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Another DxOmark test: Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (and crazy Fuji cheater price)


The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 got tested by the team from DxOmark (Click here): “We have here another very fine and impressive lens, and one that is fully capable of holding its own against APS-C cameras and also against certain full-frame models. The results are convincing: in terms of image quality, these micro 4/3 modules are a clear success. Olympus certainly appears to have risen to the challenge of combining compactness with quality!”
DxO really loves m43 lenses :)
The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is a nice and relatively cheap lens: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

Something else: The Fuji X PRO 1 is shipping in Japan and it already reached a “cheater value” of $2,699.99 on eBay (Click here). I will mark the price and see what the cheater price on the Olympus E-M5 will be….I think it will go close to the X PRo 1.

P.S: Fotommundus (Click here) has the new Sigma 30mm lens for Micro Four Thirds in Stock!

  • TheEye

    The term “cheater value” is way too kind. ;-)

    • bilgy_no1

      So people are paying a $1000 premium, instead of waiting a few weeks? Geez…

      • anonymous

        who says anything about buying – this is just a price to grab attention. and hey, imagine the profit if one actually falls for this.

    • What does “cheater price” mean?

  • PS

    There is a whole new Spring in the air as far as Oly are concerned.

    They are silencing critic after critic.

    Good luck to the team who has normaly been on the harder side of the field.

    Remarkable is that the D7000 fort has been beaten, by whom —EPL2!!!!

    Like to see these results on the EP3 and then on OM5

    • Michael Devitt

      Yes, Olympus turns to right direction – fast compact primes. They never get much credit from DxO until now (but only few classic 4/3 lenses have been tested…). I’m sure Olympus realizes they are far more popular now.

      With modern sensor technology that noticeably improve DR/ISO performance in combination with those great primes from Olympus/Panasonic/Cosina you can get the same image quality as APS-C equivalent. Even pixel-peeper institution called DxO is beginning to prove it :D.

      • Sam

        If you compare the 50 1.4G or the 85 1.4 D the D7000 comes out ahead.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t get how they score it anyway, but the interesting thing is that a €400 camera with a €270 lens is performing so incredibly well.

          • JimD

            If you have been reading blogs and web sites you will have realised the Oly combinations are fantastic. Its just there are more Canon and Nikon Poseurs who have been drowning out the message. All pros who use m43 say the images are brilliant and printable to a4 a3 with no problem, now the pixel peepers have confirmed what we users already knew.

            • Digifan

              And A2 (40×60) is perfectly fine too. I’ve printed even bigger from my E-1.

      • Yes, but remember if you put HQ lenses on an APS-C camera the same thing will happen. The margin remains with equal quality lenses.
        To put it in perspective take a look att Canon 70-200/4 IS – amazing resolution in that lens. Put in on an APSC camera……
        I am not sure if the DXOmark testing of lenses is quality assured though, have mixed feelings about DXOmark sensor tests.
        For lenses I prefer SLRgear with its illustrative blur and other graphs.

        • JimD

          But…. But…..But……But!

  • Bomberesque

    I bought both the 45 f1.8 and the 12 F2.0. they are both very nice lenses (although I would have preferred a 10 instead of a 12). the 45 is standout value though with the 12 being expensive enough to almost send me to the panny WA zoom … the weight and bulk (or significant lack thereof) in the prime making the decision for me. one thing I wish they had done with the 45 is give it the push-me-pull-you focus ring that appears on the 12. it is lovely to use but on the 12 only really of limited use (DoF not really being an issue, unless you’re using it close up and wide open, which it is good for in street situations … something I wasn’t expecting at this FL). Apparant quality on both is superb and I’m enjoying them immensely

    • Steve

      That push-pull ring on the 45 would make it the best prime in the system by far. It’s still a fantastic lens. I love the 12/2, too.

      • Zone focusing is basically impractical at longer focal lengths. Unless you use a laser distance meter.

        • Steve

          sneye, I’m not really talking about the focal scale but the ease of switching to/from MF mode. So intuitive.

      • ypocaramel

        Oh I’m ready for a f1.4 version with distance scale incase I win the lottery or something XD

    • MGuarini

      I also have the 12 and the 45 and miss the push-pull focus ring in the 45. The 12 spends 80% of the time in my EP3, it is a great lens and suits very well my photo style. I hope Oly comes soon with a 9 or a 10 of the same quality an luminosity. Meanwhile I’m impatiently wanting for the 75, I think this will be just another superb lens.

  • Pim

    And now Olympus has to make money..
    When they stay on loosing money.. how good the products are, they will not stay in business..

    But nice toys they have now :)

    • reverse stream swimmer

      It seems the larger the company, the larger the losses:

      Japan electronics giants headed for junk pile

      At least Olympus shows a positive trend with their Imaging Business, while their Medical Business is a Cash generator.

      • SteveO

        Not always so, this on Samsung:
        Can’t tell if this will work as a link on my screen, so some highlights:
        “Samsung Group, which includes Samsung Electronics Co, said on Tuesday it is raising its 2012 investment to a record $41.4 billion, underscoring the widening gulf between the dominant South Korean conglomerate and its faltering competitors.”
        “Samsung normally finances its investment with internal cash and had around 22 trillion won in cash as of end-September. It is set to report a record 5.2 trillion won in fourth-quarter operating profit next week, according to its preliminary results.”
        “Major Japanese firms — Sony Corp, Toshiba Corp, Hitachi Ltd and Sharp Corp — are planning to invest a combined 1.3 trillion yen ($16.6 billion) in the current fiscal year to end-March, smaller than Samsung Group’s capital spending of 27.9 trillion won for 2011.”

        • Samsung is Korean…

        • hardyhar

          Trusting any numbers from Olympus seems a tad foolish ,their image division made loses in the last year just as it has for many years before.

          • So which is it? Trust their numbers or not, you seem to be confused.

          • Digifan

            Just clueless.
            You think they mess with the figures again?
            I think not.

      • JimD

        American business finance and marketing do not sit well with Japanese companies. They need to return to the Japanese way of doing things, something which the Koreans learned well from the Japanese many years ago.

  • Steve

    Admin, I was at Map Camera in Shinjuku, Tokyo yesterday when the X-Pro1 was released. I had no idea it was going to be released yesterday, I was there to reserve my E-M5!

    Anyway the amount of middle aged photo geeks in the store (of which I am one myself) was pretty crazy. There were those picking up their preorders and some other picking up those few cameras whose preorders were canceled. I also wandered by Labi and Yodobashi in Shinjuku – they were all sold out except for some lenses.

    I did play with Map’s demo unit a bit – the hybrid EVF is fantastic but I don’t like the feel of the camera at all (and I was a fan of the old MF film Fujis). I’m sure it shoots great, though not enough to swing me off from m4/3.

    • Stu5

      Interesting last comment Steve. Having not handled one myself yet what was it you did not like?

      • I’m not a big fan of the X-Pro – the viewfinder is nice when its in optical mode, but as soon as its showing digital output it looks terrible. If you have a longer focal length on it, the whole thing is less than intuitive. The OM-D and NEX-7 viewfinders are in a completely different league.

        Handling wise, the X-Pro will suit those who want something that looks and feels like an old camera, which is essentially what it is – a digital version of an old camera concept.

        • Not only Oly are operating in retro territory! :-)

          • Test

            Oly is not really retro. While the shape of the cameras are more (the OM-D) or less (the E-P3) reminiscent of film times, the cameras control design is as new as can be. This is neither the case of the Fuji X Pro, nor that of the Leica M9, which are really offering the same type of controls than film cameras, with aperture rings and distance scales on the lenses.

            Personnally I don’t care for all the fancy scene modes and filters, I prefer the simple PASM modes, I’m ok with aperture rings and distance scales are great for zone focusing, but I want modern technology as well, i want AF too, plus the comfort of an EVF, plus focus peaking and magnification for MF, plus an articulated or flipping LCD on the back. I do also like the level gauges, plus stabilization. Etc..

            • Test@ Good design is age loose, maybe Olympus will hold OM-D disign over many year.

              • Test

                I guess that you mean ageless ?

                Well that was not my point. The OM-D is absolutely not ageless, it is full of modern technology. That is what I like in Olympus mft cameras, that, plus the fact that their shape has more character than the Panasonic design.

                • Yes i mean ageless ;-), but only design, not technology in camera, and if we look on Pen serie also, is the only E-PLx so have come in new design by every new Pen camera so have coming out.
                  I think the is like by E-Mx serie also, so E-Px serie.

                  • I think ‘timeless’ is the word you’re looking for ;).

  • The M.Zuiko 12mm and 45mm primes are impressive. I still have the Panasonic Leica 45mm F2.8 but I used to own the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 as well. The M.Zuiko is beautifully compact with a large aperture. Technically it also has a very good image quality, although I feel that the Leica branded lens has more character. Colors and micro contrast seem better with the Leica branded lens although that’s of course subjective.

    In the end I sold the M.Zuiko, partly because I liked the images from the Leica better. But also because I switched to the NEX system for which I’m now using the equally good, stabilized 50mm (75mm FF equivalent) F1.8 prime. I’ll hold onto the Leica 45/2.8 and a couple of other MFT lenses for now until I see what new features and technology the GH3 brings to the table.

  • Though E-M5 still isn’t my best favourite (GH2 or even G3 has a bit better layout and a swiveling LCD) I’d send to an exhaustive mental hygiene evaluation all of these fanboys who prefer X Pro 1 over E-M5, not speaking about the willingness for paying such a big amount of money.

    • Why? The X-Pro 1 is a super camera. “Better” than the M9 in most aspects.

      • Stu5

        At the moment it is impossible to say it is better than the M9 in most respects as it is not in the shops. Another problem with Fuji though at the moment is quality control and the lack of it. They have one model that has the orbs effect which a software upgrade has not solved and another model with software issues and sticking aperture blades. This does not look good for the X-Pro as you have to wonder what problems will that have? It might be third time lucky but for the amount of money it cost you want to be a little bit more than lucky.

      • I wouldn’t compare to M9, as M9 is an incredibly bad value camera.
        NOT a wrong camera, it’s even an excellent one. But – speaking about value, i.e. quality/price ratio – it’s incredibly bad: better quality and handling cameras can be found at a fraction of its price.

        And so does the so-called super X-Pro 1.

        • To each his own. There is no doubt m4/3 is more versatile than the X-Pro system, but X-Pro is better for some applications.

      • White_Hammer

        Better than M9? Have you tried both?

        Today I went to the Photo exhibition in my country. I tested X-PRO1 myselft. The IQ is great, but both AF and MF are terribly poor. The 60 macro lens is so slowww. AF is not fast and not accurate. Moreover for MF, you have to use your own eyes to decide whether a subject is in focus or not.

        • Well, even slow AF is “better” than what the M9 has to offer.

        • JimD

          W.Eugene Smith used his own eyes and SRT101 to great effect. “Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath” being a photo that changed the world in many ways. Must be something in the old adage, its the photographer, not the camera, but the SRT101 was a great camera.

          • Chez Wimpy

            His own eyes and an honest-to-goodness MF camera! Trying to MF without ground glass, a split screen, or a rangefinder requires a suitable digital replacement. On a DSLR with a stock screen it is all but impossible, and so far on EVILs it has been hit or miss. Peaking seems to have drawn the most notice of late.

    • DR
      • DR

        Two links in a post and it goes to moderation? :P


        Well, that and the fact that the E-M5 isn’t available for a couple of months. X-Pro1 hit the Japan Market today, and sold out to pre orders by all accounts.

        If E-M5 lives up to expectations, I have no problem with it, may buy one, but IQ competitor with current best APS-C it is not.

    • Isn’t it a bit early to draw any final conclusion on either EM5 or X-pro1? No real evaluations or tests yet done. Only hands-on and shots from pre-production cameras.
      kesztiõ: Your comment over those prefering x-pro1 only tells us one thing: You are capable of stupid and arrogant comments.

      • I mainly speak about value, not about features and image quality.

        And Fuji X-Pro 1 is a terribly bad value camera, I don’t even think there is too much room for discussing about it.

        For these $2700 (BODY ONLY!) you can buy the weather sealed E-M5 body, the weather sealed kit lens and a handful of ultra high quality m43 lenses and accessories. So who wants to take photos rather enjoying camera porn (what a sexy camera, isn’t it?) the E-M5 is far better choice. As better as there is a serious concern about the discernment of those who still prefer Fuji X-Pro 1 over E-M5.

        Am I right or not?


          From looking at just a few sample photos, I would say there’s something special about the Fuji XPro1 camera system. The images (to me) have a 3D quality to them, a depth which is quite apparent in the train pic, the portraits, etc.. I think the images are very high quality — in a special way (not statistics). So I think the camera has fairly unique/rare value. At that point, it’s a matter of the buyer+pocketbook whether it’s a good value.

          So I definitely find it an intriguing camera even though my interest is in the E-M5. Competition is good, and I hope some of that almost tangible Fuji XPro1 quality may find its way to the Olympus bodies (eventually) too.

          • Yes, but good DR. for a Fujifilm system camera is normal. ;-)

          • Hmm… obviously high quality photos.

            But i still cannot see something so special that an other premium quality mirrorless (e.g. NEX-7) cannot offer. The “depth” and “3D quality” is rather about to the photographer than the camera.

            • Well, you could be right. However, I find all the images striking in a rare way, so I suspect the camera has unique rendering ability.

              As I think about it, the photographer has control over the composition and the settings (e.g., aperture) of the camera. But we all know a good camera system (body + lens) contributes to the rendering of the image once the photographer hits the shutter button. To my sight, these photos are very well executed by the photographer, but the camera rendering is special on top of that.

              In other words, the photographer has indirect control of the rendering… by choosing a camera system. This camera system offers a special (to my eye) rendering. Only at the decisive moment does the photographer have direct control over the image (composition and camera settings).

              Tool (camera system) + composition + settings = photograph.

              So I believe the camera system is adding a certain rendering quality that resonates with me. That’s my take on what makes these images special to my eye.

              • You’re leaving out the most critical element – lighting.

                The difference in these shots is usually much more to do with the lighting than the camera used. A photographer has much more control than just fiddling with the settings and composition – the most important things are often the lighting.

                Usually the difference between a really striking photo and a snapshot is the light. In these examples, the lighting is very directional which gives a 3D look and creates extra separation between the subject and the background.

                They’re not just some casual snapshots – the model with the hat has a rim lighting effect going on, with some additional light from the front and is a professional model. What you’re not seeing in the end product are the people holding reflectors, any lightstands, or the styling and make-up artist that’s put in a fair bit of work beforehand to make sure that the end product has high production value.

                If anything, for me the roll-off on the highlights on some of these shots looks pretty harsh.

                • Ahh. I suspect you’re correct about the model train shots, and that does make me appreciate the photographer (and lighting). However, the outdoor shots (including the train in the distance) have little or no special lighting, and the rendition effect is still there. So, I do not believe lighting alone is the full story.

                  The only photos I do not appreciate the quality as much are the indoor female model shots. They are still good, but not the photographer’s best shots, IMO.

                  But I can now see what you’re saying about the model trains. Very cool model trains, lighting, and photos.

            • DR

              Seems that kesztio changes the goal posts every time he is proven wrong!

              Earlier, he said: “the E-M5 is far better choice. As better as there is a serious concern about the discernment of those who still prefer Fuji X-Pro 1 over E-M5.”

              now, after viewing and hearing about the quality of those images he moves the goal posts and says: “But i still cannot see something so special that an other premium quality mirrorless (e.g. NEX-7) cannot offer. The “depth” and “3D quality” is rather about to the photographer than the camera.”

              So unable than continue to berate those who see qualities in the Fuji that are not yet seen in the E-M5 (a camera which will probably never equal these qualities anyway), he moves to dismiss the quality of the Fuji as nothing better than NEX-7 and dismisses any perception of quality as being about the photographer, not the camera.

              Is it so hard to admit you were wrong, kesztio?

              Hard to discuss with such a slippery eel.

  • bli

    But why does DxO mark insist that the 45/1.8 is an 85mm equivalent?

    • anonymous

      because 45 x 1,9 = 85,5
      m4/3 is 1,9x crop factor – but for simplicity its often considered 2x…

      • Tom

        What dimensions are you using to calculate crop factor? With [24 36] vs [13 17 1/3] one finds sqrt(24^2+36^2)/sqrt(13^2+(17+1/3)^2) = 1.9969…..

        • anonymous

          I don’t know how to do the maths, but upon opening my images in PtGui, it says 1.923x crop factor so I assumed that was a correct figure.

          • The so is good thing by 43 and M43 is anyway, we can say the is a crop.x2 from normal FF size, so a 45mm give same view so 90mm FF.

    • Dummy00002

      Because it’s an 85mm equivalent? (45×2=90)

      • BLI

        You prove my point: it is a 90mm equivalent.

        • Bob B.

          Close enough…jesus …get a life.

          • bli

            :-). Close enough, yes. But they should let the reader make that judgement instead of corrupting a very simple calculation which leaves the impression that they don’t know primary school math.

            • Bob B.

              There would be no perceptible difference between real world images taken with an 85mm and a 90mm. Puuuuuuuuuuuuuulese.
              It is just dribble to even mention it.
              wait..wait…I am going out to take some photos……

              • unkabin

                Wow. You must be a peach of a guy.

                • Bob B.


              • bli

                …out to take some photos: obviously just what you need.

          • unkabin

            Why be rude? Would you say this in person to him for making a comment like that? It seems a fair enough observation considering he’s reading this on a website whose business is precision measurement.

            • Digifan

              I would, I’m Dutch, we speak out what we think. We don’t go beat around the bush.
              And yeah, frankly the difference between 90mm and 85mm is to be neglected.

              • Digifan

                In the end the goal of DxO is to sell software.
                So take ALL of their measurements with a kilo of salt.

        • Do

          I guess it’s just becuse 85 mm is a classical focal length for portrait lenses while 90mm is a far less common focal length…like 50mm lenses are considered “normal leneses” for 35mm cameras although afaik 43-45mm would be the perfect “normal lens” for a 35mm camera.

    • Tom

      If you are trying to compare equivalant focal lengths on APS-C, they should compare to 50mm not 85mm. The 50 f1.4 rates a 15 on the 7D, the 50 f1.8 rates a 16 (and the f1.8 is dirt cheap….)

      • Bob B.

        Tom…you are ABSOLUTELY correct! On all counts!
        For an APSC sensor ….you need to compare a 50mm lens to the Oly 45mm. And on most APS-C cameras an 50mm is like comparing and 80mm lens. (1.6x)
        And Do, above is correct about the 85mm being the classical focal length for full-frame cameras. (there are VERY few 90 mm lenses out there for full frame. the REAL world…one has to compare the MFT 45mm to the APS-C with a 50-55mm lens.
        I use full-frame (5D Mark II) and my MFT gear (G3 GX1 and have the Oly 45mm, f/1.8). According to DxO Canon 85mm f/1.2 Lens on my 5DMarkII rates a 27 compared to a 17 on the Oly/GX1 combo. This justifies me keeping and working in both formats ….When the images are really important to me ….I shoot full-frame. The gap has really narrowed between MFT and APS-C, though….but there are still significant benefits to working in APS-C format compared to MFT.

    • ulli

      oh my..another case of equivalentitis

  • obZerver

    DxO: “We have here another very fine and impressive LENS, and one that is fully capable of holding its own against APS-C CAMERAS and also against certain full-frame models.”

    Hang on, are they comparing a performance of a lens with the performance of a camera?!?!?!?

    • Dummy00002

      Yes, that’s a stupid wording from them. Don’t know what they were thinking.

    • DR

      This is a good point, and one that DxO cannot resolve easily. The performance of the particular sensor chosen has an impact on the results of the test. It’s crazy to then compare and declare winners between them on that basis.

      Another lens tester, has this to say about comparisons between formats:

      “Please note that the tests results are not comparable across the different systems! This does also apply for the new EOS tests based on the EOS 50D because of differences in the sensor system (e.g. AA-filter) as well as different RAW-converters.”

      Still, I guess it’s just journalism. The most outrageous headline drives visits to the DxO website.

      • JimD

        What they are saying is the lens is correct for the sensor. Oly is making lenses that work with their sensors not a ‘generic’ lens to fit maybe this size or that size. Their comment is Oly seems to be doing it better for those that want a 90mm (or there abouts) lens. On top of that we all know Oly does the best ooc jpg.

    • DxO mark explain why they test lenses as a lens+camera combination here:

      it’s not a mistake or stupid wording, that is literally what they aim to do, which is why we’re so proud here that a PEN+Oly 45mm gets the same score as the Nikon 85mm on a D7000

      it’s not hard to imagine why the sensor size and megapixels would affect the actual resolution (in the RAW files) you are able to achieve with a particular lens

      • Thanks for the link. It makes a strong case for ignoring DxO sensor ratings, and only paying attention to their lens/camera combination tests. Which I also find lacking, but at least they look at a system instead of the synthesized raw output of a chip: that’s right, DxO attempts to back out any effects of on chip processing from their sensor tests.

    • I think when DxO mark test sensor in camera make they a coefficient for all camera so they use also for lens test.

  • Boooo!

    Imagine what would happen if DxO tested SHG lenses, instead of these ones.

    • MGuarini

      The 12 is better than the SHG 7-14 at 12, and the 45 is better than the SHG 35-100 at 45. I have them and compared them finding these results. The SHG zooms are truly superb lenses, but they don’t beat good primes at a given focal distance.

      • M

        the 12 is a shit lens with 5-10% barrel distortion and -1.2 to -1.6 stops of vignetting, depending on the sample (i measured six, they all varied)

        the 45 is worse than the 50

        • JimD

          Woken up with a hangover? Again. Or just pretending to be Steve Jobs reincarnated.

        • Steve

          “the 12 is a shit lens” – Really???? I think you are in the extreme minority there.

          • Digifan

            Yeah, he is in his own group, all by himself. ;-)

    • ulli

      i give up…..please tell us

  • Yun

    No doubt the 45mm F1.8 is a big performer , I used to compare it with Leica DG Summilux which I enjoyed too . Wondering if the lens will be even better with an Olympus body ?
    Panasonic , please urge Leica to come up such tele primes lens .

  • Robert from Oz

    I love the “Q” system on x pro. Tell you what Sony could learn from it ;p. As for the M9 look a like contest I can see where people get it from but I think reason lecia hasn’t sued is because they can see that you can only make that sort of camera in that style-ish. Besides there are little things here and there that tell you right away it aint no M9

  • PS

    Its reallt amazing as to how much discussion took place on this site as to how EM5 is better than EP3 but main contest is wheather it can compete with the GH2 or GX1.

    DxO has comparison on the oly 12 ans 45 with both these cameras, in addition to the EPL2.

    Surprise O Surprise – the EPL2 has a better score than the GH2 AND GX1. And I am sure the EM5 is far superior to the EPL2.

    It will be interesting to see more cameras being covered. But the APS barrier is shattered!!!!

    • Nobody can really give any judgement on how it compares to the GH2 because the production cameras and raw conversion software isn’t out yet. In terms of handling its a much nicer camera than the GH2, and in my opinion the best digital camera Olympus has made by a big margin.

      • Gianluca


    • I checked and with EPL2 the score is 17, with GH2 is 16. More or less the same – but I have seen photos from EPL2 that looks great!
      Highest lens/camera combination rates 33….. (Nikon macro with D3x)
      Oly 43 Macro 35mm on 520 is on 7, with 14-42 about the same…..
      Lenses have resolution as well as sensors, so of course a kit lens ranks low you do not utilize the sensor. With the best lens to a poor sensor not utilizes the lens.
      That is the thing if you buy an expensive FF camera – you must spend lots on lenses too.

      • Nikon D7000 with 85/1.4 scores 21……

  • Melvin

    DXO should mount a real lens like zuiko 150/2.0 on an E-M5 or GH2 and see how this lens-camera combination makes the micro 45 or 12 mm lenses (and everything else) look pale in comparison.

    Would be nice if DXO dares to test one of these very best 4/3 lenses with a modern m4/3 body. Just for fun and reference.

    • PS

      That would be interesting.
      I think the 14-35 or 35-100 will also be great zooms to test with!

  • nugat

    I’ll repeat my opinion on DxO testing placed elsewhere. Same applies to Zuiko 45/1.8. They recalculate (for full frame ie. downwards) the lp/mm resolution for APS-C as well.

    DxO aggregate sensor scores are achieved through an unknown methodology.
    Their aggregate lens scores likewise.
    When you look at subscores (measurements) they are based on strange standards.
    Take lens resolution.

    On one hand they call upon ISO 12233, on the other they pick MTF20 (20%) for their main resolution metric, while most others use MTF50. So the DxO metric is not only uncomparable but also its practical usability is close to none. 20% contrast will show higher resolutions that are discernible on the computer screen at 100% but hardly transfer to other viewing situations/media.

    To make things worse they stop down some full frame lenses eg to f2.8 (like canon 24/f1.4) and compare it to a m43 lens wide open (Zuiko 12/f2).

    If that was not enough they “recalculate” the m43 resolution metric (line pairs per milimeter, lp/mm) onto the full frame by halving it. Thus the 106lp/mm at MTF20 becomes 53lp/mm MTF20 for the dubious purpose of direct comparison with full frame systems. (Dubious because m43 pixels are smaller)
    Their figures, comparisons and rankings are useless and only introduce chaos.

    • I agree! Recommends SLR gear over DXOmark somewhat strange methodology.

      • Anonymous

        i prefer dpreview lens tests, to my mind the best and informative tests

        • They are very good, but SLR gear tests more lenses

    • White_Hammer

      Yeah I think so. I have M4/3, D7000, and D700. Their test results are totally different than my own direct experiences.

  • Mar

    DxO mark – lol.
    I trust my own eyes before any other reviewer, thank you very much.

    And my own eyes and experience say that almost every sub 100mm lens on FF camera performs badly outside of center with lots of distortion and vignetting.

    Once you try Olympus lenses, you don’t want to go back :)

  • The Real Stig

    Focal length is an absurd metric for lenses, I have always thought. It is relevant only to one sensor/film format.

    They should have dropped it years ago and replaced it with angle of view. A 20º lens on a view camera would be doing the same thing as a 20º lens on M4/3 or 35mm film.

    • I have felt the same way for years. When I was originally shopping for a system, that’s how I did my evaluation: I looked at price/weight/dimension it would take to get the AFOV’s I wanted, and discovered that 4/3’s was both cheaper and smaller than Canikon.

    • JimD

      I agree with you in replacing the focal length with a degree rating. Focal length was fine when 35mm film was used by all for general photography ( Ok 120 and large format, but most others were based on 35mm in one way or another). Just look at the waffle here on this blog about conversion rates and resulting f length and such, what a load of rubbish. If you work with a lens you know what it does. Who cares if a conversion shows it to be 1 or 2 mm out compared to something you don’t use.
      But back to the subject. Yes angle of view, but then maybe some here would not understand that as it would be a new perspective, if you see what I mean.

      • pdc

        Angle of view by itself is not much help if you don’t also specify the diameter of the image circle. An angle of view of 60 degrees for a lens with an image diagonal of 44 mm, will not help if you mount the lens on a camera built for a 22 mm image circle (and your effective angle of view will now be only 30 degrees).

        • Only an issue on view cameras. Oh, and on people who are so confused as to use 135 format lenses on APS-C.

  • Pat

    Probably already mentioned, but I find it odd that the Canon 85mm performed so poorly on a 7D when it does so well on a 5D Mark II. On the full frame camera it scores 30 overall, which is significantly higher than the poor little 45mm. Not that I don’t like the Olympus lens, I do, but it isn’t playing in the same league, regardless of what DXO is saying.

    • T-L

      You can use DxO results for fun only, just look at comparison of Canon EF-S 18-55 and Oly 14-42. While Canon lens is well known for being a piece of shit, Oly is quite good.. yet, scoring LESS at DxO. ;)
      And they tested only 4 of all Oly lenses so far… pathetic.

    • Jason

      @Pat – Wow, you needed DXO to tell you that Oly cameras are not in the same league as the 5D MKII, big surprise huh?

      Well, at least you are conceding that Oly MFT cameras are better than 7D when prime glass is attached. The Oly glass is clearly in another league than any garbage glass that Canon makes.

    • DR

      Which brings us to the conclusion that if DxO are somehow bending the results of their testing to their own wishes by devising weird tests without adequate explanations for seeming inconsistencies in their results, then they must be doing it for a reason.

      What could that reason be? As they say in the classics, follow the money.

      Could it be that they are trying to impress the maximum number of people who will buy their software?

      This is not an impartial and independent tester. I have to admit that viewing the results is fun anyway.

    • Chez Wimpy

      – I find it odd that the Canon 85mm performed so poorly on a 7D when it does so well on a 5D Mark II.

      Not odd at all. FF cameras stress FF lenses “less”: there is less magnification in the final output. Higher resolution, better contrast. A FF lens will always perform better on a FF camera than an arbitrary % crop… as long as the image circle doesn’t fall off into complete smeared darkness at the FF edges.

  • Biggstr

    Of interest, in the DxO analyses the Olympus 12mm and 45mm primes are comparable to professional-grade Canon and Nikon lenses costing between $1,300 and $2,000. This reconfirms Olympus’ reputation as a company that knows how to design and build high-quality lenses at moderate cost. Let’s hope for more for MFT.

  • Mark

    DxO is worth shit after their Carl Zeiss scandal. Their tests have no real world value what so ever. I have both the 35/2 Distagon and 100/2 M-Planar, so I’m not just saying based on what I’ve read. Two of the nicest lenses you can find.

    • Kenneth

      100% Agree.

      I don’t really understand the result of Zeiss lens on DxO scores. This is totally different from my own experiences. The more I use my Zeiss lens, the move I love it.

  • Vivek

    Why would anyone want to buy the Sigma 30/2.8?!?

    Their newly announced DP2-M comes complete as a camera.

  • OM-4ever

    Notice more unfamiliar manifestations, during this spreading realization that the m4/3 mount is a contender.

  • TomR

    Dear Olympus, thank you for these superb lenses. Please now produce a high quality 17mm or 25mm weather sealed for use with the OM-D series.

  • Its not fair to compare the m43 cameras to full frames cameras that specialize in resolution like the 5d mk2 and d3x.

    Compare the m43 lens to the same lenses above using a 12mp sensor like Nikon d3, and the 45mm keeps up just fine.

  • Charlie

    “Cheater” does not translate into what you mean.

    You’re looking for “price gouging” or better “priced 58% higher than retail”/”58% premium over retail price”.

    • TheEye

      “The P.T. Barnum Special” :D

      PS: It was actually Hannum and not Barnum who coined the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Google “Cardiff Giant” for an explanation.

    • @Charlie Good catch. I was confused until you made the connection. Yes, “crazy Fuji price gouging” (or something like it) makes sense. (@admin)

    • DR

      Check the Canon 85/1.8 on the ‘old’ 12MP Canon 5D. Your selected Canon camera above was a 1DmkIII – 10MP APS-H camera….

      Out-resolves both the Oly and the Nikon in your example by a good margin, even though its quite an old (2005) camera and lens combination now. Even has less Chromatic Aberration and only loses on distortion and vignetting to the much newer Olympus 45mm.

      So roughly the same field of view, same maximum aperture, same megapixels, yet a 2011 Pen EPL2/45 combination cannot match an EF non-L lens on a 2005 FF Camera which is about to become 3 generations old.

      That it comes even this close is a credit to Olympus and a good sign for things to come. We’re not there yet.

      • The idea that all full frames are better then m43 because they are bigger, then cite m43 vs 21mp and 24mp sensors = not fair.

        Compare all m43 cameras to comparable cameras in regards to mp like the d3 and 1dmk4 and even the new $6000 d4 which is only 16mp, not 21mp or 24mp. 20+ mp is really not necessary.

        When you do that the m43 can keep up.

        • Nasar

          Not sure what you mean. Do you mean that M43 is on par with FF camera? If so, why should we buy FF then? There is no longer any one reason to carry heavier FF body anymore.

          • FF cameras are better for many reasons.

            Im just saying people say FF cameras are better for false wrong reasons, and comparisons like the dxo one above feed fuel to that false fire.

            a 24mp FF camera will give more resolution then a m43 yes, but that 24mp camera will also give more resolution then a 12mp full frame like the d3s.

            So does that mean the 24mp is better?
            I don’t think so.

            I’m just saying its not fair to compare the m43 camera and 45mm to 21mp & 24mp FF. Then draw a conclusion as to how m43 relates to FF (in general) based on that test.

        • DR

          Angry Olympus Owner,

          “The idea that all full frames are better then m43 because they are bigger, then cite m43 vs 21mp and 24mp sensors = not fair.”

          Read again. My comparison was with the original 5D which is 12.8MP camera, not a 21 or 24MP camera. It still out-resolves the Olympus.

          Your link to DxO review shows a 1D Mark III which is a 10.1MP camera, and your suggestion of 1D Mark IV is also wrong, as it is a 16/17MP APS-H non fullframe camera.

          It’s not reasonable to compare these, but if you really want to, just choose similar MP cameras and equivalent focal length lenses. It’s not hard…

          • yes your right. It doesn’t make much sense to me.

            According to them the 5dmk1 gets more resolution then the d3x.
            Im pretty sure that’s not true in the real world

            Thats why I say its not fair to draw conclusions as to how a sensor size(FF) relates to another sensor size(m43) based on these test.

            This give false impressions

  • Pat

    Well, full frame sensors generally are better because they’re bigger. Not really sure it needs to be restated, but go use one and tell me they aren’t leaps and bounds ahead in iso performance (this includes low iso), DOF control, dynamic range, and file malleability.

    I have used Olympus cameras for years, I know what they are good for and what they aren’t good for. People out there always whine and say ‘they do too have as good of DOF control!’. Well, no, they don’t. Sure, you can put a 50mm on a 4/3 sensor camera and get 50mm depth, but that is if you are at the same distance from the subject. If we shoot 1 meter away, I will get maybe a nice 3/4 of a person with my FF, on 4/3 you’re stuck with head and shoulders. If you want the same framing, you have to step back aways, thus reducing your ability to ‘control’ the DOF. If you don’t care about that, then shoot exclusively with your 4/3 gear.

    Oh and real world use, a 5d2 is a rather small camera when you put primes like a 50mm on it. Can I put an Olympus with a 50mm on it in my pocket? No, so why wouldn’t I just carry the FF camera?

    Ps. Why exactly aren’t we comparing m4/3 to FF? Because you think it isn’t fair? Well, they aren’t “apples and oranges” they’re Granny Smith apples compared to McIntosh. Same thing really, just different flavour. Both are available on the market for not a lot of money and both take images. Sounds like if I want the best images, I should be looking at purely image quality and not qq’ing about how the poor little 4/3 sensor shouldn’t be compared with those of the “big cameras” as everyone calls them.

    • Martin

      It seems that you haven’t fully understood the concept of DOF. If you take a 50mm on an mFT and shoot from the same distance, you don’t get “50mm depth”, if this is meant to be DOF of a 50mm on an FF. You get less DOF, as the circle of confusion on the sensor is exactly the same, but will be magnified by a relative factor of 2 in the postprocessing of the mFT image.
      On the other hand, comparing a 50mm on an mFT with a 50mm on an FF doesn’t make sense at all, as they have different fields of view. This is no disadvantage of mFT, as you put it, but can easily be compensated by selecting the right lens. If you want 50mm FF coverage on an mFT, you’d have to take a 25mm. Vice versa, if the 50mm suits your image on mFT, then the corresponding FF choice would be a 100mm. In both cases, you’ll get the same angle of view from the two sensor sizes, yet mFT has a higher DOF when using the same f-stop. Which may be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your subject.

      • DR

        Seems you don’t understand DOF at all.

        “You get less DOF, as the circle of confusion on the sensor is exactly the same, but will be magnified by a relative factor of 2 in the postprocessing of the mFT image.”

        Nothing to do with postprocessing. The image from the exit pupil of the 50mm is exactly the same on both cameras (its the same lens!), its just that most of the image falls outside the sensor area when used on a m43.

        Sensor properties notwithstanding, you can get to the same image and DOF of the m43 by cropping the full frame image to the same sensor area as m43.

        • Martin

          As you correctly say: When you crop the FF image, you get an equivalent image to the mFT image. But if you take the full image of an FF (which PAT indicated by comparing the larger field of view obtained on the FF to the smaller on the mFT) and print it to a given paper size, and then do the same with the mFT image, then the mFT image -and with it the circles of confusion- will be magnified by a factor of 2 compared to the FF image. It is exactly the same effect you would have obtained by adding a teleconverter with extension factor 2 to your FF.
          Neither cropping nor use of teleconverters is neutral on DOF, despite the absolute aperture remaining the same: The circles of confusion get enlarged – in the first case in the postprocessing, as the cropped image needs a larger enlargement to reach the same print size, in the second on the optical side before being recorded by the sensor.

        • “Nothing to do with postprocessing.”

          No, nothing to do w/ post processing.
          DOF and CoC are both a result of the lens used, and both are optically defined in the moment of capture, dependent on the focal length, focal distance and the aperture used.

          “The image from the exit pupil of the 50mm is exactly the same on both cameras (its the same lens!), its just that most of the image falls outside the sensor area when used on a m43.”

          Well, provided you use an FF lens on m4/3 – something you would normally not do. In a real world scenario one would use lenses designed for the format, and then no light will fall outside the sensor. But of course, if you choose to use FF lenses on smaller sensors, this will happen. The only advantage doing that, is utilizing the center portion of the image circle from the lens, and thus eliminating the typical corner softness and vignetting that constantly hampers the FF format big time.

          • Martin

            “No, nothing to do w/ post processing.
            DOF and CoC are both a result of the lens used, and both are optically defined in the moment of capture”

            This is not completely true: While the absolute CoC is defined by the focal length and aperture at the time of capture, the acceptable CoC, which defines the DOF, depends on the magnification you subject the image to, i.e. on the postprocessing.

    • Steve

      I read this a few times thinking I just didn’t understand your point of view, then I realized you don’t seem to understand DOF or field of view. Strange.


      “Sounds like if I want the best images, I should be looking at purely image quality and not qq’ing about how the poor little 4/3 sensor shouldn’t be compared with those of the “big cameras” as everyone calls them.”

      In the real world, if we don’t care about either price or size/weight, we’d skip right past FF and keep going to a Leica S2, or a 645D, or a Hasselblad H4D. Possibly a Leaf or Mamiya back. But gee, I think for most of us size/price matters a wee bit, don’t you think? I can get a small GF2 with a pair of lenses off Amazon Japan for under 35,000 yen or I can get any of those I just mentioned for 100x that (well, the 645D is like 33x that).

      But those cameras are BETTER, I should just get one of them!!!

  • leonedolci

    I have to say again. Oly, pls update that damn 17 2.8 to the 12/2 level!!!

    • TomR


  • Fan

    OK so I ordered the Sigma 30mm from fotomundus. Wondering why they are the only / first dealer to have it in stock. I suspect that it’s a mistake, or some NFR evaluation copy that they are selling.

  • Pat

    You certainly do get 50mm depth, just a cropped version of it that gives the constrained viewing angle of a 100mm. Go try it in the real world and you’ll see that it is identical. I’ve mounted my Nikon 35mm f/2D on my old D700 and my E-P2 and set the aperture to the same amount and yielded the same depth. Positioned 1m away, shot both cameras at the same subject, then crop the D700’s image down to the fov obtained by the E-P2 and BAM, you have the same bloody image.

    • DR


      At least someone else with a m43 and FF gets it.

      I think the problem here is a lot of people posting have never used a FF digital, so it becomes a bit of an echo chamber of misinformation.

      • its a terrible subject to discuss about imo

        • DR

          oh my..another case of Full Frame denialitis. :P

    • Nasar


    • Martin

      If you want to waste your money by first investing in an FF and then discarding 3/4 of your sensor output by cropping all your images to mFT format, then you are certainly correct. But that’s hardly a sane way of using your FF investment. If, however, you’d want to use FF sensibly by exploiting its full sensor area, then the game changes: Then you have to compare a 50mm mFT lens to an 100mm FF lens, as it gives the same angle of view and thus perspective. And you have to take the postprocessing into account, which now adds a magnification factor of 2 to the mFT image, inverting the crop factor. The net result is that a 50mm -which is 100mm in FF equivalents- at f2 on mFT has more DOF than the -viewing-angle-wise equivalent- 100mm at f2 on an FF, yet less DOF than the -viewing-angle-wise incomparable- 50mm at f2 on an FF.

      • DR

        “If you want to waste your money by first investing in an FF and then discarding 3/4 of your sensor output by cropping all your images to mFT format, then you are certainly correct.”

        Heavens, the straw man arguments are getting thick around here.

        The example was to show a valid comparison of the same focal length on both systems, not a proposal to use FF in such a way.

        You are clearly confused about FF and have been reading too many internet explanations. Much easier to get hold of one and actually use it. I’ve used FF since the first 1Ds, so I think I might just know what I’m talking about. And yes, I have m43 as well and have adapted FF lenses of all sorts to m43 so I understand what I am talking about.

    • @ Pat:
      Yes, this is correct.
      Compared to FF, you have 2 stops deeper DOF with 4/3.
      That’s a well known fact.
      4/3 50mm/2.0 has the same DOF as FF 100mm/4.0.
      Using the same aperture, it also means that 4/3 will have the same DOF as FF at half the AOV. As pictures are normally compared at the same AOV, the FT picture will show deeper DOF. Sometimes that desirable, sometimes not. There is no fixed answer as to what is the best here. Sometimes you want more DOF, sometimes less. Sometimes you want more reach, sometimes less. There are cons & pros to every system. Nothing to quibble about.

      But cropping the FF picture to have an 4/3 equivalent DOF-wise is surely not a good option, as the pixel quality will just suck compared to a full res 4/3 picture. Even if the FF sensor should have 4 times the pixel count to begin with. Which they usually don’t have – not by a long shot…

      • DR

        Erik gets it too.

        I would point out that with FF you have the option of shorter DOF than m43.

        As above, cropping was suggested as a comparison tool, not a normal way of taking photos.

        Mind you, a D800 would give you 9mp when cropped, that’s certainly enough for smaller prints.

        • Martin

          “Erik gets it too”
          This is funny, as Erik essentially said the same as me:

          1. You have to compare a 100mm FF to a 50mm mFT.

          2. At the same aperture, the 50mm mFT has larger DOF than the 100mm FF. The difference is roughly (up to the deviations of FF to classical 24×36 and mFT to quarter format) two f-stops. Note that even here, postprocessing already goes in, as on an FF, the 50mm at f2 has considerably larger DOF than the 100mm at f4. When focusing both at 10m, the former would yield a DOF of 8.07m to 13.1m on FF, while the latter only gives 8.94m to 11.3m.

          3. The 50mm f2 doesn’t have the same DOF on mFT and FF, as you accept different circles of confusion due to the different magnification in postprocessing – unless you crop the FF to mFT format in order to subject it to the same postprocessing. Else, the 50mm on FF has, just to give an example, a DOF of 8.07m to 13.1m at f2 when focussed at 10m, while on mFT the same parameters would give only 8.93m to 11.4m, i.e. less than half the DOF. This *is* due to postprocessing, which defines the acceptable CoC on the sensor.

          4. Cropping an FF image to mFT format isn’t a practical option, and hence also isn’t the correct way to compare optics for the two formats – just as you wouldn’t compare a train to a motorbike based on their absolute horsepower or torque.

          BTW., this discussion is not a consequence of digital technology, but has been the very same in the analog era. And I’ve used FF and beyond long before a 1Ds was around.

          • @ Martin:
            What is your definition of “postprocessing” here?
            The usual meaning of the word applies to optimizing an already taken picture through your workflow on the computer, you know – things like contrast, curves, saturation, sharpening etc.

            But looking at your arguments in section 3 and 4 above, it seems like you mean something else. DOF and CoC cannot be altered in post! They are both created in the lens, at the moment of capture, resulting from the subject distance, FL and F-number used. Hence DOF is purely an optical property from any given lens, and has nothing to do w/ PP. Nor is it altered in the processing pipeline in the camera.

            So I am a bit bewildered. Could you explain what you actually mean when using the term “postprocessing” in your arguments regarding DOF and CoC here?

            • DR


  • improbable

    What do DXO’s resolution tests mean?

    I’m sure that you can get more detail on a higher-resolution full-frame camera in total, but they show more lp/mm which seems really odd to me… If the lens is the limiting factor, shouldn’t thins be exactly the same? And if the camera is the limit, won’t it be higher for the APS-C sensors, which have smaller pixels?

    The explanations on their site don’t seem to explain this rather basic point!

    • nugat

      They show more lp/mm for FF lenses because they “adjust” the lp/mm figure of smaller frames (4/3, APS-C) by the “crop factor”. See that their resolution charts eg. of 4/3 lenses in the “measurements” section have the caveat “on the 36×24 frame”. They simply divide the real measurement they took, eg, 106 lp/mm of m43 Zuiko 12/2 at MTF20 by two (2x crop factor) to get 53 lp/mm as if to show what the resolution would look on prints of the same size. This is misleading, because good 4/3 lenses have in reality better resolution per mm than full frame glass, 2x or even better, and are better matched for the sensors with smaller pitch. That what 4/3 was created for–match the FF performance through enabling the creation of great glass. That means great 4/3 lenses are big and expensive (or used to be big, before software correction was adopted). Zuiko SHG line resolves more than twice lp/mm the figure of best FF lenses at the same contrast. Actually Olympus publishes their MTF graphs with 60 lp/mm curves instead of the FF standard 30 lp/mm. That enables direct comparisons and is sensible UNLIKE halving the test figures of lp/mm by DxO. So yes, the 4/3 glass must be twice as good as FF just to keep pace. And often is better then that, like most Zuikos or Panaleicas. And such glass is more difficult to manufacture than 36x24mm glass. By the same token medium format glass is “easier” to make than FF glass. The bigger the format the looser are tolerations and aberrations are also easier dealt with. Because the recording medium behind being bigger enables easier solutions. Just like with engines: a 2 liter turbo must work much harder than a 5 liter V8 to deliver the same performance.

      PS. I wrote about DxO mark comparison of Nikkors and Zeiss at the below link, because I could leave graphics there.

      • Exactly!
        The real output from Zuiko glass is on average twice the resolution of FF glass. For the SHGs it’s even higher. So in addition to presenting the “equivalent print resolution numbers” by dividing w/ the crop-factor, the real and true output from the glass should also be given. That would show the real potential a lens has on a sensor capable of resolving such high MTF values, and not just boiling it all down to a comparison for an A-4 print.

  • 43234242

    lenses with smaller image circles are easyer to produce then FF lenses.

    even china can prodcue good m43 lenses….

    • Dunno about that…
      As shown above, Zuiko lenses resolves approx. the double of what FF lenses do. And that is not simply due to the smaller image circle alone. Lots of other factors comes into play when designing state of the art glass, like highly advanced mathematics, immaculate glass moulds and grinding, developing lots of types of specialty glass types, hightech mechanical engineering, perfect matching of lens, sensor and AA-filter, optimized coating and transmission, color balancing, tele-centricity, QC etc etc. It’s not like you can just drill a suitably small hole, and then plug some glass into it!

      But yes, a smaller image circle makes it easier. But still not easy. And looking at the Zuiko glass, I guess Olympus chose that format for a reason. Yet another advantage of the 4/3 format, I would say.

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