Lenses for the Olympus E-System Cameras
... and Four Thirds cameras in general
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This is an annotated list of lenses and lens accessories available for the Olympus E-System and, in general, Four Thirds cameras.
If you are looking for Micro Four Thirds (non-SLR) lenses — see another list.
Update of 2013: Looks like the Four Thirds line of cameras is dead for good. Still, many users are happy with results they are getting from the E-5, E-30, or E-620, and there may be still some demand for the Four Thirds line of lenses.
Secondly, the growing population of Micro Four Thirds EVF cameras accepts Four Thirds lenses via an adapter. Until recently, however, the autofocus functionality of FT lenses on μFT cameras was crippled: most lenses would autofocus sluggishly and not precisely, except for those specifically designed to work with contrast-detection (Live View) focusing; marked in the list as "CD". For these lenses on μFT bodies, the AF performance was "sort of satisfactory".
This has improved with the recent introduction of the Olympus OM-D E-M1. This camera re-assigns some of the green photosites on the sensor to phase-detection AF. As a result, all FT lenses behave much better — I was able to verify it on lenses ranging back to 2004. Let us hope the new sensor will be retained in the μFT cameras to come.
Update of 2017: So far only the pro-level line of OM-D, the E-M1, is capable of this dual-mode AF: the recent Mark II model retains (and possibly improves) this feature. The lower tiers (E-M5 and E-M10), now also in the Mark II generation, do not have it (neither do Panasonic μFT cameras).
Upon introduction of the E-1 back in 2003, Olympus faced an ambitious task of coming up with not just the first digital, interchangeable-lens SLR designed from ground up as such (and not adapted from a film model), but also with a variety of lenses, designed to work well (mechanically, electronically, and optically) with the new body, and addressed at various layers of the market.
Olympus is not new to lens design. The Zuiko line for their legendary OM SLR series of 30 years ago were top performers. The company delivered three lenses with the E-1, and more followed at a steady and consistent pace.
With the introduction of more E-System models, aimed at enthusiast amateur market, there arose a need for less expensive lenses. This was addressed a number of "economy" lenses, starting from the 14-45 and 40-150 mm zooms. No miracles, they are not a match for the more expensive Digital Zuikos, but more than good enough for the intended use, soon recognized as better than kit lenses offered by other brands. Importantly, the price difference is reflected mostly in more modest specifications, not in significant sacrifices in performance.
The original kit lenses have been later replaced with the new, compact 14-42 mm and 40-150 mm ZD, amazingly light and compact, and capable of surprisingly good results.
Sigma started expanding their line of the Four Thirds lenses 2005, but with the end of the Four Thirds SLRs these lenses, as of 2013, are no longer current.
Panasonic (including the Leica brand) also has given up on Four Thirds support, throwing its weight vigorously behind the μFT standard. Some good Panasonic/Leica FT lenses can still be found on the used market.
Note: Some of these links occasionally get broken: the Web designers move the contents around, and do not bother with URL redirection via .htaccess files. While I'm occasionally fixing those, this is not my primary goal. Tough luck. (Links last verified February 1, 2008.)
2013: While I recently cleaned up the list, verified most of the links and marked non-current lenses as such, some omissions may still stick around. Sorry.
Interestingly, most FT lenses which are still available, have listed prices visibly higher than back in 2009. A captive audience?
|Sigma||EX DG Macro||24||1.8||22||.18||?||-||10/9||2/?||520||84×88||77||2006||$340|||
|Sigma||EX DC HSM||30||1.4||16||.4||-||-||7/7||1/2||410||78×64||62||2006||$400|
|Sigma||EX DG Macro||105||2.8||22||.31||Y||-||11/10||0/0||470||55×103||58||2006||$400|
|Sigma||EX DG HSM APO Macro||150||2.8||22||.38||Y||-||16/12||0/2||920||80×142||72||2006||$600|
|Sigma||EX DC HSM||10-20||4.0-5.6||22||.24||?||-||14/10||3/3||495||84×86||77||2008||$430|
|Olympus||ZD ED SWD||12-60||2.8-4.0||22||.25||Y||-||14/10||3/4||575||80×99||72||2007||$900|||
|Olympus||ZD ED SWD||14-35||2.0||22||.35||Y||-||18/17||2/3||915||86×123||77||2008||$2300|
|Olympus||ZD ED SWD||14-54||2.8-3.5||22||.22||Y||+||15/11||3/0||435||74×88||67||2008||$670|||
|Sigma||EX DC Macro||18-50||2.8||22||.20||?||-||15/13||2/2||525||79×91||72||2006||($420)|||
|Olympus||ZD ED SWD||50-200||2.8-3.5||22||1.2||Y||-||16/15||0/3||995||87×157||67||2008||$1200|||
|Sigma||EX DG HSM APO||50-500||4.0-6.3||22||1.0-3.0||Y||-||20/16||?/4||1830||95×224||86||2006||($1000)|
|Sigma||EX DG HSM APO||300-800||5.6||32||6.0||?||-||18/16||0/2||5915||157×549||||2007||($8000)|
In case some of the acronyms I'm using in table headers are not quite clear:
For lenses no longer in stock (as of 2010) prices are shown in parentheses, like ($200), these are the latest I have seen while the lens was still current. (K) instead of the price means that the lens is (or was) available only in a kit with a camera body.
Usually the lens name, as quoted by the manufacturer, contains of the manufacturer's name, focal length and aperture numbers, and then anything the manufacturer wants; sometimes meaningful and sometimes not.
As marked within square brackets in the table:
By this I do not mean filters, hoods, or lens caps, only those affecting the lens optics and/or geometry.
Links for individual product pages at manufacturers' sites have been provided in the first column of the table above.
The Four Thirds Consortium maintains a section on lenses from Olympus, Sigma, and Leica/Panasonic. In particular, you can download from there a lens catalog brochure (PDF), although it does not seem to keep up with the actual product line. There is also a
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|Posted 2004/06/26; last updated 2017/02/26||Copyright © 2004-2017 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak|