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Olympus 45mm f1.8 Lens Construction

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by faberryman, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    41
    Nov 15, 2013
    I was looking at getting the E-M1 and prime 12mm, 17mm, 45mm trio. The 12mm and 17mm are all metal. I was disappointed that the 45mm is plastic. No wonder it costs less. Old news I'm sure, but what were they thinking?
     
  2. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 Veteran

    406
    Aug 31, 2013
    They were thinking about making a lens out of any material as the engineering requirements required. A Nikon 50mm 1.4D has a metal interior and plastic exterior. A Sigma 18-35 has a plastic exterior and some metallic bits for the interior but Sigma also uses plastics to athermalize the design. A Nikon 50mm 1.2AI-S has an all metal construction. Let me tell you something about the last one, you don't want to drop a dense and heavy lens like that.

    Just for reference, that 17mm isn't actually "all" metal. The interior guts contain a significant amount of plastic structure while the exterior metal is more for feel and appearance. This shouldn't matter because it is a properly designed lens (...If it wasn't you'd have bigger issues. To cost cut here and suffer from deflection causing the optics to misalign would be a very, very noticible problem) and the materials used are intentional in the design and to spec.
     
  3. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    41
    Nov 15, 2013
    Then why not plastic for the 12mm and 17mm?
     
  4. Reflector

    Reflector Mu-43 Veteran

    406
    Aug 31, 2013
    Because Olympus decided* they needed to have a nicer feel to the 12mm and 17mm since they did call them "high grade" lenses and implemented the manual focus override system on them. I didn't see them drum up the release of the 45mm as much but I know that it is a very nice lens optically.

    So why didn't Tamron make my 90mm f/2.8 out of metal? It can play with the Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Tokina for the "nice macro lenses" contest. It definitely has less metal than a Nikon 105mm f/4 macro. Both of those lenses are mechanically excellent too.

    *The marketing people are part of this.
     
  5. faberryman

    faberryman Mu-43 Regular

    41
    Nov 15, 2013
    I would have thought they would have wanted to have a uniform feel and fit'n'finish for their premium primes. Even the 75mm is of metal construction (at least for the exterior).
     
  6. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    302
    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    I agree. The exterior of the 45mm is the most disappointing thing about it. But it takes excellent pictures.
     
  7. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    772
    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Frank
    The 17/1.8 has a great body, and a premium price of $499, but its optics don't fulfill the promise. The 75/1.8 has great body and glass... but it costs $899... out of reach for many of us.

    The humbly packaged 45/1.8 sells for an affordable $399. The housing is chintzy, but the optics are spectacular. I'm delighted there's an affordable option for portrait shooters on a budget.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  8. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    Interesting that two of the most highly regarded m43 lenses were released early after first m43 cameras, and have well know flaws but classic status... 20mm 1.7 and 45mm 1.8


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Sep 8, 2013
    Perhaps a metal 45mm at a higher price would have drawn attention away from what they meant to be their most premium lens, the 75mm?

    Plastic or not the black 45mm is the sexiest lens I own ;) Keep in mind that the two plastic tele primes Oly offers are some of the highest value lenses you can buy today for any format. They're very well priced to compete with what Canikon offers at a similar tier, and achieving superior performance at that. If they were metallic, the price bump might have made them feel slightly overcosted.
     
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The silver 45mm to me sucks. The fake metal paint cheapens the lens. The black 45mm is what they should of released first!
     
  11. Kilauea

    Kilauea Mu-43 Regular

    110
    Jun 9, 2012
    Canada
    Nicolas
    Its a beautiful lens when it comes to image quality. The plastic construction only negatively impacts on the feel of it. On the other hand, the plastic construction gives the lens a nicer feel in cold weather, it makes the lens lighter and finally, it enabled the lens to sell for a lower price which was important granted Panasonic has a 45mm f2.8 and soon a 42.5 f1.2. So it allows Oly to be competitive. Finally, for the format itself, it is very useful to have a fairly low cost portrait lens otherwise, it removes a lot of potential for the system.
     
  12. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    772
    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Frank
    Aha, is that the reason you sold me your silver 45?

    Hey, when I'm behind the camera, I can't tell if the lens is silver or black.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Slim

    Slim Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Nov 7, 2013
    I hear you. I splurged on lens hoods to just make it look better..

    Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk
     
  14. Slim

    Slim Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Nov 7, 2013
    ga9uhety.

    Did not work as well as I thought though.. lol

    Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk
     
  15. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Bingo. Those complaining about the plastic housing should buy one and see how excellent its performance is. Oh, yeah, and meditate on products like the Glock 19. :wink:
     
  16. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    You can't be serious. :wink: "...sucks..."? The images are the same. :rolleyes:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    827
    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I had a silver 45/1.8 that I sold off. Just didn't have that "connection" with it like I did with my PL45/2.8, despite the larger aperture on the Olympus. The PL45 is long gone, as I switched to 2.8 zooms (selling it covered most of the $850 that I paid for my 12-35.) Started feeling the pull of a longer portrait lens than my PL25 and faster than my 35-100, so I ordered the black 45/1.8 with the recent $50 discount. Hopefully, I'll feel the connection with it that I didn't with the silver (I am a very visual person.)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
    My silver 45's body started dinging and chipping the first week I got it. I'm definitely not one of those guys who cares if their gear looks new or not, but even I found it surprising how easily the exterior scuffs up.
     
  19. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    826
    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    As some have alluded to, the answer is simple: the 45mm is relatively cheap. It was the very first native portrait lens for the system, it would have made absolutely no sense to make a more expensive lens that would drive up the costs, when this lens was so essential in fleshing out the system's line up. It's also worth remembering that Olympus doesn't operate on nearly the same scale as DSLR makes, which doesn't allow them to drive costs further down.

    At the end of the day, it's a about this question: would you rather Olympus have released a $400 dollar plastic lens or $700 metal one? Is the the metal build that important? It would be one thing if the 45mm were released after having an autofusing, wide aperture, inexpensive telephoto prime, but there wasn't anything remotely close to that native to the system at its release (the 45mm macro is way too big and slow and expensive), and it was too gaping a hole for Oly not to have gone the route they did. Cheap build but excellent image quality.

    And for what it's worth, the plastic build has lasted me fine. For some strange reason, my most feeble feeling lens, the 45, is the only lens I've ever dropped--and twice at that. Yet so far it's survived with no effect other than scuffing.

    It's also worth noting that the 45mm f1.8 comes after the 17mm f2.8, so it's not as if its the only plastic oly prime. I would aslo consider it an optically superior lens to the more expensive 17mm f1.8, from what I've seen.
     
  20. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
    Napi makes a good point - a lighter, plastic build probably does make for a more impact-resistant lens.