Olympus M-Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens review

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Chromatic aberrations

Chromatic aberrations are really not an issue with Olympus 45mm F/1.8 lens. I detected some aberrations at larger apertures when viewing images at 100% magnification, but they responded extremely well to post-process and it’s possible to remove them completely. At F/4 and slower apertures I couldn’t detect them in most cases.

Light fall-off

There is a really small amount of light fall-off (darkening in corners), but it is easily corrected in post process and is nothing I ever worried about in real life use. After F/2.8 I couldn’t see any light fall-off.

Geometry

There are no perceptible geometric distortions with this lens.

Macro

At 0.11x magnification, the M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F/1.8 is far from macro lens. The example on the left shows approximately how close you can get to your subject.

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Bokeh

The same example photo shows the bokeh type you can expect from this lens. I found it to be very pleasant. Out-of-focus light sources are rendered nice and round, and bokeh is generally soft and pleasant (check other samples below). Excellent result for $400 lens.

Sharpness

As you can see from 100% crops on the left (please click to enlarge in new window), this lens is at its sharpest between F/2.8 and F/8. Wide open at F/1.8 it is slightly soft, but I used it regularly at widest aperture and images were perfectly usable. Light diffraction starts to blur the details at F/11 and F/16; F/22 is really just for emergency use. Due to 2x crop factor you get F/22 DOF at F/11 setting, and I don’t believe many users would need more than that, so I wouldn’t worry about smallest aperture performance with this lens.

The interesting fact is that this lens keeps the same level of performance across the whole frame; edge sharpness appears to look almost the same as the one at the center on most aperture settings. This is one of the reasons why I always loved Olympus optics!

Photo examples

Conclusion

This lens is able to deliver high performance across its complete aperture range. Sharpness is excellent wide open, and gets really impressive in F/2.8 – F/8 range. Light fall-off, aberrations and geometric distortions are at a really low level and less experienced users will not even notice them.  Bokeh is nice and pleasant, and the lens really shines in what it is actually made for – portrait photography. Auto focus on latest micro 4/3 cameras like Olympus OMD E-M5 and E-PL5 is as fast as it gets – faster even than comparable DSLR – lens combinations from competition.

There is no direct competition for this lens though – closest comparable lens is Panasonic 45mm F/2.8 macro, but it is over a stop slower and made for different purpose.

Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F/1.8 truly is outstanding lens and deserves all recommendations.

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2 thoughts on “Olympus M-Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens review

  1. Pingback: Top 10 micro 4/3 lenses | Camerahoarders.com

  2. Pingback: A new review on Olympus M-Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens - Micro Four Thirds Camera Blog

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