Olympus and Panasonic reviews…(45mm lens review by Steve Huff)


Steve Huff (Click here) posted the full Olympus 45mm f/1.8 review: “This lens gets my highest recommendation if you are a Micro 4/3 owner. Anyone who knocks this lens (don’t think there will be any) has never tried it or had a defect“.
I couldn’t agree more with Steve. This is a must have lens. Click those links to check if the lens is in Stock or not: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

More reviews:

Which One? Olympus EPM1 vs Olympus EP2 Comparison Review (ThePhoBlographer).
SLRclub (Click here) posted a very long Olympus 12mm f/2.0 review. As you know it is in korean and impossible to translate via google tool because (as usual) SLRclub posted the review as a long series of jpg images.
Teh thai website Gadget4thai (Click here to read the translation) tested the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens.
The polish website Optyczne (Click here to read the translation) tested the Panasonic GF3.


  • Aaron

    Looks great. Any news on if we still might be getting a 45mm X lens pancake from Panasonic though? If it’s 1.8 or faster I might have to wait for that one..

  • Maybe after I get my review site up and running, will I consider this lens. But firstly, I need to save up and buy the Nokton 25mm, the Lensbaby Transformer, and the Olympus EP3 before I can consider this cool lens. The Nokton is as the top of the list first, though….

    • henrik

      Thanks, TT, for letting us know your plans.

      • roger

        yes indeed, that was fascinating. I will buy one as soon as i finish writing my great american novel, climb Mount Everest, and scuba dive to the bottom of an underwater cave.

        • Holy Shiz, Roger, I commend you for such great undertakings! :O

  • I always wonder about Steves photo selection in his reviews.
    Many of them don’t prove the quality of the tested lenses.
    If I want to judge the sharpness of a lens, grainy b/w pics don’t help much…

    But, nevertheless, this lens is a No-brainer, especially because it shows not the normal Dollar = Euro price transition. It is 256 Euro at Amazon Germany :)

    • I believe Steve’s goal is to make some “review worthy” pictures (whatever that means) and move on…most of the review pics i don’t really care; lots from his son or his friend.

      In this particular review i find the photos ok.

      • Mr. Reeee

        … or pictures of Seal! Or articles about Seal. :-)

        His fixation on some pop singer I find irritating. Who cares?
        Oh, but they both use Leicas, so of course it’s relevant!

        Anyway, I prefer his real-world photos to shots of focus cards or still lifes.

        • Zaph

          Seal is also a frequent contributor to the site. If I had a website, and was invited to tour and photograph a well-known musician, and then my photos were used on the cover of his new album, I’d be writing articles about it too! :-)

          • Mr. Reeee

            +1 Sure, I realize that and it’s a big opportunity for Steve Huff, no doubt. It seems a bit too much, that’s all.

            Honestly, I couldn’t name a Seal song if you held a gun to my head. Literally.

      • Nalax

        Shots of his kid – tired of them. Yawn, he puts me to sleep. Boring….

    • roger

      the cool part is he doesn’t get wrapped up in the technical garbage… i’m never ever going to take a picture of a color checker chart. Ever. I am going to take pictures not too unlike his. And if he thinks his look stellar… then mine might too.

  • Kenneth

    Was thinking about getting the 45-175 panny for a trip to Asia. Have the 14/2.5 and need a tele lens. Will go for 45/1.8 and probably a 20/1.7 after reading this page. Had the 14-42 and 45-200 but did not like them. Probably better waiting for the 35-100 than buying the 45-175 to. Is it worth having both the 20/1.7 and the 25/1.4? Thinking about it.

    • DonTom

      Kenneth, I’m happy with the 20/1.7, use it a lot for taking “scene” photos at night in Malaysia, it works well. For me the 25mm focal range is too narrow for that kind of stuff, and too wide for portraiture. Add in the price and the size of the 25/1.4; the extra speed isn’t worth it.
      I left the camera bag at home in Kuala Lumpur for a side trip to my wife’s hometown, just took the 20/1.7. Found it very liberating, and also a good technical exercise. Loved almost all the pics I took on that 3 day trip.
      I’ll be buying the 45/1.8, and maybe the 12/2….but I am still thinking about the 9-18 instead. Not sure if the 12/2 is wide enough for photos of plazas, monuments and buildings in Europe. Would jump on a 12mm pancake tho, even if it was F2.8, as pancakes are just so easy to carry.

  • > Many of them don’t prove the quality of the tested lenses.

    Samples show what you can do with the lens. And since they are not corrected (or corrections described), one can already get and impression of the lens’ IQ.

    If you want a prove, then you should use proper lens reviews, e.g.:


    As an impression/hands-on article, Steve’s write up is rather good: AF speed is mentioned, sharpness at f/2 is very good, minimum focusing distance is 50cm, no handling quirks. That, and sample shots, is sufficient amount of information for a person either to become interested and start looking for reviews, or to move on.

    • mvr


    • mvr


  • Dummy (who’s obviously no dummy) draws a good distinction between “lens tests” and in-use trials. A formal quantitative test might help you predict how a lens would perform in most kinds of photography; an in-use trial lets you SEE how it performs in one specific kind of photography.

    I just got a 45/1.8 yesterday myself, and did my own in-use trial; some examples here:


    I have to say my overall impression is pretty similar to Steve’s: This little lens is a fabulous addition to the Micro Four Thirds lineup!

    • elleyy

      How’s the focus speed on the GH2 video mode and photo. I know that the Pana pancake is slow. Also, did u get it off eBay? I’m thinking of getting it from S. Korea seller.

  • dumbo

    i wonder why everyone is so into this lens but not the panny leica 45mm. is it simply cos it´s cheaper and a stop faster? be interested to see a sharpness comparism.

    it looks wierd with the fat bit and it´s silver so looks fugly on panasonic bodies.

    plus the leica has stabilization, macro and is a leica

    • ijack

      Because it is 1.5 stop faster

      Half as cheap

      It’s a Pro Zuiko

      and the Leica looks fugly on a Olympus body

      On top of that, Pen have IBIS which makes the lens stabilization redundant.

      • I would like to have the Pana 45 as well, for the macro capability, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it were a tiny bit sharper at medium apertures.

        But the reason a lot of us are interested in the Olympus lens is the combination of large maximum aperture (important for shooting action photos in low light), compact size, super-light weight, and comparatively affordable price.

        Yes, it looks kind of goofy on my GH2 body, but no goofier than a lot of the adapted lenses I use (12.5mm f/1.9 Cosmicar, anyone?) I don’t mind the stepped barrel since it helps contribute to the super-light weight, which is a really nice feature.

        What I think is really exciting is that for a long time there was a drought of single-focal-length lenses in Micro Four Thirds, but now we are finally starting to get CHOICES! The 45s are a good example: we’ve got the Pana/Leica for those who want close focusing and don’t care so much about wide aperture, and the Olympus for those who are the opposite. Ditto at the wide end with the Olympus 12 vs. the Pana 14. Some people will prefer one, some will prefer the other, but at least we get to pick. At this point you don’t get that freedom of choice with NEX or Samsung.

        • Brod1er

          Exactly! Unless you are prepared to use manual focus lenses, NEX is way behind. There are effectively two options across the trinity: oly 12/pan14, Pan20/Pan25, oly45/pan45. All are fast, compact and high quality. We are also due a fast zoom and an innovative pocketable zoom across this range from Panny to add to a list of kit zooms. On top of that an Oly macro and Panny collapsible 45 are rumoured too. The only gaps are a longer fast tele and a 35mm prime. We are spoilt!!

          • Miroslav

            Yes, m4/3 feels pretty complete at the moment – at least for its target audience – the enthusiasts. I’d like a couple of VC or Samyang fast manual wides and some Sigma cheap zooms thrown in as well. Time for Panasonic and Olympus to refine body ergonomics and add some features.

  • Thomas

    got mine at Xing Guang Photography center Shanghai for stunning 2500 RMB, so around 270 Euros. Nice price! And its in stock widely there!

    • uh-oh

      Did you double check that it’s a legit set? Those guys in China can duplicate ANYTHING.

      • Mr. Reeee


        No kidding. You make it. They’ll fake it. ;-)

        • Thomas

          haha. Yea i double checked. They actually started at 2800 RMB :-D

          It was at the offical Olympus store there :-)

  • I got mine (in Sweden) last friday.
    One strange thing I noticed is that with this lens the E-P1 focuses much better than with the kit lens or the 4/3 40-150. And I’m not talking about focus speed. I’m talking about the E-P1’s tendency to pick up background detail and focus on that. It just doesn’t happen with this lens, it seems. Strange…

    • spam

      Larger aperture always makes it easier for the AF-system.

      • ha

        Sure? Usually sharpness degrades for very fast lenses. CDAF may not work very well/fast with a soft lens. Maybe all lenses below 1.7/1.8 will have to be high grade / X / Leica just to ensure autofocus work reliable.

        • spam

          I guess a lens could possibly be so bad at full aperture that AF-performace would be worse, but I can’t imagine that any new m4/3 lens from Panasonic or Olympus would be that bad. Larger aperture mean shallower DOF and more light to the sensor, both make the AF’s job easier.

    • Magnus

      Where did you get it?

      • “Usually sharpness degrades for very fast lenses. CDAF may not work very well/fast with a soft lens.”

        Sure, but on a 45mm focal length, f/1.8 hardly qualifies as *very* fast. It’s just an average wide aperture. Manufacturers have been perfecting the design of lenses of this focal length and speed since the 1930s, so it isn’t especially difficult to make a good one now.

        Point taken, though, about the fact that contrast-detect AF, naturally, works better with a high-contrast lens. Ultra-speed lenses (I would include in this classification anything faster than f/1.4) often produce lower contrast, simply because so much of the image is out of focus that extra light gets scattered into the shadows. I know that my 50mm f/1.1 Nokton is more difficult to focus manually than my 50mm f/1.5 Nokton, and I would assume that a contrast-detect AF system would have just the same trouble that my eyes do!

  • Narretz

    I don’t get it … still not in stock in Germany.

  • Steve’s correct in his review that smaller cameras and lenses are the future and that Canon and Nikon will have a tough time in this market. What I don’t find in my neighborhood is a significant M43 presence. People still go for the big guns and shooters tend to follow the “pros.”

    Anyway I’m glad to see M43 is making and distributing small lenses as they should. I only have one small lens thus far, but there’ll be a lot more selection in the near future.

    • Mr. Reeee

      +1 Living in NYC, what I see people carrying: the big guns with big lenses with the pop-up flash up and ready.

      I must say, I do see a LOT of NEX-5’s. Lately even a tiny rash of GH2’s! But generally very few M4/3 cameras.

  • The lens may be very good, but the reviewer is not among those I trust. Just look at examples – not very relevant for testing purposes.
    Any user who up til now only used the mediocre kit zooms will find they get a lot more out of the camera sensor with a real lens.
    It seems though the Oly 45mm is very good, and still affordable! It seems a lot more easy to design and build a small an HQ lens for m4/3 than any other system/sensor size. Really good news!

    • ArKersaint

      “It seems though the Oly 45mm is very good, and still affordable! It seems a lot more easy to design and build a small an HQ lens for m4/3 than any other system/sensor size”

      Would be quite pleasing… I would have expected short distance between sensor and lens to explain the observed hight average price of m43 lenses (except for tele) compared with APSC.

      Hope I am wrong ?

  • Thomas

    In China, m43 is freaking popular. As is Sonys NEX. Actually I see almost as much people with EVILs than with those big guns.

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