Micro Four Thirds lenses

From TakenWithM43

Micro Four Thirds lens mount showing the bayonet mount, electrical contacts and camera sensor

Micro Four Thirds lenses are photographic lenses compatible with cameras in the Micro Four Thirds system. These lenses share a bayonet-style lens mount defined by the Micro Four Thirds standard which allow them to be used interchangeably.

Owing to the cooperative nature of the Micro Four Thirds standard, lenses for the system have been produced by a number of companies. While third-party lens producers such as Sigma often produce lenses for another company's cameras without the official blessing of the camera supplier and therefore must design its equipment through reverse-engineering, in the case of Micro Four Thirds these companies can join the alliance, as Sigma has, which gives them access to all the design specifications and technologies as laid out in the standard. All Micro Four Thirds lenses are compatible with other Micro Four Thirds system bodies, with only very few exceptions.

Since the diagonal measurement of the Micro Four Thirds system sensor is roughly half that of a standard 135 film format (a.k.a. 35mm or "full frame"), the focal lengths of the lenses below should be doubled to find their effective focal length equivalents on "full frame". Thus the Micro Four Thirds system, like it's predecessor Four Thirds, is said to have a 2x crop factor or 2x focal length multiplier.

Olympus/OMDS M.Zuiko Digital lenses[edit | edit source]

All Olympus M.Zuiko Digital lenses are designed for the Micro Four Thirds image sensor format. They all feature auto focus and optimized optical designs.

Olympus divides its M.Zuiko Digital range into three tiers of features, build quality and price:

  • Standard: consumer grade, lightweight, multi focal length zoom lenses
  • Premium: mid grade, single focal length prime lenses
  • PRO: professional grade, zoom and prime lenses which are weather-sealed and typically larger and heavier

Standard lenses[edit | edit source]

The lenses in this range are 'consumer grade' zooms. Many are not weather-sealed and have lower build quality and smaller maximum apertures than their higher tier counterparts, but are more compact and lighter weight. Standard zoom lenses have decreasing maximum apertures as the focal length increases. This includes most of the kit lenses as well as the most affordable options.

Premium lenses[edit | edit source]

M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8

The Premium line consists of single focal length lenses which deliver high image quality featuring impeccable image sharpness and pleasing bokeh while also maintaining compact and lightweight proportions.

M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f-2.8 PRO

PRO lenses[edit | edit source]

Of increased construction standard and better optical quality over their lower-tier counterparts, these lenses incorporate all that the lower tiers offer while adding features and performance. The zoom lenses in this line offer constant aperture over their zoom range while the prime lenses feature wider maximum apertures than those in the Premium line.

Discontinued lenses[edit | edit source]

Several Olympus M43 lenses have been discontinued. In most cases this is because a new version has been introduced which has a new optical design, some updated features (e.g. weather sealing) or just an cosmetic refresh. The only Olympus lens that has been discontinued without a direct replacement is the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8 pancake, which was one of the very first M.Zuiko lenses released.

Non-M.Zuiko lenses[edit | edit source]

15mm Body Cap Lens

Olympus produces a few lenses which they don't give the M.Zuiko name. These are very simple, basic designs typically sold at very low price points. Olympus categorizes these as accessories rather than lenses in their promotional materials.

  • Fisheye Body Cap Lens [BCL-0980] — a very thin "body cap" lens with a 9mm focal length which yields a fisheye perspective. This manual focus lens has a fixed f/8.0 aperture with an optical design consisting of five elements in four groups, two of which are aspherical.[1]
  • Body Cap Lens [BCL-1580] — a very thin "body cap" lens with a 15mm focal length which yields a wide-angle rectilinear perspective. This manual focus lens has a fixed f/8.0 aperture with an optical design consisting of three individual elements with a built-in protective lens barrier. It was offered in four colors.[2]

Panasonic Lumix G and Leica DG lenses[edit | edit source]

Panasonic GX1 shown with three Canon FD lenses (including the one mounted on the camera) and four native Panasonic lenses

As a founding partner in the Micro Four Thirds consortium, Panasonic has produced a wide array of lenses for the system under its Lumix brand.

Panasonic brands their "consumer" lenses for the system under the "Lumix G" label. Their higher-end offerings are designed in partnership with Leica and sold under the "Leica DG" brand.

Lumix G lenses[edit | edit source]

The Lumix G line from Panasonic includes their more affordable, consumer-focused lenses. These include both zoom and prime offerings.

Lumix G Vario (zoom) lenses[edit | edit source]

As of 2021 the Lumix G zooms range from a 7–14mm ultrawide to 100–300mm super-telephoto. This group also includes most of the kit zooms which are packaged for sale with cameras.

Lumix G prime lenses[edit | edit source]

The Lumix G prime lenses cover a good range of wide to short-telephoto focal lengths reaching from an 8mm fisheye to a 42.5mm lens that's great for capturing portaits.

Discontinued Lumix G lenses[edit | edit source]

Several Lumix G lenses have been discontinued since the series was established. As with the Olympus lenses, the bulk of these consist of lenses which were replaced by direct upgrades, either to offer optical improvements, new features, or simply to refresh the aesthetics.

The sole outlier that didn't have a roughly equivalent replacement is the unique 3D lens. This specialty lenses worked only with a handful of specific camera models rather than the entire range as with almost all of the other lenses in the system. The other limitation was that the effect was best viewed on Panasonic 3D televisions, and the passing of the 3D TV fad saw the eventual elimination of that category.

Leica DG lenses[edit | edit source]

Panasonic Leica DG lenses are the product of a partnership between Panasonic and the venerated German optics firm Leica. These lenses are developed for optimal performance and typically cost more than Panasonic's consumer-focused Lumix G brand.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8–18mm f/2.8–4

Vario (zoom) lenses[edit | edit source]

Zoom lenses from the DG line range from the ultra-wide angle to normal 8–18mm lens to a super-telephoto 100–400mm option.

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4

Prime lenses[edit | edit source]

Single focal length lenses from the Panasonic/ Leica partnership cover a wide range of focal lengths ranging from 12mm all the way up to 200mm.

Discontinued Leica DG lenses[edit | edit source]

Only a single Leica DG offering has been discontinued (as of 2021), the original Summilux 25mm. This lens was replaced by a new version which add weather sealing.

Sigma Micro Four Thirds lenses[edit | edit source]

Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN

The lenses produced by Sigma for the Micro Four Thirds system are essentially adaptations of lenses Sigma produced also for APS-C or 35mm formats.

  • Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | C [#402] — a single focal length wide angle lens with a wide aperture that makes this lens ideal for indoor and night-time shooting. Works well for astrophotography.[3]
  • Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN | C [#302] — a single focal length wide angle lens with a wide aperture that makes this lens ideal for indoor and night-time shooting. The standard focal length and wide aperture is useful for travel and event photography.[4]
  • Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN | C [#351] — a single focal length short telephoto lens with a wide aperture that makes this lens ideal for portrait and event photography.[5]

Discontinued Sigma lenses[edit | edit source]

  • Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN [#400] — a compact, single focal length wide angle lens. Compact construction measuring under 2 inches in length.[6]
  • Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN | A [#405] — a compact, single focal length wide angle lens. Optically identical to the 19mm F2.8 EX DN but with the updated and streamlined aesthetics of the "Art" collection.[7]
  • Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN [#330] — a compact, single focal length standard lens. Compact construction measuring just 1.5 inches in length.[8]
  • Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A [#33S] — a compact, single focal length standard lens. Optically identical to the 19mm F2.8 EX DN but with the updated and streamlined aesthetics of the "Art" collection.[9]
  • Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN | A [#350] — a compact, single focal length short telephoto lens. The focal length and relatively wide maximum aperture make this lens suited for portrait and event photography.[10]

Sigma terminology[edit | edit source]

  • A — Part of the "Art" collection
  • C — Part of the "Contemporary" collection
  • DC — Lenses marked with this code are designed for digital sensors, and therefore do not have an image circle large enough to suit the full-frame bodies of the system they are mounted for (not a problem for a Four Thirds CCD).
  • DN — Digital Neo lenses are high performance lenses, designed exclusively for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.
  • EX — Lenses with a better external finish, reportedly to reflect the superior build and optical quality.

Tamron Micro Four Thirds lenses[edit | edit source]

As of 2021 Tamron has produced only a single lens for the M43 system.

Manual focus lenses from other companies[edit | edit source]

The following list is a partial list of a few of the hundreds of manual focus lenses that have been made available to fit M43 cameras:

  • Noktor Hyperprime 50mm f/0.95 lens (announced February 2010) (35 mm EFL = 100 mm) SLR Magic was recently tapped as a new producer of this lens as of May 2011[12] making it the SLR Magic Hyperprime 50mm F0.95 lens
  • SLR Magic Hyperprime 12mm f/1.6 lens (35 mm EFL = 24 mm) (announced November 2011)[13]
  • SLR Magic 35mm f/1.7 lens f/1.7 (announced August 2009) (35 mm EFL = 70 mm)
  • Toy Lens 11mm f/1.4 lens f/1.4 (announced May 2011) (35 mm EFL = 22 mm)
  • Toy Lens 26mm f/1.4 lens f/1.4 (announced December 2010) (35 mm EFL = 52 mm)
  • Cosina Voigtländer 25 mm f/0.95 (exceptionally "fast") (no image stabiliser)
  • Cosina Voigtländer 17.5 mm f/0.95 (exceptionally "fast") (no image stabiliser)

Conversions to the Micro Four Thirds mount[edit | edit source]

The distance between film plane and lens flange of the Micro Four Thirds system is smaller than that of most other systems. This allows enterprising people to adapt older SLR and video lenses for these cameras.

With dedicated lens adapter[edit | edit source]

Aftermarket adapters allow non-destructive coupling between Micro Four Thirds bodies and older manual-focus lenses.

  • Four Thirds System lenses (Four variations of this adapter exist.)
  • Olympus OM lenses (fully manual) — MF-2
  • Leica M mount lenses (fully manual) — DMW-MA2M
  • Leica R mount lenses (fully manual) — DMW-MA3R
  • Cosina Voigtländer VM mount lenses (fully manual) — VM Adapter
  • Carl Zeiss ZM mount lenses (fully manual) — VM Adapter
  • Cosina Voigtländer Ai-S mount lenses (fully manual) — Voigtländer F Adapter
  • Carl Zeiss ZF mount lenses (fully manual) — Voigtländer F Adapter
  • Cosina Voigtländer Pentax K, KA mount lenses (fully manual) — Voigtländer K Adapter
  • Carl Zeiss ZK mount lenses (fully manual) — Voigtländer K Adapter
  • Nikon F
  • Praktica
  • Yashica/Contax
  • Canon FD mount
  • Minolta MC / MD lenses

All of the above lenses may be attached and should focus manually to infinity.

With focal reducing lens adapter[edit | edit source]

Because 35mm lenses have a larger image circle — and the previously mentioned smaller register distance — it is possible to make an optical adapter that gathers light from more of the image circle, and which then reduces that image circle to better fit the Micro Four Thirds image circle. This results in making the lens both wider and brighter, typically by a factor of 0.707 (the square root of 1/2), although some focal reducing adapters provide other ratios.

So, for example, a 50mm ƒ/1.2 35mm SLR lens on a focal reducer becomes a 35mm ƒ/0.84 lens.

Because more of the image circle is used, and because the wider angle "pushes away" typical lens defects, a quality focal reducer on a quality lens can actually improve the image quality of the lens.[14]

See also[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

General
Specific
  1. Fisheye Body Cap Lens BCL-0980, Four-Thirds Partnership, archived from the original August 2021.
  2. Body Cap Lens BCL-1580, OM-Digital Solutions, archived from the original August 2021.
  3. "Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | C". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
  4. "Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC DN | C". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2021-09-23. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
  5. "Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN | C". Sigma Corp. of America. Retrieved 2021-09-23. |archive-url= is malformed: save command (help)
  6. "Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2012-11-07.
  7. "Sigma 19mm F2.8 DN | A". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2012-11-07.
  8. "Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2012-11-08.
  9. "Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN | A". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2014-02-19.
  10. "Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN | A". Sigma Corp. of America. Archived from the original on 2014-02-06.
  11. "14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III (product page)". Tamron USA. Archived from the original on 2021-04-25. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  12. "Blog | SLRmagic will resume the Noktor lens production (and Nokton next production run in June)". 43 Rumors. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  13. "SLR Magic launches HyperPrime 12mm F1.6 for Micro Four Thirds". Digital Photography Review. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11.
  14. "The Speed Booster – a New Type of Optical Attachement for Increasing the Speed of Photographic Lenses" (PDF). Metabones. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-01-24.