Sigma 60mm f2.8 vs Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6 for portraits

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Zancrow, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. Zancrow

    Zancrow Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 16, 2014
    I been looking to get either one of these lenses to shoot portraits that are within my budget. I seen both images showcases and I'm liking both of them. Currently I own the PL 25mm f1.4 and the Olympus OM 50mm f1.8. I'm looking for sharpness and isolation when I shoot the subject.

    The sharpness on the Sigma looks great but since I already have the OM 50mm (don't really mind shooting MF) would I be better off with the 40-150mm since its more flexible but not as fast?

  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    What are you hoping the new lens will give you that you don't have now? I'm not sure either lens offers you and serious improvement.

    The 40-150mm seems like an odd choice unless you are wanting it for headshots because it has a very slow aperture and a very long focal length. The 60mm f2.8 is great, but it's only 20% longer than your 50mm f1.8 and will give less subject isolation due to the slower aperture. It will likely be noticeably sharper than the 50mm, though and have nice AF.

    Based on these choices, I assume you have about a $200 budget? You might look at a nice 85mm f1.8 manual lens which will give you buckets of subject isolation and a significantly longer focal length than your 50mm.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I have the 60/2.8 and it's absolutely tack sharp wide open and will give a nicely out of focus background. I had the 40-150, and it's not much of a portrait lens, because of the small aperture. The lens with the classic working distance for a portrait lens is the Olympus 45/1.8. An 85/1.8 would give a very far working distance when used on a 4/3 sensor camera.
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I've shot plenty of portraits with the 40-150/4-5.6 and it does an admirable job, even wide open. With that being said, the Sigma at 2.8 is going to give you better DOF control for isolation.

    You can get isolation with the 40-150, but you'll need to be further toward 150 and that might be too long of a working distance between you and the subject. For not a lot more money than a new Sigma 60, you can get a used Olympus 45/1.8. That is a great portrait choice for the money. Being able to shoot that at f/1.8 is nice to have.
  5. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Between the two lenses mentioned, I think the 60mm is the winner for portraits. I don't know that the max aperture of the 40-150mm is at 60mm, but the Sigma is going to be at least a stop faster and is extremely sharp right from f2.8. Sure you can go longer with the zoom, but you lose even more light gathering ability and your working distance gets much greater. This makes the zoom less flexible for portraiture than you may think.
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I agree with the above, but I recommended a longer fast manual prime because the OP said they had a 50mm f1.8 OM lens that they were happy using. So a 45 or 60mm native fast portrait prime seems redundant. The fact that they mentioned a telephoto made me think they wanted something longer.
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  7. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I agree to a point. I think what the OP needs to decide is if he/she wants AF or is comfortable with MF. Its true the focal lengths are fairly similar and I don't think the 50mm f1.8 would lose much in terms of sharpness compared to the Sigma when stopped down to f2.8, but at f1.8 it would definitely lose out to the 45mm. It may lose out in both cases in terms of color and contrast, but those can be tweaked in camera through JPEG settings or in software after capture. For me, even as I own two legacy 50mm lenses, the AF of the 60mm with face recognition is wonderful when shooting portraits as I can concentrate less on the technical side of taking the photo and more on the relationship with the subject.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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