Micro 4/3rds Lens Kits for Travel Photography

When it comes to going small and light, there are lots of excellent choices for Micro Four-Thirds shooters

Olympus OM-1 with 12-100mm lens
The OM Systems OM-1 with 12-100mm f/4 PRO lens is an amazing single-lens travel kit!

If you enjoy traveling with your camera, you probably want a kit that offers a fairly wide range of focal lengths, but also something that is fairly lightweight and compact. Recently, I’ve been discussing with a colleague about the dreaded “what to pack” question. He’s going to be in Paris next month, and wants a flexible kit to use with his OM-1 body. The problem isn’t a lack of options; it’s literally quite the opposite. There are so many lenses available for Micro 4/3rds users that sometimes it can feel overwhelming when trying to decide what to pack for a trip!

The Micro 4/3rds system offers photographers a tremendous range of lens choices for travel, as most of the lenses for this system are fairly small and light to begin with. Options range from single all-purpose zoom lenses, two-lens zoom kits, a trio of tiny primes, or a mix of zooms and primes. Most of these lenses are quite good and make few optical compromises, and none of them will make you feel weighed down. In the end, the lenses you choose really depend on how much you’re willing to carry, and the type of subjects that interest you most.

As part of this thought exercise, I started coming up with different autofocus lens kits for travel. As I have the OM Systems OM-1 camera, my default selections are Olympus/OM Systems lenses, unless otherwise indicated. However, you can also find excellent Micro 4/3rds lenses from Panasonic and others.

I prioritized lighter lenses (such as f/4 zooms instead of f/2.8 zooms) and chose focal lengths useful for traveling: A range from 16mm to 300mm equivalent in 35mm format. If you’re traveling for wildlife photography or other specialized subjects, then there are plenty of other lenses outside this list that may be better suited for your needs.

Single Lens Zoom Kits

If you’re a photographer who simply wants one lens to do it all, then these options are for you. The trade-off is between focal length range and overall lens weight, but none of these kits would be considered “heavy” by 35mm system standards.

Kits for maximum range

  • Olympus 12-100mm f/4.0 PRO: 561g / 1.23lb
    • Quite possibly one of the sharpest all-purpose zooms ever
    • Synchro-IS for up to 8-stops of stabilization on the Olympus OM-1 body
  • Panasonic 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0: 320g / 0.70lb
    • Equivalent to 24-120mm in 35mm format
    • Fast aperture at the wide end for low-light interior shooting and better subject isolation

If you want to go light, and don’t need the extra reach

  • Olympus 12-45mm f/4 PRO: 285g / 0.63lb
    • Equivalent to 24-90mm; excellent all-around range for most urban settings
    • Delightfully small and easy to handle


  • Olympus 8-25mm f/4 PRO: 465g / 1.02lb
    • Equivalent to 16-50mm, perfect for interiors and most street photography scenes

2 thoughts on “Micro 4/3rds Lens Kits for Travel Photography”

  1. Heading out for a few week road trip up the West Coast, photography not the prime mover. Similar thoughts on alternatives, after packing a few combinations, decided to go very light: Panasonic 9mm, Panasonic 15mm 1.7 and Panasonic 14-140 3.5-5.6. Simplifies the changing lenses issue except when needing ultra-wide or low light. It is about weight and convenience. The 14-140 is quite good for a super-zoom and will cover the majority of my needs.

  2. I’m taking my Olympus OM-5 on a trip to Montana, where I’ll be in meetings most of the time, maybe some “city” walking, but I do want to get to Glacier National Park for a few hours, so I’m packing my Olympus 14-150.

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