In this post, we’re looking at the five best Olympus lenses. And really, we’re spoiled for choice with some of the best-built, well-specified lenses you can buy – regardless of system.
Nevertheless, here are my picks for the best Olympus lenses for everyday use, travel, portraits, wildlife, and landscapes, plus a few honorable mentions. Jump to Conclusion
Best Olympus Lenses – Contents
- Best Olympus Lens for Everyday Use – Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro
- Best Olympus Lens for Travel – Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro
- Best Olympus Lens for Wildlife – Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro
- Best Olympus Lens for Portraits – Olympus 45mm F1.4 Pro
- Best Olympus Lens for Landscapes – Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro
Best Olympus Lens for Everyday Use – Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro
The best Olympus lens for everyday use is the spectacular Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro. Thanks to its 12-40mm focal length, the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 Pro presents your camera’s sensor with any angle of view ranging between 84 and 30.2 degrees.
With a large, constant F2.8 aperture, the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 can soak up plenty of light to keep your ISO low and blur those backgrounds. And with a minimum focus distance of 20 centimeters and a maximum magnification capability of 0.6x – the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 is a capable semi-macro lens. And as you might expect, the image quality is excellent.
Physically speaking, the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 has solid weather-resistant metal construction, a beautiful manual focus clutch design, and a single customizable L-Fn button.
Today, there are two versions of the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8. For a little more money, you can buy the optically-identical Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro Mark II featuring an improved IP53 weather-proof rating and a dirt-resistant fluorine coating.
Compared to the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8, the Olympus 12-45mm F4 Pro is cheaper and smaller, yet has a little more reach at telephoto. However, the Olympus 12-45mm’s smaller F4 aperture is half-as-bright as the larger F2.8 aperture found on its bigger brother. But if you shoot in good light, the Olympus 12-45mm F4 might be the better option.
Best Olympus Lens for Travel – Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro
The best Olympus lens for travel is the Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro. With a focal length ranging between 12 and 100mm, the Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro is ready to serve your camera’s sensor any angle of view between 84 and 12.35 degrees – similar to that of a 24-200mm lens on a full-frame camera.
But unlike a full-frame 24-200mm lens, the Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro is less than 12 centimeters long and weighs just 561 grams. Also, unlike typical travel zooms, which trade image quality for convenience, the Olympus 12-100mm offers excellent image quality plus premium features such as a Nano coating for superior contrast and better light control.
Furthermore, the well-built Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro is weather sealed and features a focus clutch and a customizable L-Fn button. And it’s inbuilt 5-axis optical image stabilization is good for up to 6.5 stops and even more when combined with your camera’s inbuilt sensor-based stabilization. As a result, you are more likely to travel without the burden of a tripod.
Despite costing much less, the smaller and lighter Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 II has a little more reach at telephoto while featuring decent image quality, a splash-proof build, and high-speed autofocus. Read Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6ii Review.
Best Olympus Lens for Wildlife – Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro
The best Olympus lens for wildlife is the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro. Because unlike the otherwise spectacular Olympus 300mm F4, the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 will zoom and its twice-as-bright F2.8 aperture results in better autofocus, lower ISO, and superior background blur.
And if you need a little extra reach, throw on the 1.4x telephoto, and you end up with a 56-220mm F4 lens that still produces glorious images.
The metal-built, weather-sealed Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro offers impressive image quality, near-instant autofocus, and excellent ergonomics. And while the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 is large for Micro Four Thirds, it’s still much smaller than a full-frame alternative. As a result, the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro is one of my all-time favorite lenses. Read Olympus 40-150mm F2.8 Pro Review.
Of course, Olympus makes many outstanding lenses for Wildlife photography, such as the Olympus 300mm F4 Pro, the Olympus 100-400mm F5-6,3, and the Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 IS Pro. However, these are specialized lenses designed for increasingly specific use cases. Therefore, making a broad recommendation is difficult.
Best Olympus Lens for Portraits – Olympus 45mm F1.4 Pro
The best Olympus lens for portraits is the super-sharp Olympus 45mm F1.2. Thank’s to its large F1.2 aperture; the Olympus 45mm F1.2 offers superior background blur for improved contrast and superior subject-background separation.
In addition, the Olympus 45mm F1.2 features coated optics, a weather-resistant body, and an excellent manual focus clutch with a single customizable L-Fn button. Overall, there’s nothing not to like except, perhaps, the price.
Not only does the razor-sharp Olympus 45mm F1.8 melt backgrounds to oblivion, but it is also tiny and cheap. Of course, it lacks weather sealing, special optical coatings, a focus clutch, and an L-fn button. Moreover, you don’t even get a lens hood in the box. But what you do get is amazing-looking portraits on the cheap. I love mine, and you’ll love yours too.
Best Olympus Lens for Landscapes – Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro
The best Olympus Lens for Landscapes is the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro due to its impressive 114-75 degree angle of view, weather-resistant build, and exceptional image quality. Plus, it’s metal-construction feels luxurious in hand.
Nevertheless, the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro isn’t perfect. First, there’s no place for screw-on filters outside third-party adapters. And while its extreme 7mm focal length presents many new photographic opportunities, you soon run out of road at the long end. As a result, the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro needs to be supplemented with a lens such as the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro.
But what the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro lacks in versatility, it makes up in performance. Specifically, its 7mm wide angle enables you to capture perspectives most other lenses cannot. And thanks to that large, bright F2.8 aperture, the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 is well-suited to Astrophotography for starry landscapes.
The Olympus 8-25mm F4 Pro is one of the most insanely versatile ultra-wide zooms you can buy. It’s so versatile you could use the Olympus 8-25mm F4 Pro as an everyday lens. Compared to the Olympus 7-14 F2.8 Pro, the Olympus 8-25mm F4 is lighter, cheaper, and will accept screw-on filters. Read Olympus 8-25mm F4 Pro Compared.
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Hiking with an Olympus OM-D M1ii and a trinity of F2.8 Pro lenses was a revelation I wish more photographers could experience. My camera pack never felt heavy, yet I was equipped to take almost any kind of photo in any weather. Furthermore, the images looked great.
Plus, the lenses were a joy to use and hold thanks to their compact size and metal feel – quite a contrast to the larger, high-quality plastic full-frame lenses I’m used to.
If I were to recommend any one lens on this list, it would be the Olympus 40-150mm F2.8. Although I’ve presented it as the best lens for wildlife, it’s also an exceptional sport, portrait, and semi-macro lens. After which, I would choose the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8.
If you’re more on a budget, the Olympus 45mm F1.8 is a cheap lens that takes pro-grade portraits. And the compact Olympus 14-150mm F4-5.6 II is absurdly overpowered for its price tag.
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