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Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro review by 2how.com (Thai)

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Amin Sabet, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    2how.com has posted a review of the Leica 45mm Macro-Elmarit.

    The review is in Thai, and I can only offer a lousy English translation by Google, but there are lots of nice macro, close up, and candid portrait photographs to look at.

    The images are resized, and thus not suitable for pixel peeping, but give a good idea of how this lens renders the sharp to out-of-focus areas and transitions.

    Unfortunately, the review didn't exactly help to curb my desire for this lens!

    (via 43rumors)
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Jan 2, 2010
    Europe
    very nice, but way too pricey for me.

    Is there any comparison of this and Pana 20mm for portraits?
    I would love to see how DOF compares on e.g. headshots.
     
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I haven't seen such a comparison, but the angle of view is so different, I'm not sure how a practical comparison could be done. The 20/1.7 is short for headshots. I think it works for photos of kids, but for adults it can be an unflattering perspective.
     
  4. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I need to recheck my ZD 50mm f2 for focusing speed on the E-P1 with the new firmware... I think it's a better alternative for me - stabilised, way better IQ, better depth of field control and a good perspective for portraits.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  5. viztyger

    viztyger Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Dec 16, 2009
    Amsterdam-Diemen
    Magnification 1:1 versus 1:2

    While the IQ of the Olympus macro may be better for non macro shots, the Panasonic Leica 45mm has a much greater 1:1 magnification, versus 1:2 for the Zuiko macro. The Leica macro is stabilized. The Zuiko 50 f/2 plus adapter also weighs more than twice as much as the Panasonic Leica 45 f/2.8....and a light kit is the main reason I switched to mFT. The 45mm macro also has full AF functionality and is likely to work just as well on future mFT bodies.

    So while I think that the Zuiko 50 f/2 is a superb lens, I think it isn't as suited to mFT nor as a macro lens due to its lower magnification. If I'd already had one, I would have used it with an adapter, but for those who don't, I believe the Leica is the better choice.
     
  6. viztyger

    viztyger Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Dec 16, 2009
    Amsterdam-Diemen
    20 Versus 45 for Portraits

    While I agree with you, it might be interesting to compare the two lenses and the out-of-focus areas at maximum apertures anyway. I'll try to do that later...
     
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks Björn, I'm looking forward to seeing that!
     
  8. bg2b

    bg2b Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 22, 2009
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    I have both lenses, and I wouldn't say that the ZD has way better IQ. It obviously has an extra stop, and it's sharper in the corners up to about f/5.6. The Leicasonic seems to have a slight sharpness edge in the center up to f/5.6. From f/5.6 and onwards, the lenses are essentially equivalent in sharpness. Bokeh is pretty good on both, though the Leicasonic has an eye-like character around the edges at f/2.8, which may be to some tastes and not to others. In terms of limiting bokeh CA, the Leicasonic is much better than the ZD. And operationally the Leicasonic is far better on a micro-4/3 body: lighter and more compact, fast AF, optical image stabilization, very smooth manual focus, 1:1, and a focus limiter. Overall I'd say that the Leicasonic is a much better lens for micro-4/3, though whether it's worth the cost differential is up to the individual; obviously the ZD is a very good lens.
     
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  9. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Thanks bg2b,

    I got the impression from the dpreview that the Leica was a bit mediocre... whereas the ZD 50mm f2 has always been very highly regarded. Since I already own the ZD 50, and the magnification has been quite fine for my needs, I'm out for now.

    There's an Olympus m4/3rds macro planned, so I'll stick with the ZD 50 until that's released for m4/3rds and we'll see how it compares for IQ.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks bg2b, I found your thoughts here very helpful. I do like the eye-like character of the Leica lens.

    Bokeh color fringing is sort of a pet peeve for me. It's one of the reasons I let go of the Nikon system (35/1.8, 50/1.4, and 85/1.4 all suffer this to an extent), and it's an important issue for a macro lens, at least to me.

    Having 1:1 in the Leica is also a pretty big feat, when one considers what 1:1 means in Micro Four Thirds compared to 35mm film, where 1:1 gets doesn't get you into quite as small of a world. 1:2 is good enough for me with Micro Four Thirds. I'd rather have had an f/2 lens and 1:2 than an f/2.8 lens and 1:1, all other things being equal.
     
  11. bg2b

    bg2b Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 22, 2009
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    I had the same sort of expectation, but got the 45 for a good price and with an option to return it, so I thought I'd give it a try. I can only presume that either I got a particularly good 45 or dpreview got a particularly bad one. Their results for the Leicasonic's center sharpness just don't match up with what I see.

    I posted a more detailed comparative review at 43photo a while back. There's a link there with full-sized RAW and JPEG files of the same scenes with both lenses.
     
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  12. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Now that is very useful - especially the beautiful portrait you posted in your comparison. Do you have any more portrait examples you could share here?

    Good to hear there could be sample variation at work here... maybe I should reconsider, although I don't need the stabilisation, so I'll probably still wait and see what the Oly m4/3rds macro has to offer.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  13. viztyger

    viztyger Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Dec 16, 2009
    Amsterdam-Diemen
    20mm F1.7 vs 45mm F2.8 Portrait

    Well Amin, we actually had a brief respite from the gray weather so I shot the promised comparison shots. I tried to frame more or less the same portrait with each lens, moving backwards and forwards as necessary. Both lenses were wide open. Although this kind of a comparison can never be a scientific test, the results do give a good impression of the character of each lens and focal length.

    Unedited, out-of-camera JPEGs can be found here:
    http://www.pbase.com/viztyger/test

    I'd be interested to hear your comments.
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Very interesting comparison, Björn!

    The difference in apparent DOF is about what I expected. The relative perspective distortion from using the 20/1.7 up close is pretty subtle, but I think the 45/2.8 gave a more flattering perspective despite the fact that this is an upper body portrait rather than a head only portrait (which would have you very close up if using the 20/1.7).

    The quality of background blur is fairly similar, comparing only the elements which are present in both photos, ie the trees rather than the sky.

    Thanks for posting this!
     
  15. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Interesting response from dpreview's Andy Westlake here... apparently, sample variation was a concern for Panasonic - but no difference to Andy's conclusion... "The 45/2.8 just doesn't seem to be as blisteringly sharp as the awesome Oly 50/2"

    I can feel their pain, having to criticise a Leica product, but there we are... the lab test doesn't lie.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  16. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    As for your sample portraits above Björn, I suspect the coatings of the Leica lens have resulted in a more pleasant colour rendering (either that, or it's variation in Auto W/B and lighting) for the 45mm f2.8... sharpness looks about the same, allowing for the difference in dof. Bokeh in the background looks nicer for the longer lens.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Brian
     
  17. viztyger

    viztyger Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Dec 16, 2009
    Amsterdam-Diemen
    45/2.8 Better for Portraits

    Amin, I chose an upper body portrait because that is about as close as you can get with the somewhat wide 20/1.7 without a very unflattering perspective. So I figured that was just about the only reasonable comparison between the two dissimilar focal lengths.

    I agree the 45/2.8 is better and would be even more so if the head filled more of the frame.

    I'll be looking at the quality of the background blur with the 45/2.8 as I take more shots with this lens. I've only owned it for a few days.
     
  18. viztyger

    viztyger Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Dec 16, 2009
    Amsterdam-Diemen
    Colour Rendering 45/2.8

    I've noticed that as well Brian. Like you point out, differences in colour could be a result of different lighting which was certainly possible on a day like today with alternating sun and clouds. To make sure it's not a white balance issue I'll do some RAW conversions tomorrow. But I may have to do another comparison under more controlled conditions.
     
  19. bg2b

    bg2b Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 22, 2009
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    I don't know. I don't think my tests are lying either, but another possibility is that my ZD is a duff copy.

    Or maybe I just don't understand what dpreview's test is measuring. I certainly only look at the pictures and don't compute numbers, and to my eyes the ZD and Leicasonic look basically identical in the center even with the Leicasonic wide open.
     
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    DPReview's charts don't show much difference in the center. In the absolute center, their charts show a marginal advantage for the Leica at f/2.8 compared to the ZD at f/2, but when both lenses are at f/2.8, theie chart puts the ZD slightly ahead. It looks like more of a difference than it is, because the Leica is resolving near the limit of the sensor, and the ZD is resolving beyond the limit of the sensor, but I'm not surprised, based on those charts, that you don't see much difference in the center.

    In the periphery, the ZD measured quite a bit sharper than the Leica until both lenses were pushed to f/11 (diffraction evening things out from there).

    The operational advantages of the Leica (on a MFT camera) and the fact that I like the "look" of the Leica images (I like the swirly stuff), put it on my short list. I just don't know whether I'd feel the same way if there were a more typical portrait lens available, so I'm trying to stay patient for what else may come.