If you’re looking for the best budget action and/or wildlife lens for Panasonic and Olympus micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras (Panasonic GH5, G9, G95, Olympus E-M1 Mark III, E-M5 Mark III etc.), you’re at the right spot. As you probably know, certain micro 4/3 lenses may offer an additional feature or two when you use it with the camera body made by the same company. For example, you may get better image stabilization because IBIS and OIS (optical stabilization) will work together. Of course, this is only true for lenses that are optically stabilized. Otherwise, all micro 4/3 lenses will work with any micro 4/3 camera. With that in mind, here are our favorite budget action and wildlife lenses for micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras:
Best Choice – Panasonic Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 II Power OIS
This 70-200mm full-frame equivalent lens may not be the cheapest offering among the budget micro 4/3 telephoto lenses, but it is a great choice for action and sports photographers who may not be able to afford more expensive options like the one we mentioned in this guide. Of course, the 35-100mm f/2.8 isn’t as great of a choice for wildlife photography as it’s limited to 200mm (in full-frame terms) on the long end.
Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 II is very compact and weighs just 12.59 oz or 357 grams, but it’s well-built and weather resistant. The lens is sharp, even wide open at at basically any focal length. The autofocus performance is fast, precise and silent. The quality of bokeh is quite good as well, thanks to the 7-bladed aperture. Finally, this lens is optically stabilized and this will help you take sharper photos and steadier videos as well.
Option #2 – Panasonic Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II Power OI
While the first lens we suggested was a better choice for action/sports photography, this telephoto lens is a much better option for wildlife photographers working with a smaller budget. In full-frame terms, this is a 90-400mm equivalent lens, which is a great focal range for most types of wildlife photography. Sure, the maximum aperture is rather slow but that’s understandable considering the size and price of this lens.
The Lumix 45-200mm f/4.-5.6 II is decently sharp (especially in the center) from 45 to 150mm, although it’s bit softer in the 150-200mm range. The autofocus is quick and quiet. The lens itself is well-built and it’s weather resistant, which is a huge plus at its price point.
Option #3 – Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II
While 400mm may be enough for some wildlife photographers, others need lenses that can reach even further. This is where this budget option from Olympus comes in. This lens may limit your work to daylight hours due to its slow maximum aperture, but it has incredible reach considering its price and size (150-600mm in full-frame terms).
The image quality is very good from 75 to 250mm and still satisfactory at 300mm. The lens performs really well, especially in good light. Overall, if you need a super-telephoto lens that won’t break the bank, we think you’ll be very happy with this option.