Olympus 45mm f/1.8 prime lens review - Part 1

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8 

Following on from the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 and the Olympus 12mm f/2, this is the 3rd. high quality, large aperture prime lens released for the m4/3 system this year. Like the previous two lenses it combines excellent sharpness wide open with superb performance when stopped down and takes m4/3 even further away from its competitors in terms of lens range options.

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

First off, its a gorgeous little thing. Made of plastic, unlike the metal of the 12mm, it doesn't really look or feel much different. It has the design, look and feel of an m-mount lens without the weight. It makes a great set with the E-P3 and the wide-angle.

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

It focuses really quickly with the E-P3. It doesn't focus particularly close, 0.5 metres, so it isn't really any competition for the Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8, but thats not its function. I don't have one of the PanLeica lenses to compare it with, but from my experience of owning two of them previously I would say that the 45mm f/1.8 is as sharp or maybe even a touch sharper, than that lens.

One of the things that both Olympus and Panasonic have got right is to make their "fast" lenses perform really well at their widest aperture. The 45mm f/1.8 is the same as the 12mm, 25mm and 20mm lenses, in that its beautifully sharp wide open.

N.B. These image samples are available at full resolution by clicking through to flickr > Actions > View all sizes > Original.

All below are at f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8

There is very little chromatic aberration and fringing and most images are completely free of it, and as you can see the bokeh is very nice indeed. I love the look that these fast primes give on m4/3. Because of the extra depth of field they are easier to focus and don't give that "gnats hair" focus that you get with 35mm/full-frame sensors. There is also a beautifully smooth transition between in and out of focus areas, making the pictures look very attractive to my eyes.

It also performs very well indeed at smaller apertures.

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/2

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/3.5

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/9

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/2

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/4.5

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/4

Olympus E-P3 45mm f/1.8
f/3.2

None of this is, of course, any surprise to anyone who has read a review of this lens. It seems to have got universally good notices. My thoughts about it are very much in agreement with what has been written about it before.

It is a wonderful little lens. By m4/3 standards, not that expensive either, and I expect I'll be using it a lot.

I'll be trying it on my G3 soon and will report back on the results from that later. However my first impressions are that if you own a m4/3 camera, then you'd certainly be missing a lot if you didn't try one of these on it.