Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Review

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Olympus 45mm

This lens was my first acquire in the realm of micro four thirds except for the kit lens that came with my Panasonic GM5. I wanted a fast prime that didn’t break the bank and after some research I found the Olympus 45mm F1.8. The lens is a short telephoto lens and what might be called a classic portrait lens with it’s focal length being 90 in full frame terms. I personally have found the lens both fun and useful for much more than portraits. The lens cost around $300 and you can find it here at Amazon.

Olympus 45mm with hood

Build Quality

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f1.8-2The Olympus 45mm is small and lightweight at 45x56mm and about 115g. Making it one of my favourite things, pocketable. It is mainly plastic with a metal mount and feels quite sturdy. The design it simple featuring only a focus ring. The lens does not come with a hood, which is a shame. Olympus chooses to charge an extra $40 for a hood but much cheaper alternatives is available. One small negative aspect is that you have to remove a small Olympus 45 mm with hoodplastic ring when fitting the hood, meaning that you now have another small piece to loose. You can see the small ring that needs to be detached to fit a bayonet hood in the image. The lens does not feature image stabilisation as Olympus has it built in their camera bodies, which could be noteworthy for a Panasonic shooter. I have not found it to be a issue since I mostly shoot it close to fully open. The lens takes 37mm filters.

Focus

The autofocus of the Olympus 45mm is fast and almost silent. I even found it working well in lowlight situations. The manual focus is fly by wire and the ring rotates smoothly with a good feeling to it.

Image Quality

The image quality is really good and the lens produces some really sharp shots. It works well shot fully open only showing some slight softness at the corners. At f2.8 the softness is greatly decreased and at f4 the softness is practically gone. As for chromatic aberrations and distortions they are not really an issue with the Olympus 45mm. The lens gives great subject separation and delivers some, to me, nice creamy bokeh. It does provide a real shallow depth of field for a m 4/3 lens. But for you that might come from a full sensor or crop sensor it might be worth clarifying the translation to 35mm, or full format, terms which everybody seems to do when talking about a m 4/3 lens. When translating a m 4/3 lens to 35mm terms you double the focal length, 45mm=90mm, something that all manufacturers tend to write out. But what they seldom write it is that you also have to double the maximum aperture. Meaning that the Olympus 45mm f1.8 in 35mm terms becomes a 90mm f3.6. Which in turn leads to the fact that it does not give you as a shallow depth of field that a f1.8 lens on a full format or even a crop sensor would do. By this I’m not saying I don’t like the performance of the Olympus 45mm f1.8, I’m only saying that you can’t expect the same performance on different sensors. For example images check out page 2.

Conclusion

The Olympus 45mm is a sharp piece of glass that delivers good shots. It is capable of creating a nice creamy bokeh and shallow depth of field with good subject separation. It was planned to be my go to lens for shooting people and portraits but the image quality has made me use this lens for more than I originally thought. If you want a small, light, relatively cheap and really sharp lens the Olympus 45mm might be for you. I would say that this lens deserves a place, or at least a serious consideration,  in any m 4/3 shooters bag. Check it here out here at Amazon.

Olympus 45mm without hood

 

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