The Olympus 45 1.8 Micro 4/3 Lens Review by Steve Huff
Do you desire an almost perfect fast portrait lens for your Micro 4/3 camera?
My guess is that many of you here pre-ordered this lens and you have been waiting for it…patiently. Well, if you do not want to be driven crazy while waiting then you may want to click off of this page right now for the obvious reasons. I pre-ordered my 45 1.8 a few weeks ago, I think close to 8 weeks ago (or so it seems) and it arrived a few days ago in all of its glory from B&H Photo. I already posted a 1st look a few days ago with a video overview and some quick samples that my son took when I 1st mounted the lens but today I will go into it a little bit more with some real world samples!
Out of the Box
When I took the lens out of the box I immediately felt that this lens was quality. I was worried about this one because the Olympus 12mm f/2 is $799 and has a nice solid build. That is a GREAT lens. This 45 1.8 is $399 so I was worried it would feel all plasticky and cheap but I was wrong. To clear that up, the lens feels GREAT in it’s build and is pretty slim and small compared to most micro 4/3 lenses. For example, the Panasonic 20 1.7 looks a little fat next to this 45 1.8 yet the 45 obviously has more glass inside. You can see them both side by side below…
Shooting with the Lens
The E-P3 with the 45 1.8 – From RAW, converted to B&W – ISO 640 – click image for larger
When I snapped some shots at the local aquarium near my house I was kind of floored by the quality as it seemed to up the quality of the E-P3 sensor! It didn’t of course but it seemed like it because it was giving me DAMN GOOD results. When I reviewed the 12mm f/2 I declared it the best micro 4/3 lens made to date. A BOLD statement but I meant that from every aspect. Build, size, function and IQ. After using this 45 1.8 for a few days I can say that this lens is equally as delicious. Yes, I said delicious! The IQ from this lens on the E-P3 is nothing short of astounding for the micro 4/3 format. Some of the best quality I have seen from any M4/3 camera/lens combo.
Update Oct 2013 – On the E-P5
AF Speed and Image Quality on the E-P3
The focus is fast, the lens is sharp even when wide open, and the color and contrast is top notch. Bokeh (out of focus area quality) is good as well. Not amazingly crazy like some Leica glass but still, for a $399 Micro 4/3 lens I WILL TAKE IT. Olympus has FINALLY DELIVERED with this and the 12mm. I mentioned it in the 1st look video but if you want a “Holy Trinity” for micro 4/3 you will want to buy the 12mm f/2, either the Panasonic 20 1.7 or new 25 1.4 and this 45 1.8. You will then have a 24/40-50/90. A perfect set of primes and all fast quality glass – sort of Leica like in the execution of lenses I must say.
Yes my friends, Micro 4/3 has finally matured. The cameras are getting better, the lenses are getting better, and in reality, it is getting to the point that this kind of quality is good enough for 93% of us who shoot and post to the web (which admit it, this is what mostly all of us do with our photos ultimately). Seriously. A camera like the E-P3 has some of the fastest AF in the world and when you add on lenses like these what you get back is spectacular. It is hard to complain about it and if you do not have the funds for something like a Leica M9 and a Summilux lens then you can be happy with something like this as you will be getting way more bang for the buck.
If you click on the image below you can see a 100% crop of the image which was shot wide open at 1.8
Another image shot at f/1.8. I focused on the surface of the water in a Koi Pond
Stopped down a teeny bit to f/2 it’s as sharp as can be…
This new lens feels VERY good on the camera. Sleek, silver, and solid but not heavy. I feel the $399 price is WELL worth it so if you see it in stock anywhere and have a Micro 4/3 camera then I would snag it up. It is just one of those lenses that comes around every few years that gets it all “right”.
Smaller cameras and lenses are the future
That makes me remember the review I wrote for the Panasonic 20 1.7 a while ago where I put it up against the big monster Nikon D3s. The E-P2 and 20mm won that shootout but that was because I was shooting the D3s with the el-cheapo Nikon 50 1.8. Add that lens to a full frame camera like the D3s and you will get soft images and softer corners. These little cameras like the E-P3 and even the new TINY Panasonic GF3 will always give you pretty sharp corners and there are some fantastic strengths in this smaller sensor with that being one of them. The other strength and the most important one..is SIZE. I see it MORE AND MORE these days…people are dumping their DSLR’s for small cameras like the NEX system, or Micro 4/3 cameras. One reason why Nikon and Canon sales are DOWN this year and I predicted this over the last two years.
The fact is that Nikon and Canon have not made any kind of real effort just yet to get into this market because they probably do not want to destroy their SLR sales which in turn would make their lens sales drop. They had a good thing going for a while (and still do of course) but these little cameras have certainly put a dent into the big bulky SLR market.
If Nikon or Canon would release a REAL DEAL digital Rangefinder style camera with an EVF instead of an old RF it would be great but for some reason they are holding back while companies like Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and even Ricoh with their GXR modular system are now gaining more and more followers. I know Leica have a couple of things planned for 2012 and I expect one of their announcements to make a pretty big splash. Should be fun.
When I took this snap I was listening to Prince’s “Sexy M.F.”
So back to the 45. Is it perfect? What are its flaws?
Now I am not sitting here writing to you and telling you that this lens will beat a Leica lens or is the best lens in the world right now as I am writing this review in a Micro 4/3 state of mind, not a Leica state of mind. In the M4/3 world it really doesn’t get much better than this, if at all. If I had to note a flaw I would say that it should come with a lens hood and maybe it doesn’t have the best quality Bokeh ever (this is not Leica ro Zeiss here) but it’s damn good. Olympus makes the hood an option but does not include one, BOO.
But that is about it as I find the lens sharp at every aperture, fast to AF, and the color rendition is very good as well. I mean, I just sat here and said it was part of the “Holy Trinity” of Micro 4/3 glass, so not many complaints that I have found.
Wide open at f/1.8 and from a distance. This shot was also taken with the Ricoh GXR and Leica 50 Summitar HERE.
ISO 1600 – from RAW with a little bit of Noise Reduction and a B&W conversion – f/1.8
f/1.8 with a bit of contrast boost…
Aperture and Sharpness
This lens opens up to 1.8 allowing you to not only get great low light shots but also get shallow depth of field and up until this lens, it was tough to get this look with Micro 4/3. Opening up to 1.8 and shooting this focal length will give you super shallow DOF. This is a BIG DEAL of us who shoot with these cameras. How sharp is it? The following photo was shot wide open at f/1.8 and is the full size out of camera file:
Click image for full size file!
So there it is!
So there you have it. Short, sweet and to the point. This lens rocks. Period. It also focuses pretty damn close at 0.5 meters which allows for some creative uses. While many say this is a portrait lens, you can see from the images I shot above that it is much more than that. A 90mm equivalent focal length can be useful for many things. I usually stayed away from this focal length on my Leica due to the fact that almost every 90 I shot with had focus issues. Now I will use this setup for my 90mm needs unless I decided to invest in the Ricoh GXR M module where focus issues will also be a thing of the past, WITH Leica glass. The Ricoh is a pretty sweet system with an even larger sensor.
As of this writing I own the 12mm, 20mm and 45 for the E-P3 and enjoy them all. This lens gets my highest recommendation if you are a Micro 4/3 owner. Anyone who knocks this lens (don’t think there will be any) has never tried it or had a defect 🙂 You can buy it at AMAZON and B&H Photo.
I will now leave you with a few more images from this lens. Enjoy!
More Koi pond imagery – f/1.8
Using the spot meter of the E-P3 I metered off of the leaves where the sun was hitting. This will give you the best exposure for a scene like this. f/1.8
My kindergarden class picture. Can you spot me? HINT: I had hair then! ISO 1600, 1.8
I shot this at f/1.8 at 1/15th second – remember this is a 90mm equivilant! ISO 1600.
F/1.8 inside the Apple store..
and more images…click any for larger – exif is intact in all
Below..ISO 1600 at night outside with one light bulb above his head. f/1.8
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That’s funny. The first comment was made six years ago, and the Olympus 45mm f.8 still lives on. Yes I agree with all the posts here. It is a good lens and fun to shoot, but I find my Olympus 12-40mm lens even better. Can wait to get my hands on the 40-150mm.
Thanks Steve for a great review as always, I went ahead and bought this lens on this review, so glad I did works great on the Pana GM-1. Looking forward to the revies on the Canon 5DSR, I will have to stop reading these reviews as it’s costing me a smal fortune.
Keep up the great work.
I got the 12-40 f/2.8 PRO and received today the 45 f/1.8 – had not time to do any tests, but I took some shots indoor and don’t see much difference between those two lenses – should I keep the prime or just stick to my 12-40 f/2.8 ?I am thinking to get a 40-150 f/2.8 too … thanks for your feedback Steve
Can anyone throw any light on what the issue could be with me having tried 3 copies of the Oly 45/1.8 on my GX7 and all seem soft. Not at all what I see here. The GX7 works great with the 20mm/1.7. Granted I’m not doing comprehensive tests, just standing at a camera store counter and pointing itat signs/gear etc and viewing on the rear screen. Focus light confirmation is on. ???I so want this lens and for it to ‘work’
Strange but the very 1st copy I ever had when the lens was released had this issue. I returned it and my replacement was 100% better, night and day. Seems like sample variation.
At first I thought it may be an issue with the GX7 body which I bought used (maybe it is ?). But the 20mm/1.7 it came with is great. It’s sharp enough to ‘count the eyelashes’. I tried a used copy of the 45mm and then went to two different stores to try a new copy. Could it be ‘sample variation’ over 3x copies?? I will try another and see if I have better luck. If it’s a camera issue, I have the possibility to return the camera (even though it’s used) but have to decide today/tomorrow.
As an alternative – has anyone used or reviewed the Sigma 60mm/2.8 for M43
The Sigma 60mm 2.8 is a brilliant lens. It’s on par with the best optics I know. I use it a lot. See my stream: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33689131@N07/
Be aware that sample variation exsists wit most brands nowadays.
Slow to focus, sample variation, and did I say SLOW to focus. That is the issue with the 60.
Hey Steve where did (or can I) get that camera strap that is on most of your cameras?
great review! A couple of questions: first, I like to take pictures that appeal to me, but primarily my gh3 is a tool to record pictures and video of my daughter growing up. I have a few lenses so far but trying to come up with the best collection for more general purpose (but high quality). I currently own pana kit lens, 45-150, oly 9-18, sigma 60 2.8, oly 17 1.8 and pana 25 1.4. What do you think is more useful next, this 45 or the 12mm?
also, the gh3 is great for video, and good for pictures, but I would like a smaller stabilized body with better pq for photos. Which do you think is the best compromise body with this in mind?
Id say go for the 45 1.8 for sure!
Thanks for the (quick) response, Steve! I’ll put it on the list as my next camera related purchase, and make sure I go through your links. You have an awesome site, and I read articles here all the time! 🙂
My only niggle with this lens, is that it needs a raised ‘notch’ on the lens mounting ring to make it easier/faster to mount/remove the lens.
Not sure this lens could be any faster focusing. It nailed these birds every time I pulled the trigger.
Question Please and Thank You…I just bought an Olympus E-M5. with the 75 lens and the 17 lens. I have enough credit at the store to get one more lens…what would you recommend. I also could return the 17 and get a different lens. Im thinking that 3 lenses should take care of my needs. Fishing,Climbing Waterfalls, Beach,Mountains, Low Light,Family and Friends, Dogs, Buildings. Also bought the FL-300R Flash and the HDL. Thank You and Merry Christmas! Keith Moore
Id return the 17 and get the new 17 1.8. The old 17 is good but no where near the quality of the new primes. The new 1.8 with the 45 and 75 would be awesome.
We just had a baby and I am looking into buying a new lens for my EPL-1….I am not sure if I should buy the panasonic or the 45mm 1.8 ….what would you recommend….
Thank you 🙂
My economy holy trinity lens are
Pana 14mm, Pana Leica 25mm, and Oly 45mm
3 lens combined cost equal to my OM-D body (Oly 12mm is a bit pricey for me)
Now thinking about getting Sony VCL-ECU1 wide converter to use with Pana 14mm and Pana 25mm
I think am a little late to the game. But, I am happy that I read the review enough times and finally picked up a copy. After the ep2 and 20mm. The OMD and 45mm feel fast as lighting and ip am actually loving it as a option to take portraits on the street. I really hope that the coming 17mm will preform in the same manner.
Yea, I have high hopes for the 17. If it is in the same league as the 12, 45 and 75 we are in for a treat.
You know Steve, the more that I look at pics from this lens the more I respect it. I am more and more loving its IQ. You say it is no Leica but actually I have not seen a bad pic taken with it and all the pics you have posted have a very unique look, sharp, smooth and punchy colors with great contrast.
Is it possible we have underestimated this lens?
At first you don’t realize what it is really doing, then you do and realize at $399 it is the lens of the decade.
I am Dewa from Bali. Need your help. is it all the micro lens attachment to the camera body are same?
I start to learn photography and i just bought new Olympus E-PL 1 with lenses, i wonder if i can fit a canon’s micro 4/3 lenses to this Olympus camera.
Best regard from Bali Steve…. Thank you
Looks fabulous i have the 14mm Lumix and the 20mm Lumix lenses, but really fancy the ‘ Holy Trinity’ as you say Steve with the Olympus 45mm, my only concern is ( and God don’t strike me down : ) ), but i wish there were a black version…..
I wish they made them in black as well as it would look so much better on the black cameras.
Hey Steve, awesome review per usual. I’ve been doing a bit of research on versatile lenses that can be used indoors w/ babies/dogs and outdoor landscapes. Yes, it’s a wide range and there probably isn’t a “perfect” lens for both, especially in my price range <$500. After reading nearly all of your lens reviews, I think I've narrowed it down to this 45mm Oly, or the two Panasonic pancakes (the 14 and the 20).
I've just been using the standard kit 14-42 lens that came on my Oly EPL1 which obviously isn't all that great, especially indoors. So any info you can give me or a recommendation would be great.
I'm still really new to all this technology and I find your "real world" reviews better than most tech sites because those usually turn into tech speak more so than real world results, which I appreciate. So thanks again for the great/informative site!
Well the 45 1.8 will give you a 90mm equivalent. The Panasonic 14 and 20 would be a 28 and 40mm. Two totally different focal length equivalents. Just figure out what focal length you would feel best shooting and there is your answer! All of those are great choices.
Great Review Steve 🙂
What would you say are the best m4/3 lenses for bokeh/portrait photography? For any manufacturer that is (ie, voigtlander, slr magic etc)
Well, the 45 1.8 is my top pick for portraits on M4/3. The upcoming 75 1.8 from Olympus looks promising as well.
I don´t know if you read or answer comments to older posts but I am really curious. Why do I never see you using filters on your lenses? Do you take pictures of them right after unpacking them and then put on a filter before going out shooting pictures? If you don´t use filter on m43lenses or other lenses, why not? Does it degrade performance that much or what?
On my Canonlenses I always use filters but now that I´m buying an OLY EM-5 I can´t help wondering.
Keep up the good work!
With my best regards
Stefan from Sweden
I never in my life have used filters. I only used them when I had to with the Leica M8 (UV/IR). Why? Well, I have never dropped a lens, never damaged a lens and I feel if I spend thousands on a lens (Leica) why would I put a $30 piece of low quality glass in front of it? But no, I have never in my life bought a UV filter or used one. 🙂
Would you recommend this lens as my 1st addition to my E-PM1? I only have the kit lens. I am looking for a better quality all around lens. Would love some advise.
Has anyone ever told your buddy who we often see in the pictures that he looks like Frank Black ? The lead singer from the Pixies
Steve, I’m hoping to purchase a m4/3 camera(Panasonic Lumix GX1) and I’m stuck choosing between the 45mm F1.8 or the 20mm F1.7. Like a 50mm on a FF DSLR, which one is the all purpose lens?
Well a 45 will be a 90 and a 20 will be a 40. Just decide on which focal length you prefer. A 90 is not really an every day lens so I would go for the 20 1.7.
Great review as always Steve!
By the way, have you tried pana-Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45 f/2.8 ? How good this lens compared to oly 45 f/1.8 ?
Yes I did. It is larger, slower to AF (it is a macro lens) and more expensive. Still, a beautiful rendering!
The review is here:
Looks like an awesome lens. Will buy one!
Thanks for this review! Your clearly written article, good sample photos and enthusiasm gave me enough courage to order one Zuiko 45mm 1.8 for about $350.
We’re expecting a black christmas this year as the weather is unusually warm so the 1.8 should compensate. Also I hope this lens will cheer up my motivation to actually take some photos in the future.
Really nice review got it aswell!!
Here are some samples with my e-p3 🙂 Hope you like them!
Greetz from Amsterdam.
Wow, this is SO out of time, but the UPS guy just dropped off my 45/1.8 tonight and the thing I just didn’t get even from the video is just how tiny, jewel like, and flat out gorgeous this lens is. Mine’s mounted on my G2 and it just looks so incredible. I see (a little) what you Leica guys are talking about.
Thank you very much steve huff for your quick response as always and you’re very good advice but I just don’t like that focal length much it’s not for me and like I said I already have a 50 millimeter 1.4 so good luck with your lens I know you will enjoy it….lol
I’m from Japan and this lens is on sale for roughly $350usd (converted from Japanese yen). I’m assuming based on your review that that would be a good price to pick up this lens. Just a few questions (I’m still new to photography but got an m4/3 not long ago)…
1) Does this camera work with my E-PL1? Would I need to do anything or do I just pop the lens in and thats it?
2) How does this camera fare, in your opinion, with landscape and night view shots, particularly nightview? I’m interested in night photography and would love your feedback.
Thanks and I enjoy reading many of your articles. Keep it up!
$350 US is a good price, yes. Yes, the lens would just attach right to your E-PL1 as it is a M4/3 lens. The E-Pl1 is a great camera and this combo would work well and give the same IQ results that you see above.
Thank you for the quick response. I was planning to get the 20mm Panasonic one but couldn’t find it and was gonna relegate myself to the 17mm Olympus. Then I read reviews and had doubts until I read your review about the 45mm.
Thanks for your help 🙂
The 45mm is a fantastic lens, but its far from a substitute for the 20mm, or the 17mm or even the 25mm. Its 90mm equiv and that makes it a short telephoto, or commonly called “portrait” lens because its a nice shot for a head and shoulders portrait.
The 20mm is over twice as wide and is more of a general purpose lens as is the 17mm. The 45mm would be a rather poor choice for general landscapes frankly.
I think that before you spend a good deal on any lens, you first learn what focal lengths you actually like shooting at. If you don’t have the kit zoom, you can pick on of those up for under $100, or perhaps borrow one even.
Spend a day walking around with your camera and see where on the zoom dial you like your shots and then choose a lens that matches those focal lengths
Simply picking up a 45mm either because Steve said it was good, or because you couldn’t find a 20mm are both poor reason to buy a lens.
Again, it is a fantastic lens, but if you enjoy landscapes and night shots, there are other choices that would probably suit you better.
The 25mm f1.4 with its added speed, paired with the IBIS of the PEN camera would make for a fantastic and quite versatile setup for both night shots and general walk around shooting
Thanks for pointing that out.
I have the 14-42mm kits lens that came with my camera. I rarely zoom all the way; in fact, it’s usually in set to no zoom (as in immediately after unlock position).
The 20mm is almost nowhere to be seen in Japan, but the 14mm is available. Likewise is the 17mm Olympus pancake. Would any adjustments be needed if I pop a Panasonic lens into an Olympus body?
Thank you everybody for your help 🙂
for substitute the kit lens, in fact for u zoom is not use, i prefer Lumix 14mm f2.5, and the 45mm is for you’re zoom or potrait lens, and if u can get the lumix 20mm f1.7, that will be AWESOME gear !!
I am traveling to Easter Europe and want to travel light. I have the OM-D, Olympus 17mm f1.8, Panasonic/Leica 25mm f 1.4, and the Olympus 45mm f1.8. I want to bring 2 lenses and one body (will also have a Panasonic LX5 for backup, for speed of use when I don’t have time to change lenses, for the wider angle it provides, and for macro).
My dilemma is whether to leave the 17mm f1.8 home since the 25mm is sharper, and I prefer the 50mm equivalent FL over the 35mm equivalent FL in general. (Would also have the 12-20mm FL available on the LX 5–albeit with lower image quality due to smaller sensor). Or, will the lack of a widener angle prime frustrate me so that leaving the 25mm home would be better and give me a more traditional mild WA and short telephoto match-up with the 17 and 45 rather than 25mm/45mm combination (which wouldnrequire relying on the LX5 (with its limitations if I need wide angle?
Don’t suppose you have shot with the FT 50/f2.0? Commonly said to be the “must have” FT glass, due to its amazing sharpness, and it’s what i shot on my E-PL2. Likely i will get the 45 anyways, but just wondering how they compare in sharpness/colour/contrast/bokeh?
I shot the 50 when I used to own the E-1 but it would focus slow on the E-P3 with adapter so Id rather stick to the 45 for size, speed, cost, etc.
I totally believe you the lens is great but won’t a cheaper 50 millimeter 1.8 from any manafacturer give me the equivalent
look for a lot less money no AF Of course I have the pentax fa 50 1.4 because of that I may not get this lens….
You lose AF, gain weight, gain some size. if you are a MF aficionado and want a 100mm then a 50 1.4 from whoever will work. If you want a 90mm that is made for the system, and to use its fast AF and touch screen (which is actually pretty remarkable on the E-P3, as in focusing on any part of the frame AND shooting it all in an instant.
So $399 for a lens made for the system, fast AF, nice size, great build, super sharp wide open and on the E-P3 using the one touch shooting on the LCD will ensure you get what you need in focus.
Or pay less for an older MF lens that probably won’t be as sharp, slower to focus (still not a fan of MF on the Micro 4/3 cameras as I find it slow and hit or miss) and larger.
Total personal preference.
Steve, thanks for the great review. I actually compared some photos with the similar ones made with the Ricoh+Leica and I wonder why there appears to be such a huge difference in colors. The photo with parrots seems to be way off the mark in terms of colors, especially so when compared vs the one from Ricoh which looks very natural and balanced and juicy. Is it due to wrong WB, or the lens, or another reason?
Just different ways of rendering the scene and different lenses as well. That Leica Summitar is very unique.
Steve, thanks for the writeup. I just got my 45/1.8 yesterday and agree with you 100% — this lens is a sign that Micro Four Thirds has matured as a serious photography system.
One thing I thought I’d mention for people who are looking around for one: I too had one on backorder at B&H and was still waiting… when I dropped into a local full-line camera store and found they had two of them on the shelf! Apparently Olympus is making an effort to see that ALL their dealers get SOME stock, rather than routing everything to the biggest outlets. So if you’re interested in one of these, try asking at your local Olympus dealer, if there’s one where you live. I bought one from the local dealer and cancelled my B&H order; same price, by the way.
Incidentally, the lens works just as well on Panasonic’s bodies, although of course with those you don’t get IS (I didn’t miss it.) In case anyone would rather look at ballerinas than fish, here are some sample photos I shot with mine yesterday:
Hi Steve, another question, what brand is this lovely shoulderbelt you have mounted to your E-P3 ? Would be great to know….. About the 45 1.8 – I already ordered it, hoping Olympus will soon deliver the German market too…. Best RainerJ
Its listed in my gear page by the E-P3 🙂
So it should be the braided Style in pitch black?
Thats it! and its a GREAT strap. My have right now 🙂 Its just long enough and super soft and comfortable. Even has some stretch to it. Love it.
Yeaa I agree, really sexy. I will have to find out where I can buy it in Germany if not i will do everything to get it from the US. Before I did see this strap, I never even thought about a strap … now I cant wait. Is it not be specific that photographers also want not only practical things (which it really is after your description) but also nice looking things…like the Oly E-P3, PL3, the 2.0 12mm (I ownen to , and I newer want to miss it again for my indoor pictures)…. Thanks a lot! Big Help!
I love your real world reviews and have been following your site since i got into m43’s with the e-pl2. I have the 14mm, 20mm, 25 f1.4, and the 45 f1.8. Is the 12mm f2 appreciably better than the 14mm pancake you reviewed before? Is it worth the price difference?
Well, you have a GREAT set of lenses there. The 12 and 14 are close and with the 12 hat you basically gain is an extra 2mm, you get f/2 over 2.5, better build, MSC (silent for movies), super fast AF and the MF feature where the focus ring snaps down to activate MF. Plus its gorgeous on the camera.
Image quality wise the 14 has a little more distortion but the 14 is great. Id only trade up if you wanted the snap MF feature or extra 2mm.
Is it just me, or does this lens produce sand-like noise, both on the background and on the focused subject? It’s evident on all the full-res shots when viewed at 100%.
It could just be that you’ve added it by mistake in ACR 6.5 (Effects tab->Grain slider).
Its not you or the lens, its the M4/3 format. ANY 100% view of an OOC image on Micro 4/3, especially when they are sharp like this lens produces, will give you that noise. NO NOISE was added. Just a very sharp lens and the smaller sensor does not give 100% smooth files when viewed at 100%. Good news is you do not see this noise in print or in web sized images and who stares at 100% digital files anyway? Thx
100% noise free files look a bit odd anyways, especially for b/w images. X100 for example at base ISO is really, really clean, but looks a bit synthetic if you grew up shooting film. I actually would prefer shooting at a higher ISO than needed, and with the NR off, just to get that little added “tooth” or texture to the files, and even then often add a little grain in PP.
In SilverEFX2 I almost always added a little extra grain as well, even w/ m4/3 images just because it makes the end product look more like what I grew up considering to be a “photograph”
Nice leather strap on the E-P3, mind to share who made it?
I had this lens since Japan release it, simply love it coz it’s fast. I also luv to snap from the E-P3 touch screen, right to the subject I wanna focus. keke..
Hey Steve, I have been reading your reviews for about a year now. I really enjoy your site. This review has definitely convinced me to give this lens a try. Thanks! I think it will go nicely with my GF2. I was tempted to make the move to the E-P3, but I’m holding out hope for the rumored Panasonic “GX1.”
One question… Do you find image stabilization is a must for this lens? The single drawback I find with the Panasonic vs Olympus cameras is the in-body IS. How beneficial is that for a lens of this type?
P.S. I’ll be sure to order the lens through your site. It looks like B&H doesn’t have it available at this time, and Amazon’s price is much higher. I’ll just wait until B&H gets it in stock…
Well having IS is always good for telephoto lenses, so if shooting in low light it would come in handy but it is not necessary.
Great review, thanks Steve. Based on your EP3 review I purchased the camera with the 12mm and just ordered the 45mm. For a perfect kit, all what is needed now is a fast 20mm Olympus lens with the optical quality of the (Panasonic) Summilux 25mm and the looks, features and build quality of the Oly 12mm.
One thing I think that is worth touching upon (intentional pun) is how much more useful the touch screen for selecting AF points becomes on the EP3.
For the most part with m4/3 in particular, focus and recompose works because the DOF covers any errors, but when your getting up to the 45mm f1.8, you can find yourself with your focal plane shifted a bit forward or back if you use focus and recompose, tip of the nose instead of the eyes in focus for example. With the touch screen on the EP3 though, its so fast and easy to frame the shot, and then just touch where you want the focus to be. Tap right on the eye and your good to go! Really makes that feature (touch af point, no touch shutter) way cooler to me now
Also cool, is that on the PEN’s, you can have no only face detection AF, but eye detection, with the choice of which eye even.
Suddenly nailing those really shallow DOF shots becomes so much faster and easier and much less disappointment when you get them on your 27″ monitor and realize that the focus isn’t quite where you wanted it and seeing the image full size you can see the forehead or nose or ear is in sharpest focus and not the eyes.
Hi Steve! Ur review validated my purchase of this lens for my e-p2 over buying an M8 and 35 cron. But i was just wondering if purchasing a used M8 would still be an option now when u are saying that Leica will be doing something mind blowing on ’12?
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
If you want a rangefinder the M8 is still a good buy, of course.
All we need now are rangefinder styled PEN and GF bodies with built in EVFs – and µFT will go ballistic.
I couldn’t agree more…
Kinda can’t believe neither company has actually released such a product.
With the NEX7 and it’s undoubted success I’m sure and hope it’s only a matter of time.
Well at least I hope 🙂
Just get any the NEX-7 when its out and you have all you want.
Not enough lenses. That’s where the NEX 7 falls short. Not to mention, the lenses just feel ridiculous on those cameras….
I agree that Panasonic and Olympus are missing the boat here. They need to integrate the EVFs now! AND they need to market them better. The average person doesn’t even know these cameras exist!
I think a great commercial would be to have an SLR being chisled down by a sculptor, to reveal a much smaller E-P3! That would get people’s attention…. The only reason the vast majority of people buy SLRs is for speed…
MIJ 50/1.8 vs 45/1.8
Steve if you can get hold of a Zuiko 50/1.8 MIJ (Made in Japan) serial 5million+ would be grateful if you would kindly compare it to this new 45/1.8 for sharpness wide open, colour, bokeh.
Hi, one of the lens testing sites tested the 50/1.8 and, in comparison, to all 4/3 lens it didn’t fare very well.
Thank you Warren. Would you have the link & did they test the MIJ 50/1.8 serial 5million+
Hi Steve,do the Oly 45mm 1.8 and the 12mm 2.0 have IS built into them or do they rely on in the camera IS of the EP 3 ? I’m currently using a GF1 with the 20mm 1.7,neither of which have IS on board.
No IS in the lens but the E-P3 built in IS is used.
I just got the 45 yesterday and I agree completely with this review.
Thanks so much for having such a great site. I read it daily and am always recommending it to friends. I mainly got a GXR because of your recommendation. I had read other reviews but yours was so convincing. And I might add it was the one that was right. I love that camera.
Hopefully one day I’ll be able to afford Leica gear.
Thanks so much Steve!!
Nice real world review. The images are great from this new lens. I went ahead and ordered one and can’t wait to recieve it. I hope it works well on my GF1.
I just ordered a panasonic G3. I am hoping that I can use this lens on it. The panasonic lens is sooo much more expensive! How did it work out for you?
Great review. Short and sweet. I guess there only so many ways you can say that this lens is sweet.
Loving it along with the pana 25mm f1.4.
Can the 45 and the 12mm fit the Sony NEX5n body?
No, the12 and 45 are for Micro 4/3 mount only.
Fantastic review as usual, Steve.
I totally agree with you about the Oly 45mm. I had it for two weeks now and I really enjoyed the quality images its delivered. The best m4/3rd lens I have used. Love it.
Thanks, and enjoy it!
Thanks Steve, as a fully vested m4/3 owner(G1+EPL-2) this lens has been on my sights ever since reading about in Wong’s Olympus site. Thanks for giving us your take on this badboy, I’m hunting it down as its running scarce much like the 20mm 1.7.
First row, third from the right?
Yes, you are correct!