Olympus 75mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital
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Lab Test Results
June 28, 2012
by Andrew Alexander
Announced in May 2012, Olympus designed the 75mm ƒ/1.8 lens for its micro four-thirds mount cameras, which use a micro four-thirds sensor. With this 2x ''crop factor'', the lens produces an effective field of view of 150mm.
The lens does not ship with its optional metal hood, takes 58mm filters, and will be available for around $900.
The Olympus 75mm ƒ/1.8 is one of the sharpest lenses we've ever tested. It is tack-sharp even wide open at ƒ/1.8, gets a little sharper through to ƒ/8, and stays sharp even stopped down to ƒ/16. At ƒ/22 there is a bit of diffraction limiting that exhibits a little generalized softness.
The lens performs excellently with regard to its tolerance to chromatic aberration, regardless of the aperture chosen. If we peep super hard we might see a hint of purple fringing in areas of high contrast, but it is almost negligible. We do not detect any signs of longitudinal chromatic aberration that often plague very fast prime lenses.
There is some extremely light corner shading when the lens is used wide open at ƒ/1.8; in this case we note extreme corners which are 1/3EV darker than the center of the frame. At any other aperture, corner shading is negligible.
There is almost no distortion to speak of inherent in the Olympus 75mm ƒ/1.8.
The Olympus 75mm ƒ/1.8 uses Olympus' MSC (Movie-Still-Compatible) technology, making the lens fast and near-silent to autofocus; the lens focuses between close-focus and infinity in less than a second. Autofocus results can be overridden at any time by simply turning the focusing ring.
This isn't a lens you would go to for macro performance, offering just 0.1x magnification, and a minimum close-focusing distance of 84cm (almost three feet).
Build Quality and Handling
The Olympus 75mm ƒ/1.8 M.Zuiko looks and feels like a premium offering, with an old-school aesthetic and all-metal construction. Despite being a micro-four thirds lens, it's fairly big, but not overly heavy (10.7 oz). It is a natural fit with the OM-D EM-5, but may be slightly heavy for the smaller micro four-thirds cameras. The lens uses a fairly complex design: 10 elements in 9 groups, including 3 ED lens elements (Extra-low Dispersion) and 2 HR (High Refractive Index) lens elements. The diaphragm is made up of 9 rounded elements to provide pleasing out-of-focus results.
There are no switches or control surfaces on the lens other than the focus ring - all lens functions are controlled by the camera. There are no distance or depth-of-field scales, and no infrared index. The focusing ring is the only control surface on the lens - it is metal with raised ribs, about an inch wide, and has a nice tactile feel to it. Since Olympus micro-four-thirds cameras use a fly-by-wire system, the focusing ring will turn forever in either direction, offering no stops or resistance to let you know you have maxed out focus in either direction.
The Olympus 75mm ƒ/1.8 M.Zuiko accepts the LH-61F lens hood, which is not supplied with the lens. A special lens cap (LC-61) is also available - this cap fits directly over the lens hood.
With the micro four thirds mount still relatively new on the camera scene, at the time of writing there are simply no other lenses in this category. With a third-party adapter, you can mount other lenses on Olympus micro-four-thirds cameras, which could fill this gap.
There's a lot to like about the Olympus 75mm ƒ/1.8 M.Zuiko; simply amazing results for sharpness, great resistance to chromatic aberration, very low corner shading and near-zero distortion. Add in excellent build quality and good looks, and you have a package that's sure to please any photographer. The only sticking point might be the price - at around $900, it is an expensive optic. But seeing as at the time of writing there are no other lenses that offer this focal length and fast aperture setting, and given the exceptional performance, it's not surprising that Olympus is charging the premium price.
June 30, 2012 - Senior Editor Shawn Barnett grabbed the 75mm f/1.8 as soon as we were finished with it and quickly ran out to test it in the real world. See his writeup in this Imaging-Resource.com news story: "Olympus 75mm f/1.8 M.Zuiko lens captivates editor." (We think he liked it!)
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Olympus 75mm f/1.8 ED M.Zuiko Digital User Reviews
9 out of 10 points and recommended by coma (22 reviews)best mFT lens, sharp, smalltoo expensive, not weather sealed
the first example of this lens wasn't good at all - but this happens with all manufactures. The second one was good. No, it was outstanding.reviewed December 7th, 2015 (purchased for $1,000)
It might be the best µFT lens (fighting the 42.5mm nocti). It's sharp and the images it delivers are stunning - especially considering the size!
But there are a few drawbacks: the price. I paid nearly 1000€ - that's over 1000$. Too much for this lens. And it should be sealed (weather resistant).
If I had one wish it would be: make the lens a bit bigger, but seal it and improve the image quality (which is good, but both sharpness wide open as well as bokeh are not perfect).
The focus, like nearly all µFT lenses, was fast on an Em1
9 out of 10 points and recommended by chrislens (1 reviews)Great image quality, Solid construction, Little to no distortion and aberrationCost, Can be heavy when used on smaller MFT cameras
Let me start out by saying that if you're considering buying this lens, and are in the market for a prime Micro Four-Thirds short telephoto lens, buy this 75mm f/1.8. That's the short version of the story: buy it in confidence knowing it's great.reviewed October 31st, 2015 (purchased for $780)
I had rented this lens a few times and absolutely loved it every time I used it, but lamented when I had to return it. After renting the lens at least half a dozen times I came to the realization I had probably spent more money on renting it than I would have if I had just bought it, so it's now in my arsenal.
I could have gone with the 40-150mm f/2.8 instead of this, but the f/2.8 aperture is too slow for how I work. This prime is lighter, easier to keep in a bag, and stunning. At f/1.8 or slower, the results are sharp enough that I've been complimented by some colleagues who work in magazines using Canon or Nikon cameras. They're always impressed with how photos this guy turns out in combination with my E-M1, and I feel a weird sort of pride in owning this lens. It's like, being a part of a really obscure club or something.
That said, it's not perfect. I desperately wanted the weather sealing of the PRO line of M.Zuiko lenses, I wanted the manual focus clutch of them as well, and for Pete's sake Olympus. The lens hood was NOT included and that is insulting. Optically, brilliant; but I feel like I was ripped off a bit with the insanely priced hood.
I'm hoping that in the next few years Olympus steps up their game to better compete with other mirrorless competition. If a version 2 of this lens had all of my wish-list items, I'd sell mine in an instant and pick it up.
You'll be pleased with the results of this lens, your clients will be happy, but remember it's not weather sealed, the hood is extra, and the manual focus is practically non-existant.
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10 out of 10 points and recommended by Airy (15 reviews)Optically close to perfection. Excellent IQ.None.
Will deliver excellent shots in nearly all circumstances. Aperture controls the DOF and leaves everything else unaffected. I do know a slightly better lens (the Zeiss 135/2 APO) but that one is for DSLRs.reviewed June 16th, 2015
From that point of view, I won't even call it expensive.
By the way, even with the magnificent (and heavy) hood on, it remains a walkaround lens.
My favourite m43 lens, followed by the Oly 12/2.0.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Mr Fussy (2 reviews)Build quality and image quality.The lens hood should be included.
I started photography in high school and I am now 60. I have used Pentax, Mamiya, Nikon and now Olympus. I have owned about 8 Nikon lenses. This year I switched from Nikon DX to Olympus OMD E-M1.reviewed September 27th, 2014 (purchased for $900)
This is probably the best lens I have ever owned.
Despite being $900, it is an absolute bargain. Comparable (not equal) to the Nikon 200mm F2.0 which is $5,600 and weights 2.9Kg.
If you like working with 150mm equivalent focal length you must buy this lens for your M43 system.
Finally this lens proves you can get shallow DOF with M43, I have photos of a smallish bird of prey on a handlers glove, it fills the frame, but with either the eye or talons in focus but not both at f1.8. The background is just a beautiful blur.
Outstanding, well done Olympus!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by romeo (3 reviews)Light - Small - Fast - Sharp - Lens Hood
After using Nikon (D300/D700) and Sony (NEX-7/A7r) now I use only Olympus.reviewed June 16th, 2014 (purchased for $900)
Two body OM-D E-M5, one OM-D E-M5 with 25mm F1.8 and another OM-D E-M5 with 75mm F1.8.
No regrets for the past,for me small is beautiful.
Image quality of the Olympus with its lens is sharp, beautiful with gorgeous color.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by LowTEC (4 reviews)Tack sharp corner to corner in all aperture, supreme build quality, fast focuszero
One word to describe this lens, Perfection.reviewed June 7th, 2014 (purchased for $950)
This is one beautiful lens, full metal construction with silk smooth focus ring, all in a tightly assembled body. The optic is perfect, tack sharp wide open all the way to f16, this lens is so sharp that I can consistently crop my wide open shot bird image to 1:1 and still able to see every individual feather; the sharpness, micro contrast, color rendition, nice starburst and creamy bokeh is simply surreal. It is so sharp at f1.8, I don't think I ever step it down to shoot. There is simply no sharper lens ( in full range of aperture) on the market regardless of system, only Canon 135 f/2, sigma 70mm macro can come close.
The extreme sharpness makes it so versatile (cropped like a 150mm-600mm in FF equiv., despite what ppl think of the focal length), I use it for portrait, close range birding, concert, sports and even landscape shooting, it is my most used lens of my whole M4/3 lens collection.
A few samples to show how it's like in real use, some shots are 100% cropped
9 out of 10 points and recommended by lightknight (21 reviews)Wide open performance, build quality, size, weight, price, bokehA little long for a portrait lens
I would love to give it a perfect score....but Olympus won't get one from me until they stop asking for another $100 for a lens hood....You will see that I have put price above in the pros list. The thing is have you purchased a lens that performs at this level from Canon or Nikon? Look up the price of a 135mm L lens or a 85mm 1.4. They cant touch the little lens that can. The only negative for me is the focal length as Portrait length is anywhere between 50-135mm with a preference towards the long end. But it does create some issues particularly indoors. So I would have loved a 52-67 F1.4, but I will take this just as it is thanks. A real Goldilocks lens, not too heavy, not to light, not to big and not too small, in short, just right.reviewed April 27th, 2014 (purchased for $1,000)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by rrwilliams64 (9 reviews)Best IQ in MFT system , heavenly bokeh, sharp across framehood sold separate, pricey675
Best lens bar none in the MFT system, comes at a dear price but worth itreviewed March 22nd, 2014 (purchased for $675)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by SebF (1 reviews)Oustanding image quality, colors rendition, aperture, build qualityNo macro, price
I own this lens since a few weeks. I really love it, because it fits perfectly my habits : I like telephotos a lot. With my Canon Rebel T2i (that I sold last week because my E-PL5 does the job perfectly), my favourite lens was the 100 m F2,8 L IS macro, and I really think that the 75 mm is as good as it.reviewed April 21st, 2013 (purchased for $990)
Even for familly pictures, I try to keep this lens on my E-PL5 : I just go back a few feet to have everybody in field !
It's a wonderful lens, and a pleasure to use.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Ocean (21 reviews)good construction,only silver, no hood, very pricey
without lens hood and only ugly silverreviewed December 30th, 2012 (purchased for $1,000)
Optics are very good - but for me it's not a keeper - I like the 1,8/45 mm by far more!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Prime Minister (40 reviews)Build quality, auto focus, sharpness, contrast, size, weight, looksNone, it's perfect
Not much to say, this lens is perfect. Excellent image quality (noticeably better than the Olympus 45mm f/1.8), excellent build quality. Very compact and lightweight for a fast 135mm equivalent (field of view) lens.reviewed December 8th, 2012
The all black version of this lens looks sexy on any camera. Get yourself an affordable JJC metal lens hood, it's every bit as good as the Olympus one.
A high quality optic and a good investment. Besides a loan to finance it, there's nothing more you can wish for. A keeper for sure.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by maskinmoller (6 reviews)Sharpness, bokeh, build quality, autofocusnone of importance, but would have been even more useful id semi macro
This is one of the best lenses I ever owned and surely the sharpest wide open.reviewed September 21st, 2012 (purchased for $992)
I used to shoot Nikon and my favorite was the Nikkor 105/2 DC, which has an even softer bokeh and is softer (though one of the sharpest Nikkors) making it a bit easier for portraits, but this lens is much better technically.
So sharp even wide open that you probably want to soften the skin on many people if their skin is not perfect.
It is a joy with a portrait lens sharp wide open coupled with the reliable AF and in camera vibrance reduction making it very useful for available light shots.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Gandalf (8 reviews)Simply amazing sharpness and bokehLoose some contrast when strong light hits the lens, but not worse as many others
This lens is so sharp - the only lens with the same sharpness I have shot with is the Nikon 200mm f/2.0.VRreviewed September 13th, 2012 (purchased for $1,133)
And the bokeh is also very fine.
If you have the money do not think twice, you will not regret it.
If sharpness means something it is "hard" now to use other lenses with weaker sharpness :)
I will use it for portraits and street-shooting, but also for detailed landscapes - even it is 75/150mm (FF)it is sometimes fine to use a small tele for parts of landscapes, and this lens will be amazing for this.
The price I payed is included the hood and special cap for this hood, and the overall price is OK for such a fine lens, and if you want it to be perfect I think you need the hood, because it can loose some contrast in strong light, but not worse than so many others (but there are some lenses, that are better in this special area)
I can only agree with the former reviewer when writing:
"I'm still incredibly excited to have it"
....and I can not wait to shoot with it again (just got it yesterday)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by luimallozzi (1 reviews)Easily the sharpest lens I've used, Fast and Quiet Focus, Great build quality, Smooth Focus ring for Video, Great close-focus distance considering the 150MM equivalent focus distancePossibly the Price, Basic Hood should have been included.
Background:reviewed September 9th, 2012
I have the Canon 5D MK II, 35MM 1.4L, 85MM F1.2L, 135MM F2L. I've owned fantastic versions of the 200MM F2.8L, 70-200 EF-S F2.8L II, 24-70, 16-35 . . . I'm a Canon guy. I'm not an elitist but I can say, I'm a fan of good glass.
When I bought the OM-D, I got really excited when this lens was announced. When it finally came in, I was extremely excited and after using it, I'm still incredibly excited to have it.
Here is the actual review part: (i'll make this really short)
- Easily the highest quality optic I've used in the longest time. (even compared to my 85MM F1.2 or 135MM F2)
- Impossibly sharp and insane past F4,. (Thats all I'm going to say about that)
- Great Bokeh and Color, Great Contrast, Decent Flare resistance.
Regarding the Price and Lack of hood:
- I'm not taking away points from the lens because it doesn't come with a hood. If I could score the 'value for money' on this lens it would score 15/10. (5 above 10/10) Its worth it.
- Its more expensive than most other lenses, but it performs way better. Think of the last 135MM lens you bought brand new . . . How much did you spend? This costs less, and delivers way way more. Don't expect filet-mignon for hamburger prices.