If you’re looking for the most compact and worry-free way of traveling with your Panasonic camera, it’s best to get an all-around zoom that will allow you to shoot pretty much everything. Another option is to also get a couple of prime lenses, while some people have a combination of both.
In this guide, we went through all Panasonic lenses and selected the 8 best ones, which is more than enough whether you’re a beginner or a professional.
Before buying a lens, think of what suits you the most; do you find it okay to travel with a couple of lenses, or you know you won’t have the time to use more than 1?
Best Panasonic Travel 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 Travel Photography?
Here are the 6 most important factors that make a good travel lens.
Focal Length – Traveling is a very broad term, so you want to be fully prepared. A zoom lens with plenty of reach is an excellent way to go if you want to keep it simple, and be re ready to photograph anything from landscape, nature, to portraits and interiors. Many photographers also use prime lenses, but rarely above 50mm. Panasonic has plenty of good options, and we recommend you to stick between 12mm and 100mm, depending on what you prefer to take pictures of. A combination of both, a good zoom and a high quality prime for low light, is also fantastic.
Aperture – The bigger the aperture, the bigger the lens, especially if it’s a zoom. For this reason, we didn’t include Panasonic 40-150mm f/2.8 because it is most likely too heavy/big for you to consider it a travel choice. Prime lenses on the other hand, can go up to f/1.7 and still be extremely compact. A big aperture will allow you to shoot in low light and indoors and get reasonably fast shutter speeds. For portraits, it also makes your background appear nicely blurred. For outdoor photography, smaller apertures are normal and you’ll be perfectly fine with zoom lenses that are at f/4 or even f/5.6.
Auto Focus – Good, reliable and accurate auto focus is a must. When traveling, you don’t always have the time to do it manually or take a few different shots. Thankfully, Panasonic cameras and lenses all focus very quickly.
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 Panasonic Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras and lenses are great for travel photography 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 – When traveling, you rarely bring a tripod with you. We are rarely 100% stable when taking pictures, and turning on IS will help when shooting with super slow shutter speeds, or photographing with longer focal lengths (over 25mm). Panasonic calls their stabilization O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilization). If you have an Olympus body, then every Panasonic lens will be stabilized, since they put the IS into their camera bodies.
Weather Resistant – Having a weather resistant lens helps when traveling, since you’re usually in unpredictable situations. Dust, water, sand, these are just some of the possibilities. However, just because a lens isn’t resistant, it doesn’t mean a little water or dust will damage it. It simply means you don’t have to worry that much when shooting in difficult weather conditions.
Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm f/4
For those in need of ultra-wide coverage in the form of one handy zoom lens, the Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm f/4 is a convenient mid-priced option. While suitable for a wide range of shooting situations and styles, you will find this lens particularly useful for photographing interiors, landscapes, travel, street photography, events, or extreme sports.
Equivalent to a 14-28mm lens in the 35mm format, it provides an extremely wide angle field of view. Seven circular diaphragm blades make for pleasing background bokeh, and aperture settings run from f/22 to f/4 – with a constant maximum aperture throughout all focal lengths.
Often the versatility and convenience of a zoom lens must be paid for in the form of a corresponding compromise in features and performance. With it’s relatively slow f/4 maximum aperture, this lens is no exception. Indeed, photographers with an interest in shooting hand-held in lowlight should probably skip this lens and go for a faster prime option, such as the 12mm f/1.4 Leica Summilux.
Having said that, there appears to be little or no compromise on image sharpness. This means that if you mostly shoot with the aperture shut down for a deep depth-of-field, the 7-14mm f/4 could be a great solution for your ultra-wide angle needs. Bear in mind though, that there’s a lot of glass packed into this thing: 16 elements in 12 groups to be precise. Consequently it’s not the lightest lens around. Also, due to a non-removable lens hood, it won’t take filters.
Panasonic Lumix G 12-35mm f/2.8 II OIS
Equivalent to a 24-70mm lens in the 35mm format, the Panasonic Lumix G 12-35mm f/2.8 II is a great all-round zoom covering all the main focal lengths the average photographer will need for general shooting. With a constant aperture of f/2.8 across all zoom settings, this is a lens that is fast enough to satisfy everyone except the most demanding of low light shooters, while also being versatile enough to deal with nearly any photographic style or situation.
Whether you shoot portraits, landscapes, travel, documentary, sports, or events, if you only have space to pack a single lens in your bag, this will likely be the one you’ll reach for.
The lens is pin sharp at the center, with only slight softness detectable towards the corners. Meanwhile, Panasonic’s nano surface coating keeps flare, ghosting and color aberrations to an absolute minimum. Bokeh appears very pretty, with nice rounded light-circles.
When it comes to shooting video, image stabilization has been much improved compared with the Mark 1 version of this lens. There’s also a handy switch on the side of the barrel to toggle OIS on or off, allowing you to change modes mid-take.
The 12-35mm f/2.8 is highly portable and reasonably compact, at least when contracted. Aside from the metal mount, the lens is largely made of plastic, so it’s not as rugged as some of Panasonic’s other lenses for the MFT format. However, it is dust and splash proof.
Panasonic Lumix G 12-60mm f/2.8-4
If you’re looking for the all-around super zoom, the Panasonic Leica DG 12-60mm f/2.8-4 is a solid workhorse for serious photography at a huge range of focal lengths. It’s got a relatively good aperture range, although this is not something you will use in really low light situations. For this reason it will be of most interest to photographers producing landscapes, architecture, interiors, and even portraits – provided ultra-shallow depth-of-field is not required.
Panasonic’s Nano Surface Coating means that there’s almost no flare whatsoever, at least when shooting stills, and only the subtlest of chromatic aberrations are visible. Sharpness is generally excellent, although there is some detectable fall off at corners – particularly when used wide open at around the 50mm zoom setting. A nine-blade aperture makes for some very nice bokeh, and color rendering is highly attractive.
The exterior, mount, and lens hood are of metal construction, and the overall build inspires confidence. As does the fact that the lens is dust-, splash- and freeze-proof right down to -10c.
On the negative side, the 12-60mm’s widest aperture of f/2.8 is only available when zoomed out to the 12mm setting. Nonetheless, the Leica 12-60mm is faster than Panasonic’s otherwise comparable f/3.5-5.6 Lumix 12-60mm. The Leica is also optically superior to the Lumix, however for those concerned about either price, weight, or size, the Lumix offers some advantage in all three areas.
Panasonic Lumix G 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Power OIS
The Panasonic Lumix G 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 Power OIS is a 10 x optical zoom lens, offering the equivalent coverage of a 28-280mm lens in the 35mm camera format. While not especially fast, it’s a super-versatile lens that can deliver a usable shot from pretty much any situation. Whether you shoot landscapes, portraits, events, travel or documentary, the 14-140mm will allow you to do your thing without a second thought.
Lightweight, compact, and well-built, the 14-140mm features rock-solid optical image stabilization, smooth zoom and manual focus rings, and silent AF, making it a great choice for video. Images shot with the lens typically exhibit no flare or purple fringing, nor indeed even much vignetting to speak of.
What’s more, the lens is notably sharp even when at the longer end of its zoom range, and seven circular diaphragm blades provide quite pleasing rendering of out of focus areas, making it a good choice of lens for portraits and blurring your background.
The 14-140mm’s only major drawback is that its widest aperture is neither particularly wide nor constant throughout zoom settings. Having said this, if low light shooting is not high on your list of priorities, then, with its ultra-wide focal range, this might genuinely be the only lens you will ever need.
In any case, Panasonic doesn’t currently offer another lens with such an impressively wide zoom range. So, for those in need of faster apertures, the only alternative will be carrying two separate lenses around with you, or considering another brand.
Panasonic Leica DG 12mm f/1.4
The Panasonic Leica DG 12mm f/1.4 is a super-fast prime lens that is ideal for flash-free events, sports, documentary, street, or nature photography in low light. Despite being a fairly wide angle lens (equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm format), the 12mm f/1.4 excels at shallow depth of field shooting – making it something of a rarity among wide angle Micro Four Thirds lenses.
The 12mm f/1.4 is an undeniably heavy lens. However, this is really just a sign of how well-built it is: everything from the barrel to the hood is made from sturdy metal and there’s a considerable amount of glass within: 15 elements in 12 groups. A 9 blade diaphragm further adds to the load.
The lens is also weather sealed, making it a good choice for extreme sports. The only potential drawbacks here being that there is no image stabilization and that auto focus occasionally struggles to latch onto subjects in low light when shooting video. This fact also makes it perhaps not the ideal choice for vlogging. Although it will be less of an issue for more professional video uses, where in any case you’re more likely to use the “manual” focus-by-wire option.
As focus-by-wire lenses go, the 12mm f/1.4 works very well, but for a more satisfying manual focus experience, you might do well to consider one of Olympus’s “snap focus” lenses instead. Finally, while the 12mm f/1.4 is not cheap, optically it equals many much more expensive lenses.
Panasonic Lumix G 15mm f/1.7
The Panasonic Lumix G 15mm f/1.7 is a great all-purpose moderately wide-angle lens for the Micro Four Thirds format. While not offering any particularly innovative features or gimmicks, this is just a good quality lens for everyday shooting. With its excellent image quality, fast maximum aperture, and very usable angle of view (35mm equivalent: 30mm), this is a lens that will keep most documentary, travel, stage, and event photographers fully satisfied.
Thanks to a nano crystal coating, image sharpness is commendable even wide open, and there are no noticeable color aberrations. However, slight barrel distortion is detectable, and there is some evident vignetting at the widest apertures. Apertures can be changed manually using a ring on the lens barrel.
The lens employs 9 elements in 7 groups, and features a rounded 7 blade diaphragm, providing excellent bokeh. Autofocus is fast and silent, and although the “manual” focusing setting is in fact focus-by-wire, it is more satisfying to use than most lenses employing this system.
Made in Japan, the lens is mostly constructed of metal, with the use of some sturdy plastic here and there. Overall though, the 15mm f/1.7 is very well built and even comes with a solid metal lens hood. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that although the lens is quite reasonably priced for one carrying the Leica name, this is somewhat offset by the lack of weather sealing.
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7
The super-slim Panasonic Lumix G II 20mm f/1.7 is a fast pancake lens for the Micro Four Thirds format. An all-metal barrel and lens mount update the cheaper build-quality of the Mark 1, making it a sturdy and compact choice for all-round shooting. Mounted on a suitably small body, it can easily be thrown in a coat pocket for quick and candid photography without compromise on image quality: ideal for travel, street, documentary and other discrete low-light uses.
In addition to being extremely sharp and displaying no color fringing, the lens is fast, compact, lightweight and well-built. It’s also quite cheaply priced. What’s more, 20mm is identical to a 40mm lens (35mm format equivalent): making it an excellent compromise between a standard and a wide angle lens. All in all then, this is a handy little all purpose piece of glass you can rely on to pull something out of pretty much any imaginable shooting situation.
On the downside though, autofocus in low light is really quite slow. To make matters worse, the focus mechanism is also quite noisy, meaning that for video use you’ll need to focus manually. Furthermore, if camera shake is a concern, you’ll have to use this on a body with on-board image stabilization, as the lens itself does not offer any of its own. Those looking for better spec within a similar focal range (but willing to spend a little more) should investigate the 15mm f/1.7 Leica Summilux as an alternative.
Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7
The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 lens is a cheap and versatile workhorse suitable for a wide variety of photographic uses. Unlike many Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses – which often can only manage a minimum aperture of f/16 – the 25mm f/1.7 shuts right down to f/22. This makes it an excellent choice for when maximum depth-of-field is a priority, such as with landscape, architectural or interiors photography.
At the opposite end of the scale, f/1.7 makes it equally appropriate for handheld low light shooting. Panasonic’s nano coating helps to keep flare and ghosting under control, and there’s no noticeable color fringing. Similarly, the lens displays good across-frame sharpness, even wide open, performing best beyond f/2. As with other lenses in this series, the barrel features a super-smooth grip-ring for focus-by-wire “manual” focusing. Similarly, autofocus is excellent.
A 25mm lens is ideal for daily photography, portraits, weddings, indoor shooting, traveling etc. If you’re looking for your first lens, or just want something better than your current kit zoom, this is it.
While the plastic build doesn’t inspire the same confidence as Panasonic’s higher range MFT offerings, the 25mm f/1.7 is nonetheless well made. And on the upside, the inferior materials make this a very lightweight and compact lens. However, unsurprisingly at this price point, there is no weather sealing.
There are very few photographers who won’t need a lens of this focal length, so ultimately the choice comes down to minor differences between this and its more upmarket competitors. For those with a bigger budget and hungry for an extra half stop of light, the Leica-branded Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 is a faster, sharper alternative.