Well, technically the Olympus m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens is not in my hand as I type this, but it was at hand a lot last night. I arrived home with the best treat in the world waiting me, my wife and kids not at home! Now that doesn’t mean I don’t love them, I do very much in fact, but being a father of several young children I have certain duties and responsibilities. However, with the wife and chilins not home, daddy can play!
One FedEx express overseas package from Korea, just patiently waiting on my dinning room table for me!
Oh, goodies! Lens, “complimentary” 37mm UV filter of unknown provenance and lens cleaning cloth.
Lens out of box, still with sticky wrap on it. One thing I wanted to mention is that I bought the lens on eBay from a dealer from Korea, K-Trend. They had the lowest price around (about $340 shipped to the US of A) and excellent reviews. In general I like giving anyone their due, and if they provide good service and a good product I like to mention this. I wouldn’t consider the lens absolutely fully tested, but so far it seems to be in impeccable shape and a great sample and arrived very rapidly. I ordered on Memorial day, Monday, and it arrived from South Korea on Thursday morning.
A few reviews have probably mentioned this, but around the front of the lens barrel is a small plastic ring that appears integrated at first glance, but twists off to reveal the lens hood bayonet. I did get the lens at a pretty deep discount compared to US MSRP…but still, it seems a little cheap that Olympus can’t include a lens hood that fits on the bayonet. Heck, I don’t need a high quality aluminum, steel or titanium or some other exotic material hood. A cheap ABS plastic silver or black hood could have done just fine and probably wouldn’t even cost Olympus $1 per lens to include (though they probably average a bigger loss than that in missed sales of $40 hoods).
Click on any of the enlargements below to view them at 100% pixels (in case your web browsers is displaying them at reduced size in the post).
Olympus 45mm, f1.8, 1/30s, ISO500
I made sure that my obligatory cat photo was the very first one taken with the lens.
Olympus 45mm, f/4, 1/2000s, ISO200
I went with a mechanical study for one of the next ones.
Center, 100%. The lens, especially stopped down, but heck, spoiler alert, even wide open, is really darned sharp.
Olympus 45mm, f/5.6, 1/1600s, ISO200
This is about the MFD of the lens (maybe an inch or so short of it). You don’t get super high magnification out of the lens, but it isn’t terrible either, those are pretty small daisies.
This little guy was flying around really fast and I lucked out that I tripped the shutter as he was starting to land.
Olympus 45mm, f/4.5, 1/2000s, ISO200
We have a mess of strawberries in our backyard. I built a 4x8ft raised planter in back that last year we did some veggies in (pickling cukes, garlic, spring onions, sugar snap peas, strawberries and tomatoes). The only things that did well were the cukes, the onions and to a lesser degree the lettuce. This year we planted radishes, carrots and sugar snap peas. After a slow start the carrots are coming in strong, the radishes are all dead and gone and the sugar snap peas are looking good. However, the real story is the garlic and the strawberries, both of which grew back on their own in a huge way. The garlic is thriving in the 3 spots we planted it, but the strawberries after only producing a handful of berries in the 4 plants we planted last year have come back in with maybe 20-25 plants bearing tons of berries. Insects have gotten maybe 1 in 4 berries, birds about 1 in 5 or 6 and the rest we have been harvesting as they ripen. So far we have gotten at least 2 overfilled soup bowls of strawberries and that probably isn’t even half of the berries on the vine at the moment, let alone later blooms. It is a lot of fun. If you have the space and the time I really recommend planting a few veggies, berry plants/bushes or herbs (we have a lot of Thyme growing by our front door both for spices and because it is a mild ant repellent) even if it is in a planter box or pot in your kitchen window. Possibly saving money if you do it right aside, fresh picked herbs, veggies, berries, fruits, etc really are much tastier and flavorful and it just feels nice to eat something you grew yourself. Just my 2 cents and experience both with the raised planter at my townhouse from the last few years and from many years as a child having about an 8x8ft plot that my parents used to plant behind our house (tomatoes, rhubarb and onion are the only things I remember well from it, but I am sure we planted a lot more than that in all that space). The kids also love helping out picking, watering and eating stuff out of the garden.
Olympus 45mm, f/1.8, 1/2000s, ISO200
Enough of my “plant-your-own” PSA and back to the lens. The Bokeh is just so nice and smooth on this thing and it is nice to have a lens that really can throw the background well out of focus at reasonable working distances. There are a number of trolls and even legitimate critics of m4/3 and 4/3 formats because of the “lack” of shallow depth of field. I’d say that is very much not true. I’ll grant you, it is a lot wider than APS-c or 35mm formats, but in general I prefer to have more depth of field instead of less. That said, it is still nice to have a lens or two for portraits that can really throw the background out of focus when you want to.
Olympus 45mm, f/2.2, 1/2000s, ISO200
Just another bokeh example to show how smooth it is.
A final sample to show lens sharpness. I dawned on me that I have a giant map of the US on my basement wall for the kids. Those suckers make GREAT test charts.
Olympus 45mm, f/1.8, 1/30s, ISO400
This one is VERY unscientific. No tripod, handheld, not base ISO, slow shutter speed and possibly not perfectly parallel to the map. That said, the area is about 12×16 inches in size.
Again, a very unscientific test of sharpness, but it looks pretty good to my eyes, especially with all of the above caveats.
A couple of final notes. The lens does focus quickly, but I would say not quite as quick as the sigma 30/2.8. Also a couple of times I found that the lens went completely through its focus range back and forth before acquiring focus instead of a quick in-out of focus before locking. I’ll have to see if the firmware is the most recent version on the lens. That said, it only happened a couple of times and even with that it still focused pretty fast, maybe a full second or slightly more instead of less than half a second, and on an E-PL1 body. At its worst is was about as slow as the 14-42 (first version) is most of the time.
No real comments on CA yet, I haven’t noticed it much, but not a lot of challenging photos. I have seen a bit of green CA that should be easy to clean up in one or two pictures, but nothing terrible at the moment. Also in general the lens seems very flare resistant as I couldn’t produce flare shooting directly in to the sun or with it just out of frame or in the corner of the frame. A very slight loss of contrast with it just out of the frame, but pretty minor.
That basically sums it up from me for now. Depending on customs and the USPS, I should hopefully have an OM-D in my hands by early/mid next week. At which time the real fun begins 😀