45mm Zuiko build quality?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by broody, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    I recently bought into the M43 system, with an Oly ELP5 and Panny GF3, along with the Zuiko kit lens, Panny 14mm and Sigma 19mm. I also have a couple legacy lenses with adapters which I've come to enjoy very much, though I'd like to round up my collection with a native portrait lens and 45-150mm zoom.

    The 45mm Zuiko would be the obvious choice, but I've come to be very puzzled with Olympus concerning their concept of build quality. The silver EPL5 body feels great in the hands until you have to handle the abominable scroll wheel and mushy Fn/Loupe buttons (why are these even plastic?? The rest of the controls are metallic and much better quality!).

    The 14-42mm also feels so cheap, cheaper than any other lens I've ever handled or seen, and while I love the form factor, It's disappointing to handle it at all, though I can put up with using it because it performs much better than it looks.

    Then, I'm worried when I look at the 45mm in pictures and I fear it will be more of the same cheap-looking mushy plastic as the other two?? Even though I don't doubt it's optically great, if the build quality is this bad I'd like to look at other options. Namely I'm thinking of the Sigma 60mm or an M-mount 40mm Voigtlander. These options all have their disadvantages. I'd like some reassurance about the 45mm Zuiko's build quality before deciding, or some advice on an alternative otherwise.
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Always seemed fine to me. The focus ring doesn't feel particularly refined, but it does the job well. It's a tiny little plastic lens, but I am not exactly sure whether you're interested in robustness or just feel.
  3. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    Thanks for your reply! I'm wondering about robustness mostly, but it also affects the feel of the item over time. I suspect the 14-42mm will fall apart quickly and the wheels will start to lose their smoothness or even start getting stuck. The 45mm is very tempting but I can only see it in pictures, and it doesn't inspire much confidence that it is better built.

    I'm happy with the build and feel of the 14mm and 19mm.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    The 45/1.8 is a very lightweight lens, so it's not going feel as solid as either of the two items you mentioned. On the other hand, doesn't have a zoom mechanism so in terms of actual robustness, it's well ahead of the 14-42 kit. The finish on mine (silver) looks a bit the worse for the wear at this point, but I haven't had any trouble optically.
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    The 45 is much nicer in subjective build than the 14-42. At least it's got a metal lens mount. However, the silver plastic finish isn't the finest of things, but it's functional and personally I'm happy with it. The same can't be said of the 14-42 which came with my E-PL5; it languishes unused and unloved in a drawer somewhere!
  6. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    It's got one of the worst build qualities, but one of the best image qualities. As a photographer I would assume one of these should take priority over the other.
  7. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Considering the price and the optical performance, the 45/1.8 is a genuine bargain. Very, very, very few of us are actually going to wear out a lens. :wink:
  8. pbasswil

    pbasswil Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    I've never heard of anyone complaining that theirs fell apart.
    Maybe that's the question you need to ask:
    Are there instances of this lens coming apart?

    Cuz the only thing you'll hear from most owners is that they're light, and must have a lot of plastic innards.

    But I don't think that's enough to predict if they'll fall apart or not. Mine shows no signs of it.

    I'll tell you this: I'd way rather drop the 45mm than my heavy, solid metal, beautifully built Voigtlander. The 45mm would probably just bounce off concrete, and end up back in my hand. :^D lol

    The 1lb Voigt, on the other hand, dropped 4 feet to concrete, would look like an ejected shell casing that's been stepped on. :^/

    At any rate, for the price, if you ever manage to bust a 45mm, just get another one! The optics are worth it.
  9. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I had one and it was optically and operationally a beautiful thing.

    Only downside is the painted finish on plastic dents, mars, scratches etc. If you're really out there in your photography swapping lenses on the fly and letting lenses rattle around in your bag it will get beat up. Mine looked pretty bad when I sold it but it still worked like new.

    I think they are quite rugged in every respect except cosmetics.
  10. pbasswil

    pbasswil Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
  11. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Qld Australia
    I think it feels much better than the Canon 50mm 1.8 II lens and the focus and image quality beat the Canon also. Love mine.
  12. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    In my opinion the silver 45mm was ridiculous. I did not like the faux-metal painted silver. I'm glad they came out with a black one. I don't think I would ever buy the silver 45mm ever again. Saying that, I'd probably buy the black 45mm. :wink:

    The Sigma 60mm is built great and if you prefer the longer FL, I'd get that.
  13. I think that the finish on mine has held up fairly well, although I have taken a little bit of paint off the hood. The focus ring seems to be made of very lightweight plastic but is actually quite smooth to operate (not that I ever use it to manually focus anyway).

    Since it has been mentioned already, I can only say that the Canon 50/1.8 II by comparison is just a dog (albeit a cheap one. I must have tried at least 5 of them at some time or other) and I'd take the M Zuiko 45mm over it any day for both optics and build quality. Never loved the silver colour, though.
  14. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Hi ..
    I have used this lens for the last 18 months and built quality is above average and acceptable at that price range but optical quality is top notch . I would gladly pay USD 300 to get this optical performance rather than shelling out USD 2000-3000 on a titanium built and same or average optical performance . It doesn't fall apart , it doesn't get loose , it doesn't give u feel of inferior built either . Just go ahead and buy it :2thumbs:
  15. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
  16. pbasswil

    pbasswil Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
  17. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    I have to say, I just used one for the first time in the store last weekend and was pleasantly surprised with the build quality and the feel of the focus ring.

    It felt much better than the original Panasonic 20mm pancake and even the Oly 12-50 kit. My favorite lens is the Hexanon 50, and while the 45 obviously wasnt all metal, it didn't feel cheap at all.

    The panny 14-42 feels like a plastic lens with terrible feel. The Oly primes all felt quite nice in build. Even the 17/1.8 and it's retractable focus ring.

    But I have the benefit of ignorance regarding the upper end of modern lens build quality.
  18. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    Wow! Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I'm more reassured to purchase this lens now that I know what to expect. I'll likely go for the black version as I hate my silver 14-42mm.
    Now that you mention it, I'm getting this one too. I've grown fond of the 58mm focal length on my legacy glass, and for the price this seems a no-brainer.
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I worry less about the plastic quality of these kinds of lenses than most I guess. I had the cheap Canon 50 1.8 for many years. I took it on trips to Mexico and France. I took it to quite a few places stateside. It never gave me a second of trouble. Now, I do try to take care of my equipment and didn't throw it loose into a bag.

    I have had two lenses stop working correctly and both were metal, high quality lenses.

    I have only recently gotten the O45, but it feels a lot nicer than the Canon 50 1.8 did. A LOT NICER. I did get the black one, so hopefully it won't look terrible in a short period of time. I am very happy with it so far.
  20. Hagane

    Hagane Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Limburg, Netherlands
    Had a silver one and after 8 months or so I switched to a black one (switch costs were less than 20 Euros).

    The black one looks nicer, but the paint finish on the plastic-ring covering the lens-hood mount feels out of place. The lens is smooth plastic except for that ring which has a rough, gritty feel.

    But enough of this superficial stuff, this lens is light, performs great and should be in the lens line-up of every m43 shooter, especially with it's bargain price (here in the Netherlands it's around 220-230 Euros)