Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 - Truly A Marvelous Lens!

Recently I added two items into my camera bag, one being the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III (which I have blogged here) and a lens that I have been wanting to get for a long time now, the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8. The reason it took me so long to finally get the Olympus 75mm prime was simply because it was not the lens that I use frequently, but when I do need the lens, and every time I use the lens I am always impressed by the images that this lens makes. It has been a while since I last purchased anything new, the last item being the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.2 Pro about a year ago. So here in this blog I am sharing my experience using the lens and some photographs from my past shoots. 

Here is a short list of reasons why I decided to go for the M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8, though I know it is a lens that I won't use often. 

I am not saying that I am replacing the 40-150mm PRO, that is one great lens, perhaps one day I should revisit that lens in this blog and in my YouTube video, but you have got to admit that lens is not small, and surely adds some bulk and weight to the camera bag. If you have known me you know I am a minimalist and I would like to keep my footprint as small as possible, less is more. In most of my shoots, being the official photographer, I have access and I can get quite close to my subjects. 40-150mm is still handy for larger stage and that 150mm reach can be extremely useful at times. However, I also know that in most cases, the 75mm would have sufficed, and the amount of weight shaved off the bag is the main consideration here. 

If you want to have as much background blur as you can being a Micro Four Thirds user, the one lens on the top of the list is the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8. Being a telephoto prime lens renders very tight perspective, isolating subjects so much more effectively. Having F1.8 wide aperture in combination with the long focal length produces extremely shallow depth of field, perhaps the best for Micro Four Thirds system. Almost every time I show my photographs without telling others what camera system I use, many believe that the images were shot on a full frame. There were times some did not even believe me when I told them I used an Olympus OM-D camera. If you are doing wedding photography, outdoor portrait, events and any kind of photography that require a lot of background blurring, M.Zuiko 75mm is a must have lens!

The image quality of the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 is nothing short of breathtaking. The sharpness is incredible, it is one of the sharpest, if not the sharpest lens from Olympus lens line-up (I think the sharpest lens goes to the over-engineered Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm F4 PRO). The lens is not only sharp, technical flaws are very well managed, and I don't see much chromatic aberration or purple fringing. The images I shot with the 75mm lens (I did borrow from friends, sometimes from Olympus Malaysia for my shoots) never failed to impress my clients. I can go as far to say that if I seriously want to create the wow factor, M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 is a go to lens. 

Recently I have been shooting more and more stage related activities, and most of these events are in low light environment. When I was shooting with 40-150mm PRO, the widest aperture was a modest F2.8, I did from time to time wish I had something brighter to work with. Having the F1.8 on a long lens means I can lower down my ISO numbers, producing cleaner files and giving me more flexibility to work with shooting in low light. Furthermore, combined with all my other prime lenses, such as 45mm F1.8 and 25mm F1.2 PRO, I really have very little to worry about when it comes to less than favourable light and I can comfortably shoot at ISO6400 on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Coupling F1.8 and ISO6400 opens up a lot of possibilities, even in the most challenging conditions. 

I am really happy that I have this lens now, though I know this is not the lens that I would use for my shutter therapy sessions, being too long for practical shooting on the streets. I know most people do not find it easy to compose with such a long focal length, especially if you are shooting in limited/tightc paces. However if you do find a good use for this lens, the images you get from this can be extremely rewarding. Do you have similar experience? Share your thoughts!

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  1. The best lens in the system, no doubt. Compact, well constructed, sharp, fast and precise focus, and a quality bokeh (very close to my 5d with the 85 f1.8)

  2. I really love the 75 1.8, I own it since 2013. But to my eye, the sharpest lens in the system is the 45 1.2. Boy, that lens is awesome!

  3. Very nice photos as always, Robin.
    The 75mm is a great lens indeed (I used to own it), however, given the focal length you need space to be able to benefit from it.
    I think a more useful focal length is the 45mm f1.2. From the various photos I've seen, the rendering of the 45mm is really good, better than the 75 IMO and the bokeh is smoother.

    One very good alternative (and possibly sharper) is the Sigma 56mm f1.4. I think you should give it a try: it's more affordable, smaller and doesn't require as much distance.
    If you do try it, I'd be curious to read your impressions. From what I read online, it's seems extremely sharp straight from f1.4 (see https://mirrorlesscomparison.com/micro-four-thirds-lenses/sigma-56mm-1-4-vs-olympus-75mm-1-8/).

  4. This is a legendary lens. The best I have ever used. In most cases I found it to be too sharp. The image rendering is amazing too

  5. Great video once again Robin, appreciate all your work.
    As for the 75mm, it remains my favourite lense. And as challenging as it is at times using it (that focal length), I just use my feet to make it work.

  6. I simply adore this one. Great IQ and fun to shoot with. Use it for a wide variety of subjects. Handles well with my F and grip. Nice to see you giving it some attention, it is one of the first lenses for the m4:3's system if i recall correctly. Should pair it with my E-P1 just for nostalgic reasons