Kai Wong (Digital Rev) checks out the 'toy' category of micro 4/3 lenses: Lots of fun with minimum moolah.

Quite an interesting bunch here: 

- Lomography Experimental Lens Kit for Micro Four Thirds 
- SLR Magic 50mm f/0.95 
- Holga lens  . . . read more

Panasonic Lumix Vario PZ 14-42/3.5-5.6 X G lens review by Ming Thein.

So, what happens when you put the 'X' on a consumer grade kit lens?

"Optically, the 14-42X is a bit of a surprise: it’s excellent, even used at maximum aperture. You don’t lose any sharpness close up, either. This is important seeing as anything much beyond f8 is severely diffraction limited on M4/3 cameras anyway due to the very small pixel pitch. Use this one wide open without issue, though stop down one stop to 5.6-8 to gain a very small improvement in the corners. There were two aspects of performance I found especially

. . . read more

The Panasonic LUMIX G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 zoom lens gets DXo Marked: Not exceptional, nor bad, and very expensive for what it does.

The DXO reviewers are not going easy on Panasonic's 12-35mm f2.8 zoomer. The lens seems quite good compared to the (very few) other high-end m4/3 zoom lenses, but Panasonic is riding high on its f2.8 zoom monopoly when it comes to the price:

"Micro 4:3 is a popular format, there is a wide range of cameras and lenses on the market, letting you choose the most appropriate equipment for the type of photography that you want to do. There are definitely combinations that will compete well with APS-C. However, in these examples there does seem to be a strong emphasis on the quality being weighted towards the wider apertures which may not always be what you want. The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S is the best lens of it’s type by quite a long way, but at a price that would buy better . . . read more

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review by Laura Hicks at Digital Camera Review: Love at First Click

Laura's camera of choice for this lens review was the Olympus E-M5:

"This one is a keeper. I am a big fan of this lens -- mainly due to my love of all things macro. The autofocus was generally fast, the color quality was very good and the images were pretty sharp. I found the image quality to be excellent for this price range. As a portrait photographer I could easily utilize this lens in traditional shooting mode. As a macro fanatic, the macro setting of this lens was extremely fun to play with. My only real concern with the 60mm f/2.8 macro lens is the double edge effect I noticed especially at wide open apertures. At times I did not notice it much, but sometimes it was far too obvious and quite distracting. That being said, I still recommend this lens. For me, it's simple. This lens makes me want to use it. For those who are not used to macro

. . . read more

Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 ultra wide-angle zoom lens review at Camera Labs

Gordon Laing tests this camera with a Panasonic GX1 camera:

"The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 may be one of the earliest native lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, but remains one of the most compelling, delivering superb quality across its focal range from standard wide to extreme wide angle.

With coverage that's equivalent to 14-28mm in the full-frame format, the Lumix 7-14mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscape views and enormous buildings inside and out. It conveniently starts where most general purpose lenses stop, providing the photographer with wider and wider coverage until . . . read more

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 lens review by Spike Tennyson at M43 Info: "It’s spectacular. Sharpness, colour, contrast; the look of the files this beast produces are just wonderful."

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8

Spike uses a Panasonic GX1 body with the lens on this review, and it sure helps him explore the dark underworld of the Pattaya naughty industry scene:

"The lens is sharp at F1.8 and sharpens up more as you stop down. Personally, I like to shoot wide open whenever possible, to encourage bokehliciousness (maybe not a word). So what are the negatives? Cost is an obvious one, but having used the lens I think it is a bargain. I have paid more than twice the price for Canon L lenses which can’t match the 75mm for IQ (or convenience, or light gathering). The only thing I would say is that the focus speed on this lens can be lacking occasionally. Take a series of photos at a similar distance from the subject and the 75mm is as fast as anything else out there; but . . . read more

Olympus 15mm f/8 body cap lens review at Camera Hoarders: "If you have an Instagram account, listen only to bands that sold 15 records or less and ride a fixie, the 15mm lenscap is the thing to have"

Ivan doesn't think very highly of the 15mm body cap lens:

Compared even to “low-end” Olympus 14-42 F/3.5-5.6 kit lens, the 15mm is nowhere near sharp. In all samples below, 14-42 used at the F/8 aperture gives clearly sharper images in center. Corners are even worse, where 15mm sometimes looks bad even when viewed scaled to my monitor’s size (24″). But keep in mind at all times, Olympus 15mm costs $ 40 and is smaller than smallest available lens for micro 4/3 system. There had to be a trade-off somewhere. There’s another issue though… when set to infinity, the lens has sharp corners, but somewhat blurred center; set at hyperfocal center . . . read more

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER OIS lens review by Lindsay Dobson

Cheap kit lenses need some review lovin' too, and Lindsay provides plenty of that. The pan(a)cake with the double vision was tested with a Olympus E-M5 camera:

"So why do I need another “kit lens” when I already have one? Good question. And the answer is convenience. Whilst the 12-50 can make a genuine addition to my casual (non-professional) kitbag thanks to its high degree of weather sealing and it’s genuinely useful macro capability, it is nevertheless a few inches long and when connected to a camera it isn’t pocketable. If I have the Panasonic Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens on my OMD instead, I immediately have what could reasonably be classified as a compact system, which will fit in a large coat pocket or in a make-up bag which can be placed inside my handbag. And this is the key thing about the 14-42 pancake zoom. I don’t know if it’s optically any better than any other variable aperture kit zoom (I . . . read more

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 prime lens review at Camera Labs: This is superb performance made all the more remarkable by the tiny dimensions and relatively affordable price tag.

Gordon Laing is the reviewer, and he took the unusual step to use the Panasonic GX1 as the test camera: 

"The Olympus 45mm f1.8 is arguably one of the best lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, whether you're using an Olympus or Panasonic body. This lens is so small and light you'll hardly know you're carrying it around, yet is capable of delivering industry-leading performance with pin-sharp details across the entire frame right into the extreme corners. With an effective focal length of 90mm and a maximum aperture of f1.8, the lens is ideal for portrait work and can deliver sharp detail on the subject with a satisfyingly blurred background behind it. Likewise for closer subjects down to the nearest focusing . . . read more

Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III VC vs. Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 vs. Panasonic Vario HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS hands-off comparison.

micro 4/3 superzoom shootout, tamron vs olympus vs panasonic

For some reasons only known to Tamron's managers, the company chooses to enter the micro 4/3 format with a 14-150mm zoom, closely matching the popular Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 and the elder Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS lenses.

Now, if they had bothered to shave a millimeter or two off the wide end, it would have been really exciting news, but as it stands now, the micro 4/3 mount is served by no less than 11 zoom lenses all sharing the 14mm wide end. Is there enough playing field for the New kid?  . . . read more

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro scores at DXO Mark: For super-sharp outdoor close-ups and video.

The Olympus M.zuiko 60mm macro scored a slight bit better than the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS lens, while costing less money and offering weather sealing on top of that.

"With strong performance across most of the DxOMark tests and a video-friendly MSC AF motor as well as a weather-resistant design, the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro is a good choice for outdoor macro shooting, such as nature portraits or close-up videos.  Compared to its main (and more expensive) competitor, the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS, it offers better quality for the money, delivering category-leading vignetting performance among Micro Four Thirds prime lenses as well as excellent sharpness. . . . read more

Olympus releases Redesigned Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II Superzoom tele lens

I guess this is what Olympus users wanted, a new, dark n'plastic 75-300mm lens. At least it looks like a proper lens now, and the addition of ZERO coating won't hurt either. Reading the press release issued by Olympus, i wonder what they mean by saying that the lens is redesigned to match the E-M5 and the Pen series cameras. So, what did the previous lens match, the drapes?

Olympus Press Release

CENTER VALLEY, Pa., January 29, 2013 – Olympus makes high-performance super-telephoto shooting more accessible than ever before by introducing the affordable M.ZUIKO ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II lens (35mm equivalent 150-600mm). Olympus has redesigned the lens to match the distinctive OM-D E-M5®   and PEN®Micro Four Thirds® series cameras and added a new advanced ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating to keep scratches off, and . . . read more

Little Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm f/8.0 go to the DXO Mark playground, gets called 'cute' by the grownups.

Why read a review of the body cap lens? It costs less that some of Oly's lens hoods, is comes at around the same size as a regular body cap, but is a lens. Excellent for photography training too, as every prime lens it makes you use your feet instead of a zoom range.  I gave it as a Christmas gift to a fat relative of mine, and now he's looking healthier than ever!

"No photographer buying a $49, 9mm long body cap lens is expecting optical perfection. Instead this lens is a bit of fun, a curiosity, a point and shoot option that’s a bit quirky and doesn’t cost much money.  The limited focusing, fixed 15mm focal . . . read more

Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III VC lens for micro 4/3 announced. No info on price and availabily yet.

Tamron announces the development of the company's first Micro Four Thirds high-power zoom lens, equivalent to 28-300mm in the 35mm full-frame format

Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III VC (Model C001) with Tamron's proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation)* mechanism and sophisticated metal finish in two colors - black and silver

Product features:
With one LD (Low Dispersion) glass element, two molded-glass aspherical elements and one hybrid aspherical element, Tamron's new Micro Four Thirds high-power zoom lens delivers leading-edge high image quality by thoroughly compensating for aberrations.
The ingenious optical design achieves a compact body with a filter diameter of just 52mm despite being equipped with the Tamron's highly regarded VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism. . . . read more

Sigma greatly expands its Art series lineup, announces 4 new entries: 3 Mirrorless and one Dslr lens.

Whoever thought the CP+ event would be a minor one-beyond the cheapo inexpensive digicam crap range, will have to rethink. We're to the tune of 9 new lenses announced so far, and Sigma contributes the heavy metal part: 4 new 'Art' series lenses, all made with Aluminum bodies and fitted with brass bayonets. You may recognize the Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN and Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN names, but the 60mm F2.8 DN lens is a totally new entity. All three lenses share the metal construction  and updated optics, come in silver or black color, and will be available in micro 4/3 and Sony E mount versions. They also share lack of information by Sigma regarding availability and price.

As for the fourth lens, its an update to the venerable 30mm f1.4 DC lens announced back in 2005. The newcomer is compatible with Sigma's USB dock, and completely overhauled, inside out. It will come in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts at an unknown date for an unknown price. . . . read more

Lindsay Dobson writes about her impressions of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ lens, and impressed she is.

This kit lens may come out mauled by most the reviewers, but a minority like Lindsay-and others, see it otherwise. It may not be the optically best mirrorless kit lens there is (that distinction should probably go to the Fujinon XF 18-55mm), nor the cheapest, BUT, it is sharp enough, has a good zoom range, and is unbeatable when it comes to features., the 'Jack of all trades-master of none' equivalent of lenses.

And for those buying the E-M5 and get rid of this kit lens within 5 minutes because they read a bad review of it, just try it first, will ya? You get Weather sealing, 24-100mm range, power zoom and macro mode, all in one convenient package. Too dark for you? Just bump up the Iso and you're set. Don't believe me? Check out Lindsay's pics, many of these are shot at Iso 1250-1600:

"But the question got me thinking, and I asked myself if there might be situations where the Olympus M Zuiko ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ would prove useful to me. And actually, the answer is yes. . . . read more

New Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II ASPH MEGA OIS lens revealed, set to launch in March.

Panasonic is set to unveil yet another slow and cheap kit lens, their forth micro 4/3 lens in this zoom range. The previous 14-42mm lens was updated to 'HD' status via firmware back in September, the new one comes HD ready out of the box, complete with the sticker. In Panasonic terms HD is:

" Specifically these HD lenses excel in tracking focus in video recording while offering silent auto focus and exposure control. In addition, there is enhanced stability of O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) in video recording"

Furthermore, the new lens is downsized compared to its predecessor, in every dimension: Its lighter, smaller, and takes smaller filters too (46mm vs 52mm). Price will remain unchanged, availability date is set to March 2013.

Steve Huff reviews the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 Pancake lens and finds beauty where others find mediocrity.

"This one is easy. This lens has the build, the speed, the feel, the looks, the design and the performance in IQ that makes it a no brainer for your Olympus Micro 4/3 camera (especially the E-M5). If you shoot a Panasonic camera I can not say how the lens does as I did not test it on a Panasonic body but on the E-M5 it rocks just as much as their other premium lenses. . . . read more

Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 ASPH VS 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens sharpness comparison by Fredrik Gløckner

From my own findings, there's the issue of Sigma's much lower CA and purple fringing when used on Olympus bodies. In any case, the Sigma is an automatic buy anyway, due to its current very low price.

"We see that the Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 has an impressive level of sharpness, even wide open. The Sigma 19mm, on the other hand, needs a bit of stopping down before reaching the same level of sharpness. At f/2.8, the 19mm lens is a tad bit dull, even in the centre of the image frame. This finding is consistent with other tests I have seen. Generally, it is observed that the Sigma 19mm lens is not the sharpest at f/2.8, and improves when stopped down to f/4 and f/5.6. Stopping down beyond f/5.6 does generally not add anything to the overall sharpness, but does give you more depth of focus (DoF). If you need a deep DoF, it may still be wise to stop down to f/8 or even further, but this will give you slightly worse sharpness at pixel level.

. . . read more

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 review and DXO Mark score: This is best lens DxOMark have tested for the Micro Four Thirds hybrid camera system.

"The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f/1.8 is best lens DxOMark have tested for the Micro Four Thirds hybrid camera system. Available for both Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras it’s an excellent choice for portraits, sports or low-light photography but costing $899, or $975 including the lens hood, it’s not cheap. Money aside however this lens delivers good results for a Micro Four Thirds lens in all DxOMark Lens Metric Scores and with a Sharpness Score of 11P-Mpix it’s the sharpest lens available for this system. . . . read more

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 ASPH POWER O.I.S Lens review by Ivo Freriks at Camera Stuff Review: Given the optical performances and the high quality of construction, this lens is certainly not expensive.

The Lens was tested with  Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic GH3 body. 

"The Panasonic 35-100 mm delivers sharp images across all focal lengths from full aperture to aperture 8. Above that, the resolution decreases as a result of diffraction. This is the best micro-43 zoom lens we have reviewed to date, with the Panasonic 12-35 mm yielding more or less equivalent results (but at a different focal length range). In the graph with Imatest values at the right below, you can see how beautifully high and constant the resolution is. The images are measurably sharper in the center, with the maximum being located at aperture 4 to 5.6. Nevertheless, with the naked eye, the difference in resolution between the corners and the center is not visible." . . . read more

Sigma Super lens deal comes to Europe too: 2 Sigma primes at 99 Euros each, the 19mm f/2.8 EX DN and 30mm f/2.8 EX DN, available in both micro 4/3 and NEX mounts.

Sigma extends its 'prime lenses at half the price' deal to Europe, too, prices start at just 99 Euros per lens!
The lenses on offer are the Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN and the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN, available in micro 4/3 and NEX mounts. Their reviews have generally been very positive ones, and sure as heck they're worth their price. Most of the European dealers have updated their prices, in case you cannot find one, check this link on Sigma's page for a dealer list.

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens review by Kurt Munger: The Panasonic Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F/2.8 ASPH turned in a nice performance; there really isn't much to complain about

The PanaLeica lens was tested on a Olympus E-M5 body. 

"The Panasonic Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F/2.8 ASPH turned in a nice performance; there really isn't much to complain about.  Pluses include: low light fall off-even wide open: lens doesn't extend when focusing: lateral color fringing is well controlled: very sharp throughout most of the image area at F/4-5.6: a focus limiter switch; and image stabilization, although that's not very important if you have a newer Olympus camera with 5 axis stabilization control. . . . read more

Olympus to release a new 75-300mm zoom lens and a successor to the XZ-2 soon.

Too bad it will be a dark f/4.8-6.7 lens again. Something must be done to get the message to Olympus, its users screaming about the need of fast zooms. 43rumors has the story:

I finally got some bits about the next Olympus announcement that will be made right before the CP+ show start in Yokohama (January 31th). The discontinued Olympus 75-300mm MFT lens will be replaced by the new 75-300mm II F4.8-6.7 ED lens. And there will be a a new Olympus XZ-10 that is smaller and lighter than the current XZ-2. It has a f/1,8-2,7 lens and will be cheaper than the current XZ-2 model (here on eBay).

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 ASPH lens video review by David Thorpe: Center sharpness is excellent across the frame, and if you stop down a bit-or two, it will be sharp across the 35-100mm range, corner to corner.

The Panasonic Lumix GX Vario 35-100mm f2.8 ASPH Zoom Lens Review

The lens was tested by David on a GH3 body:

I find distortion in unnoticeable right through the range, and Chromatic Aberration is minimal-its pretty much not there.
To Sum up, this is a valuable addition to the micro 4/3 photographer's armory, and for many of those, this lens paired to the 12-35mm will be all the glass that they would ever need. You'll have the equivalent of a 24mm wide angle to 200mm tele, all at a constant f/2.8 in just two small optics. Add a weather sealed body like the Olympus OM-D, or the Panasonic GH3, and the result is a very capable and versatile outfit using just 3 items of gear. In so far as it matters, its a really good looker. Focusing speed is lightning quick, especially with the firmware upgraded to the current 1.1 version. It has . . . read more

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS vs FUJINON XF14mm f/2.8 R vs Panasonic G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH vs Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 lens sharpness comparison at DSLR Check.

That's a whole train of wide angle mirrorless system lenses, and it seems the caboose* has derailed somehow, pretty soft and fringy compared to the other 3, BUT it was used with a GH3, not the best of combinations. Kudos to Sony to make such a sharp wideangle (used with a NEX-5R) zoom lens, they had a slow start but seem to have begun catching up by now. As for the Fujinon xf 14mm (mounted on the X-E1), it performs as expected, very sharp with no visible Chromatic Aberrations. The PanaLeica 7-14mm falls a bit behind, but it is the oldest lens of the bunch, by a wide (heh) margin. Click on the image for the full thing. For those daring enough to delve through the Google translated text, here's a snip: . . . read more

Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN lens review by Jordan Steel at Admiring Light: I should't like it, but I love it.

Bokeh from the Sigma 19mm EX DN lens is relatively neutral.

The lens was tested with an Olympus E-M5 camera, and Kudos to Jordan for not stripping the EXIF information from the images.

"The Sigma 19mm is a lens that frankly, I shouldn’t like. I’ve been using pretty much nothing but high end lenses for the past 6 years, and generally a budget lens like this wouldn’t even ping my radar. Then there’s that somewhat odd focal length, it’s relatively slow aperture and unremarkable size . But the fact of the matter is, I do like this lens. Sigma managed to make an affordable lens that is well built with a fast and silent autofocus motor. They then made it . . . read more

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 lens review at Photo Review: Buy it if you require a fast wide-angle lens for general-purpose use and if you'd like a lens that requires no readjustment when you fit polarisers and graduated filters.

The M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8 lens shown without end caps and lens hood.

"We tested the review lens on two camera bodies, the PEN E-PM2 (which is reviewed separately) and the OM-D E-M5. It performed better on the latter camera so we've used those results as the basis for this review. Autofocusing was as fast as the camera supports and generally very quiet, making this lens ideal for use when shooting movie clips.

Subjective assessment of shots straight from the camera showed them to be a little soft. However, they became 'sharp as a tack' after very modest unsharp masking in Photoshop.

. . . read more

The Lens of the year 2012 award by Photography Blog goes to the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH micro four thirds lens.

Congratulations to Panasonic and the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH!

"Our fourth award is for Lens of the Year 2012, which goes to the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH.

“The LUMIX G VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH standard zoom offers a versatile focal range and a fast maximum aperture in a relatively small package, backed-up by excellent image quality throughout the focal range, the best build quality of any Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lens yet released, a tactile manual focusing system and impressively fast and quiet autofocusing.”" . . . read more

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 review by Ivo Freriks at Camera Stuff Review: If you are looking for a high brightness and a nice creamy background, a choice for the optically superior Olympus 45 mm or 75 mm lenses is more obvious than for the 17mm lens.

"The Olympus 17 mm 1.8 is a nicely built lens with which you can focus quickly and accurately, automatically or manually. On this Olympus 17 mm 1.8 lens is a ring, which acts as an AF / MF switch. The focus ring stops at 25 cm or infinity and the focus ring has a pleasant resistance when focusing. This takes away the concerns that some photographers have against the electronic focus-by-wire system. The AF is also completely silent, which makes this lens very suitable for video. At full aperture, this lens already draws quite sharp in the center. From aperture 1.8, the center resolution . . . read more

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