Olympus 75mm f/1.8 on location

Its pretty easy to get a decent telephoto option these days. There are plenty of relatively cheap telephoto zooms and superzooms that give the opportunity for putting together very tight compositions on subjects that are some distance away. However as everybody is aware these are always a compromise. To get a lens to be relatively light and not difficult to carry usually means very slow apertures and some pretty ordinary performance. This of course is usually accompanied by an even more ordinary performance wide open, which  always seems to co-incide with what you need to use. Unless you carry a tripod around with you, there is always the probability that in order to be able to use a decent shutter speed and low ISO when hand holding, to a large extent you are going to be using that maximum aperture, usually f/5.6 or thereabouts, and miss out on the really sharp apertures that always seem to result in a shutter speed thats just too slow or changing to a higher ISO with the resulting degradation of image quality.

This is where a lens like the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 comes into its own. Plus compared to fast DSLR telephotos this is a pancake lens! Some of the Nikon and Canon telephoto primes with fast maximum apertures are monsters. Fine if you have a tripod and aren't going anywhere, but for walking some distance, only the super strong would ever consider sticking one of them in their bag.

However yesterday a couple of miles with my OM-D + grip + 75mm + 17mm was perfectly manageable. The 17mm isn't the best lens I have, but its OK and its certainly very light. However the main point of the trip was to see what the 75mm could do, how it was to carry and use to shoot location images outdoors and what results it produced. 

Now with all the very positive reviews, the price which should(?) reflect quality and my initial tests, I would have been very surprised if it turned in a poor performance. Fortunately I ended up surprise free. Perhaps the best thing I can say about it, is that I didn't really take any notice of it. For me this is always a good sign. There is nothing to report other than a completely trouble free response. No misfocusing, no waiting for the lens and camera to lock focus, no problems with handling, weight or size. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. Worked beautifully and turned out some very sharp images at every aperture I used.

Its being promoted as a portrait lens mainly, but us landscape photographers can appreciate its virtues too. Since I was working on a bright sunny day with mostly static subjects I didn't need to shoot at anything below f/4, so I haven't used it at its widest apertures other than for testing.

So very positive feelings so far (To be honest I doubt this will change much) and I'm going to be trying it in low light next, followed by seeing how it performs for video and then some comparison tests with a couple of m4/3 zooms to see if it shows the improvement over those I'm expecting.

Its a lens that fills a gap for me as I've been looking for a high quality telephoto option thats easy to carry around for a while now. The upcoming Panasonic 35-200mm zoom is obviously another option, as that is also relatively light, but it isn't available yet, so the 75mm will serve my needs for now. So far I haven't experienced anything but positives using it and I'm expecting that to continue. So yet another seriously good m4/3 lens. There's getting to be quite a few of these now.

For all review posts on this lens - click here.

As a little extra for all Olympus fans here's a great OM-D ad. posted on  43Rumors.


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