Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm f/1.8 - Review / Lens Test
Lens Reviews - (Micro-)Four-Thirds

Review by Sebastian Milczanowski, published December 2011


The lack of pure speed is no longer an argument against micro-four-thirds (MFT) as more and more lenses like the the Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH or the Olympus M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 ED have entered the market. However, the system wasn't really blessed with dedicated "portrait" lenses ... till Olympus announced the M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8. Its field-of-view is equivalent to about 90mm in full format terms so it fits perfectly into that category. The maximum aperture of f/1.8 is certainly fast with respect to light gathering, but in terms of depth-of-field you are are effectively "loosing" about two f-stops in this respect compared to the classic full format. However, this is still sufficient for quite shallow depth-of-field images especially for portrait photography from short distance. Fair enough, let's have a closer look at the lens.

At the first glance, the build quality of the lens is very good as it is assembled with very tight tolerances. However, keep in mind that this is an "out of the box" impression and that we can't make any statements about the long term durability of the lens. The small and light weight lens body looks like high-quality metal but it is actually made of plastic parts based on a metal mount.

The following figure shows the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 ASPH. OIS - just to give you an idea of the size.

The AF motor of the Zuiko has been optimized for movies ("Movie-Still-Compatible" or MSC) resulting in fast and silent AF operations. Manual focusing works "by-wire" so there's no direct mechanical coupling and, correspondingly, the effective focus response is somewhat more coarse than on conventional lenses. Anyhow, from a real-world perspective this is rather meaningless.

Equiv. focal length90 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/3.6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction9 elements in 8 groups
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.5 m
Dimensions (L x W)56 x 46 mm
Weight116 g
Filter size37 mm
Other features-

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