A list of good/bad MFT lens for new owner?

Started Oct 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
shihhan Regular Member • Posts: 307
List of Good/Bad MFT lenses

Wide Angle Zooms:

P 7-14 f4: excellent, but expensive (+ non-detachable hood / no filter thread)
O 9-18 f4-5.6: cheaper alternative of the above (and less wide)

Wide Angle Primes:

P 8 f3.5 fisheye: very wide, and has fisheye distortion (if you like special effects)

O 12 f2: excellent, but pricey
P 14 f2.5: kit prime, OK and fairly cheap (but f2.5 is a bit slow...)

Standard Zooms:

P 14-45 f3.5-5.6: older kit zoom, best image quality of the 14-4x range (+ metal mount) only problem is that IQ and aperture is a bit poor at the 45 end (f5.6...)

P 14-42 f3.5-5.6: kit zoom and cheap (but plastic mount...), IQ not as good as 14-45
O 14-42 variants: same as P versions, more compact (collapsible) but no OIS!

P 14-42 X: compact kit zoom, quality is OK (but not better than 14-45...) great if you value compactness (although the zoom lever takes getting used to... focus lever is abysmal...)

O 12-50 EZ: EM5 kit zoom, quality is OK and better zoom range. Weatherproofed but no OIS...

P 12-35 X (f2.8): pro zoom, excellent but pricey. Constant aperture, weatherproofed + OIS!

Standard Primes:

O 17 f1.8: excellent, but a bit pricey (+ need to buy own hood)
O 17 f2.8: poor AF, get the f1.8 instead...

P 20 f1.7: good fast prime, only snag is AF is a bit slow.

P (Leica) 25 f1.4: excellent, but pricey (+ square non-reversible hood, who designed this?)

Sigmas 19 f2.8 / 30 f2.8: OK for price (£99), aperture a bit slow, and size a bit bulky

(manual focus) 17.5 f0.95 / 25 f0.95: great aperture, but no AF (and pricey.. but it's f0.95)

Telephoto Zooms:

O 40-150 f4-5.6: good consumer grade teles, a bit slow at the tele end (f5.6), no OIS. (no difference between 40-150 and 40-150 R, only firmware upgrade)

P 45-150: decent lens for its price. Same as O version, but has OIS. Most compact of P teles.
P 45-175 X: decent lens. Better reach than 45-150, and equally compact. Has OIS.
P 45-200: big and bulky and not really useful at 200, hence why its cheap on ebay.

P 35-100 X (f2.8) pro zoom, excellent but pricey. Constant aperture, weatherproof + OIS!

Telephoto Primes:

O 45 f1.8: great lens for portraits, a tad soft wide open, but great IQ when stopping down.

O 75 f1.8: another great lens for portraits, more expensive than 45.

(upcoming) P 43 f1.4, P 150 f2.8: will likely to be expensive

SuperTele Zooms:

O 75-300 f4.8-6.7: better IQ, but aperture a bit slower than the P version, no OIS.
P 100-300 f4-5.6: cheaper, but decent supertele. The only super telephoto with OIS. (it will be a bit bulky on smaller bodies... so be warned!)

SuperTele Primes:

none, well there is the manual focus 300 f6.3... but why get f6.3 with no AF!

Macro Primes:

P 45 f2.8: good lens, has OIS.
O 60 f2.8: also good lens, a bit more telephoto, but no OIS

Specialty Lenses:

O 15 f8 (body cap): cheap and fun, but not really for serious shooting (maybe only street?)

P 12.5 f12 (3D): if you're into 3D, cheap

Travel Zooms (14-140/150): unless you're doing video, or have problems weaning off the 10x zoom addiction of compacts (why not just get a 20x compact?) these should belong in the bin.


If you're NOT on a budget:

Wide Zoom: 7-14 f4 (~£600)
Std Zoom: 12-35 X f2.8 (~£700)
Tele Zoom: 35-100 X f2.8 (~£900)
Supertele: 100-300 (well, not much choice here...) or 75-300  (~£450 or £650)
Primes: 17 f1.8, 25 f1.4 , 45 f1.8, 75 f1.8, either macro (depend on need for OIS)

If you're on a budget:

Wide Zoom: 9-18 (poor man's 7-14)
Std Zoom: P 14-45 (poor man's 12-35)
Tele Zoom: 45-150/175X (cost difference really minimal, poor man's 35-100)

Supertele: depends whether you really need it! but 100-300 if you must...
Primes: depend what you shoot, but the 45 f1.8 is relatively cheap.

Special mention: 14-42 X or a 14 f2.5 (both as kit lenses) as a small pocketable travel lens


Usually as a new MFT user, I'd recommend you to start with just maybe 2/3 lenses, so you can get a feel of what you need / shoot most. Once you're more used to the camera + MFT lenses, then you can think about upgrading. The following 2 lens combo suits most people well:

Std Zoom: P 14-45 (or O equivalent): landscapes, architechture, general shooting etc.
Tele Zoom: P 45-150/175X (or O equivalent): portraits, detail etc.

The third lens is a prime (for your large aperture lust!), so depending on what you shoot, pick one of the below:

Street photography: 17, 19 or 20 (whatever suits your budget)
Portraits: 45 f1.8

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