The Olympus 45 mm 1.8 lens is for sale since autumn 2011. It is a compact, lightweight portrait / short telephoto lens with an attractive design. The Olympus 45 mm lens has a large aperture for a micro-43 lens and almost has no competitors. The Panasonic 45 mm macro has a smaller aperture and a much higher price.
Construction and autofocus
The Olympus 45 mm 1.8 is made of high quality plastic with a metallic finish. The metal finish is so realistic that many photographers do not even notice it’s plastic.
The focus ring is nice and large enough to focus manually. Because the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 uses internal focusing, the front lens does not rotate and the length of the lens remains constant.
The AF of the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 combined with the Olympus OM-D is fast, quiet and accurate.
Olympus has the most effective image stabilization that we have hitherto encountered, as we already showed in our Olympus E-M5 review.
An image made at focal distance of 45 mm (= 90 @ mm full-format) and a shutter speed of 1/100 second shooting without image stabilization, is equally sharp as an image made using image stabilization and a shutter speed of 1/6 second. That is a gain of 4 stops!
With longer exposure times, the profit is still 3 stops: if you use a shutter speed of 1/25 second shooting without image stabilization, the blur is equal to the blur of an image made at a shutter speed of 1/3 second.
Vignetting is minimal when using the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 in standard jpg files, regardless of the aperture. An absolute top performance.
The Olympus 45 mm 1.8 exhibits 0.5% of pincushion distortion. That is in practice not visible.
The bokeh of the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 is beautiful. Not only for a micro-43 objective, even for a lens on a camera with a full-format sensor, we would have identified with beautiful bokeh. The Olympus 45 mm 1.8 is the ideal lens to play with background blur. The depth of the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 corresponds approximately to a 90 mm f/3.5 lens on a camera with a full-format sensor.
Play with OOF (Out of focus)
A micro-43 lens with a 1.8 aperture and a nice bokeh, invites you to play with out of focus (“OOF”) blur. Here you see a picture of my keyboard. The image is deliberately in high key. Seemed to me that this would be not only more artistic, but the dirt on my keyboard would be less evident as well.
The Olympus 45 mm 1.8 showed no ghosting and virtually no flare during our test. Even when shooting straight into the sun.
The “flare” that you see here shooting in practice, originated in resizing this image for the web and not through the lens flare.
We have measured resolution using standard jpg files of the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 and the Olympus OM-D. In order to compare the resolution measurements with lenses on a camera with an APS-C sensor, the aspect ratio was set to 2:3.
The resolution of the Olympus 45 mm lens is high from aperture 1.8 through aperture 8. Interestingly, the resolution in the corners is almost as high as in the center.
Chromatic aberration is properly limited. Our Imatest measurements demonstrate you may encounter visible chromatic aberration at very large magnifications. during our field test we saw no chromatic aberration in our images.Only lenses with a larger aperture than 2.8 exhibit in practice color bokeh, or longitudinal chromatic aberration. Behind the focus point you can encounter green color bokeh and in front of the focus point color bokeh. The degree of color bokeh is really with the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 as you can see in this image.
Conclusion Olympus 45mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital review
- High resolution, starting at f/1.8
- Resolution in corners and centre are almost equal
- Fast lens with beautiful bokeh
- Little longitudinal chromatic aberration
- Low price
- No lens hood included
The Olympus 45 mm 1.8 is the first lens where we did not identify any really disadvantages. Although there is a beautiful lens hood available as an accessory, in practice you will suffer little flare and ghosting even without it. And the lens hood will make camera and lens more bulky. The image quality of the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 is very high. The price is very low, especially if you take into consideration the performance. This lens is a must for any owner of a micro-43 camera.