Micro Four Thirds cameras are ideal for landscape and traveling, due to their compact size and weight.
In this guide, you’re going to see the 5 best Olympus lenses for landscape photography.
However, both Panasonic and Olympus lenses fit on Olympus bodies. Since this guide would be too big if we included all options, this one only has Olympus lenses.
If you want to see what lenses Panasonic offers for your Olympus camera, check out our guide below.
Because there are so many Micro Four Thirds lenses on the market (this is a good thing), we didn’t want to confuse you with a ton of options. Both companies produce amazing lenses, and in this guide we made sure to focus on great image quality, sharpness, versatility and what you get for the price.
Best Olympus Landscape Lenses:
We discuss all of these lenses below, but first let’s go through what matters when buying a lens for landscape.
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What’s Important for Landscape Photography?
Just to remind you again, Olympus cameras belong to the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format. This means you can mount Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma and many more lenses on your camera!
Here are the 5 most important factors that make a good landscape lens.
Focal Length – Wide angle lenses are most commonly used for landscape photography. Best focal length for Olympus cameras is anything between 12mm and 150mm. A wide angle allows you to capture beautiful scenereis, whereas a telephoto lens allows you to crop more precisely. Why? Because when you’re hiking or traveling, a lot of amazing scenes aren’t directly in front of you, but far away. By having such a long zoom, you can isolate that specific part. Nonetheless, the majority of landscape shots are taken with wide angle lenses, zoom or prime.
Aperture – Most landscape photographers never shoot with big apertures, like f/1.4 or f/2.8. Instead, when you want everything sharp in your shot, you choose something like f/5.6, f/8 or even smaller, because the depth of field will be so small. The only scenario where having a big aperture would be useful is if you photograph at night and need as much light as possible, but unless that’s you, you shouldn’t worry about buying the lens with the biggest aperture if you know you will never shoot that big anyways.
Auto Focus – It’s great to have reliable and fast auto focus if you don’t have the time to focus manually. For traveling, hiking or just shooting on the go, all of the lenses below have good auto focus so you can expect shots that are perfectly in focus. However, many landscape shooters (that also carry a tripod) often prefer focusing manually.
Weight & Size – Photographing is fun, carrying a ton of heavy gear is not. Make sure to look at how big and heavy a lens is, especially if you always travel with lots of other stuff as well. While Olympus’ MFT mirrorless cameras and lenses are great for landscape shooters due to their compactness, some people may still prefer carrying 1 zoom instead of a few primes, or simply just a pancake lens.
Image Stabilization – Image stabilization only works on still subjects, which landscape photography is in 99% cases. Olympus cameras have built-in stabilization, so it’s great news you don’t have to worry about this.
Image Quality – It’s all about image quality, sharpness and colors. You want good center and corner sharpness, especially if you print large. Olympus’ glass quality is great and we made sure to select lenses that offer a lot for the money.
Olympus M. Zuiko 12mm f/2
The Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 is a premium quality wideangle lens for the Micro Four Thirds system offering excellent image definition coupled with sturdy construction. Equivalent to a 24mm focal length in the 35mm format, the M. Zuiko 12mm is well suited to landscape photography. However, thanks to its great manual focus features, rugged weather-sealing, and a durable all-metal build, it clearly also begs to be used for candid street shots.
Olympus’s advanced still and movie compatible autofocus system guarantees you won’t miss a moment, while excellent image stabilization rules out camera shake. Pulling the focus ring backwards instantly switches the lens to manual focus mode and simultaneously reveals a clear distance scale. This feature makes it simple to set focus at a predetermined distance, in order to rapidly capture subjects “from the hip”.
The lens does not suffer from any noticeable color aberrations and only at the widest of apertures does some slight blurring become detectable in the corners. What’s more, lens flare and ghosting have largely been eliminated thanks to Olympus’s low-reflection “ZERO” lens coating.
Featuring a rounded seven-blade diaphragm, this lens produces pleasing bokeh when used wide open. However, at 12mm this will never be your first choice of lens for portraiture. Instead, with such a wide field of view, the 12mm f/2 is better suited to fast shooting in crowds, or capturing sweeping vistas of either the night sky or more terrestrial landscapes.
Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm f/1.8
The Olympus M. Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 is a discrete and fast lens for use with OM-D and PEN mirrorless Micro Four Thirds cameras. Boasting excellent optics and weighing just 4.23 oz/120g, it’s a great choice for everyday shooting. Fast maximum aperture, silent AF, and compact dimensions also make it well suited to unobtrusive documentary and snapshot photography in low light conditions.
At 17mm, focal length is equivalent to a 34mm lens in the 35mm format. I.e. field of vision is moderately wide, but not so wide that you must be standing on your subject’s toes in order to frame their face large in the shot. Housed in a solid, stylish, all-metal casing, optical quality is identical to Olympus’s “premium” 12mm f/2 lens, producing ultra sharp, high contrast images from f/1.8 through to f/22.
The 17mm also comes with the same handy AF/MF focus selection mechanism as its wider sibling. This allows you to rapidly snap the lens into manual mode, estimate distance, and then quickly set focus and fire off a shot before the subject is even aware. Silent autofocus makes the 17mm well suited to video too.
This is faster and more versatile than the 12mm, and also costs sightly less. Meanwhile, staying within the 17mm range, the f/1.8 is way more affordable than Olympus’s slightly faster “PRO” f/1.2 offering. However, what you save in money you lose in the form of the PRO lens’s superior optics and weather proofing.
Olympus M. Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 ED PRO
The Olympus M. Zuiko ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens is an excellent ultra wideangle zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds format. Despite being relatively lightweight, the lens is satisfyingly solid and ruggedly built. Meanwhile, hermetic sealing keeps it protected when shooting in difficult terrain. Its wide field of view, sharp optics and constant fast aperture of f/2.8 throughout all zoom settings makes this an ideal lens for landscapes, interiors, night sky photography, and street shooting.
Equivalent to a 14-28mm lens in the full frame 35mm format, this is the only wide angle lens you will really need. There is a little softness detectable at the image corners, and some flare is still occasionally present when shooting into the light, but there’s no noticeable ghosting or color aberrations and overall this is an extremely crisp, high resolution lens. What’s more, Olympus’s ZERO Coating means that the lens performs well even under challenging conditions, such as when pointing directly towards a strong light source.
With the addition of Olympus’s separately available waterproof housing, this lens can be used underwater for shooting spectacular wideangle sub-aqua seascapes. Pair the 7-14mm with its 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO sibling, and you are prepared for almost any photographic situation conceivable.
Olympus M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
The Olympus M. Zuiko ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is a great all-purpose, go-to lens for daily use. It is part of Olympus’s range of constant aperture f/2.8 “PRO” zoom lenses for the Micro Four Thirds format, covering everything from 7mm through to 300mm. Dust and splash proof, and ruggedly built to withstand the rigors of professional use, this is pretty much the only lens you need: regardless of the genre of photography you shoot, the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO will have you covered.
As with many lenses in this series, the 12-40mm features Olympus’s signature manual focus “clutch” selection ring, allowing you to quickly switch between AF and MF modes without taking your eye off the subject. Selecting manual mode provides excellent control by means of a satisfying grip, and there are stops at either end of the focus range.
The lens also has a custom function button, to which you can assign any one of many tasks, to quickly switch between preferred shooting modes. Indeed this is a lens designed for ease of use. And while for a similar price you could purchase two separate primes covering the two extremes of the 12-40mm’s focal range (35mm equivalent: 24-80mm) – this wouldn’t provide the same degree of flexibility as the zoom.
Unusually for a zoom, there appears to be no compromise on image quality: Olympus’s ZERO coating has pretty much done away with ghosting and aberrations altogether, and keeps flare to a minimum. If you’re less in need of a fast aperture and more interested in a convenient, all-in-one, solution, consider the 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO instead.
Olympus M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 PRO
The Olympus M. Zuiko ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO is a great all-round workhorse for those less concerned with fast glass and more in need of a single dependable lens they can take everywhere. If you’re the kind of photographer who strives to get each image crystal sharp from background to foreground, it’s likely that you rarely ever shoot with the diaphragm at wider settings anyway. Offering an enormous choice of focal lengths in one single compact and portable zoom, this a great solution for landscape shooters who don’t want to be weighed down by a bag full of heavy prime lenses as they trek off into the wilderness.
If you’ve used any of the other lenses in Olympus’s PRO series, you’ll know that the optics are generally top notch. That’s also the case here, despite the wide range of magnification that the 12-100mm has to deal with. Providing equivalent coverage to a 24-200mm lens in 35mm format, it is nonetheless surprisingly compact, especially when compared to a similar setup on a full frame DSLR.
The barrel is of sturdy metal construction and is hermetically sealed against the elements. It also features Olympus’s signature manual focus snap selection ring and comes with a well-designed and securely-fastening lens hood that will not fall off as you pull the lens out of your bag.
Admittedly the 12-100mm is not cheap. But who would expect a professional lens to be cheap anyway? It’s still likely less expensive than a set of primes to cover an equivalent range of focal lengths. For those in need of a wider maximum aperture than this can provide, Olympus’s 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is the lens to look at.
Our Top Olympus Landscape Lenses:
You can also check out Panasonic landscape lenses for your Olympus camera here.
We have also prepared a couple of Olympus landscape tutorials/guides for you. Here’s one on what settings to use for landscape, and some general tips for getting the best possible pictures from Olympus blog.