131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The brilliant, long awaited portrait prime for µ4/3
Here it is, folks: your heretofore missing µ4/3 portrait lens. And what a marvelous little gem it is.
Why would you want this lens? Well, it's 45mm, and it's f/1.8, a combination which allows you to generate some serious subject isolation with its relatively shallow depth of field. This is the "DSLR blurry background look" that many people crave, and it's very...
Published on October 18, 2011 by Jeremy
20 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK for the price
Micro 4/3 enthusiasts have been raving about the Olympus 45mm since it came out, and it's an OK lens: The images are good, color is good, sharpness, etc. But its barrel is plastic, making the lens feel cheap and flimsy. There's a removable ring on the front that keeps coming loose -- I believe it has to remove to mount the Olympus lens shade; I use a cheap but perfectly...
Published 21 months ago by Michael A. Smith
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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The brilliant, long awaited portrait prime for µ4/3,
This review is from: Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 (Silver) Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3 Cameras (Electronics)Here it is, folks: your heretofore missing µ4/3 portrait lens. And what a marvelous little gem it is.
Why would you want this lens? Well, it's 45mm, and it's f/1.8, a combination which allows you to generate some serious subject isolation with its relatively shallow depth of field. This is the "DSLR blurry background look" that many people crave, and it's very difficult to pull off with most existing µ4/3 lenses (due to their generally slow speed combined with µ4/3's smaller-than-DSLR sensor).
Of course, f/1.8 isn't just there to isolate your subjects; this represents a dramatic improvement in low light performance when compared to any other native lens in this focal length. Your kit lens, for example, probably hits f/5.6 by here; this little guy lets in *nearly ten times as much light*. So you can use much faster shutter speeds and lower ISO, making low light shooting much more viable (since µ4/3 high ISO performance is lacking, fast lenses like this are crucial to make up the difference).
So, that's what it's for. Now the questions: how does it perform? Is it worth the cost? Let's look at the details.
- form factor / exterior: it's very small. Its length is just longer than the original Olympus kit lens and just shorter than the current kit lens (when collapsed), and the barrel is much narrower than either in diameter. This is the 3rd Olympus lens to use the new silver styling, and I must say that it looks great on an E-P3. The lens is made out of plastic, but it's good plastic, and thus far I have no concerns about construction quality. The focus ring is massive and operates very well, much better in fact than any other Olympus µ4/3 lens that I've tried (presumably the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 would best it, but I've had no opportunity to use that lens yet). The large-ish front element is gorgeous.
- image quality: well, I can tell you that it's superb, but if you have any doubts you should look for the scientific reviews on the 'net that give you LPMs and MTFs and all that jazz. I looked at some of these reviews and they will tell you numbers that match my experience in practice: this lens is great. It's tack sharp even wide open, and I've yet to feel any inclination to stop down for sharpness. This guy is made to be shot at f/1.8; do not hesitate to do so.
- autofocus: oh, yes, this lens focuses very quickly indeed! I've heard that it is slower on older bodies (I have not tried it on my old E-P2, yet) but on my E-P3 there is simply no rival. In good light this thing focuses every bit as fast as more expensive lenses on my DSLR, and with incredible precision thanks to the µ4/3 CDAF system. It's also very quiet, making it a great choice for video, although continuous AF is still not comparable to that of a DSLR (which is a design limitation of CDAF, not this lens specifically).
- lens hood: absent. Hmm. Well, this lens is small enough to easily shoot one-handed, so you can always shade it with your left hand. If you want a hood, it is available for a hefty premium, which leads me to my final point...
- price: ouch. To be fair, this is a brand new lens, but the steep MSRP (which it currently sells at or even above) is really the only thing I can find to complain about. Give it a year and it will come down, perhaps, but this is a lens that I wanted to own very badly, and so I found this price acceptable.
If you're trying to save a buck it will surely get cheaper over time, but ultimately this is a lens that every serious µ4/3 shooter will want to own. Get this, the Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7, and a µ4/3 body, and I dare you not to fall in love with the kit.
With this lens, µ4/3 has finally fully arrived.
**** Update 2012/09/24 ****
Has it been a whole year with this little gem? Looking at my calendar says "yes, it has" - so I figure a brief update is warranted.
- despite the plastic build, it's held up quite well physically. Zero issues.
- I bought a knock-off lens hood for this thing on Amazon due to some flare that was occasionally evident shooting in broad daylight. Seems silly to have to buy something like that on the side - come on Oly, throw us a bone and throw it in the box.
- At this focal length f/1.8 is fast enough for any subject isolation I need. Yeah, it's not full frame, but it's good enough for me, and likely good enough for most.
- You'll really want to have an ND filter for this. Since current M4/3 bodies normally max out at shutter speeds of 1/4000 and cap out around 200 ISO, you'll find yourself stopped down in broad daylight without one.
- I find myself carrying an E-PM1, this lens, and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens quite frequently. One lens easily fits in a jeans pocket, while the camera and mounted lens go in a small pouch (or, now that fall is upon us, jacket pocket). I could hardly ask for better in something so small.
- The Olympus 75mm f1.8 High-Grade Portrait Lens has arrived as well, which you might consider as an alternative to this lens. If you're looking for more working distance between you and the subject, it would surely be a better alternative. Of course, that lens is in a whole other price bracket (not to mention the added size and weight of the metal construction), so the little wonder here will remain a better option for many.
66 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the 'must-have' lenses for micro 4/3,
This review is from: Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 (Silver) Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3 Cameras (Electronics)I'm using this lens with a Panasonic GF1. Even after having my micro 4/3 for 2 years, I continue to be impressed at how small these lenses are, especially when compared with the huge NEX system lenses from Sony. The Olympus 45mm 1.8 continues that trend with a diminutive size and weight. The plastic body certainly helps with bring the weight down, in contrast to the 12mm all-metal wide-angle also from Olympus. When I set the camera down, the lens doesn't tip the camera over which helps for setting it on a table for time-release shots.
There are sample videos on the internet showing the focus speed on cameras like the GF3 and E-P3. My GF1 seemed to focus a bit slower with this 45mm lens than those cameras, but it was still spot on and almost silent. It was certainly faster and quieter than the 20mm pancake. The minimal focus distance says 0.5m. For practical purposes that means that you can't focus down on someone sitting right next to you but you can if they are one seat over.
Now, you may already have one of the 14-45mm kit lenses and ask yourself 'why do I need this 45mm lens if I've already got that focal length covered?' A few reasons: (1) speed. The maximum aperture of the kit zooms at 45mm is 5.6 which is over 3 f-stops more than the 1.8. That means you get a 1/100 shutter speed as opposed to the about 1/10 shutter speed of the kit zoom. (2) bokeh. The 45mm produces that great blurry quality in the background while keeping your subject sharp. Kit zoom lenses almost never produce those great images. (3) weight. Except for the new pancake 14-45mm zoom that panasonic recently came out with, this lens is smaller and lighter than the other kit zooms out there.
The other lens in the micro 4/3 system at this focal length is the Leica-branded 45mm macro lens (f2.8). Despite the same focal lengths, the lenses couldn't be more dissimilar. The Leica is about $300 more, produces great macro shots, is over 1 stop slower, and it focuses slower. The Olympus is positioned more accurately as a fast portrait lens.
The images are sharp without distortion or any visible artifacts. But, for a more scientific look at sharpness and chromatic aberration, etc, check out dpreview or lenstip.com. Finally, aesthetically, this is a great looking lens. If you are planning on getting a filter for it, the diameter is 37mm. It does not come with a lens hood. I personally like the silver color which looks cool on my black GF1. Even though it is plastic, it feels like a pretty solidly constructed lens.
I preordered in September and it came in 1 month later. There are some excellent sample images on flickr if you still need convincing. I would highly recommend this lens if you are planning on being invested in the micro 4/3 system.
48 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential lens for Micro Four Thirds,
This review is from: Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 (Silver) Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3 Cameras (Electronics)This is a lens I have been waiting for since starting to shoot Micro Four Thirds.
I come from a background of Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and I've been looking forward to the availability of a traditional "portrait lens" for the Micro 4/3 system. Olympus took their sweet time bringing out this lens, but I'm pleased to report that they got it right.
Optically, the lens is unimpeachable. LensTip doesn't pull any punches, and their review was glowing: [...]. If you want to see sample images from this lens, we've got a bunch here:[...]
Some criticize the price of this lens compared to the Canon or Nikon 50mm f/1.8 short telephoto lenses, but those are simple designs created as normal primes for 35mm format and adapted for use on APS-C. The Olympus is built ground-up as a telephoto with a more complex design. It is priced well compared to other lenses designed as short telephoto lenses and also priced well for the performance it delivers.
The build is plastic, which helps keep the price and weight down. It isn't a pancake design, but it is a tiny lens.
Some complain that no hood is included. I prefer to keep the lens as compact as possible, which means no hood for me. My only complaint is that the front "decorative ring" (which is removed to add an optional hood) comes off too easy.
Bottom line: If you shoot Micro 4/3, buy this lens. It is outstanding!
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light, fast and sharp - just what a prime should be,
At US$350 I initially thought it to be a reasonably expensive piece of glass given that it is the size and weight of a third of a can of coke, and I was also concerned that I would find the focal length too long. However, I have since grown increasingly happy with my purchase.
The lens is light-weight (116g) and is made of plastic (apart from the metal mount), but it does feel solid. Most importantly, the glass is good. It comes with better quality lens-caps than the kit lens (the rear one screws on and is much easier to replace / remove), and the silver-coloured barrel looks quite nice on my black E-P3 body.
Images are mostly very sharp, unless the photographer has stuffed up somehow (eg. by focusing in the wrong place, in which case the bokeh can be mistaken for lack of sharpness). The centre of the frame is sharp wide-open, and even the corners are sharp when the lens is stopped down a little. The 45 has become my go-to lens for bokeh, as it is cabable of rendering pleasantly creamy backgrounds (more than I thought possible on M43), and I also appreciate its ability to keep ISO down in low light. Compared with the Olympus kit zooms, the 45 seems to produce more saturated images while also rendering very pleasant skin tones. In this regard, it certainly lives up to its billing as a portrait lens.
I have found the focal length to be interesting for candid shots and street photography. I have been shooting a lot more faces and upper bodies than in the past, as I had previously favoured classic focal lengths (35-50 equivalent), which tend to include a subject's environment in the frame. In that respect, I think the 45 has encouraged my photography to become more personal, more "human".
The lens is not perfect. I wish it focused closer, so that it could double as a macro. Like most M43 lenses, it lacks a distance scale. Also, it is certainly not cheap.
The great image quality more than makes up for those quibbles.
I can't imagine anybody regretting buying this lens.
It's a peach!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great performing lens with questionable build quality,
It's sharp wide open. And if you want to use it at f/1.8 in bright daylight, I recommend getting a ND filter, either 4x or 8x.
The lens is small and light. The exterior is all made of plastic. Not the hard plastic, but the soft plastic. Mine has suffered a few scratches on the body already. Even knocking against your camera body while changing lens gives you a chance to scratch the lens body. I don't have those problems with Panasonic lens. By the way, scratches look worse on silver compared to black.
I also question the quality of the construction. After a few months of usage, something in my lens became loose. Thankfully it's under warranty and the Olympus engineers managed to fix it within a week. I didn't drop it or anything. Something just came loose.
There's a front ring that you can remove to mount the original Olympus lens hood. That ring is not very tight. Take care not to lose it.
Speaking of lens hood, this lens doesn't come with one. I would recommend the EzFoto 37mm metal screw-in hood. It's smaller than the original and when you put it on, there's no way the front ring can drop off. And you're not going to scratch that metal easily.
Overall, it's a great performing lens with questionable build quality.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allows Rank Amateur to take great portraits.,
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch porttrait lens,
The lens is extremely sharp and performs wonderfully wide open. The bokeh is excellent and creamy smooth. It renders out of focus specular highlights gracefully, no bright rings. AF is extremely fast and micro-four-thirds being a CDAF system it always focuses accurately (in my experience the Canon wide aperture primes often suffer from the PDAF inaccuracy of many Canon bodies). In high contrast edges slightly out of focus wide open there is limited longitudinal CA appearing - very typical of wide aperture lenses and actually very well controlled in this lens.
Construction is excellent, though it mounts a bit tight on a one of my bodies. I'll be a little harsh here, but if you are looking for a heavy metal lens I suggest you time travel back a few decades to when high quality plastics didn't exist and manufacturers had no choice but to use heavier metals. I'd also suggest you sell your micro-four-thirds system and buy something heavier if you honestly think metal and weight means quality. The beauty of this lens is that it is very light and small - metal for the sake of metal would be an atrocious design flaw that would serve only to coddle retro-types who think inferior materials with nostalgic value to them equate to quality. This lens is metal where it needs to be and high-impact plastic where it should be. It is designed and engineered for maximum durability at a minimum of weight, not too match someone's horn-rimmed glasses.
Comparisons to the EF 50/1.4 are bound to be made. The 50/1.4 is a unspectacular lens of about the same price as the 45/1.8 (though the 50/1.4 was in fact significantly more expensive at its introduction). The 50/1.4 bokeh and rendering is not as nice as the 45/1.8 nor is it as sharp at equivalent apertures. As far as the 50/1.4 having 8 aperture blades to the 45/1.8's 7 blades the 45/1.8 is actually superior as it uses curved blades and the 50/1.4 uses straight blades. Side by side tests at stopped down apertures show the clear advantage to the 45/1.8 with nice circular out of focus highlights while the 50/1.4 is showing octagons. Anyone who as actually used both lenses is likely to be favorably impressed with the 45/1.8. For the slightly higher price the 45/1.8 is definitely the superior lens, though perhaps not by a wide margin.
In fact, for the price the 45/1.8 is simply a stunning optic and through many users' experience is comparing well with anything in its price class not to mention many more expensive lenses.
As a side note, limited testing with an IR converted body shows this lens works well for IR. It has good transmittance at IR wavelengths and I have not seen any "hot-spot" problems to far. I've tested with both 720nm and 830nm cut-off filters.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the time being, this is THE short, fast telephoto for M4/3,
Posted a few test shots with the 45mm, btw.
While it's true plastic is used in its construction, in use, the lens doesn't feel at all cheap (at least not to me). Feels great on the GF2, actually.
I'm very happy with my purchase, and couldn't be more satisfied with its performance.
Add a host camera with in-body IS and I'll be in heaven (not to mention more debt). :)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This lens was like getting a whole camera upgrade!,
Well, enter this beauty! With a much wider aperture range and the quality glass that this prime sports, stunning images pop onto my screen with every click of the shutter! I thought the Mini sensor just couldn’t capture super detail or amazing low light pix, but turns out it can with this baby.
I just recommended my camera to a friend (something I might not have done before), but with the caveat that they also invest in this lens to really exploit the camera's true capabilities. With the price of the PM1 approaching $250, this lens is a must have AND a no-brainer!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best lenses ever made,
It is, however, a bit pricey. OTOH, for this quality I would happily pay $800, so it is cheap. IQ is similar to the Vivitar 55mm macro, which you can get for much less. You could also go with a legacy 50mm. However, this lens has slightly better color and sharpness than the competition, and it is of course sharp wide open. If you really want that extra bit of goodness, here it is, in a small, lightweight package.
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Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 (Silver) Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3 Cameras by Olympus