45mm f2.8 macro experiences?
Mike Russell wrote:
I'm despairing of Lumix bringing out a short telephoto (45mm 1.7 would be nice) so I'm seeing if I can pick up a 45mm macro used. However I can't even find a new one to try out, other than online they're that rare!
Does anyone have one? How are they on focusing? I find the 14-45 is much quicker (and transparent) compared to the 20mm pancake - I wondered if anyone could pop in a comparison of the 45mm?
And since I'm trying to achieve a shallow depth of field, any comments on their performance wide open?
The ME45 is my favourite lens on my GF1, making up about 60% of my pictures. The AF is quite fast, not as fast as the 45-200, but much faster than the 20mm (which is slow because it uses unit focus - the entire assembly is moved in unison). The AF slows down in video mode, but is still acceptable for hand held video work. It is completely unobtrusive in portraiture, even candids, and is good enough that hand-held macros with AF are perfectly doable.
Performance wide open is great, there is some (but not much) vignetting, but the frame is as sharp wide open as it is stopped down to f/5.6. In this, my experience mirrors the photozone test results but not dpr's - perhaps there is some sample variation here.
If you want shallow DOF, though the 45-200 at 200/5.6 has shallower DOF at portrait distances than the ME45. I've found the 45-50mm focal length isn't long enough to truly blur the background without getting distracting highlight and bokeh patterns, but is perfectly adequate to emphasize the subject. The ME45 also has very good microcontrast to give that 3D 'Zeiss look' to subjects (although my S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4 is a bit better at it).
Not a cheap lens, but I have yet to find anyone actually disappointed with it after buying it.