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PL 45mm & Olympus 60mm Comparison

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jloden, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I happen to have both the Panasonic Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro and Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro lenses currently, and I thought there might be some interest in a compare & contrast between the two from a user's perspective.

    This isn't a review as such; I've not had the lenses long enough to write a real world review after extended use. However, I thought I'd note my initial impressions of the two lenses in use for both macro and general use photography.

    First a few notes:

    1) This is a user's perspective comparison, no test charts, numbers, or pixel peeping. Everything is shot RAW and post-processed in LR as I would normally.

    2) All shots you see here are done with the Panasonic G5 handheld, so the camera is the same for all, but it does mean no stabilization for the Olympus lens.

    3) All done in natural light, no flash or supplemental lighting.

    4) This is my first foray into macro and may not cover items of interest to more experienced users. If there's anything I can add or answer, just ask :smile:

    Ok, on to some images. Each set is the 45mm first and the 60mm next, framing as close as I could get it to the same.

    45mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024775418/" title="P1010562 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024775418_7396e6d165_c. "600" height="800" alt="P1010562"></a>


    60mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024782028/" title="P1010581 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024782028_e7c4165675_c. "600" height="800" alt="P1010581"></a>


    45mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024776268/" title="P1010563 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024776268_9f75e22d53_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010563"></a>


    60mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024780657/" title="P1010570 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024780657_accbe650ba_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010570"></a>


    45mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024778895/" title="P1010564 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024778895_6de043c627_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010564"></a>


    60mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024781537/" title="P1010571 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024781537_e3c3444b7a_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010571"></a>


    45mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024788157/" title="P1010606 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024788157_01d1219f4a_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010606"></a>


    60mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024788702/" title="P1010611 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024788702_0486e01de0_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010611"></a>


    45mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024789159/" title="P1010609 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024789159_88ba300be7_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010609"></a>

    60mm
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024789786/" title="P1010620 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024789786_df812eb9de_c. "800" height="600" alt="P1010620"></a>



    Portrait style shot with the 45mm (sorry, couldn't change lenses fast enough or get the dog to stand still to get a similar test shot to the 60mm test below)

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024787201/" title="P1010602 by jloden, on Flickr">[​IMG]"600" height="800" alt="P1010602"></a>


    One portrait style shot from the 60mm showing what the subject isolation/bokeh looks like outdoors at f/2.8

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8024782716/" title="P1010589 by jloden, on Flickr"> 8024782716_a40dc342b7_c. "600" height="800" alt="P1010589"></a>



    Overall Impressions
    My overall feeling with using both lenses is that the 60mm seems to be consistently sharper, at least wide open. Not too surprising given how sharp other test shots with the 60mm have come out. However, both lenses are capable of some very sharp shots so the 45 is no slouch either. I'm not sure offhand what the specs are for each, but I could consistently get in closer with the PL 45 before bumping the min focus distance limit. The 60mm is a longer focal length of course, but I did feel like I was able to get in closer with the 45mm lens even so.

    AF speed is good with both lenses when set to limited focus mode for normal shooting. When using full focus travel both lenses can hunt and take some time to focus (including racking all the way out and back in) until they're in the right ballpark for the subject. Once adjusted into the right zone, I found AF to be quite usable for macro shots if you're careful and bear in mind the tiny DoF. Given that I don't expect the lens to be able to adjust focus to macro levels instantaneously, I have no real complaints on AF for either lens.

    Form factor - this is personal taste to an extent, but I really prefer the PL 45 form factor. The Oly 60 is long and skinny and just kind of an awkward looking/feeling lens for me. Doesn't affect image quality or performance though, it's purely an aesthetics thing. Both lenses are plastic-bodied but solidly built. If I had to pick I'd probably give the PL 45 the nod for better build quality due to the nicer focus ring (the Olympus has the same cheap knurled plastic as the 45mm f/1.8), and overall more substantial feel. Plus 10 extra points for including a pinch lens cap and hood :)rolleyes: Olympus)

    My personal verdict: if I were picking one lens to keep, I'd go with the PL 45. I like the rendering, the form factor is more compact, it has OIS for my Panasonic cameras, and for me 45mm is more useful as a general use lens in addition to macro. The 60mm looks like it can pinch hit as a portrait lens a little more effectively than the PL 45mm wide open, as I'd expect given the longer focal length for more subject isolation at f/2.8. However, for a mid telephoto/portrait/macro lens if pressed to pick I'd rather keep the 45mm focal length and smaller form factor, especially since it pairs so nicely with the PL 25mm f/1.4 lens. If my concern was primarily macro, the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 looks like a truly excellent choice given the incredible sharpness it exhibits even wide open. I'll be continuing to use them both for a while, and time will tell which one wins out for the long run :smile:

    Any questions or comparisons you'd like to see, fire away and I'll do my best!
     
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  2. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    My PL45 was on pins and needles waiting for your review, Jay. I just heard it breathe a sigh of relief... :)
     
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  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Hehehe. :biggrin:

    You'll note that the words "shootout", "versus", "battle" did not appear anywhere in the post. I don't see there as being a winner or loser in this type of comparison, it's really just about whatever is best for your style of shooting and preferences. So tell your PL 45 not to worry too much :thumbup:
     
  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Thanks a ton for this comparison, Jay!

    I recently did a re-get on the PL45 after selling the Oly45 to a friend (plan to order the Oly75, at some point). My thinking on reacquiring the PL45 versus waiting for the new Oly was similar to a few of your points: that I missed the PL45 rendering, felt the 90mm FoV was more useful to me for general purpose (somewhat infrequent macro use), and preferred the size/profile of the PL, including the hood.

    One thing I did figure, though, was that the Oly 60 would be much more speedy on AF (with the limiter). It sounds like that is not the case?
     
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  5. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    In non-macro use with the limiter on, I find both to work just fine and neither stood out as dramatically faster. In macro use both hunted occasionally but locked on well once there. Without going back and re-testing, my gut instinct is the Oly might be a shade quicker overall but I didn't feel a "wow" difference, at any rate.

    I will note I was only really using the closest focusing and furthest focusing modes on the Oly snce I was working at the two extremes of distance. Haven't had occasion to test the middle focus mode much.
     
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  6. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Thanks for the comparison! Looks like there is quite a bit of vignette on the PL45 when used wide open, particularly obvious in the first and fourth comparison shots. Might not be a bad thing for macro shots though, as it give the image more characters.

    It would be interesting to see if the vignette improves with smaller aperture.
     
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I'm sure there are test results available that can show measurements on vignetting for the PL 45 at different apertures if you're interested. (EDIT: in fact as I recall photozone tested it and I know they measure vignetting)

    I would also note I think the corner light fall-off is also related to the closer focusing distance for the PL45; if you look at the fourth comparison for example, the PL 45 is actually closer in than the Oly 60mm, despite its shorter focal length. At macro distances it's close enough that creating a shadow effect is an issue. That's actually a benefit of the 60mm length for macro - not needing to get in as close. Most of the Oly macro shots I took were brighter overall as a result.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    FWIW, just checked quickly and photozone measured around 1.2EV of vignetting wide open on the PL 45, which would definitely be noticeable. According to their results is effectively gone by f/5.6. Not sure if there are any test numbers for the Oly yet.
     
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  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Thanks for the comparison. I've been looking at the 60mm purely for macro as I have the 45mm covered with the Oly.

    I've read that the PL 45 has a tendency to hunt. What has been your experience with the 60mm?

    Gary
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Assuming the focus limiter is used appropriately, the only hunting I've had so far has been when working with macro distances. It tends to end up racking all the way out and dialing in until it gets close, then it does ok. Other than that I haven't found it any more prone to hunt than other lenses so far. Only just got it of course, so it'll take a while of using it in different situations to get a better, more well rounded impression but so far so good.
     
  11. byron2112

    byron2112 Mu-43 Regular

    82
    May 22, 2011
    Thanks for this comparison.

    How about a side-by-side shot of the lenses themselves?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Joe
    Great work Jay....i have my 45mm covered with the Oly (it's safe until a certain f1.2 becomes a reality) and I don't really do macro, but its always great to see posts like this.

    Thanks for taking the time :thumbup:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Ad
    Thanks for the comparison, always nice to get user experiences from directly comparing two similar lenses.

    It looks like both lenses actually have quite the same field of view despite the focal length difference, sometimes the Oly 60mm even seems to "see more" than the PL45. Is this observation correct or am I missing something?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I purposely tried to frame the shots similarly to give a similar comparison in terms of subjects. And for the macro shots that's also an artifact of the closer focusing distance on the PL 45, since I could get in closer without bumping into the focus limit.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Sure, here you go:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8026739276/" title="Size Comparisons by jloden, on Flickr"> 8026739276_dcbc623e97_c. "800" height="600" alt="Size Comparisons"></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8026739495/" title="Size Comparisons by jloden, on Flickr"> 8026739495_e04dbda3e7_c. "800" height="600" alt="Size Comparisons"></a>


    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/30940068@N02/8026738451/" title="Size Comparisons by jloden, on Flickr"> 8026738451_454146a502_c. "800" height="600" alt="Size Comparisons"></a>



    They're actually pretty close in overall size, it's more of a choice between longer and skinnier versus shorter and fatter. For me the short & round PL 45 is more convenient in a camera bag but depending on layout it could be the other way around for somebody else.
     
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  16. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    • Like Like x 1
  17. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Interesting... not a super detailed review, but I thought the summary/conclusion fits pretty much with my overall take:

     
  18. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    This just means for m4/3 that we now have TWO excellent macro lens choices in different focal lengths and with slightly different features. And that is really awesome :2thumbs:
     
  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Great comparison, Jay. I like the character of the PL45 more, and the size difference looks pretty significant as well. Like you said, the Oly seems the better dedicated macro, but if I were looking for a single lens to do double duty for macro and general photography, it would be the PL45.
     
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