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45mm quandry

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jamespetts, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    I am considering acquiring a native Micro Four Thirds 45mm lens to replace my Canon FD 50mm that I have been using for the short telephoto range until now. I have been particularly impressed by reports of the Olympus 45mm lens's quality, as well as its compact size. However, I also rather like the idea of macro photography, and miss the ability that I had with my small sensor Canon G10 to take photographs really rather close up. The Panasonic 45mm is currently the only available macro, although it is larger and bulkier (I have quite a small camera bag on purpose - the Lowepro MLC Classic 100) and a stop and a half slower than the Olympus, as well as not quite as sharp (from what I have read).

    I am aware of the forthcoming Olympus 60mm macro, which complicates things rather further.

    If anyone here is or has been in a similar situation, I should be very interested in thoughts on the topic!
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Well, if you're interested in this lens then that makes the decision simpler. Save your money on the Leica Macro-Elmarit and get the m.Zuiko 45mm/1.8, then wait for the m.Zuiko 60mm/2.5 Macro to come out. In the meantime, get an affordable legacy macro lens to fill your dedicated macro needs. Manual lenses are so ideal for macro that you may not even want another macro lens if you get along too well with your choice of legacy lens. ;) 
  3. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Thank you for your reply! I am interested in the 60mm only in that it is a macro lens - it hasn't been released yet, so I have no way of knowing whether it'll be better or worse than the Panasonic/Leica 45mm; but I'd rather like not to have to wait until the 60mm does come out to replace the 50mm, so I think that it probably does make it rather more complicated...
  4. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    How much macro do you shoot? Cause that PL45 is not cheap. Unless you specialize in macro photography, I think the Oly 45 would be a much better investment.
  5. Qwerty

    Qwerty Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2012
    Af is pretty useless in macro photography. I would get the olympus 45mm f1.8 and a mf macro like the canon 100mm or tamron 90mm (better working distance between camera and subject too)
  6. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Well, none, since I don't have a macro lens. When I used to have my Canon G10, I'd quite often use its minimum focus distance (which was about 2-3cm, I think, albeit at about 7mm - equivalent to 14mm on Micro Four Thirds) and take close-up pictures. I used to use extension tubes when I used film, although those were fiddly and reduced the amount of light reaching the film by several stops apiece, so I did not use those as much (and I only had M42 thread extension tubes, which further restricted things). I like taking close-ups of flowers and other subjects, and there are many occasions on which I like the effect produced by taking a photograph very close to the subject (to get the detail of some lichen in a rock, or the crumb of a pudding), even if it is not necessarily 1:1 macro.


    Incidentally, why is this?
  7. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I've had both the 45 lenses and love the PL45! It's the most compact and light 1:1 macro I've ever used and it's stabilized to boot! Those alone are worth the $100-200 price difference IMO (PL45 can usually be found for around $500 now). The Oly isn't a bad lens either, just not nearly as magical as I was lead to believe ;)  (I also don't really like the way it looks -.- ). Basically they're both good, just pick one and enjoy!
  8. Muntjack

    Muntjack Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 26, 2010

    Well I only have the PL45 so can't compare directly. However, I seriously doubt the Oly 45 is any sharper than the Leica which is blistering sharp particularly in the frame centre. Lenstip shows them to be very close admittedly.
    It also has beautiful bokeh and I'd say it is a decent enough portrait lens and a fine macro lens for all stationary or slow moving subjects. The working distance for 1:1 imaging is quite close so it's not awfully good for flitting insects. It is also a useful general purpose short tele lens for walkabout.
    Put it this way - if you can afford it, you will not be disappointed.
    These decisions are exciting aren't they!
    Good luck,
  9. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    This is more or less how I'd describe my PL45 as well. I spent a few weeks researching the PL45 vs the Oly45, and decided that I just liked the character of the PL45 more. I tend to like Panasonic glass more than Olympus glass anyway (the Oly 12mm being a notable exception). Macro was a huge bonus - I really didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I do now. Since getting the lens, lots of my 366 Project photos ended up being in the realm of "macro".

    I personally wouldn't give it up for a 60mm - 60 may be better for bug macro, but it's a more unwieldy focal length for general photography (which the PL45 is pretty amazing at too).

    So yeah, if you can afford the PL45, go for it - it's a beautiful lens.

    Oh, and BTW, the AF on that lens works great with my GF1, even when close focusing. The OIS is even surprisingly helpful when shooting macro as well.
  10. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Thank you all for your thoughts! I use an Olympus E-P3, so the OIS is not important to me. Speltrong - may I ask where you carried out your research when making the same decision yourself? I am glad to note that the 45 is good for general photography, however (but is it not somewhat less sharp?).
  11. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    It may be just a quick fix, but you could get the oly 45 and use the oly macro accessory lens that will attach to it. $60 to give it a try, I have not used personally as I have a 50 supertak macro. But you mentioned space is at a premium, and the add on lens is small and won't inhibit you for space and weight.
  12. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Get the Oly 45. Then get an adapter + legacy macro lens on the cheap. As mentioned, AF is not that useful in macro photography. Usually what most people do is set the focus to "maximum" and move in/out with the camera and lens to get what you want in focus.
  13. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    May I ask - why is autofocus considered to be of not much benefit with macro?
  14. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I'm only getting started with macro, but in my experience the DoF is often so thin that you need to focus in two steps. First, dial in the approximate focus for the composition you want (this could be done with AF or MF). Then, since small body movements can have a large effect you "fine tune" by moving your camera/body ever so slightly until you achieve critical focus rather than spamming the AF button hoping to hit the correct point.

    For an example of what I mean, check out my recent post in the Konica Hexanon 55/3.5 image thread - even stopped down to about f/22 (I think) the DoF on a spider about the size of a fingernail was not deep enough to include its body and the tops of its legs.
  15. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Hmm - does this work with the 45? I thought that this only worked with the 14-42.
  16. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I've seen another thread around here about it, it works. Goes on the lens hood bayonet mount.

    Another consideration if you want shallow DoF in non-macro photos is that the Olympus is f/1.8 vs f/2.8 for the PL45, that a stop and a third more light. Also useful for low light situations, quite a nice lens.

    You can generally get very good deals in Europe on the Olympus 45mm, but if macro 1:1 macro is your main purpose for the lens, then probably the dedicated PL 45 is better.
  17. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Hmm, from what I've read since the last post, the Olympus single element macro converter is not of excellent quality (which is not entirely unreasonable given the price).

    I doubt that macro would be the main purpose, but I'd really rather like to be able to take macro photographs sometimes - but at the same time am aware of the advantages of the Olympus 45mm with reference to non-macro pictures. That is what makes the matter so complicated...
  18. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Hi James
    I have used Olympus 45 mm 1.8 extensively and its one of the best native primes and offers u much more for ur dollar . I was also in the same boat before deciding on this lens . Now it depends how much macro u shoot . I don't do much of macro and its not my primary need so I am waiting for Oly 60 mm one . Just go ahead and get this lens u will fall in love with it..
    have a look at these threads


    • Like Like x 1
  19. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    I would recommend you buy the Oly 45 for general purpose shooting and get an adapted legacy macro lens for the occasional macro shots. You would probably still end up spending less than the PL 45 macro.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I own both. I bought the Oly first and I love it. I later decided to splash on a lens and port for underwater macro photography, and the Panasonic 45mm is really the only option for underwater. There aren't any ports that I know of available for mf legacy lenses.

    To make a long story short, I have the choice of which lens to use, and I ONLY use the Panasonic lens for macro. The Oly lens is lighter, faster and it just seems to produce better looking results for me. YMMV

    Oh, and I use an EPL2 body, so I suppose I might feel differently if the in lens image stabilization had any value to me.
    • Like Like x 1
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