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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Lens Review

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8
Price : £699
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8

This premium compact telephoto lens sports a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and is compatible with all Micro Four Thirds cameras. The lens provides a field of view equivalent to a 150mm lens used on a 35mm camera, and the bright f/1.8 maximum aperture allows your subject to be isolated with shallow depth of field.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Handling and features

Weighing only 305g and being only 69mm long, this lens is incredibly compact for its focal length and aperture when compared to equivalents for 35mm or APS-C system cameras. This lens is one of Olympus' premium optics and sports metal construction as a result, but rather surprisingly this optic isn't weather sealed like many other Olympus lenses. Even so, the lens feels like a very high quality product in use.

Autofocus is quick and precise, and the manual focusing ring has a silky-smooth action, which makes applying fine focus adjustments relatively straightforward. Closest focus is 84cm, which allows you to get reasonably close for frame filling shots.

A 58mm filter thread is supplied, which does not rotate during focusing and the lens does not extend. This makes the lens ideal for use with graduated or polarising filters. No lens hood is supplied as standard. The optional LH-61F hood retails for an eye-watering £50 if you require one.

Olympus Omd Em5 75mm2
Olympus 75mm f/1.8 with Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Performance

As far as sharpness is concerned, this lens performs extremely well. Sharpness is already excellent in the centre of the frame at f/1.8 with good sharpness towards the edges of the frame at this aperture. Stopping down takes this lens into a league of its own. It is so sharp that you'll be hard pressed to see any difference in sharpness across the frame between f/2.8 and f/11.

Resolution at 75mm
Resolution at 75mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

Levels of chromatic aberrations may be a little on the high side for some people's taste at apertures faster than f/2.8. Fringing just exceeds 0.9 pixel widths towards the edges of the frame at these fast apertures. With the aperture stopped down to between f/2.8 and f/16 fringing remains below half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame, which should pose few issues.

Chromatic aberration at 75mm
Chromatic aberration at 75mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc. to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is incredibly well controlled for a lens with such a fast maximum aperture. At f/1.8 the corners of the frame are only 0.8 stops darker than the image centre and illumination is visually uniform with the lens stopped down to f/2.8 or beyond.

Imatest was only able to detect 0.9% pincushion distortion during testing, which is a very low level indeed. If absolutely straight lines are paramount, you'll be glad to know that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying correction in image editing software afterwards a breeze.

Olympus have applied their 'ZERO' anti-refection coating to this lens, and it is highly resistant to flare and loss of contrast as a result. However, it still would've been nice of Olympus to supply a hood with the lens as standard, even it if will rarely need it.

Portrait | 1/160 sec | f/11.0 | 75.0 mm | ISO 160
Portrait | 1/160 sec | f/11.0 | 75.0 mm | ISO 160

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 Sample Photos

Value for Money

There is currently no direct equivalent for this lens in the Micro Four Thirds range. Even though the price of around £700 may seem a little high, when the performance this lens delivers is considered, I'm sure you'll agree that it is probably worth it.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Verdict

Micro Four Thirds system camera owners who are already looking at this lens probably don't need any more convincing of it's worth, but those who hadn't yet considered it may be interested to see just how well this optic performs. It's amongst the sharpest lenses currently available for any camera system, it's well built and a pleasure to use.

The price is actually quite good value when such high optical performance is delivered. It can certainly give the Zeiss' and Leica's a run for their money.

The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 lens offers incredible optical performance for a very reasonable price.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Pros

Incredible optical performance for the price
Very good build quality
Lightweight
Compact

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 75mm f/1.8 Cons

Not weather sealed
No hood supplied as standard

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f/1.8 Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length75mm
Angle of View16
Max Aperturef/1.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size58mm
35mm equivalent150mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus75cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades9
Elements10
Groups9
Box Contents
Box ContentsM.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm 1:1:8, Micro Four Thirds lens cap (LC-58E), Micro Four Thirds lens rear cap (LR-2), Warranty Card, Operating Instructions
Dimensions
Weight305g
Height69mm

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Comments


5 Nov 2012 1:33AM
Looking at that resolution graph, you can literally say, "it's off the charts".

Good review of what seems like a very impressive lens. With that build quality and performance, one can't complain about the price even though it is much more expensive than say, a 45/1.8. However, it should have come with the hood and pouch.

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Easy99 1 Canada
7 Nov 2012 3:21PM
Hi, I'm new to this site.
I purchased this lens to use with my Panasonic GH2 for sports videos and sports pictures.
What settings do I use on my GH2 to allow me to use the 'focus' on this lens?
The pictures above are great and I would like to do the same with my lens and camera.
Thanks
Easy99
joshwa e2
4 600 United Kingdom
7 Nov 2012 3:29PM
The GH2 has a switch on the top left for MF (Manual Focus), AFC (Continuous), or AFS (Single), selecting between these should let it work in either manual focus mode or Auto Focus (AF) modes.
Easy99 1 Canada
7 Nov 2012 3:44PM
Hi
Thanks, I used the MF (Manual Focus) but when I press the shutter button I get a larger picture and not what I 'zoomed in' on.
joshwa e2
4 600 United Kingdom
7 Nov 2012 4:08PM
Hi,
On the Panasonic cameras, in MF mode, the view automatically changes to the zoomed in view when you turn the focus ring on the lens, then when you half-press the shutter it goes to the zoomed out view so you can check framing before taking the picture.
Hope this helps

Thanks
Josh
(I tried it with the 75mm on the G3, in MF focus mode).
ian5986 11 30 United Kingdom
1 May 2013 1:39PM
I own this lens and it is an absolute stunner.

I do find it sad that for a lens of this quality / price that Olympus do not see fit to mirror their Mu43 partners (Panasonic) and provide a shade & bag.

I did buy the JJC shade for mine that cost me about a third of the Oly asking price and it is metal & well made.........no brainer really.

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