Micro Four Thirds cameras and their ability to create flawless 4:3 images is one reason why landscape photographers love the system. Fortunately, some exceptional lenses can also help make some gorgeous landscapes with the cameras.
I have used Micro Four Thirds cameras for years, and honestly, it’s my favorite system to create landscape images. Over the years, I have used the E-M1 II, E-M1 III, E-M10 IV and the E-M1X to create gorgeous landscape images. Now, my OMDS OM-1 (read my review here) comes with me whenever I venture out into the wild.
The sheer quality of the lenses that lend themselves to the genre on the Micro Four Thirds platform is staggering. The lenses are small and easy to use, but they’re also superbly crafted. In addition, the lenses feature pro-grade optics and coatings, and they render beautiful images. Below, we will look at six of my favorite Micro Four Thirds lenses for landscape photography. So, if you’re on the fence about which lens to buy, this guide will help you decide which one to buy.
Panasonic Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH — It makes Micro Four Thirds landscape photography easy
Panasonics’ answer to the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro is their 8-18mm (16-36mm equivalent) f/2.8-4 lens. Panasonics’ collaboration with Leica has produced some beauties, and this lens is right up there with the best of them. Is it sharp? Yes, bitingly so. Quick to focus? You bet. Can it make you breakfast? No, but it is weather-sealed; just pack a Snickers in your bag or something for your munchies.
As you would expect from a pro-grade lens, class-leading coatings help control flares, ghosting and aberrations and distortion is controlled with three aspherical elements. However, the big selling point of this lens over the 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro from Olympus is its flat front element. Despite being nearly as wide in terms of focal length, this Panasonic lens can use regular filters, saving you hundreds of dollars over the specialized filters you’d need to buy for the Olympus lens.
Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO — It creates landscape magic
No Micro Four Thirds landscape photography post would be complete with the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO making an appearance. This lens from Olympus is one of my favorite wide-angle lenses on any system. Images created with it are razor-sharp. The lens is built like a tank. Autofocus is near-instantaneous. It has a manual focus clutch, and the weather sealing is superb. I have put mine through hell, and it just doesn’t stop.
The lens is pretty big and heavy for a Micro Four Thirds lens, and the bulbous front element makes it hard to use filters — although there are kits out there. However, the equivalent focal range of 14-28mm lends itself well to landscape photography, architecture photography, astrophotography and more. You can read our full review here.
Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 — A wallet-friendly landscape lens
So, the two wide-angle lenses listed above aren’t exactly what you’d call affordable. However, there is another option for landscape photographers who don’t want to remortgage their homes. The Olympus 9-18mm f4-5.6 is a cracking tiny lens that packs a big punch. It might not feature a pro-grade build and might not have weather sealing, but this lens is still tough, and the optics are excellent.
This lens has an equivalent focal length of 18-36mm when used on Micro Four Thirds bodies, which gives you the ability to go pretty wide or fall back into a more standard focal length. The lens has a retractable design which makes it positively tiny. In addition, it features two aspherical elements, an extra-low dispersion element, which controls chromatic aberrations and helps produce images with greater clarity and colors.
Olympus 8-25mm f/4 Pro — A Micro Four Thirds must-have
The Olympus 8-25mm f/4 Pro is a lens that has become a staple in my Micro Four Thirds landscape photography kit. This lens is small and light, but it’s also weather-sealed to the nines. The lens also offers a superb focal range of 8-25mm (16-50mm equivalent). This versatility will enable you to capture stunning vistas, as well as more targeted landscape shots.
The optics in this lens are superb, and the AF motors are rapid and silent. Ghosting, flaring and chromatic aberration are minimal. The lens also features a fantastic manual focus clutch, which makes manual focusing easy, and there’s even a function button on the lens that can be assigned to many different functions. This lens is a must-have for any Micro Four Thirds landscape photographer.
Panasonic Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER OIS — Mr. Versatile
One of the best standard zooms on the Micro Four Thirds platform — the Panasonic Leica 12-60mm DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER OIS— (Panasonic, you need to make your lens’ names shorter) just happens to be one of the best you can buy for landscape photography. With an equivalent focal range of 24-120mm and a variable aperture of f/2.8-4, this lens has you covered for multiple landscape scenarios.
Four aspherical elements help control distortion. The lens is splash and dust resistant and is also freezeproof. The linear focus motor is zippy and accurate. The optics are stellar. If you use Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras like the new Panasonic GH6 (read our review here), the optical image stabilization will allow you to leave your tripod at home. If you like to leave the house with just one lens, this is one of the best options.
OM SYSTEM 40-150mm f/4 Pro — The telephoto of choice
OK, enough with the wide-angle lenses. Believe it or not, telephoto lenses are a solid option for landscape photography. On the Micro Four Thirds platform, the OM SYSTEM 40-150mm f/4 Pro is the one to get. I own the f/2.8 version of this lens, and while I love it, I would instead take the new f/4 version for landscape sessions. This lens is tough. It has IP53-rated weather sealing, weighs next to nothing (0.8lbs / 382g) and is so sharp it could cut.
The zooming action is smooth, the manual focus ring is silky, the AF motors are whisper quiet, and the colors this lens produces are gorgeous. So, if you like to get up close and personal with your landscape photography images, this lens will make you cry tears of joy. Read our full review here.