Whether you're new to the Micro Four Thirds system or a seasoned veteran, there are plenty of lenses available for you.

In this guide we've outlined several use cases and made recommendations for the best overall lens for that purpose, along with two others that are worth your consideration.

Here at DPReview we use a lot of lenses, but we can't test every single product on the market. So if we've excluded your favorite lens, or if you disagree with any of our selections, please let us know in the comments below.

Our selections for best telephoto zoom and travel zoom lenses were updated on July 10, 2019, based on reader feedback.


Best kit lens replacement

Standard (kit) zooms are just what they sound like - versatile, general-purpose lenses that start with a fairly wide angle of view and allow you to zoom in to a focal length traditionally used for portraits.

Our pick: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 Pro

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The Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is a high-end, flexible zoom that covers an equivalent focal length range of 24-80mm. It's not cheap, but optical performance is impressive. It's a reasonable size, too, meaning that it pairs well on most Micro Four Thirds bodies. Its slightly greater reach and manual focus clutch design gives the 12-40mm the edge over Panasonic's 12-35mm F2.8.

Also consider:

Need image stabilization?
Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 II ASPH Power OIS

If you have a Micro Four Thirds camera without built-in image stabilization, the Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 does much of what the Olympus Pro lens can, but with the greater confidence that stabilization adds.

More flexible focal range:
Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS

The Panasonic Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 covers a very versatile 24-120mm equivalent range. And, while it's not as bright as the Olympus, it offers similarly impressive image quality and greater range in the same sized package.

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More info | Check prices

Best prime / single focal length lens (all-around use)

Removing the complexity of a variable focal length often allows for prime lenses to be smaller, lighter and sharper, while letting more light through and being more useful in dimly lit situations.

For all-around use we'd recommend a semi-wide-angle lens that can lend itself to a range of subjects.

Our pick: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8

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The 17mm isn't the sharpest lens Olympus makes, but its combination of size, focal length (35mm equivalent), aperture, AF speed and price mean it's still probably our first choice as a do-everything prime. It's also worth considering the Panasonic 15mm F1.7: it's a little wider-angle that we'd usually chose, but is small, sharp and nice to shoot with (note that the aperture ring won't work on Olympus cameras).

Also consider:

Larger, but a bit cheaper:
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN

The Sigma 16mm F1.4 is arguably an even better value than the Olympus. It's a touch wider, optically stronger and similarly well priced. However, it doesn't have the manual focus clutch of the 17mm and it's significantly larger, which undermines its walk-around appeal.

Money no object:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 Pro

The 17mm F1.2 is a part of Olympus's trio of 'Pro' badged primes that really push what the Micro Four Thirds system can do. Impressively sharp, even wide-open, the 17mm F1.2 lets you extend the performance envelope of your camera without having to switch systems.

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More info | Check prices


Best prime / single focal length lens (for portraits)

Prime lenses are just a single focal length; removing the complexity of a zoom often allows for these lenses to be smaller, lighter and sharper, while letting more light through and being more useful in dimly lit situations.

For portraits we'd recommend a mid-telephoto lens that lets you shoot head-and-shoulders shots from a comfortable working distance.

Our pick: Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 ASPH Power OIS

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For this use-case, there's very little to choose between Panasonic's 42.5mm F1.7 and the Olympus 45mm F1.8. They're both small, affordable, fast roughly 85mm equivalent lenses, which are ideal for portrait photography. We've opted for the Panasonic here because it'll play nicely with Panasonic's DFD autofocus system, but either is a good choice.

Also consider:

Longer reach:
Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN

112mm equiv. may not sound familiar as a focal length, but it's squarely in the classic portraiture 85-135mm equivalent range. Its longer focal length and fast aperture will give you the option for shallow depth-of-field and a slightly less in-your-face working distance. It's also very sensibly priced.

Money no object:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 Pro

Arguably the star of Olympus's trio of super-fast 'Pro' primes, the 45mm F1.2 is designed to give attractive bokeh, as well as shallow depth-of-field. Well built, sensibly sized and capable of stunning image quality, it expands the kinds of portraits you can take and the conditions in which you can take them.

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More info | Check prices

Best wide-angle zoom lens

Wide-angle lenses are often useful for taking photos of interiors, landscapes and architecture.

Our pick: Panasonic Leica DG 8-18mm F2.8-4 ASPH

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The Panasonic 8-18mm is part of the Panasonic/Leica range of F2.8-4.0 zooms, which offer very good optical performance with relatively accessible pricing. The 8-18mm covers a useful 16-36mm equiv. range and does so in a well-built body.

Also consider:

Cheaper option:
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH

The older Panasonic 7-14mm F4 isn't as bright as the Leica co-branded lens, but it's smaller and goes fractionally wider. There's no easy way to fit filters to it, but it's still a useful way to go ultra-wide on Micro Four Thirds.

Money no object:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 Pro

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 is another of the company's boundary-pushing 'Pro' series. It marries an ultra-wide 14-24mm equiv. range with high-end construction, features such as manual focus clutch, a constant maximum aperture and excellent image quality.

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More info | Check prices


Best telephoto zoom lens

Telephoto lenses start out being fairly zoomed-in, and allow you to zoom in even further so you can fill your frame with more distant subjects.

Our pick: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R

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The Olympus 40-150mm offers a great balance of reach, size, weight and price. It's a lens that makes it very affordable to experiment with shooting at 300mm equivalent.

Also consider:

A faster option:
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 II Power OIS

The Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8 offers the same focal length range as the classic 70-200mm lenses used by many professionals. It's not a like-for-like substitute for those lenses but it has the benefit of being a lot smaller.

Money no object:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 Pro

The Olympus offers a significant 80-300mm equivalent coverage, while maintaining an F2.8 maximum aperture. Its twin focus motors are fast and quiet, and it has a useful clutch mechanism for engaging manual focus. It has a pro-quality build that's fully weather-sealed.

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More info | Check prices


Best macro lens

Macro lenses allow you to focus very close to small subjects, which is handy for photographing flowers or bugs.

Our pick: Panasonic Lumix G Macro 30mm F2.8 ASPH Mega OIS

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The Panasonic 30mm F2.8 Macro is a well-priced, stabilized lens for close-up work that provides genuine 1:1 magnification (meaning that subjects can be rendered actual size on the camera sensor). The 60mm equivalent focal length, combined with a minimum focus distance of 10cm (4.1") means that at short focus distances you may end up finding the front of the lens is very close to your subject.

Also consider:

Longer focal length:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro

The Olympus 60mm F2.8 also offers true 1:1 magnification, but its longer focal length means this is achieved 19cm (7.5") away from the subject. And, although the lens is a fraction longer, this still gives more working distance between the lens and your subject (which also makes it easier to light).

Money no object:
Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS

The Panasonic Leica 45mm F2.8 Macro essentially strikes a middle-ground between the other two options. A 90mm equivalent field-of-view, compact design and 15cm (5.9") minimum focus distance gives a good working distance. Lens stabilization boosts its appeal.

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More info | Check prices


Best travel zoom lens

If you want a versatile lens that can handle most shooting situation, then consider a travel zoom. You still start out with a fairly wide field-of-view and can zoom in almost as much as many telephoto lenses. This is convenient, but these lenses tend to let less light through them, so aren't as useful in dimly lit situations, and they may not always give you the sharpest results.

Our pick: Panasonic 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Power OIS

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The Panasonic 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 II is a compact, affordable and image-stabilized 28-280mm equivalent zoom, that lets you do a bit of everything. It's not a wide, nor as bright as the Leica DG 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH, which we also think is worth a look, but it's significantly less expensive and dust/splash resistant, too.

Also consider:

Longer reach:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3

If you need a lens that does a bit of just about everything, the 12-200mm is ideal. It has a rather modest maximum aperture but covers an immense 24-400mm equivalent range. We'd go for the shorter F4 though unless you really need the extra reach.

A balance of speed, reach and size:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS Pro

The 12-100mm F4's 24-200mm equivalent range, combined with a moderately fast maximum aperture, makes it hugely flexible. It's a fairly sizable lens but it has pro-build quality and both excellent image quality image stabilization to justify it.

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More info | Check prices