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45mm Lens Battle! Oly45 vs PL45 vs Minolta45

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by spatulaboy, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Ladies and gentlemen, I had with me three 45mm lenses at my disposal last week, the Olympus M Zuiko 45mm f1.8, Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8, and Minola MD Rokkor X 45mm f2. Even though these are three very different lenses, the 45mm FL is a pretty popular portrait length on m4/3, so I thought I'd go out and do some portraits and see how they compare! My gf Laura will once again play model.

    Note that this is by no means a scientific test in a controlled environment. I am not a pixel peeper and there are plenty of people out there with time and patience for those kinds of tests. I just want to show how these lenses perform in the field and show real life results. These are also not straight out of camera. I have done some minor post processing, nothing heavy. I wanted to show real life results, so in real life, at the end of the day this is how my pictures will look, no matter which lens I use.

    Olympus 45mm f1.8
    This is the popular Oly45, well known as THE portrait lens for micro four thirds. Smallest and lightest of the group.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8197797959/" title="Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8197797959_27ab63271a_c. "800" height="601" alt="Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8"></a>

    Panasonic Leica 45mm f2.8
    The PL45 is a Macro lens, but let's see how it handles portrait duty. Pretty bulky, love the square hood though.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8198890768/" title="Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8198890768_d30d3cbae2_c. "800" height="601" alt="Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f2.8"></a>

    Minolta MD Rokkor X 45mm f2
    A classic lens nearly 40 years old. How will it hold up? Cheap screw-on hood attached.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8198890398/" title="Minolta MD Rokkor X 45mm f2 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8198890398_453d0268f2_c. "800" height="601" alt="Minolta MD Rokkor X 45mm f2"></a>

    Wide Open

    Olympus: The fastest lens shows off that advantage with much more distinct back ground blur.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8193787269/" title="Orange Sweater12 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8193787269_d106575f17_b. "768" height="1024" alt="Orange Sweater12"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194884164/" title="Orange Sweater18 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194884164_30a94aef73_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater18"></a>

    Pana-Leica: The slowest lens of the three at 2.8, softer than the olympus but pretty good in my opinon.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8193785083/" title="Orange Sweater2 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8193785083_25a5d5707a_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater2"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194882756/" title="Orange Sweater10 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194882756_a9184efb26_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater10"></a>

    Minolta: All legacy lenses are very soft wide open and this is no exception. Glowy.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194880596/" title="Orange Sweater9 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194880596_dbd7b92d4f_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater9"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194883088/" title="Orange Sweater16 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194883088_3b3b853b4f_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater16"></a>

    Stopped Down
    All lenses get sharper stopped down, so I don't find it necessary to show each lens per f-stop.


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8193791347/" title="Orange Sweater20 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8193791347_b41e2a5a57_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater20"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194881222/" title="Orange Sweater14 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194881222_e07c48a4fd_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater14"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8193790291/" title="Orange Sweater19 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8193790291_3b5c4f237c_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater19"></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8193798745/" title="Orange Sweater4 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8193798745_01b64dd9b6_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater4"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8193788795/" title="Orange Sweater11 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8193788795_d2a4fc8bc9_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater11"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194886262/" title="Orange Sweater24 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194886262_f7e56e37d4_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater24"></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194885924/" title="Orange Sweater8 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194885924_c5dedb0df8_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Orange Sweater8"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194880278/" title="Orange Sweater5 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194880278_93007f09f7_b. "768" height="1024" alt="Orange Sweater5"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194892258/" title="Orange Sweater6 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194892258_973dc168aa_b. "768" height="1024" alt="Orange Sweater6"></a>

    I have more pics from the shoot but will end it here for now.

    Well what do you think guys? Please share your conclusions. My conclusion: All three lenses performed very well with the task at hand. Each lens has it's pros and cons, but all will let you take good pictures. With the exception of the glowy wide open Minolta shots, I think most people would not be able to tell the difference if I hadn't labeled the photos.
    • Like Like x 15
  2. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    I'm surprised at how similar they are. I've heard quite a few people say they paid extra for the PL's unique rendering, but that's not terribly apparent from these samples.
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I think the Olympus definitely offers better subject-to-background isolation. Stop down, I actually like the image acuity of the Minolta lens!

    I wonder how the Olympus 60mm 2.8 would compare to the 45mm 1.8? With the longer focal length, the 60mm might work well as a portrait lens.
  4. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
  5. LowTEC

    LowTEC Mu-43 Regular

    The 1.8 wide open, the sharpness, isolation, and light gathering power advantage is hard to ignore
  6. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    1.8 vs 2 isnt that much of a difference between the Minolta and Olympus. If so, there are plenty of legacy 50mm lenses you could use to get even faster.

    I have a mint copy of the Minolta 45 (had to be NOS, came with box, foam insert, everything). It is sharp as a tack as soon as it is stepped down, and not quite as glowy at f2. To give an idea, this is a 1:2 crop (original image started at about 1:8/1:10 or so). Shot at f2.

    DMC-G3    Minolta MD Rokkor-X 45mm f:2.0    8mm    f/3.5    1/400s    ISO 400
  7. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Are you sure Its a lens comparasion ? We know she is beautiful and it doesnt matter how many lenses you use man , U wont be able to find any flaws because she is a flawless beauty :wink:

    • Like Like x 3
  8. fluberman

    fluberman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 19, 2012
    Agree with Bhupinder...

    I was not sure whether I was looking at bokeh differences between the lenses or the beauty of your gf... :wink:

    • Like Like x 3
  9. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    HAhaahh thanks :smile: Do we care about Bokeh? POLY ( Panasonic & Olympus) or Minolta? I dont think so :smile:. She is naturally beautiful and this Spatulaboy is wasting time on these lenses hahahhahah.She should be declared as Miss Microfourthirds and she has more pics than any other girl and even then if there is a contest ..She will win by miles man . :biggrin:
    Here is a something for her :flowers_2:

    E-PL2    ---    25mm    f/1.4    1/4000s    ISO 200
    • Like Like x 1
  10. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Yes I came to the same conclusion. In fact, while putting this together I had to constantly go back and check the EXIF on a lot of these shots because I couldn't tell which lens I shot with!

    About the PL45: It's an interesting case I think. $700 dollars is a big chunk of change. However, it is a superb macro lens and I think it did quite well doing double duty as a portrait lens. It is a new acquisition to our staple and I don't have much experience with it to make any real judgement on its rendering yet. Stay tuned.

    I do not have the Oly60, but I assume the extra focal length will give it a bit more background blur than the PL45 even if it's still a 2.8. Maybe someone with the lens can help us out there.

    Yep, I knew the Minolta would hold it's own, I just didn't know it would do so well. :smile:

    I agree the Rokkor 45mm f2 is not unusable wide open and like your example it is not as bad as other legacy lenses out there. It's just within this context, compared to the two modern lenses, it does show more glowy softness. On this subject, I don't really consider this softness a negative like a lot of people do. I think the glowy look works well for some portraits actually. And you can't get that look with a modern lens, so that could be seen as a plus!

    And yes, I know there are faster legacy glass out there. I shoot A LOT with my Minolta 1.4s(MD 50mm and MC 58mm). In fact those are my go to portrait lenses. However I wanted to keep everything even at 45mm with this shootout.
  11. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    LOL Bhupinder you have really outdone yourself this time. Thanks for the kind words.

    Bhupinder: President of the OLY45 Fanclub and Laura Fanclub.

    Dare I tell you she's also a pretty decent photographer and fellow m4/3 enthusiast?
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/8194891032/" title="Laura's kit by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8194891032_f6b604a126_c. "800" height="600" alt="Laura's kit"></a>
    • Like Like x 2
  12. tgrieger

    tgrieger Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2012
    Toowoomba, Queensland
    Is it just me, or are the facial skin tones of the Leica just a little warmer?
  13. soulofoto

    soulofoto Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 21, 2012
    I don't see any difference in any of the lenses color rendition.
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I found your test informative and useful is a real-world sense. Thanks. What I can see as the only significant portrait advantage is with the O45 and it's ability to retain crisp and sharp wide open. Not an advantage needed everyday, but knowing you have that capability is a good thing.

    Again Thanks,
    • Like Like x 1
  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    PS- You gf sorta reminds me a gf from my college days.


    MX860 series    ---            
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Haha, does your wife know you keep a digital archive of your ex-girlfriends? :tongue:
  17. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    LOL ... the ex? Actually Kelly (above) introduced me to the ex. My present gf knows of my former gf's and agrees that she (Mary Lou) and Kelly (above) also look very much alike.

  18. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Well each lens has minute differences in color but I don't see anything too significant to make a note of. The last headshot of the Leica stopped down does appear to be warmer, but that's probably light reflecting off her bright orange sweater.

    Bear in mind though, that shooting outdoors creates a huge variation in lighting, compared to a controlled studio setting.

    Thanks Gary, your input is always greatly appreciated. The Oly is without a doubt a super lens and that extra capability does set it apart. Personally for portraiture, I find it a little too sharp wide open(crazy?) sometimes. It gives it too much of a 'digital' look, if that makes any sense...
  19. las Palm as

    las Palm as Mu-43 Regular

    i prefer the PL, the oly minimum focus distance is huge for me. The extra macro ability and metal construction. good photos, spatulaboy , thanks for sharing
  20. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Is that a Nikon F on the table?
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