Four Thirds Lenses
Olympus assigned grades to their lenses, grouping them into 3 types - Standard Grade (SG), High Grade (HG) and Super High Grade (SHG).
While other manufacturers did not group their lenses like Olympus did, it is very easy to assign them a grade. None of them produced any SHG lenses, and its easy to sort the remaining into Standard or High Grade.
Standard lenses were basically kit quality lenses, but spanned the whole field of view range, and often made more sense than their more expensive counterparts. For starters, the later standard kit lens - 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 - in itself was one of the best kit lenses of its time, but it was paired with Olympus plastic-fantastic 40-150mm f/4-5.6, and the same optical formula is still used and sold today under micro 4/3. The other obvious gems were the 9-18mm and 70-300mm, as well as the 25mm f/2.8 and 35mm macro.
High Grade lenses were an easy and obvious upgrade for all enthusiasts and offered (and still offer!) some of the best bang for your buck. Undoubtedly, the 12-60mm, 50-200mm SWD and 50mm f/2 lenses are the stars of this list, but its pretty hard to go wrong with any of these. These lenses are really what made Olympus such a loved and popular system in its heyday.
Super High Grade lenses are Olympus' best of the best.
Still highly acclaimed, they continue to demand a price premium, though of course, they are all a fraction of the price they cost when new. Most people who buy these tend to use them on recent m4/3 cameras, where the price/performance ratio still makes sense.
star Best of the best lenses
star Best bang for your buck lenses