.Zuiko 12mm f2.0 AF - Currently testing. I had 3 copies of this lens to find the right one. 1st one had losts of ca's, 2nd was soft, 3rd was the best version I have ever seen of this lens and I love it! Tiny, portable and has a snap ring for true manual focus with bump stops . 35mm eqv = 24mm, viewing angle of 84 degrees. My favorite wide angle! highly recommended!
​Buy it here on Amazon $700

Buy it on ebay

 

*Rokinon 12mm F2.0 MF - Here is my review https://youtu.be/SdpeV86yuFo and I love it!viewing angle of 84 degrees. My favorite cheap, manual focus wide angle! highly recommended! Is it good for Astrophotography? You have to stop down to f2.8 but this is your best bet for wideangle. 35mm eqv = 24mm
​Buy it here on Amazon $300

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic LUMIX G LEICA DG SUMMILUX 12mm / F1.4 ASPH - Untested but initial reviews are good. Weather Sealed. .  35mm eqv = 30mm, viewing angle of 24 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $1300

Buy it on ebay

 

Normal Focal Length Lenses:

Panasonic LUMIX G LEICA DG SUMMILUX 15mm / F1.7 ASPH - Untested. I do know it has some vignetting issues and barrel distortion issues but it's suppose to be sharper than the pancakes.  35mm eqv = 30mm, viewing angle of 72 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $550

Buy it on ebay

 

*Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 - My review is here https://youtu.be/7WSXPSSv3xY - Its manual focus and its heavy but the image quality is hands down the best for this focal range. Think Leica R! The first two stops are warm with vignetting but at f1.4 things become close to perfect. A little bit of barrel distortion but not much  35mm eqv = 35mm, viewing angle of 66 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $850

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic Lumix G 20mm / F1.7 II ASPH - Currently testing it. Meh... It's not as sharp as I would like it to be but Pancakes never are. This is the best pancake lens I have ever tested though. So it's good but not great, I also have the first version with slow and loud af, however I leave it on the list for portability because it makes the pen-F pocketable.  35mm eqv = 40mm, viewing angle of 57 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $300

Buy it on ebay

 

Rokinon 21mm F1.4. I own it and love it.  It is as good as the 12mm F2.8 35mm eqv = 42mm,  
viewing angle of 56 degrees
Buy it here on Amazon $400

Buy it on ebay

 

*M.Zuiko 25mm f1.8 - Currently testing. Really it's more like I haven't got around the review yet. It's a good lens and decently sharp, There is a litle bit of barrel distortion and slightly more ca's then the 12mm or the 45mm primes. The ring for hood occasionally falls off. The Panasonic 25mm f1.7 is the alternative which is close to this but not quite as sharp and slightly bigger. 35mm eqv = 50mm, viewing angle of 47 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $300

Buy it on ebay

 

*M.Zuiko 25mm f1.2  I plan on getting one at some point. Intial reviews are very sharp with excellent image quality and much larger in size. 35mm eqv = 50mm, viewing angle of 47 degrees. This is also weather sealed
Buy it here on Amazon $1200

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic Lumix G LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH - Long term use.... I found the hood to be annoying. Here is my review https://youtu.be/ODq-SjhjJE4 and 35mm eqv = 50mm,  viewing angle of 47 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $600

Buy it on ebay

 

Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Type II - I want it! 35mm eqv = 50mm,  viewing angle of 47 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $800

Buy it on ebay

 

*Sigma Contemporary 30mm f/1.4 DC DN - This lens is twice the size and price as the Sigma 30mm f2.8 DN lens  but it's also twice as good. I did review this lens on the Sony a6300 and a6000. Stupid crazy sharp and great wide open. It may be the sharpest lens at a a normal foacal length for m43. Eventually I will own one for mft.  Here is my review https://youtu.be/l9Wh-IcUR9I​ 
35mm eqv = 60mm, viewing angle of 51 degrees
Buy it here on Amazon $340

Buy it on ebay

 

Portrait and telephoto lenses: 

Voigtlander Nokton 42.5mm f/0.95 - My review is here https://youtu.be/7WSXPSSv3xY Its manual focus and its heavy but the image quality is hands down the best for this focal range. Think Leica R! The first stop is warm with vignetting but at f1.2 things become close to perfect. Maybe one of the sharpest lenses for M43.  35mm eqv = 85mm, viewing angle of 31 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon  $800

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic LUMIX G LEICA DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm / F1.2 - Too expensive! I may buy one anyway. From all of the reviews I have looked at this lens is on par with the Voightlander but with Af and no barrel distortion..  35mm eqv = 85mm, viewing angle of 31 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $1400

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic LUMIX G 42.5mm / F1.7 ASPH O.I.S - I have heard nothing but good about this lens. Reviews have it nearly identical to the Olympus 45mm f1.8 with the Ca's being better on the Olympus - Untested, 35mm eqv = 85mm, viewing angle of 29 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $350

Buy it on ebay

 

*M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 - Currently testing. Review soon! I rely on this lens daily in my studio for high-res product photography. Love it!
 35mm eqv = 90mm, viewing angle of 31 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $300

Buy it on ebay


*Oshiro 60mm f2.8 Macro - 2:1 Currently testing. Review soon!  Right now ass of this point I am saying it! "Best macro lens for the MFT system". Also known as the more expensive Venus 60mm Macro. This lens surpasses my treasured 55mm Nikkor Macro in the corners and has less CA's. Its as sharp as the Olympus 50mm f2 macro for 4 thirds but has more magnification without backlight ghosting. A little background about this lens. Venus Optics designed and sold it their own brand Laowa but the design was stolen and sold as a Bresser lens. The front of the Bresser lens is slightly different. I'm guessing Venus is selling the off branded Oshiro 60mm to combat their situation with the stolen design. This means we a get a great lens for half the price. This lens was originally designed for APSC size and in macro mode it will cover full frame just barely. 
35mm eqv = 120mm, viewing angle of 20 degrees
Buy it on Amazon $180

Buy it on ebay

 

 

M.Zuiko ED 60mm f2.8 Macro - 1:1 untested weather sealed. Reviews are excellent though.
35mm eqv = 120mm, viewing angle of 20 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $400

Buy it on ebay

 

*Sigma Art DN 60mm f2.8 - The DOF is a little restricting at 2.8 for me but this lens is really sharp wide open with almost no Ca's not to mention it's tiny and light. Just rattles a little bit when you shake it. Great portrait lens on a budget! 35mm eqv = 120mm, viewing angle of 20 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $200

Buy it on ebay

 

*M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8 - A lot of reviews claim that this the sharpest lens for this system. I had this lens for about a year and half. Never got around to reviewing it. In a nutshell! The 75mm is a very sharp lens. Possibly on of the sharpest lenses out the with clean bokeh, excellent coma and low CA's. The reason I let go of it was because the auto focus on the OMD EM1 II was pretty bad even on phase detection. It hunts a lot! On the EM5 II it's even worse and manual focusing hand held was unbearable. And yes all firmware updates were applied.
35mm eqv = 150mm, viewing angle of 16 degrees
​Buy it here on Amazon $700

Buy it on ebay

 

Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO 35-100mm f/2.8 Power OIS ​- Currently testing, It has some lateral CA's and the extreme corners are somewhat soft but this expected for a zoom. Its also weather sealed. 35mm eqv = 70mm-200mm 
viewing angle of 34 to 12 degrees
Buy it here on Amazon $800​

Buy it on ebay

 

Rokinon 135mm F2.0 ED UMC Telephoto Lens - Untested but has great review for manual focus lens. I will own one at some point. 
35mm eqv = 270mm viewing angle of 9 degrees
Buy it here on Amazon $550​

Buy it on ebay

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 40-150 mm f/2.8 ED PRO. Untested. I have seen excellent reviews on this lens so it's safe to recommend it. Weather sealed and with tripod collar. 35mm eqv = 80mm-300mm, viewing angle of 30 to 8 degrees.
Buy it here on Amazon $1300

Buy it on ebay

 

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO Lens. Again Untested but the reviews are nothing but praise for the most expensive lens for MFT. They claim this is the sharpest lens for MFT too. Unfortunely it is a specialty lens for me so you won't see me with this one. Weather sealed with a tripod collar. 
35mm eqv = 600mm, viewing angle of 4 degrees.
Buy it here on Amazon $2500   ......... I do have a rule "The lens cannot cost more than the camera body". This obviously breaks that rule. 

Buy it on ebay


Just a few notes:

Lenses with * by them are going to be the best bang for your buck! I Can say the majority of the lenses on here are under $600. MFT is the cheapest and most powerful system to get into.

I Bolded all of the weather sealed lenses for those who want them for the Em1 MII.

Why no Cine lenses? While I would use one I wouldn't recommend CINE lenses to photographers. I currently use a few Rokinon CINE lenses and they can be a pain to deal with. Holding the fstop is difficult and you have to constantly look at where the lens is at on the fstop guide or tstop guide. You really need the clicking for photography in fast paced situations.  All of the f.95 Voightlander lenses for MFT have a clickless aperture function.

The list above are best lenses to hold up to the High-res mode of Olympus cameras with pixel shift. There are plenty of good lenses out there that are good but not great. Here is a list that didn't make the cut!

Lenses that didn't make the cut!

Voightlander 10mm f.95 - Too soft and doesn't get sharp enough until f5.6
Rokinon 10mm f2.8 - Too soft
Kowa 12mm f1.8 - Soft corners
Rokinon 16mm f2.0 - Soft corners
Olympus 17mm f1.8 - Too much barrel distortion in raw
Sigma 19mm f2.8 dn - High CA's and f2.8 is really too slow
Sigma 30mm f2.8 dn - High CA's and f2.8 is really too slow
Mitakon Speed Master 25mm - f.95 The price right and the size is nice but the Voightlander is more controlled, easier to focus and sharper.
Mitakon Speed Master 35mm - f.95 It's sharp in the center but really just hot mess with everything else.
Rokinon 50mm f1.2 - It's softer then Voightlander 42.5 and bigger.
Rokinon 85 mm f1.4 - This lens is sharp enough but the CA's are too much wide open and not really usable until f2.8 (I use the Nikon AE version of this lens with a Zhongyi turbo II focal reducer and I love the results of that wide open. 
Rokinon 100mm Macro f2.8 - Just not sharp enough. 
Lumix Leica 100-400 f4-f6.3 - Too slow and soft.

Any variable Zooms for this system fall short and shouldn't even be considered.  

 


Comments

The Fine Art Photography of Davin Lavikka
The 60mm is on the list. I didn't list 19mm and 30mm because I hear mix things. I really need to get my hands on one and test.
sigma(non-registered)
what about the sigma 19mm, 30mm and 60mm for the em5ii? They as good as they are for the sony a600?
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