One of the best lenses on m43

Started Sep 17, 2015 | User reviews thread
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bluevellet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,537
One of the best lenses on m43

This is a quick review of the M Zuiko f1.8, a lens already reviewed and appreciated by many.

I've had mine for about 2 months and I love it. I previously used an old Olympus OM 85mm f2 for similar purposes on 43 and m43.

First impressions are very positive. It's about twice the size of the popular M Zuiko 45mm f1.8, but the build is much better, at least from the outside. It's all metal, save for the lens cap. Feels nice and premium to the touch, but it's not as heavy as some old legacy lenses of the same size. It balances well on OMD bodies, a bit unbalanced on smaller Pen bodies. I must say that pairing this lens in silver on a silver camera body is quite striking.

Like the 45mm, there's no external control save for the focus ring. It's focus by wire too which some don't like as much as a true mechanical and more tactitle focus ring. I personally find it works well and is responsive enough, especially with focus peaking. It's labelled MSC, like the 45mm, which promises silent focusing. This is particularly evident when shooting video.

Of course, the lens also has AF. From my experience, it's about as fast as the 45mm, but I think it hunts a little bit more sometimes. This I think makes it more than good enough for portraiture but perhaps not ideal for sporting events requiring tracking and really quick, on the spot focusing. The PRO zoom line of Olympus are more workhorse lenses for that purpose.

You also have to take into account the minimum focusing distance which is under 3 feet/1 meter. Tight enough for a full baby face portrait but there's always the temptation to go a bit closer. This is not a macro lens after all.

75mm, with 2x crop factor applied, is in telephoto territory. This can be a difficult lens to handle indoors, to get full body shots of people. But if your purpose is get tight shots, it definitely works there. The added bonus is that it doesn't get you into people's faces, you have more of a distance so you can get more candid shots. I find it useful when shooting my kids.

And then, there's image quality. This is a sharp lens. It's already sharp wide open, and gets even sharper if you stop it down by 2 or 3 stops. Individual hairs and skin spores definitely pop up more. I find I only stop down when I want more things in focus, not to get even sharper results.

If you own an EM5 mark II and like using the hi-res mode with that camera, the 75mm is definitely well suited for the job. 40MP photos are a piece of cake with this lens.

My impression is that lens has warm colors, a bit like the 45mm, and it is definitely warmer than the old OM 85 F2 which looks unusually unsaturated on 43 sensors.

And at that focal lenght and at that speed, you do have the ability to obliterate backgrounds. It depends on how close to your subject is and how far the background is, but say you take a portrait shot from head to shoulder with the background 20 meters away, the backgrounds are gone wide open. Melted away. Full body lenght portrait with background at roughly the same distance, still distinguishable but quite blurry. So in either case, you have great DoF control with great subject isolation.

And it's not enough to just have blurry backgrounds, it's about the quality of the blurriness, the bokeh itself. The good news here is that it's a winner. It's smooth with very round bokeh balls wide open with more oval shapes in the corners, barely an hint of an edge in them too.

I bought the M Zuiko 45 f1.8 3 years ago and it became my most used lens on m43. That reign has now passed. Hail to the new king.

 bluevellet's gear list:bluevellet's gear list
Nikon Z6 Olympus E-M1 III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Olympus 17mm F1.2 Pro Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 +12 more
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8
Telephoto prime lens • Micro Four Thirds • V311040BU000
Announced: Feb 8, 2012
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Tamron SP 45mm F1.8 Di VC USD
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