Delivering the the classic 90mm-equivalent field of view, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lens looks to be an essential prime lens for Micro Four Thirds photographers.
[Olympus 45mm f1.8 + Olympus OM-D, 1/60, f1.8, ISO 1600]
Although that shiny silver finish suggests that it’s going to be another metal barrelled wonder like the well reviewed Olympus 12mm f2 and 17mm f1.8 lenses, it’s a bit of a disappointment to discover that it’s primarily made of plastic.
Similarly, anyone hoping for the fantastic pump-action manual focusing feature of those two premium lens is going to be find wanting, and there’s no weather sealing on offer too.
Stingy Olympus won’t bundle in a lens hood either, so you have to shell out £30 for the Olympus LH-40B Lens Hood or you can get a third party one for half the price.
But hang on there – despite these shortcomings, the 45mm Olympus still represents remarkable value of money and is capable of producing some superb portrait shots.
[Olympus 45mm f1.8 + Olympus OM-D, 1/200, f2.8, ISO 3200]
Measuring up at 2.2 by 1.8 inches and weighing just 4.1 ounces, this lens won’t unbalance your camera – even if you’re using one of the smaller MFT snappers.
In use the focus motor is extremely quiet and super-speedy in operation, so it’ll work a treat for movie makers, and that super fast f1.8 aperture provides some lovely bokeh.
[Olympus 45mm f1.8 + Olympus OM-D, 1/60, f2.8, ISO 1600]
We’re not really interested in all the pixel-peeking stuff – we either like the results a lens produces or we don’t – but PC Mag ran the lens through their labs and liked what they saw:
At f/1.8 it’s a little soft in the corners, which leads to a center-weighted resolution score of 1,751 lines per picture height, which is just a smidge shy of the 1,800 lines we use to define a sharp photo. The center at f/1.8 is an impressive 2,387 lines, so you should feel confident in using the lens for shots where your subject is framed towards the center without stopping down. Closing the iris to f/2 brings the center-weighted score to 1,999 lines, and that score increases steadily as you stop down further—peaking at 2,787 lines at f/5.6. Distortion is not an issue—the lens shows only 0.6 percent, which isn’t relevant in real-world shooting.
[Olympus 45mm f1.8 + Olympus OM-D, 1/250, f2.8, ISO 200]
If you’ve signed up to the Micro Four Thirds system, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 is about as good as you’ll get.
Small, light, speedy, clean and sharp, this is a wonderful portrait and short telephoto prime lens that feels solid and reliable and is light enough to carry everywhere.
It’s a shame Olympus couldn’t bundle in a lens hood, but given the reasonable £246/$399, price tag, this really is an excellent piece of high quality kit that comes highly recommended.
Buy it on Amazon: Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8 Lens.