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

RS86

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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...
I think those Pro primes are really made for Pro's. Low-light, bad weather or maximum performance.

I could have got new Olympus 25mm f/1.2 at Black Friday for ~650 €, but later bought new Olympus 25mm f/1.8 for 190 €.

It would just take too big space in my bag and add weight for small benefits in my use. GAS along with great price would have been the reason to buy the Pro one, and I would have very likely regretted it later. Very similar choice as yours.

Sigma would have made sense if you shot portraits often or as a job. Or have some focal lengths already which fit it nicely.
 
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I think those Pro primes are really made for Pro's. Low-light, bad weather or maximum performance.
I could have got new Olympus 25mm f/1.2 at Black Friday for ~650 €, but later bought new Olympus 25mm f/1.8 for 190 €.
I bought the 25 f/1.2 on black friday for 600€... then sent it back as I got a bad copy. Right side was never sharp (even at f/4). Comparison with my 25 f/1.8 was harsh for the f/1.2.
Then, I had another shot end of december when Olympus website, and bought it again at 650€. It's even worse, I think it has an AF problem, it's not so sharp in MF but totally out of focus when using AF at long distances. Both my 25 f/1.8 and 25 f/1.4 are much better. I'll send it back too.

I really wanted to try these pro lenses... maybe it was bad luck, maybe good luck as I'll keep my cheaper lenses that got me satisfied until now.
Maybe it's a sign that my copies of 25 mm (oly and PL) are good ones :) or that I just don't know how to use a Pro lens.
I bought the f/1.2 pro more from addiction than from a real need, and I'm not sure I would have get used to the size & weight...
 

Mike Wingate

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I spent an afternoon walking around Manchester with the PL42.5mm Baked Bean Tin lens on my GX80. I went back to the shop and bought a P25mm and P42.5mm f1.7’s instead.
 

RS86

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I spent an afternoon walking around Manchester with the PL42.5mm Baked Bean Tin lens on my GX80. I went back to the shop and bought a P25mm and P42.5mm f1.7’s instead.
That 42.5mm f/1.7 is a small miracle. Of course cannot compete in quality with the PL, but for me it's plenty sharp. And the minimum focus distance of 31 cm gives nice bokeh when you want closeups. PL has it at 50 cm. Weight 425 g vs 130 g.
 

fransglans

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For me, it's so awesome to mount these small and light lenses, that gives so much quality for its cost and size ratio. Would never buy the big pro lenses when my 45 1.8 keeps doing a great job. Here's one from last summer, edited quickly on the not so correct Android lcd..
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Clint

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... 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...
If you have to ask, probably not. And with your other statements, until you change your outlook about the traits you mentioned, it would not be worth it.

The 45mm/f1.8 is an excellent lens and well worthwhile to keep and use. If not having the f/1.2 lens sticks in your mind, rent the lens for a week and shoot with it a lot.
 

Paul C

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I spent an afternoon walking around Manchester with the PL42.5mm Baked Bean Tin lens on my GX80. I went back to the shop and bought a P25mm and P42.5mm f1.7’s instead.
Mike is correct - That "cheap' "amateur" Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is just amazing for IQ. It is the equivalent of those 50mm film era lenses sold at knockdown prices by Nikon, Canon and Pentax to get you hooked on adding to your lens bag spend. After one try out I knew I had to have it - you can even see the IQ difference over the zooms clearly on old 12 and 16MP M4/3 sensor cameras. That lens is a milestone that adds something special to the whole M4/3 format.

KEY QUESTION:
  • how do they fit 8 elements lenses in 7 groups into the size and weight of the 25mm?
  • with 2 Aspherical elements and 1 UHR element inside - how come it is so inexpensive?

Seriously - for near every M4/3 photographer - this is THE prime lens deal of 2020. How many of us really shoot in the dark, the rain and dust storms? If you do - then the choice is easier.

I am told (and it will be bad for my pocket) that the "cheap' "amateur" 42.5 Panasonic and the olympus 45mm F1.8 have the same effect on those who try them out........which is bad as my 2020 resolution was to take pictures with the kit I had rather than lust for just another fix of lens !

If your GAS is getting hold as you read about new lenses to buy - then can I suggest that you "simulate" the effect of having an F1.4 vs a F1.7 at a great website called "DoF simulator" at -- https://dofsimulator.net/en/ .....now suddenly that F2.8 legacy lens in your old camera bag begins to look useful again !

Best wishes to you all - Paul C
 

bbarnett51

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As a working photographer the 45 1.2 is worth it for me. The image quality is simply better from top to bottom, better build quality, and I prefer the larger size for that type of work.
For everyone else I would go to the 1.8. Small, light, affordable, and good image quality. I don’t think the things I need in the lens would mean a hill of beans to most ppl and would not offset the convenient size and cost of the 1.8.
 

Generationfourth

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Mike is correct - That "cheap' "amateur" Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is just amazing for IQ. It is the equivalent of those 50mm film era lenses sold at knockdown prices by Nikon, Canon and Pentax to get you hooked on adding to your lens bag spend. After one try out I knew I had to have it - you can even see the IQ difference over the zooms clearly on old 12 and 16MP M4/3 sensor cameras. That lens is a milestone that adds something special to the whole M4/3 format.

KEY QUESTION:
  • how do they fit 8 elements lenses in 7 groups into the size and weight of the 25mm?
  • with 2 Aspherical elements and 1 UHR element inside - how come it is so inexpensive?

Seriously - for near every M4/3 photographer - this is THE prime lens deal of 2020. How many of us really shoot in the dark, the rain and dust storms? If you do - then the choice is easier.

I am told (and it will be bad for my pocket) that the "cheap' "amateur" 42.5 Panasonic and the olympus 45mm F1.8 have the same effect on those who try them out........which is bad as my 2020 resolution was to take pictures with the kit I had rather than lust for just another fix of lens !

If your GAS is getting hold as you read about new lenses to buy - then can I suggest that you "simulate" the effect of having an F1.4 vs a F1.7 at a great website called "DoF simulator" at -- https://dofsimulator.net/en/ .....now suddenly that F2.8 legacy lens in your old camera bag begins to look useful again !

Best wishes to you all - Paul C
I agree on all your points. The 20 1.7 is my most highly regarded lens, shame its slow AF. Recently been chasing the dog around the house with the P42.5 and struggling with DOF. Either her snout is in focus but not her eyes, and vice versa. Forget about having the furry detail on her chest. I've been shooting birds with the PL100-400 with more success than this elusive black and white beast.

Then I had my 12-35i f2.8 on and found it way easier and got much better results:
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Obviously I'm not a skilled portrait shooter. I've been eyeing a PL25 on CL, but after reading your post might spring for the P25 instead. I owned the PL25 before and found it wasn't portable enough.

Anyway, sorry to derail this thread. Point being 1.7/1.8 is plenty for most of us. Funnily enough if not for bokeh and that extra bit of sharpness I can get away with the 2.8 zooms on my G9 because of how good the IBIS is.
 

ata3001

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I doubt you’re going to find anyone who sprung for the 45/1.2 that will tell you that the 45/1.8 is nearly equal in image quality. That’s like someone who bought a Mercedes admitting that a Camry is as good even tho the Camry may be as comfortable & much more reliable. Your $ is in the more expensive lens, therefor it’s the best. I will be the first to admit it’s better, but $800 better is debatable unless you need f/1.2 & regularly shoot at f/1.2
 
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I doubt you’re going to find anyone who sprung for the 45/1.2 that will tell you that the 45/1.8 is nearly equal in image quality. That’s like someone who bought a Mercedes admitting that a Camry is as good even tho the Camry may be as comfortable & much more reliable. Your $ is in the more expensive lens, therefor it’s the best. I will be the first to admit it’s better, but $800 better is debatable unless you need f/1.2 & regularly shoot at f/1.2
I bought a 25 f/1.2 which was worse (from f/2.5 approx.) than my 25 f/1.8. At f/4, the borders of the Pro were largely inferior to the 25 /f1.8.
Actually, I bought a second one, which was even worse but because of AF problems.
The first lens was also clearly defective (decentered), but it also convinced me that it was too big and not as pleasant to use as I expected (I didn't like the AF clutch that I continuously moved by mistake).
Of course, I didn't keep it.
So, it's not because you buy something that you like it in the end :)
 

ata3001

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I bought a 25 f/1.2 which was worse (from f/2.5 approx.) than my 25 f/1.8. At f/4, the borders of the Pro were largely inferior to the 25 /f1.8.
Actually, I bought a second one, which was even worse but because of AF problems.
The first lens was also clearly defective (decentered), but it also convinced me that it was too big and not as pleasant to use as I expected (I didn't like the AF clutch that I continuously moved by mistake).
Of course, I didn't keep it.
So, it's not because you buy something that you like it in the end :)
Sorry to hear that your Pro versions were actually inferior to the cheaper 1.8 version.
I should have worded my post to say "to find very many" rather than say "to find anyone". I would say the background bokeh is better than with the 1.8 version but unless i'm being paid for images that require that better bokeh look, I'll use that additional $800 in a better way for my photography.
 
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I should have worded my post to say "to find very many" rather than say "to find anyone". I would say the background bokeh is better than with the 1.8 version but unless i'm being paid for images that require that better bokeh look, I'll use that additional $800 in a better way for my photography.
For me, the volume is more important than the price paid: once you've bought it, it's yours. But you carry the additional volume & weight everytime you use it, not just the day you buy it :)
I didn't keep my 45 f/1.8 but I briefly compared the 45 f/1.2 to the 42.5 f/1.7.
My conclusion was that the background blur was a little more pronounced, and a little smoother, but not so much to compared to the loss in compactness.

If I was a wedding photographer, I'd take the 45 f/1.2 without a doubt, but I'm not :) so pleasure to take pictures is more important to me that the ultimate image quality.

I think everyone will put the limit at a different level.
Personnally, I'd probably prefer a Sigma 56 f/1.4 to an Oly 45 f/1.2... it's still big (a little less than the pro lenses) but at least it would make really different pictures than the 42.5 f/1.7 or 45 f/1.8, and the bokeh quality seems very good too.
 

Gromit

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I hope this will be relevant (at least in some small way) to this thread, which has been a good read. My Sigma 56 arrived end of last week and so I've been out and about with. Today, before I move my 45-1.8 on. just thought I'd have a quick - and very unscientific - comparison between the 45 and the 56. Both shot wide open, and the distance to subject changed slightly to allow for different focal lengths. Should state the background here is quite chaotic - sunlight through ivy bushes and various trees.

PEN20986.jpg
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Of course the Sigma does have a softer, more diffuse bokeh (as one would expect) but there's a certain 'something' about the little O45 which is why I always maintain it punches so well above its weight. I did have the 45-1.2 for a while - sold it in a fit of full-frame GAS madness early last year, and regretted doing so very soon after! Shame I didn't have one here to throw into the mix.
 
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I have the 17 and 45mm f1.2 lenses which I use on the EM1 Mk2 with battery grip. I like to focus manually and the big lenses and clutch mechanisms suit my big fat arthritic fingers.

These are two of the best Olympus lenses currently available (I've got the third one as well) - if my pictures are crap I can't blame the equipment.

Optically, there really isn't much difference between the 45mm f1.8 and f1.2. The 1.8 is an absolute bargain - although I never got on with the manual focusing ring.
 

DHart

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The Oly 45/1.8 is not a good lens. No, no, no.

It's a GREAT lens! One of the best lenses in the line up. With the benefit of very small size, very light weight, ultra fast focusing, ultra sharp rendition, and modest price. I'd say if you just want to spend the extra $800, and don't mind larger size and heavier weight, sure the pro is a fine lens; buy if you like.

But don't fool yourself, the 45/1.8 is supremely well-suited to be mounted up for a professional portrait shooter, or a fine-art hobbiest.

You have to ask yourself, would you really want to have such paper thin DOF for a portrait, where one eye is in focus and the other is somewhat out of focus? Or the eyes are reasonably well in-focus, but the nose is blown out of focus? For the most part, probably not really.

Unless you need to shoot at f/1.2 much of the time, f/1.8 will serve wonderfully.

While there may be the occasion where a 1 stop brighter lens could help a little, but for the vast majority of situations, the 45/1.8 will impress the heck out of you. And that extra f-stop of light may well be within your reach with either the ISO dial, the IBIS/OIS, or both combined?

Is the pro a great lens? Yep. Is the 45/1.8 a great lens? Yep.
 
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DHart

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I hope this will be relevant (at least in some small way) to this thread, which has been a good read. My Sigma 56 arrived end of last week and so I've been out and about with. Today, before I move my 45-1.8 on. just thought I'd have a quick - and very unscientific - comparison between the 45 and the 56. Both shot wide open, and the distance to subject changed slightly to allow for different focal lengths. Should state the background here is quite chaotic - sunlight through ivy bushes and various trees.

View attachment 802127

View attachment 802128

Of course the Sigma does have a softer, more diffuse bokeh (as one would expect) but there's a certain 'something' about the little O45 which is why I always maintain it punches so well above its weight. I did have the 45-1.2 for a while - sold it in a fit of full-frame GAS madness early last year, and regretted doing so very soon after! Shame I didn't have one here to throw into the mix.
Gromit... between those two images, my money is on the 45/1.8. Nice image, BTW!

To my taste, too much compression with the 56 - for that shot anyway.
 

MMouse

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Hello,

I bought a second hand 25mm 1.2 for a good price. Loved the bokeh and close focus capabilities but ended up returning since it was heavily decentered. Even at f/5.6, one corner was still slightly blurry which is unacceptable for a lens this class.

Then I tried both 17mm 1.2 and 45mm 1.2 for a week.
The 17mm f/1.2 is an incredible lens and certainly a huge improvement over the not so good f/1,8 version. I chose the 45mm 1.2 since smooth bokeh is one of the main features of the PRO line, and it is physically limited with a 17mm focal lenght.

The 45mm 1.2 is an outstanding lens. It's tack sharp corner to corner even wide open, focusing is fast and precise and finally out of focus rendering is the best I've seen. It's about quality, not quantity.
Size and weight are not a problem I think. It's not heavy and it feels perfectly balanced on an OM-D E-M1, not so much on PEN serie.

Is it worth the cost ? Well, depends... While 75mm f/1.8 or Sigma 56mm f/1.4 can give excellent results too, I don't think they are comparable, primarily because of their respective lenghts. It is like choosing between 30 et 60mm macro: both are macro lenses but they are very different to use.
The 45mm f/1.2 is optically perfect, I don't know how it could be better. Paid about half it's launching price and I think it's worth it. It's a great piece of glass... but it is not 5 times better than the regular 45mm 1.8 which is a bargain for it's price if you find a good one.
Basically the f/1.2 is sharper at f/1.8 and still a bit better in the corners at f/2.8 than a good sample of the f/1.8. At f/4 and above, there is no visible difference between the two. Bokeh looks similar from f/1,8. The PRO version has a distinctive bokeh look only at f/1.2.

The problem is not the f/1.2 lens beeing deceiving. It's outstanding but the f/1.8 version is much cheaper, smaller and already very good. The gap seems bigger between the 25's and is even bigger between the 17's.

You basically don't have any reason to buy the 45mm f/1.2 if you don't plan to shoot wide open. But beware if you buy it, it is so good that depth of field is the only reason you may want to stop down. It's worth it's price, worth buying depending on your practise.
My only regrets is I feel like my old camera body can't get the best of this awesome lens.
 
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