It is hard to figure out where to start when discussing the Olympus m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. I could discuss Olympus Zuiko’s long distinguished history of lens design and construction, recent Olympus controversy, the near cult like status some hold this lens in, etc, etc. I think I’ll simply start with excellent.
That is a good descriptor to start off with when describing this lens. I have only had the lens for about 4 weeks now, but I have throughly enjoyed anytime I have slapped the lens on to either my E-M5 or my wife’s E-PL1. The lens is fast focusing, silent, has a nice large aperture, is sharp, is relatively low fringing and CA and pretty much has no real vices other than being constructed of plastic instead of metal (though that likely leads to a much lower lens weight).
The lens takes 37mm filters, which is a bit annoying as filters that small are much harder to mount and turn in the case of polarizers than a larger filter would be, though in this case, a larger filter would have meant a larger lens barrel. The lens has a 45mm focal length, which corresponds to a 90mm focal length field of view in 35mm photography. The lens as mentioned also has an f/1.8 aperature.
The combination of focal length and aperture allow the lens to have a pretty decent ability to throw backgrounds out of focus if that is your thing and the lens has correspondingly beautiful Bokeh. The lens is also sharp. Very sharp. From wide open the lens is extremely usable and the corners are even pretty sharp and are very, very sharp upon stopping down. The lens exhibits a little bit of fringing and CA on high contrast and some backlit edges, but it is lower than a lot of lenses.
The lens is also pretty cheap. It is not “dirt cheap”, but it retails for $399 new and can be found brand new grey market from sources like eBay for as little as $340 delivered by FedEx expedited shipping. Considering the quality of the lens, it is a very low price.
There isn’t a whole lot else to say about the lens other than if you are in the market for a portrait lens or a short telephoto with a wide aperture and that is very high quality, this is definitely the lens for you. There really isn’t anything to discuss in terms of cons to the lens.
Click on the test charts above for full size views. The left one is the center crops and the right the extreme top right corner. The f-stops are f/1.8, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6 and 8 in descending order. Out of camera JPEGs from the OM-D E-M5 with noise reduction off and sharpening set to low. As you can see the center is very, very sharp from wide open without much improvement on the already excellent results. The extreme corner is very good wide open and just plain excellent from around f/2.8 on. A small amount of vignetting is also evident wide open and at f/2.
- Very Sharp, excellent IQ across the frame
- Wide aperture, f/1.8
- Excellent Bokeh
- Pretty reasonably price for what you get
- Fast and silent autofocus
- There is some limited Vignetting at very wide apertures, but it is low
- There is some limited color fringing and CA, but again low
- The lens was not free
A couple of sample images, full size. These are from RAW with some highlight/shadow tweaks and otherwise just standard LR4.1 camera profile applied. The first one also had a hair of color fringing removed (was evident in the RC cars specular highlights).