Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Review and User Experience - First Impressions and some raw file samples

The first thing that struck me when I picked this lens up was just how beautifully made it is. I thought the Panasonic 12-35mm felt very classy, but this is even better. The best made m4/3 lens ever? Well yes I think so. The focusing ring is just wonderful. This is Leica or (proper) Zeiss quality. Its a pretty simple lens in terms of appearance. Heavy (ish) but feels great in the hand. I tried it on all my m4/3 cameras and it doesn't really overpower them, including my small Pens. 

Lightning and accurate AF on the OM-D and on all the other cameras as well. Its expensive, but feels it. Indeed it feels very solid, very robust and that its going to last for a long time. If you have a 12mm and you liked the metallic feel than you'll love this. If you are a "stick it in a pocket photographer" then you won't. But photographers with "soul" will relish it.

One of the great things about all the fast m4/3 primes from both Olympus and Panasonic, is just how good they are wide open. The 20mm f/1.8, 25mm f/1.4, 45mm f/1.8, 12mm f/2 are all perfectly useable wide open and the 75mm f/1.8 continues that tradition. Working in low light I'd be perfectly happy to leave it at its widest aperture and be confident of good results.

Here are a few 100% blowups.





As is becoming my habit, I've put together a zip file of raw .dng samples you can download here. Or click the image below.

As usual, there are a series of images at apertures from f/1.8 > f/22. This will allow you to see what the quality is like, and how the bokeh shapes up. I think its a lovely sharp lens and I like the out of focus rendition, which for me is nicely smooth while still retaining a "natural" look.

My first impressions are that this is another top quality lens for what is becoming a seriously impressive system. In terms of aesthetics and cameras and lenses that ooze quality, m4/3 is getting hard to beat. It is of course a system which is the main focus of the two main manufacturers and not an afterthought by a company thinking that they should be getting into this market. This lens continues my ongoing love affair with m4/3, and while its not cheap, not every lens can be a Sigma 30mm and you do generally get what you pay for.

I need to use it in the "real world" to come to a more balanced assessment and hopefully the weather will allow me to do that today. My expectations are high, but I'll report back on what its like for a days shooting.

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