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OM 50 1.4 vs. Oly 45 Part 2

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by thearne3, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    I have compared my OM 50mm f1.4 with the new Oly 45 f1.8 using the following procedure:

    1. Still life with relatively strong back light - composition at roughly portrait distance (5').
    2. MF on specific spot (center cactus tip)
    3. Shots at all apertures (1.4/1.8, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11)
    4. Tripod, IS off; Tripod moved to try account for 50 vs 45mm FOV (still needed to enlarge the Oly slightly to get to identical FOV)

    Processing of OOC jpegs in Aperture:

    Presets: Auto Color, Auto Contrast, Definition .3, Vibrancy .1

    Obviously, this creates a lot of data!

    My goals are to assess the lenses based on what's important to me: sharpness at center and corner, color, contrast and bokeh - at or near wide open. I show below Master (untouched OOC), Adjusted (per above), Center and Corner. All crops are 100%.

    I chose f1.4 and f2.0 for the OM and Oly, respectively. Why? Because I was surprised by the results! Oly on the left in all screen shots. I could have shown both wide open, but the difference for the Oly between f1.8 and 2 is negligible.

    The only clear 'win' that I see is the Oly corner sharpness and contrast.

    The last two screenshots are the two lenses corners at wide open to f4.
    OM: gets much better from 1.4 to 2.0, then gradual improvement.
    Oly: starts good, very gradually better.
    Both: Peak at f5.6





    OM Corner: f1.4, 2, 2.8, 4 (tl,tr,bl,br)

    Oly Corner: f1.8, 2, 2.8, 4 (tl,tr,bl,br)
    • Like Like x 10
  2. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    Very interesting comparison as I have the 45mm. I prefer the bokeh on the 50mm; much more subdued for a less distracting background.
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Great follow-up test Tom.

    On just about every front the 2 lenses appear to perform almost identically, with only the smallest differences in contrast id say its negligible. I still feel that the only point of noticeable difference is the slightly smoother bokeh on the OM....the OOF rendering of the 45 appears to have a little more structure/definition to it and as such doesn't appear quite as smooth. Really splitting hairs now though, for my money the convenience and benefits of super quick AF and size FAR out weights everything else.

    The 45 looks to be a keeper without doubt.

    Mine is on order and I am genuinely excited, more so....I believe it can co-exist peacefully with my 50/1.4 SMC Takumar....they will both serve a purpose.
  4. Hmm, where did those three or four decades worth of lens R&D budgets go to then?
  5. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    I wonder whether the RnD in the 3-4 decades since has been offset by quality of construction/materials....the old "they don't make em like they used to" argument. Its an argument that i buy into quite often.

    Do all the precise manufacturing systems of today....robots, computer controlled tolerances etc stack up against the more mechanical methods of the past ?

    Solid metal bodies and rare earth element/thorium injected glass VS plastic bodies etc.

    Call me a sceptic but it seems most products these days are made of 'cheaper' everything. I wonder what kind of magic could be achieved with todays manufacturing technologies and yesteryears raw materials !!!
    • Like Like x 1
  6. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Thank you . . .

    I think you just saved me $400.00 that I'll save toward an E-P3. I have an OM 50mm f1.8 that I really like. I can live without autofocus for portrait shots (where I use this lens most often). Boosting contrast is easy enough to do - especially since the difference is not huge. I appreciate your post a lot. :2thumbs:
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for doing these. Very enlightening results. Sort of makes me wish they'd taken the old 50/1.8 design, updated it slightly, added a motor, and sold it for $200 instead. Oh, and painted it black. For portraits I don't need the extra contrast or corner sharpness, just functioning AF.

  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have always thought the OM 50s were terrific. I have a MIJ 50/1.8 and an over 1.3 million serial# 50/1.4 and they are both absolutely wonderful.

    View attachment 178194

    G2 with OM 50/1.4 - 1/320 - ISO 100
    • Like Like x 4
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I have both the 1.4 and 1.8, but mine are older. I think they're both fantastic as well!
  10. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Beautiful! Mine's a 1.15mm, not sure how much the very late models changed. Great glass! Since you have the best of each, when do you prefer the 1.8?
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You lucky dogs. ;)  My f/1.4 is a 917k, and my f/1.8 is a 2.8 million. They're both multi-coated though, and produce excellent images. My f/1.8 has a really cool serial number actually... 2828282.

    One thing I love about these lenses is how compact they are. In comparison to the Konica Hexanon 40mm f/1.8 pancake, my Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 is the same length but smaller in diameter. However, the Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 is only very slightly longer, whereas the Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 is much larger than the Hexanon pancake. I can carry my Zuiko 50mm/1.4 in about the same space that I could carry either of the f/1.8 pancakes, or even my modern Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 pancake.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Interesting results. I have found when shooting portraits wide open (very shallow DOF) that auto focus is invaluable in being able to nail the expression at the peak moment with good focus. When I use manual focus for portraits, it's slower and definitely more difficult for me to keep up with changing expressions, subject movement, etc. For my money, I'll take the 45/1.8 over any similar manual focus lens for portrait work. Landscape, still life, etc. manual focus is no problem. The dynamics of photographing people give great value to AF. Greater value than minor differences in sharpness, contrast, etc. For me, anyway. YMMV. Since acquiring the 45/1.8 (very fast AF with this lens!), my MF legacy lenses will be seeing little to no use for portrait work. But then, there's the 85/1.4 Zeiss Planar. I think I may still put that one to work once in a while. :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  13. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    When it comes to portraits, Don, you have my full attention! No doubt the Oly 45mm is a great asset in dynamic situations, when speed is king!
  14. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    Thanks for doing this comparison! I have an OM 50mm f1.4 as well and was wondering if the m4/3 45mm f1.8 is worth the cash outlay. I definitely like the improved contrast on the 45mm.

    I can't tell from your photos, but does your OM 50 "glow" or "bloom" at f1.4? Mine tends to do that, but none of your photos show it. I would be interested in knowing if the m4/3 45mm suffers the same (I hope not!).
  15. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Haven't seen that with this lens. A hood definitely helps with any legacy lens. My understanding is that OM lenses had more and more sophisticated multi-coatings, so the later lenses would be less prone to the 'glow'... I hope others chime in with their experience.

    Certainly have seen no evidence with the 45mm (here or on the web)!
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Mine glows easily and I always keep a hood on it. :)  Mine is multi-coated, but not one of the later "Made in Japan" batches. However, even though it glows a lot wide open it still retains nice sharpness, contrast, and strong colors. It can make for an interesting feel...
    E-PL2    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/13s    ISO 1600

    I think your assessment is probably right, Tom. The later the model, the better the glow should be controlled with the newer coatings. The serial number on mine is under 1 million.
  17. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Tom,

    Just wanted to mention what a nice thread this is.

    Great idea, nice post.

    • Like Like x 1
  18. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Anyone interested in the OM line on lenses regarding lens coatings and serial numbers, here's a link. The serial numbers are in the 3rd column, and are the beginning numbers of that particular run of coatings. I'll try to dig up the two versions of the 50mm/1.4, they are indeed different as far as weight, length, number of elements and lens groups.
    By the way, the best ones start at this serial number: 1013800

    • Like Like x 3
  19. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    Well, that could explain it. Mine is 912K, so it's older than yours.
  20. cherrywood

    cherrywood Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2010
    Thanks for this list, Sammyboy, it is very helpful.
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