Best Micro Four-Thirds Lenses for Underwater
What are the best micro four-thirds lenses for underwater photography and videography? The micro four-thirds sensor size and lens mount is unique in that both Panasonic and Olympus share the same mount. This works out wonderfully as it allows photographers to choose lenses from either manufacturer giving micro four-thirds shooters nearly twice the lens options as others. This means if one lens is out of your budget or not quite the focal lengths you want there is likely another option available that will fit your needs. Read on to see our long list of great micro four-thirds lenses for underwater photography.
Olympus M.Zuiko 8mm F1.8 Fisheye PRO Lens
*Top of the Line Fisheye Lens*
The Olympus 8mm Fisheye PRO is the top-of-the-line fisheye lens, providing the widest angle of view, 180°. We like this over the Panasonic version for the improved construction, fast F1.8 aperture, and longer length, making it easier to light with strobes. However, the lens also carries a heavier price tag.
Panasonic Lumix G 8mm F3.5 Fisheye Lens
*Excellent Fisheye Lens at a Lower Price*
Choose the Panasonic 8mm Fisheye lens for excellent full fisheye results (180°) and a lower price tag than the Olympus PRO version. Optical quality is excellent, but the lens is very short which can make positioning your strobes more challenging.
Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm F4.5-5.6 Lens
*Quality Wide Angle at a Low Price*
The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a great choice for rectilinear (not fisheye) wide angle. This lens offers more flexibility than the fisheye options since you have a zoom range. However it is not as wide, maxing out at 100° angle of view. Coming in at a lower price point, this is a great option for those looking to make the most out of a smaller budget, and it also has the ability to focus well behind a flat port.
*Top of the Line Rectilinear Wide Angle Lens, Sharp & Fast*
The Olympus 7-14mm PRO lens offers the widest angle of view before the fisheye style lenses. We prefer the Olympus over the Panasonic lens for its higher quality construction and fast F2.8 aperture throughout the focal lengths of the lens, however the lens is more expensive than the Panasonic version, and may need to be installed onto the camera from the front of the housing.
Panasonic Lumix G 7-14mm F4 Lens
*Super Wide, Super Sharp*
The Panasonic 7-14mm lens is another great wide angle option, if the price tag for the Olympus version is too high, or you do not want to have to install the lens from the front of the housing. The Panasonic is smaller so can be installed in the housing while attached to the camera like other lenses. Not all housings offer a zoom gear.
Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens
*Fast Focusing, Perfect for Tiny Critters*
The Olympus 60mm Macro Lens is equivalent to a 120mm full frame lens, providing intense magnification which is excellent for medium to extremely small macro subjects. Pairs perfectly with diopters for super macro shooting.
Panasonic Lumix G 45mm F2.8 Macro
*Sharp, Flexible, Great for Fish Portraits*
The Panasonic 45mm Macro Lens works great for larger to small subjects. Equivalent to a 90mm full frame lens, this lens is a bit easier to use with lower magnification than the Olympus 60mm. However, it is not ideal for shooting very small subjects or super macro.
ALL AROUND - MEDIUM FOCAL LENGTHS:
Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 Lens
*Smooth Zoom for Video, Multi-Function Lens*
The unique Olympus 12-50mm Lens offers full use when paired with the Nauticam housing. With steady electronic zoom and access to the macro mode you effectively have two lenses in one! For all other housings, the wider 12mm focal length and longer 50mm zoom allow for more flexibility when shooting underwater or using a diopter. *Not all housings offer a zoom gear, however newer OM-D cameras allow for electronic zoom controlled by the camera buttons*
Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens
*Perfect for Model and Pool Photography*
The Olympus 12-40mm PRO lens is an ideal lens for people, or artistic / fashion shoots underwater. It also excels for shooting larger pelagics that you can't get right up close to by offering a wide focal range and fast F2.8 aperture throughout. Another larger lens, it usually has to be installed in the housing from the front.
Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-6.3 EZ Lens
*Basic Kit Lens with Smooth Electronic Zoom*
The Olympus 14-42mm EZ Lens - this pancake style lens is often included as the basic kit lens with some Olympus cameras. It is a no-frills lens with average focal lengths. Can be useful for mid-sized portraits and animals you can't get too close to. In addition, this lens is required when trying to use a wet wide angle lens on a flat port such as the Nauticam WWL-1 lens.