Saturday, August 20, 2011

Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 Review: Petaling Street, KL

Side Note:
1. This is a user experience based review.
2. All images were shot in RAW and developed to JPEG in Olympus Viewer 2.
3. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color set to OFF), Gradation = Normal
4. Minimal post-processing applied to the images. Only exposure compensation (brightness/contrast) and cropping performed for better consistency and overall presentation. Apart from that, the images were as good as straight out of camera (color and sharpness)

Since the announcement of the new Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens, I have been thinking about it non-stop. It was no surprise that I would seek this lens because on my usual street shooting, my favourite and most frequently used lens is the 4/3 DSLR 50mm F2 macro lens mounted on the E-5. Having a natively built for micro 4/3 equivalent to the said lens was a huge welcome. This time, I approached Olympus Malaysia and requested for a loan unit of the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens. Much to my delight they agreed to my request, and they added the E-P3 for me to test the lens with !! Hello again, E-P3.

As a reminder, and a note to first time visitors, this review will be written from a photography-enthusiast’s point of view. This will be a user experience based review, sharing on what I think and feel using the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 mounted on PEN E-P3 in real life shooting situations. Therefore, this is not a technical review as there will not be elaborative technical explanations, such as explanation of corner softness, optimum aperture range, chromatic aberration and so forth. In addition to that, I will not be doing direct side by side image and performance comparisons with other lenses. What I am presenting in this entry is merely what I can do with the Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens for my usual shutter therapy session.

The loaned Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 and PEN E-P3 from Olympus Malaysia.

A Mighty, Tiny Lens

I have only acquired the lens directly from Olympus Malaysia earlier this evening, right after my full day work at the construction site. First impression when I first laid my eyes on the actual working production copy of the lens, I cannot believe how small it was. The size is even smaller than the already small kit lens, and I really like the exterior metallic shiny, sleek finish. The design matched the E-P3 (and the two other new PEN models, E-PL3 and E-PM1) flawlessly. Picking the lens up, it felt light as feather, coming from my not so long history of using DSLR gear all these while. Mounted on the E-P3, the size and overall combination seemed to be just right, and they looked like they were made for each other. To be honest, I did not have high expectations on this particular lens, nor did Olympus claim anything extraordinary about the 45mm. Seeing it so tiny and having such light weight, one would surely doubt its performance and image quality. I was about to be proven so wrong. This tiny lens is mightier than it appears to be. Do not let the cuteness fool you.

Originally I intended to shoot during the weekends, and subsequently write my reviews on the following weekdays. However, my hands got unbearably itchy when they first touched the 45mm f1.8, and I decided to go straight down to the city and find a nice spot to try out the lens right away. As sudden as it was, I did have a few things thought out in mind on what I wanted to do with the 45mm F1.8. Being a prime lens with bright aperture of F1.8, it was appropriate to bring it out for a test-drive in the night time. Therefore, I decided to shoot at Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur. The place is also better known as Chinatown of the city.

All images in this entry (except the previous image) were taken with Olympus PEN E-P3 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens.

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/250sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/320sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/160sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/320sec

ISO2000, F1.8, 1/200sec

ISO640, F1.8, 1/100sec

The Advantage of Fast F1.8 lens

People who shoot with DSLR would at one point, sooner or later be sucked into that lust and obsession over larger aperture. The lower the F-number, the sexier the lens would be. Fast lenses bring plenty of advantages to general photography situations, and the most important of all is the ability to gather more available ambient light to produce a much more natural, pleasing image. This is evidently useful when shooting under low light conditions, where higher shutter speed can be achieved with larger aperture opening, mainly to freeze motions and to prevent hand shake blur. Olympus has been notorious for the lack of prime lenses with large apertures, and for many, many years the users, both Olympus and non-Olympus photographers have given the same feedback: we want fast primes !! In fact, Olympus never produced anything brighter than F2, due to the "technical perfection" standards that they wanted to achieve with their current set of lenses. Yes, we understand that anything below F2 for the 4/3 or micro 4/3 system will suffer significant loss of image quality (whatever they may be), but still, you cannot escape the fact that we all still desperately long for fast primes.

The M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 is the first Olympus lens (both from 4/3 and micro 4/3) to feature an aperture value below F2. This was truly something to celebrate about, finally !!

Now back to the street shooting at night in Petaling street, I find shooting with the bright F1.8, wide open at all times, being helpful in gathering more available street lighting. The streets were dim, and very unevenly lit at all places, with multiple sources of light, such as the street lamp, flourescent tube, as well as tungsten bulbs. The lighting condition was far from ideal, as I needed to push up my ISO up to 3200, or even higher when I used the kit lens 14-42mm mk1 on my E-PL1 previously to achieve the exposure balance that I required for my street shooting needs. With the F1.8 wide aperture on the new 45mm, I rarely needed to push beyond ISO1600, and staying within this limit is very important for Olympus users for better noise control.

It is all about the BOKEH

Oh goodness gracious, who does not like bokeh (blur background)? One of the main reasons why I loved my Zuiko 50mm F2 macro lens as a street shooting lens is the ability to produce delicious creamy bokeh. Somehow, the images seem to "pop to life" with the right amount of bokeh, appearing more three dimensional because you can clearly see the separation between the subject and the background. Before the 45mm f1.8, there was nothing in the similar range for micro 4/3 lenses. I understand some purists would argue the fact that more depth of field is better on street photography, to minimize margin of error in focusing, or to capture as much details as possible, to see everything clearly within the frame. You may choose whichever style to adopt, but I do think that many people move on to the huge and heavy DSLR system due to the ability to produce blur background. If that is the main reason to adopt DSLR, then the micro 4/3 system is indeed a more compelling choice, offering small size, light camera and lenses, while maintaining the capability to deliver that creamy bokeh. As I shot on the streets with the 45mm f1.8, the pattern of the bokeh and the blur effect were very, very similar with what I could accomplish with the original 4/3 50mm F2.

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/80sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/60sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/100sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/320sec

ISO1250, F1.8, 1/125sec

Medium Tele-Photo range

The focal length of 45mm is quite long, with Olympus equivalent field of view being 90mm on 35mm format. Surely, many people would find this range quite restrictive for everyday use, or general shooting. Olympus was smart not to compete with Panasonic lenses such as 20mm F1.7 and the upcoming much hyped 25mm F1.4. The 45mm sits entirely on its own in another range of focal length, and it provides different kind of flexibility and workability. I love using the 45mm range on the street, mainly because I do not have to get "too close" to my subject to achieve my desired close up shots. With the 20mm or 25mm, it would have been almost pointing the camera merely one to two feet away from the face of the person to achieve the full head and shoulder shots. With the 45mm, I can stand more than an arm's length away, and certainly my subjects would feel more comfortable this way. I also acknowledge the fact that many street shooter opted for wide angle lenses, again, this is entirely up to individual preferences. The 45mm works perfectly for me in this regard.

Good Characteristics for People Shots

Also, the medium telephoto range can create a compression effect, meaning you will see less of the background being covered in a single frame. Wider angle lenses would just fit in everything from left right top and bottom, which can be troublesome if your scene has many distractions. The 45mm range provided that edge in throwing away more unwanted background, allowing cleaner composition. Slight compression effect will appear flattering for human subjects too, with virtually almost no barrel and perspective distortion on 45mm, in comparison to say, 12mm or a 20mm lens. Hence shooting with the 45mm lens, you would not worry about your arms looking fat when it is being placed at the side of the image, or your face looking longer and funny being put at the top of the image. It was no wonder that Olympus market this lens as a "portrait lens".

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/125sec

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/100sec

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/100sec

ISO640, F1.8, 1/40sec

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/125sec

The Sharpness

I only have one word to describe the sharpness of the lens, "incredible". I have shot most of my images with high ISO, ranging from 1000 to 2500, and even at ISO1600, the amount of details reproduced on the E-P3 through this 45mm lens was nothing short of breathtaking. I will not make a side by side comparison whether this lens is better or almost as good as the original 50mm F2 macro lens that I adore so much, but I can wholeheartedly tell you I am extremely happy with the overall sharpness outcome with the 45mm lens, used on the E-P3. I did not expect much from this lens, all I wanted was the working focal length of 45mm and the fast aperture F1.8. However, the results I have seen through this short shooting session have been pleasing. I have yet to test this lens out on natural daylight, when I can minimize my ISO setting to 200, or 400 only, and I suspect the results would be even more impressive. Of course, I shall be bringing the lens out for another spin with better lighting condition, and that shall be for another day, and another blog entry.

The World's Fastest Autofocus

Remember the world's fastest Autofocus claim on the E-P3 that sparked much debate and arguments all over the internet? The 45mm f1.8 performed incredibly fast, and accurate too. There was not even a slightest hiccup during my 3 hour shooting session earlier this evening. This is one area where the micro 4/3 45mm F1.8 is better than the 4/3 50mm F2 macro, the autofocus speed and reliability. The 50mm F2 performs rather fast on the E-5, but under unfavorable lighting conditions, it still suffers. This was not the case for the 45mm F1.8 on the E-P3. I never switched the AF assist light on (trying to be discreet on the street), and the focusing worked flawlessly at all times. I did not encounter any hunting issue at all, although there were a few places where it was really, really dark. I really treasure solid Autofocus performance, and I do notlike to do manual focusing.

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/100sec

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/125sec

ISO1600, F1.8, 1/80sec

ISO2000, F1.8, 1/80sec

ISO2000, F1.8, 1/80sec

Moving subjects? No problem

One of the issues with the E-P3 being highlighted by DPreview's full review on E-P3 was the less than capable Autofocus especially being tested on moving subjects. Apparently, they were very crucial and particular about shooting moving objects, and the ability of the camera to track the subject. I am not sure how fast their moving subjects were, or how difficult it could be for any camera to handle, but I personally do not find the E-P3 to lack in capability in shooting moving objects. Allow me to demonstrate in a very challenging shooting condition.

I was walking away from the main Chinatown area to the "Pasar Seni" or Central Market. Coincidentally there was a street dance performance, very similar to the one I have covered not too long ago (click). In conjunction to the coming Hari Raya Celebration, there was a street dance performance presented for the public for free. It was the perfect opportunity to test out the 45mm F1.8's strength in focusing. Do take note that this was a uniquely difficult situation, with uneven lighting coverage from the bad source of street lights (mostly street lamps), and the dancers were constantly moving. To describe how dim the situation was, I had to bump up the ISO to at least 1600 or 2000 to achieve 1/80 to 1/100 seconds, shooting at maximum of F1.8 aperture. For fast dance motions, 1/100 seconds was not sufficient to fully freeze the movements, and I did get some blurred shots due to motion. It was extremely dim, and the subjects moved very fast, and they were constantly in motion (I have not known of any slow Malay dance).

Did I find any issue focusing and capturing decent shots? Not much of a problem at all. I did not use the tracking AF or continuous AF. The single shot AF was GOOD ENOUGH to instantly lock on focus and snap immediately. Though the dancers never stopped, and kept moving all around the floor, the E-P3 never failed to lock focus every single time. Yes, there are misses, but it was NOT the camera's fault, it was my own mistake, or my own fingers not being quick enough to press the shutter button, missing some critical moments. Snap to focus was really impressive. In all honestly, you can only truly verify the capabilities of the autofocus in real life shooting situations, not in some lab controlled environment. As much as I hate to admit it, the E-5 will struggle in similar shooting condition, as I have blogged earlier (click).

ISO2000, F1.8, 1/80sec

ISO400, F1.8, 1/30sec

ISO2000, F1.8, 1/60sec

Images appear noiser than usual because I turned OFF the noise filter. I did so to avoid any issues of people asking why the images appear soft, regardless of the absence of noise.

I am still very excited about the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 as I am writing this entry. I shall be bringing the lens and the camera out for another spin or two in the weekends. I shall continue my review write-up in the coming entry. Do come back and visit, the next entry should be up in a few days time.

At the mean time, if you have any questions or feedback, kindly leave a comment below, or email me directly at


  1. Hi Robin,
    another really nice review. Thanks a lot. Indeed, I have to admit that you massively increased my desire for purchasing the E-PL3 with exactly this lens.


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  2. Sama di sini - like Nicolaus said. And I think a two-lens kit with the 20/1.7 would make perfect sense. Or three with the 12/2, and the 25/1.4 if one can afford that.

    My wige Hamidah already has the 20/1.7, so...

  3. Mihihi - I guessed you meant your wife.

  4. hello nicolaus,
    I have not seen the epl3 in person yet, but my friends told me its beautiful and sexy too.
    I am sure you will love the 45mm and epl3 combo, they look really great together while you still get same image quality and fast autofocus.

    hello wolfgang,
    the 45mm would complement the 20mm very well , providing a longer coverage! and the f1.8 makes thia lens all the more useful in many situations.

  5. this lens coming out is what made me decide to switch to all m43 when i move to china.
    the weight, size and price differences still couldn't make me give up my e5, 14-35, 35-100 kit. now, though with the epl3, this lens and the 12mm...i am getting rid of everything.
    i am going with a kit of epl3, 12mm f2, 45mm f1.8, voigtlander 25mm f0.95, and maybe get the panasonic 8mm fisheye. (i used to have the olympus 8mm fisheye and loved it.)

    the quality has finally stepped up enough to, combined with the other beneficial factors, justify my change.

    PS. i think i'll keep my oly 35mm macro lens for macro shooting with an adapter.

  6. Hello eric,
    wow, that is a bold move to give up on the 4/3 dslr gear, going full on micro 4/3. indeed I am impressed with your lineup of lenses and that 8mm fisheye would add up nicely. keeping the 35mm macro is a smart choice, I still think it is the cheapest true macro lens with af up to date, with admirable image quality!!

  7. well, i have to factor my move to china into the equation now. i will not be doing my pro concert/theatre work anymore. i'll be switching styles to more street and travel photography. the smaller system will be less intimidating to locals, and less threatening to government officials. also, with the crowded trains and subways it will be a little more comfortable without the giant lens hanging around bumping into people. =)

    i just got my 12mm today and my epl3 and 45mm are on order for whenever they decide to start shipping. now i just need my gear to sell then i can order some more to complete my kit.

    ps. thanks for confirming that the 45mm is as good as i was hoping it would be.

  8. hello eric,
    true enough that smaller size cameras do come in handy, and can be advantageous in many situations, since they appear less threatening.
    I am very confident you will find yourself loving the 45mm!!
    how is the 12mm so far? epl3 is already selling at local stores here.

  9. Hi Robin,

    once again thanks a milion for posting a "user experience report" targeting everything that might be of interest when really using a lens or a camera without a single picture of bricks and roof tiles ;-)))

    The 45/1.8 will compliment my travel setup (E-P3, 12/2, 20/1.7, 14-150) nicely and i'm looking forward to shooting sports and portrait with it.

    If you still have the E-P3, give C-AF a try, it is much improved when compared to the previous PENs. Do not forget to turn off the image display, as this will block the display and cause black out when shooting in serial mode. dpreview made this mistake and then complained about it in their review.
    I tried to shoot river surfers in Munich with the E-P3 and Kit lens last weekend and was positively surprised.

  10. hello acahaya,

    It was my pleasure to help out and contribute to the Olympus and PEN community in any way I can.

    The 45mm will be a great lens for your line-up, providing the medium telephoto range, and it is so small you wont mind fitting it anywhere in your camera bag.

    Thanks for the C-AF suggestion. I am a single AF shooter, but I will keep it in mind. I believe it works wonders too, as you have already reported !!

  11. thanks for this review, robin. this lens is first on my list to buy after i get my EP3 (hopefully next month) - i love the shallow DOF and that it's fast.

  12. Hello valerie,
    The 45mm will fit your e-P3 very well, and surely it will produce amazing images !! The blur background is simply delicious.

  13. Robin..kena u poison aledi lorr..AmyLi

  14. An interesting lens. Would be perfect for portraits indeed (shoulder + head). I'm waiting for some 100% crops to asess this incredible sharpness :)

  15. Hello Amy,
    Buy buy Buy !!

    hello bartosz,
    Will do so in my coming entry. A little busy at the moment, shall be blogging about it in a day or two's time.

  16. Robin, thanks. Love your posts.

    I've got a 45mm on pre-order. It's absolutely driven me crazy that I haven't had the ability to shoot with my 50mm F2.0 on micro 4/3 with any sort of focusing speed. I can't even really shoot my E5 with the 50 and get good speed.

    This solves all of it mated to my new EP3.

    I can see myself doing photoshoots with a 12-60 on my E5, and also using my EP3 with the 45mm to get natural light stuff.

    Absolutely can't wait for it. Those were really good shots under horrid lighting conditions. You went right for it with this lens.

    Should be great in good lighting and careful composition.

  17. Hello Tim,
    You are most welcome. Wow, you are already on pre-order, that is fast. Coupling the E-P3 with 45mm and shooting with it alongside E-5, that is a great combination.
    I have just come back from a shooting session with the 45mm under morning light. It was simply superb. Will be updating about it soon.

  18. Robin,

    I REALLY REALLY Envy you!! Lucky lad to get hold of a 45mm to test with.

    That lens is on the shopping list and will serve to keep my 50mm f2 on my E5.

    I am seriously thinking whether to do away with the E5 system...the money I get on selling the whole set (14-54 II, 50-200mm II) might help me build quite a kit for the EP3 I am in possession of. Mayhaps buy the 25mm pana leica, the 45mm oly and a 9-18mm and 75-300mm to fill up the range!!


  19. Hi, and thanks for this review!

    I've shot for a long time with some huge Canon equipment and sold it all due to size in the end. What I really wanted, was a very small camera with 3 primes, with equivalent focal ranges of 24, 50 and 85-100mm, speed f/2 or faster.

    Waiting... Waiting...

    And then there are the 12mm f/2, the 25mm f/1.4, and the 45mm f/1.8, and all looking good too! Your review is the first I have seen of the 45mm lens, and I'm happy the outcome is positive.

    Now Olympus (or Panasonic) just needs to create an E-P3 type camera with an integrated viewfinder in the top left, and I'll be jumping back into photography with both feet, sporting the 12, 25 and 45mm lenses.

    Thanks for the review again!

  20. Hello Mark !!
    Wow, a lot of people have been moving on from the E-system, or considering to move away into fully micro 4/3 PEN only. With more and more newer lenses, especially the fast primes coming into the line-ups, I do believe it is going to be as capable as the DSLR range.
    Whichever decision you decide, I do not think you will regret it. PEN is still basically the same 4/3 system, just miniaturized.

  21. hello Katsunami,
    Indeed, the new lenses released from both Olympus and Panasonic look very, very promising. faster primes have always been a huge demand from users of any camera system, introducing more of such capable, yet small sized lenses would be really advantageous for micro four thirds users.
    I am sure in the future they would be integrated viewfinder of some sort inside the Olympus PEN camera (hopefully it is the anticipated PEN PRO).
    It was my pleasure to do the review, and share my opinion !!

  22. Hi Robn,
    I really enjoyed your series of reviews on the E-P3, and enjoyed this one as well on the 45mm f/1.8. I had pretty much decided not to get this lens as I already have a very expensive Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar in the Leica M mount that I love to use on my digital pens, but as you point out, auto-focus is really nice, and based on your pictures seems to work really well.

    I will definitely be considering this lens for a future purchase.

    Kindest Regards,

    Jed Perkins
    Boulder, Colorado, USA

  23. Hello Jed,
    Thank you so much for writing your comments.
    That is one gorgeous Zeiss glass you have there !! You must be loving it to bits.
    It all comes down to your shooting style really, there are many manual focus shooters out there and they would come biting back at me saying they have no issues with manual focusing, and autofocus is not a necessity.
    Nonetheless, should fast and reliable autofocus be significant in the shooting circumstances, then the new Olympus lenses will work wonders, such as the 45mm.
    Do take note that those amazingly fast AF only works optimally on E-P3.

  24. Hi Robin,

    Great review. Nice to see a fellow Malaysian getting worldwide exposure for photography reviews.

    Though I don't expect you to know this but when do you think this lens will be released, and how much?

    My guess is December and for RM1200-1400.

  25. Hello Robin,
    Thanks for the beautiful shots - again, bringing out the very best of this nice lens.
    Looking forward to your daytime shootings at base ISO


  26. Hello Zyran,
    Thanks so much for the kind words.
    The lens should be available next month (september), hopefully. I have not heard about the pricing yet. I am hoping it could be around RM1200 or lower !!

    Hello Michael,
    Thanks !! The entry will be coming very soon, I have all the pictures ready.

  27. Very nice review... I just want to know if this lens is already available in the market? Thanks.


  28. hello,
    the lens is not available in malaysian market yet. I am not too sure when it will be out but my speculation is. within next month.

  29. Price is US$400 and 300 Euros so perhaps you can extrapolate from that.

    And thanks for this review.

    (A different Robin!)

  30. Hello a different robin,
    thanks for sharing!!

  31. Hi,
    Do you know if the lens focuses as fast and accurately on the EPL2?

  32. hello anonymous,
    I do not have the epl2 to test but to bring out the optimum fast AF, it works with the newer PEN models such as ep3.

  33. Thanks for the review Robin, most appreciated (found it via 43Rumors).
    This lens really promises to satisfy many of the reasons I hoped would be correct when I bought into m43: fast, high quality, small and reasonably priced when compared to DSLR.
    I really hope it is available in KL by mid September, as I'm passing through then.

  34. My English is very bad.

    Excellent review ... thanks ... ... I am Brazilian and here it is very difficult to buy a camera. Here an olympus E-P3 (with 14-42mm kit) costs more than $ 1800.00. I have a friend going in October (USA) and I will order one E-P3 more lens-(14-42mm - 40-150mm). Maybe I buy a 3rd lens .... I have to decide .... but performance with the fixed 45mm lens was impressive ... very good review.

  35. hello tom,
    thanks for the compliments. surely, pen is the way to go in the future, they will surpass dslr in everh regard, buf of course the day is not here yet, buf very close now.
    I sure hope the 45mm is available before your visit here in malaysia by mid september. at the moment no exact date has been announced.

    hello andrezao from brasil!!
    thank you very much for your kind words, I am glad you have decided to dive into pen system. 45mm as a third lens is a marvelous choice, you gain advantage in low light shooting and the capabity to produce good background blur. you will love this purchase! go in the future, they will surpass dslr in everh regard, buf of course the day is not here yet, buf very close now.
    I sure hope the 45mm is available before your visit here in malaysia by mid september. at the moment no exact date has been announced.

    hello andrezao from brasil!!
    thank you very much for your kind words, I am glad you have decided to dive into pen system. 45mm as a third lens is a marvelous choice, you gain advantage in low light shooting and the capabity to produce good background blur. you will love this purchase!

  36. Robin, I have the EP3 Silver with 14-42 and 12mm. The camera is amazing and so easy and FUN to use. I have D3 and most fast glass, but it all feels so big and heavy. Going to Hong Kong soon and soooo tempted to just take the EP3 and a few lenses.

    Your review and photographs are excellent. I like that you addressed Bokeh and the impact of a longer lens on DOF.
    Cashiers, North Carolina

  37. Thanks Ralph for such kind comments !! I am still new and still learning in this photography world.
    I have heard many times that street prices for many gear are significantly cheaper in Hong Kong ! If that is true, why not get yourself some nice lenses? I would too if I stop by.
    It is refreshing to hear positive remark about micro 4/3 system from a full frame user with great prime lenses, such as yourself. I am sure you are loving the small size and light weight, especially when you are on travel !!

  38. Great review Robin. I appreciate your real world experience with the lens and camera. The reading was enjoyable, and the photos are great. I was planning on holding onto my GH2 and bypassing the EP3. Now, I may have to look at the EP3 a little bit more closely in spite of the GH2's superior high ISO. It sounds like the EP3's auto focus is even more responsive than the GH2's. In conjunction with the styling, the EP3 is looking very attractive. I have the 45/1.8 on pre-order, and I am itching to finally try it out. Thanks for the great review.

  39. Hello Armando,
    Thank you so much for such kind comments, you are being too kind !!
    The 45mm works efficiently for E-P3, but your GH2 is no slouch either. Although I have not used one, but my friends have told me they are happy with its performance. The 45mm will not be as fast as it should be on E-P3, but I do think it should work flawlessly on your GH2.

  40. I was directed here from Steve Huff's site. Great review Robin. Like your writing a lot. I will definitely look forward to your future reviews. Stunning pictures with this small camera, and the lens seems to be first class.

  41. Thanks Anonymous.
    It was a great honor being linked up at Steve Huff's site.
    Thanks for your compliments and kind words. The lens is indeed superb, and it gets better under good light. Do check out my Part 2, it is updated.

  42. I just bookmarked you and hope to see regular comments on Olympus products in the weeks and months to come. I really enjoyed your review of the 45 F1.8.


  43. Hello Ron,
    Thanks so much bookmarking. I am primarily shooting with E-5 and E-PL1, with older lenses from Olympus. I only get new gear in the rarest of occasions.
    Nonetheless, do pop by and share your opinion/thoughts on my photography work !!

  44. I don't know if anyone commented on this yet, but BOKEH is not "background blur" per se. It is the "quality of the backgound blur" or "the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image" if you will. Bokeh can be pleasing, busy, harsh, etc. but it can't be counted or quantified. Saying "the lens has a lot of bokeh" sounds as misguided as saying "these speakers have a lot of rendition!" Just saying...
    I want the lens anyways ;)

  45. hello anonymous,
    thanks for sharing. the word bokeh originated from the japaese word "boke" which simply means, just "blur". therefore bokeh in english is desccribing the blur effect. if you want to dive deeper into the technical correctness of the term, you may find that "quality of blur" you were referring to is not the japanese word boke, but more accurately "boke-aji". I believe bokeh in general can be crudely quantified subjectively, eg this photo has more bokeh than the other. however, bokeh definitely cannot be accurately measured or displayed in numbers, which would not make any sense to measure blur.
    just my opinion, feel free to disagree.

  46. hi there Robin, stumbled across your blog and i love your pictures! also thank you for reviewing all there is to the EP3, definitely getting that camera for sure.

  47. Good review, quite a contrast to what I am used to seeing online. Glad to see a lot of good sample photos taken under real conditions with people in them.

  48. hello Jin,
    Thanks for the kind words. I am sure you will love your E-P3

    Hello Anonymous,
    thanks for your compliments. I have always believed photography is all about real life shooting. I acknowledge the need for technical data and comparisons, but ultimately is what the photographer can do with the camera, not what the camera can do by itself that matters.

  49. Great review of the 45mm f1.8, Robin.

    I'm building a kit of lenses for the E-PLm1 (when it comes out) -- I have in hand f2.8 17mm with optical viewfinder, the Panny 24mm equiv optical viewfinder to use with the f2 12mm, and I had the f1.8 45mm in mind.

    The 45mm is now a certainty, thanks to your excellent review. You were photographing exactly the type of thing I photograph in Papua New Guinea -- dancing, cooking, people, streets, markets,etc. Life, dammit!!! Lovely shots -- I was envious.

    I'm liquidating my Panny G1 to shift into the smaller E-PLm outfit.

    Cheers, geoff

  50. Hello Geoffrey
    Thanks for the compliments !
    Wow, I am sure you have so many wondrous photography opportunities in Papua New Guinea, I have not been there yet but the way you described it tempted me to explore there.
    E-PM1 is ahead of the G1 in terms of autofocus speed (works as fast as the E-P3, I was told) and image quality. You will love it, I am sure !!

  51. Robin, that's a great write up of the camera and lens. So many great things coming out right now. It's great to have someone like yourself posting good information. Just makes me want the EP3 all the more.....

  52. Hello Kirk !!
    Thank you so much for your kind compliments !! It meant a lot coming from you, I follow you visualsciencelab blog very religiously.
    There are too many things coming out now, you are right. The sony cameras and lenses look mighty tempting too.

  53. Holy moley...a review with real images in real shooting situations...what a concept!!!

  54. Great review. I, too, am a DSLR Oly user (E-3 and many fine lenses) and contemplating going PEN all the way. I just ordered the Panny 20mm and can hardly wait for it to arrive tomorrow, and this baby to come out in the US. I mainly use my camera(s) for street, travel and macro photography and will likely upgrade to EP-3 from PL-1 soon. While I still like the feel of my E-3, it is SO much easier and more discreet with the PEN. It is reawakening my photo hobby big time. Thanks again. this is on my holiday gift list (to myself!)

  55. Robin. Thanks. I've been looking for information on this lens and eagerly awaiting its release in the U.S. Hoping I can get one in time for a month long trip to Thailand and Laos in November, where I expect it will get a good work-out -- along with the estimable Panasonic 20mm.

  56. Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the review. I've been toying with the idea of getting a larger aperture lens for my camera.

    I'm using Lumix the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 compatible?

    Lee Lee

  57. Thanks Anonymous for the complimentrs. As an E-3 user, I am sure you find the PEN to be easy to use, since the similar menu system and controls are maintained.

    hello Lawrence,
    I am glad that you find my review useful, glad that I could contribute. The lens should be coming out really soon !!

    hello Lee,
    You are welcome, and yes, the 45mm F1.8 is fully compatible with your G1, but the AF speed may not be as fast.

  58. I ran across your site and have looked at all your reviews of Olympus gear. Love your site. I intend to buy the E-P3 and either the 45mm F1.8 or 12 mm 2.0. Since you have used both, if you could only have one. Which one?

  59. Hi Robin,
    Nice review! To be frank DPreview killed my interest in he EP3 when I saw their sample photos taken with this camera.. They looked dull and bland. But here your photos are simply delicious! (i'm drooling at the image and colour quality). Will get an EP3 once the f1.8 lens reaches Malaysian shores. Thanks for re-igniting my interest..

  60. Dear Robin,

    The lens seems amazing. But do you know how much does this lens cost? I recently went to the KLPF 2011 event and they were offering RM599 for 17mm f2.8. I am still considering, but after reading your review and looking at your pics, my interest have diverted to this lens.

  61. Hello robin, thanks for the review and pictures.

    I have an e-pl2 and im about to win a new e-p3 through work (for selling so many pens lol, 15 in 6 weeks) anyhow, i will be selling my e-pl2 to buy this lens.

    I have played with it at olympus training a couple of weeks ago and we have just ordered it at work so cant wait to have a play.

    Keep up the good work, Im keen however to see a few more of your photos using lower iso, if you have any, be great if you could upload.


  62. Dear Robin,
    Thank you again for your beautiful review (I love your night pictures) and it has just cost me an additionnal lens...
    Your photo essays are always very inspiring.
    Daniel M from Montreal, CDN

  63. You just made my decision even stronger to change my SLR kit to this kit. LoL great model, great picture, great portability. do you have flickr, deviant art or face book? I want to see more result for this camera and lens. thank you.

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  64. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for your 45mm review - it looks like an awesome piece of kit. I'm debating whether to buy this or the 50mm macro F2 instead. I shoot mostly macro but the 45mm f1.8 is looking like a better buy as I already have an EPL1 to use it with. Would you recommend this beauty over the 50mm macro, and do you know how close can I get with the 45mm? thanks and any thoughts would be most appreciated! Thanks, Barbara

  65. Great review. Do you know if the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 would retain full functionality on a Lumix G3 body?

  66. Barbara and TheDan:

    Robin hasn't replied (maybe he's not watching this thread), but I own the 45mm and can answer your questions.

    Barbara, the 45mm does not focus very close. The distance is about 50cm, which for Americans is about 20 inches, I think. Like you, I wish it was good for macro. But it isn't.

    TheDan, the lens works fine on Panasonic bodies, including the G3.

  67. This is a excellent review

  68. Hi Robin, Great pictures! Can you tell me if they were shot in RAW or JPEG? And what further processing was applied to make them so outstanding. Many thanks for posting them.

  69. Can do thus within my coming accessibility. Just a little hectic right now, will probably be blogging and site-building regarding it everyday or even two's occasion.

  70. This comment has been removed by the author.

  71. may i know do you turn on the image stabilizer on the EP3 body? Just wondering what is the impact of the image stabilizer on the image ...

  72. Hello
    Did you shoot RAW or Jpeg?

  73. buy pm1 (rm1700).change lens to 45mm f1.8(rm900). use iAuto. very easy for beginner to shoot like pro ;p. really love the picture and the bokeh...

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  75. What's the distance in the 14 last pictures ? Great ^o^

  76. Hi Robin,
    Awesome review of the 45mm f1.8. Love the pictures taken.

    Will Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 perform well on a om-d?


  77. Robin,
    A great big hello to you from Sydney, Australia!

    I only today found your website (while doing web searches about Zuiko lenses) and I'm really loving your site! :) Based on your review of the 45mm f1.8 lens I bought one just this afternoon and I'm already enjoying using it! I've read your review of the 60mm macro and will be getting that one tomorrow (I really love shooting iclose ups of all kind sof critters and flowers and whatnot)! :) I'll be using these lenses with my EP L-1. I don't know how much that will affect the output quality, but I shoot primarily for fun and as a form of self-administered therapy, so I'm far, far from a pro photographer or camera lens connoisseur of any kind. However, I love your reviews for the practical insight you provide and for the the photos you post to help people see for themselves the sorts of results they might get from the lenses and cameras you are reviewing.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful work you do and please keep it up! :)

    Best wishes,
    Still On Photography "L" Plates!

  78. Hi Robin,

    Is the 45mm 1.8 sharper compared to the pana 25mm 1.4? thanks !

  79. Hi there, do you use the Olympus OMD EM5 camera or a different body?

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  128. I have this lens and it is one of the best. However the camera you used for review is very poor in image quality.
    You better make some shots with a better camera Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II or Olympus OM-D E-M5

    1. This is 2011 review! Much before the EM5 was announce only in February 2012. It was available for general public in Asia in end of Marc 2012.