Best Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f / 1.2 Pro lens Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

Little by little, Olympus completes its range of “Pro” lenses, whose technical characteristics have been designed for a perfect combination with its high-end OM-D cameras. After the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25 mm f / 1.2 Pro , the brand unveiled at the end of last year two other f / 1.2 wide aperture lenses: the M.Zuiko Digital ED 17 mm f / 1.2 Pro and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 45 mm f / 1.2 Pro that we are testing today.

Presentation

Equivalent to a 90mm in 24×36, this fixed focal lens is intended more particularly for portraitists who will appreciate the very shallow depth of field offered by the f / 1.2 aperture and the velvety bokeh of its circular diaphragm with 9 lamellae. Optical manufacturing is based on the presence of 14 elements divided into 10 groups, including 1 aspherical lens, 1 ED glass element and 4 high resolution HR elements. The minimum focusing distance is limited to 50 cm and the lens can therefore reach a magnification of 0.1x. It has an autofocus release mechanism, seals and a configurable L-Fn button.

Best Olympus M Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f / 1.2 Pro lens Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

2. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras (Black)

3. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm F4.0 PRO Lens Black, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

4. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras (Black)

5. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 Pro Lens, for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

Ergonomics

If Micro 4/3 systems are generally distinguished by their compactness, it must be admitted that this is not precisely the case for this 45 mm f / 1.2: it exceeds 8 cm in length exceeds and has a diameter of 7 cm for a weight of 410 g. Mounted on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II with which we carried out our field trials, it does not, however, lead to imbalance.

Its manufacture is exemplary and from the first contact, we appreciate the density of the lens, its metal barrel and its inscriptions. Note that it is delivered with a sun visor fitted with a security lock. The internal focusing is useful for the use of filters, although this characteristic is especially very important in macro, an area unfortunately inaccessible to this objective because of its minimum focusing distance (50 cm).

In autofocus mode, the focusing ring will not be of any help, but a slide towards the back makes switching very easily in manual focusing: the ring then displays a higher resistance for a good focusing precision . A quarter turn allows you to go from the minimum focusing distance to infinity. This tilt backwards also shows a very useful distance scale in order to better anticipate the direction of rotation or the room for maneuver remaining before the minimum focusing distance. Note, however, a slight offset between the inscription 0.5 m and the stop at minimum focus. As for the depth of field abacus, it is unfortunately too narrow to be really useful.

In practice

The 45 mm in Micro 4/3 offers a relatively tight field of view, since it corresponds to that of a 90 mm in 24×36. Therefore, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 45 mm f / 1.2 Pro will not be able to adapt to all shooting conditions and it is more willingly in portrait or still life that it will show all its potential. We appreciated its fast and perfectly silent focusing thanks to which we were able to systematically hook the point, so that we only very rarely needed to switch to manual focus. Unfortunately, the minimum distance of 50 cm was sometimes constraining: the temptation was great to get closer to our subject for effects of shallow depth of field and we very often found ourselves too close.

The f / 1.2 aperture is all the more appreciable in Micro 4/3 as this format is not ideal for shallow depths of field. However, in practice, it is not certain that the gain compared to a lens like the M. Zuiko Digital 45 mm f / 1.8 is here obvious. However, it is in comparison to the depth of field obtained with the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f / 2.8 which still has its advantage a minimum focus at 15 cm. 

Note also that if very large apertures can be complex to use on SLRs due to frequent focus shifts (so-called back or front focus phenomena : the point is not exactly where we expected it, but slightly behind or in front), the autofocus realized directly on the hybrid sensor is always right. We did not encounter the slightest problem of precision here, thanks to the presence of 121 easily selectable collimators on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. 

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Finally, note that very large openings, which are interesting in low light, are more difficult to exploit in full light. You can then count on the electronic shutter to exceed the maximum speed of the mechanical shutter and go up to 1 / 32,000 s.

On the ground, the behavior of this 45 mm f / 1.2 on the ground is quite exemplary. The objective does not generate any distortion so that we will not hesitate to draw it on some architectural photos.

On the vignetting side, same observation. The edges are very slightly darker at full opening, but the phenomenon is barely noticeable in practice. It disappears completely from f / 2.8.

Sharpness

The notion of dive is quite delicate to deal with. This is what we can assimilate to the “feeling of sharpness” or to the “precision” that we observe on an image. It can be very different from one lens to another, from one focal to another and from one aperture to another. It can also vary between the center and the edges of the image. We usually say that the sharpness is optimal in the center and at the average openings (f / 8 or f / 11, for example).

The M. Zuiko Digital 45mm f / 1.8 has been tested by our colleagues from Digital Focus on a Panasonic Lumix GX8 with a 4/3 “20 MP sensor (5,200 x 3,904 px). Each pixel therefore measures 3.3 µm aside The results of the target photo were analyzed using Imatest software in order to obtain the dive graph below.

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The first observation concerns the behavior of the objective at full aperture: the level of sharpness is already very high in the center. This value increases as the diaphragm is closed to reach its maximum at values ​​f / 2.8 and f / 4. After f / 8, diffraction begins to appear and the results drop significantly to f / 11 and f / 16. At large apertures, the lens lacks consistency and presents a fairly mediocre sharpness in the corners. But the phenomenon will not be annoying in portrait. 

Facing the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5 mm f / 1.2 Asph. , the Olympus model does not deserve. Its sharpness is slightly higher in the center, but the Leica model displays better homogeneity. In practice, the results are quite similar. The Leica has optical stabilization to its advantage, but the mechanical stabilization integrated in the overwhelming majority of Micro 4/3 cases will compensate for this absence on the M. Zuiko Digital 45 mm f / 1.8.

STRONG POINTS

  • Very large opening.
  • Tropicalization.
  • Strong dive in the center from the full opening.
  • Low vignetting.
  • No distortion.
  • Fast AF / MF toggle system.

WEAK POINTS

  • Dimensions.
  • No close focus.
  • Lack of homogeneity at full opening.

CONCLUSION

Olympus signs with this 45mm f / 1.2 an excellent lens, free from distortion, with very low vignetting and a strong dive in the center. Too bad the homogeneity is not better, which would have made it an almost perfect objective. We also regret that it is not possible to approach within 50 cm of the subject. Nevertheless its manufacture and its handling are exemplary. You will only have to agree to pay the price, because this lens is the most expensive in its category. Users will no doubt hesitate with the f / 1.8 version , which is less efficient but much more accessible.

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