Olympus 45mm 1.2 Pro worth it over the Olympus 45mm 1.8?

aukirk

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I am surprised there aren’t more discussions about the 45mm Pro around here. While I am sure it is not worth the financial cost difference, as a long time owner of the wonderful/tiny 45mm 1.8, anyone have any feedback about whether it is worth it to upgrade to this pro lense?

One of my main concerns is the size... will I want to carry that larger lens often? The 45 1.8 is always in the bag, but I think that is because it is so darn small...

Is the improved sharpness and extra low light capabilities going to outweigh the size? I tend to always gravitate towards smallest lenses possible...
 
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There have been several threads about this and some early threads asking the same thing about the 45/1.8 vs the PL Nocticron 42.5/1.2

IMO, it comes down to the individual. I have owned the Noctictron, the 45/1.2, the 45/1.8 and the 42.5/1.7. There is a relatively small difference between f1.8 and f1.2 when looking at the background for many shots. The f1.8 is very satisfying on its own. f1.2 has an edge but whether it is worth it is debatable.

I would stick with the 45/1.8 and know that you are not giving up much.

This lensrentals blog post is informative (if not overly techie).

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2018/03/finally-some-more-m43-mtf-testing-are-the-40s-fabulous/
 

bargainguy

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Have you considered the Sigma 56/1.4? It's not that big compared to the 42.5 or 45 Pro, and very sharp.

I was considering the 45 Pro and debating the merits of size/cost/aperture. In the meantime, I purchased the 16/1.4 Sigma. I was so impressed with the 16 that I got the 56/1.4 as well. The 56 is quite a bit smaller than the 16 so it tends to stay in my bag more often.
 

JohnJeffrey

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I suggest using the zuiko Pro 45mm, perhaps as a rental (lensrental.com) or from a friend, and then compare the flows & results. I have several m43 adapted “45mm” lenses and eventually fell into a deal on the Zuiko f1.8 version For my Pen-f. The 45mm f1.8 is compact, fast focus, Sharp, and fits the Pen-f platform beautifully! Delighted! The money I saved from not spending on the Pro paid for the new Zuiko 60mm macro; a gem of a lens, imo. The non-Pro version covers my needs just fine for my Pen-f, but if I was doing professional tasks & portraits, and needed the best, I would not hesitate using any of the M. Zuiko Pro lenses on a Pro body!
 

tjdean01

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Keep what you have. In my experience of 50/1.8s vs 50/1.4s there isn't enough difference to make it worth it. Heck, even if I have both I often grab the smaller one.
 

rezatravilla

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Is the improved sharpness and extra low light capabilities going to outweigh the size? I tend to always gravitate towards smallest lenses possible...
What i feel from borrowed my friend's 45 Pro is the great optic quality. Somehow the result from 45 pro is more cleaner and yet still maintain the sharpness. The skintone from the lens also great. Somehow makes it looks brighter. But then again i already have 75mm in which produce the same quality but need to be patient with it's focal length :biggrin:
 

RichDesmond

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It's worth remembering that, historically, F1.2 lenses have been specialized, "one trick pony" lenses. Oriented towards situations where a very narrow DOF was desired. They are NOT generally super sharp, or the best choice as an all around lenses. If you really need what they offer they are indispensable, but if not you're usually better off in a F1.4 -F1.8 lens in that focal length.
 

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It's worth remembering that, historically, F1.2 lenses have been
specialized, "one trick pony" lenses. Oriented towards situations
where a very narrow DOF was desired. They are NOT generally
super sharp, or the best choice as an all around lenses. If you
really need what they offer they are indispensable, but if not
you're usually better off in a F1.4 -F1.8 lens in that focal length.
Your advice is excellent in principle, but needs to be
scaled down to m4/3. The lens speeds in your advice
would hold true ONLY FOR 35mm film or FF digital. A
45mm f:1.2 for m4/3 is basically a "scale model" of the
fabled Nikkor 105mm f:2.5 .... fabled, but NOT exotic.
Simply an excellent general purpose short tele. I have
a Nikkor 105mm f:1.8 ... THAT is a bit specialized. Scale
it down to a 45mm for m4/3 and you'd be at f0.85 !

A parallel version of your reminder,
using 95% your own words, would be:

"It's worth remembering that, historically, F2.8 lenses have
been specialized, "one trick pony" lenses. Oriented towards
situations where a very narrow DOF was desired. They are
NOT generally super sharp, or the best choice as an all
around lenses. If you really need what they offer they are
indispensable, but if not you're usually better off in a F4.5 -
F5.6 lens in that focal length."


My altered version of your reminder is simply the same
advice but applied to 4x5 Crown Graphics and the like.

Scaled down to 35mm film or digital format, the f/stops
mentioned in your post match the good advice you offer.

Scaled down to m4/3 you've neglected to scale down the
the f/stops. An f/1.2 is not special, but is mainstream for
m4/3 format. A mainstream f/4.5 to f/5.6 for a 4x5 scales
down to about about f/1.4 to 1.7 for 35mm and using the
same sliding scale f/1.0 to 1.2 is only mainstream for m4/3
where you'd hafta get to the "sub 0.95" stops to run into
those specialized "one trick ponies".
-------------------------------------------------------
There's plenty of half baked math floating around, quoted
by people who don't even understand it. So, I just wanna
point out that I did not snag this info from the internet. I
learned this stuff ages ago as part of my formal training.
 
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Mack

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I have both of the Oly 45mm lenses. I find the 45mm f/1.2 Pro super-sharp out of all my lenses. The smaller 45mm goes onto an Inspire 2 drone's m43 camera due to less weight.

Below shows the 45mm f/1.2 Pro crops from the full-frame in lower left enlarged to the eye using the E-M1 Mark II. Imho, it surpasses my old Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 G series lens which may be 10 years old. Newer lens tech may be the reason. It really astonished me it could be as sharp - if not sharper - against the Nikon D800E with the 70-200mm f/2.8.

Juliette-3D-Edit-2-combo.jpg
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User ID

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I have both of the Oly 45mm lenses. I find the 45mm f/1.2 Pro super-sharp out of all my lenses. The smaller 45mm goes onto an Inspire 2 drone's m43 camera due to less weight.

Below shows the 45mm f/1.3 Pro crops from the full-frame in lower left enlarged to the eye using the E-M1 Mark II. Imho, it surpasses my old Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 G series lens which may be 10 years old. Newer lens tech may be the reason. It really astonished me it could be as sharp - if not sharper - against the Nikon D800E with the 70-200mm f/2.8.

View attachment 796927
There's the proof right there that for this format
an f:1.2 lens is NOT a limited application special
purpose lens plagued with compromises !
 
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Is the improved sharpness and extra low light capabilities going to outweigh the size?
It all depends on your typical uses case. If you shoot portraits 99% of the time the 45 1.2 is a stunning lens and price/size/weight is out weight by the DOF advantage, build quality and the edge in sharpness (at 1.2 and 1.8).

In my opinion, however, the real world differences between the 45mm 1.8 and 1.2 are quite small which makes the 1.8 in most cases the better pick (price/size). Most comparisons between both show 100% magnification to pixel peep on differences in sharpness but keep in mind that for portraits, sharpness isn't always most important. I do like the rendering of the out-of-focus areas more with the 1.2 (that is at 1.2 .. at 1.8 and higher the rendering is 99% equal to the non-pro). So for me the only real benefit is when shooting portraits at 1.2.
But the Sigma 56/1.4 (albeit a bit longer) would be a very compelling contender if you need subject separation with smooth out-of-focus rendering.

But again all depending on use case.. if you almost always shoot in adverse weather the having weather sealing on the Pro lens could be reason enough to warrant the step up in price.

Personally I do not shoot enough portraits to own a 45 1.2 (and own the 45 1.8). I do rent the 45 1.2 occasionally if I have a specific portrait shoot.
 

Paul C

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What makes a great portrait / What makes a great portrait lens?

Clasically - it is the smooth handling of the highlights and the out of focus areas rather than just lines per millimetre and micro-contrast.

To succed in this setting means that conventional "physicis and maths" tests for lenses come second to their creativity.
  • Some of the readers here like the Helios "swirly bokeh" effect
  • Others prefer the perspective you get from shooting at a 5m distance with a fast telephoto (the full frame "fast 200m portrait")
  • I prefer a smoother "creamy" image - but I do need central sharpness and good microcontrast - even though all that effort can be lost in post process with a hint of diffuse glow.....
    • just think of all those great Hollywood portraits of the 1930s and 40s
Strangely enough - the best performers in this role are often legacy film-era 45-55mm lenses - and today - don't write off the inexpensive "low spec" generic micro 4/3 lenses from the likes of Meike and 7-Artisans. Often the "optical failings" of these lenses make them the best portrait choice!

Furthermore, the "slow photography" that manual lenses force on you favours more time to get better framing, lighting and posing.

So is it art or physicis that you want? For sheer IQ with flat-field, single plane focus and the best lines per millimeter resolution - we always turn to macro lenses. My vote for that is still the Vivitar 55mm F2.8; it adapts well to M4/3. For portraits - well, it's different every time........but..for cost-effective portraits on M4/3 - have you tried out
  • the meike 35mm f1.2,
  • the new Meike 50mm F1.7
  • or the 7-Artisans 55mm F1.4?
  • or the Kamlan 50mm F1.1
  • Or turned to the "adapted Lens" pages here at MU43 to hear people wax lyrical about the 1980s Yashica 50mm and the 1970s Takamur 50mm F1.4............and yes, even the love/hate of that swirly Helios 58mm F2.0 !
So what to do? Fortunately - given the size and weight advantage of the M4/3 format - I carry both a sharp AF top-spec lens AND a "low spec" high artistic merit lens in my camera bag. Funnily enough, the "low spec" Meike often wins out in the end!

Best wishes - Paul C
 
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Completely agree with you Paul!

I do remember a very in depth article I once read on old vs new lens designs.

Old lens design with less lens elements (6 elements for instance) have more depth rendition and better tonality but the design does have more optical "faults" like chromatic aberration, less corner sharpness and so on.
In new lens designs (many) more lens elements and specialized coatings are used to correct for these optical "faults" effectively. But overall result in a flatter and sometimes less appealing image vs more simple lens designs.

edit, found the article: https://yannickkhong.com/blog/2016/2/23/the-problem-with-modern-optics
 

demiro

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@aukirk You really need to tell us what kind of results you are getting with the 45/1.8 and how you use it to get more valuable answers. If going from 1.8 to 1.2 allows you to capture a bunch of great images you're missing today then the cost/size might be worth it. But if all you're picking up is some sharpness when you pixel peep I would think small and cheap wins the day. There is a lot in between there, of course. That is where the details from you matter.
 

aukirk

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Thanks all for the helpful feedback and direction... as a bit of an update, following an early recommendation by @bargainguy I started looking at the Sigma 56 1.4 and pulled the trigger on ordering last week. Got it in earlier this week, and really haven't had a ton of time to shoot with it, other than one outing... and I am leaning toward returning it. Not so much due to the quality, which is great... but I think that even this "smaller" alternative to the Oly Pro 45 1.2 is going to be too much bigger than the 45 1.8 to justify holding onto.

I am going to give it another go this weekend, but with the small bag I like to carry, the difference in size between the 56 1.4 vs 45 1.8 really is a difference. I don't really do traditional portrait shoots... but like to be prepared for those impromptu portrait opportunities. Since I am working with a wider lens... the odds of me having the 56 in the bag are much less than having the smaller 45 1.8 in there when I need it.

Maybe it is the lens hood with the Sigma 56m...
 
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... the difference in size between the 56 1.4 vs 45 1.8 really is a difference. I don't really do traditional portrait shoots... but like to be prepared for those impromptu portrait opportunities. ...
This to me sounds like you are much better of with the 45 1.8.
It's great to have a lens which is small enough to actually have with you if those for impromptu opportunities arise which offers +90% of the specs the 45 1.2 and 56 1.4 (albeit the sigma with slightly different field of view) offer. If you need the 10% difference in options/performance you should definitively buy the more expensive options but likely are also more than happy carrying it around. If your priority is small/light your just lucky that m43 offers a superb 45 1.8 option.
 
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Furthermore, the "slow photography" that manual lenses force on you favours more time to get better framing, lighting and posing.
It also requires that your subject doesn't move, is aware that you are taking the picture, and wait for you getting the correct focus.
Which, depending of what kind of portraits you like, may not be what you want.
(getting a good result mostly require, for me, that the subject has forgotten that you're taking the picture to get a natural expression).
 

Paul C

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It also requires that your subject doesn't move, is aware that you are taking the picture, and wait for you getting the correct focus.
Which, depending of what kind of portraits you like, may not be what you want.
(getting a good result mostly require, for me, that the subject has forgotten that you're taking the picture to get a natural expression).
I agree 100% Soji - to get the image we want needs us to match the lens to the subject.

However just remember - that a using a 45mm F1.4 for a headshot means working 1m from the subject with a DoF of only 24mm (and with the Kamlan 50mm F1.1 thats only 18mm). Relying on fast moving AF for a wriggling model who won't stay still when the distance from the tip of a nose to the closest pupil is greater than the DoF is as much a risk as using Manual Focus. In that case I'd move to F4.0 with its 68mm DoF on a 45mm and make sure of getting a good shot in the bag before opening up for a hint of better bokeh and hoping for focus to be "right on" target with AF!

For demonstrations of real skills needed for moving portraits - just look at the Childrens' and Pets' photos on the MU43 site and wonder at the perseverence and skills (and sometimes luck) needed to get most of those shots!

Now the best way to let a subject "forget you" is often to stand back in the distance and get out of the light - which is why so many great headshots have been done at 15 paces back with a 200mm F2.8 full-frame set up: the photographer is outside the subjects "personal space", way back in the "comfort zone" at 5 metres; DoF at 200mm F2.8 is still only 26mm (so dial up f4.0 for a 38mm DoF on full frame) and ....and click! In a busy commercial shoot - face shots for a company for example - its a great way to get through a lot of subjects in an hour. Now that's why I bought that 200mm F2.8 prime for my Nikon - and, very quickly, the monopod to support the weight of the lens and camera!

M4/3 shooters on a budget know the wonders of adapting the lightweight Nikon 100mm F2.8 E to take on this same role - it has very high light transmission with only 4 lens elements, a tiny rigid polycarbonate body yet delivers great results even when cropped x2 for us. The 5-element 100mm SMC Pentax 2.8 is a close second (and so on...* see below). With deeper pockets, can I commend the Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8 zoom at full stretch in this role - but I can't guarantee that the resulting photo will really be that much better for all those aspheric elements and high tech electronics and a cost of £800/$900/€950. So - if its your salary on the line - buy the Lumix. For the rest - before you press "buy" - just switch to the "Adapted Lens" forum here to see what old tech + skill can achieve....and also look at one of the DoF simulators online to see just how much extra bokeh is gained by that extra half-stop more aperture.

Just for fun - I "Googled" the exact phrase "what is the right lens for a portrait". It tells me there are about 176,000,000 web pages to read on the topic......so this story could run and run and run!
Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 13.43.18.png
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Now thats the reason for having so many different lens types in the camera bag! With 2x crop sensor M4/3 cameras physics tells us that should mean 1/4 size and 1/4 weight lenses - which means still twice as many lenses in a half-weight camera bag compared to the full frame equipment - hooray!

Paul C
====================
* ADAPTED LENS ALERT.....And yes - I do know that the Olympus 100mm film-era lens is great too on an M4/3 camera - but its superior close focus ability comes from adding lots of elements and even floating elements into the design, so a lot of the extra light from an F2 gets lost in transmission! Now you will begin to see the delight of an hour spent in the MU43 adapted lens forum. If you think this spells a problem - then just check out the Pentax Forum !!

Good for Pentax in that their DSLRs from model number 1 can use every lens that Pentax ever made (shame on Nikon)- which means a huge back catologue of delights that are being adapted today, now 50 years on from the K-mount debut and 70y from the M42.

Of course, we M4/3 shooters have the lens to sensor distance that means nearly every lens ever made can be adapted; so before spending £$€ 100s on a new 50mm F1.4 AF - just look and see what has been acheved here with even those c-mount fujian 35mm and 50mm lenses.

PPS - manual lenses are silent; add the electronic shutter capability of most M4/3 cameras of the last few years and you have an additional bonus in not distracting subjects with clicks, buzzes and beeps.
 
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PPS - manual lenses are silent; add the electronic shutter capability of most M4/3 cameras of the last few years and you have an additional bonus in not distracting subjects with clicks, buzzes and beeps.
Yes.
The difficult thing (at least for me) is the addition of shallow depth-of-field and manual focus.
I love to use lenses in manual focus mode... when I don't have to focus :)
Like the 7.5 Loawa (or 7.5 Samyang), or even the 17 mm Olympus with the MF clutch on, at f/4 or f/5.6.

For portraits... even AF has sometimes trouble to follow the subject movements... it would be very hard for me with a MF lens wide open.
I can't use the zoomed preview (or else my framing sucks), and focus peaking is not precise enough.
 
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