Switch my Olympus 45/1.8 for Panasonic 42.5/1.7?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by SojiOkita, May 22, 2016.

  1. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hello everyone,

    Oly 45 is one of the first lenses I bought when I switched to micro 4/3.
    I use it regularly and I'm satisfied with it.
    I've got this silly idea from a few weeks now, to replace it with the Panasonic 42.5 f/1.7.

    The main idea is to get a stabilized lens to work better with my GM5 (I also have an E-M10 for which IBIS works fine with the O45).
    One other good things is the minimum focus distance, better on the P42.5.

    I tried to read reviews and comparisons and the conclusions seems to be that the P42.5 is also sharper wide open than the O45.
    I find my copy O45 to be quite soft wide open. However, it's totally usable at f/1.8 and renders quite well.

    One of the amin concerns I have about the P42.5 is the bokeh. On several examples, I found the bokeh quite busy with this lens. It may be due to the background and not the lens... hard to say.

    One other concerns is CA (purple fringing). I shoot in RAW so it's not corrected automatically whatever the body. O45 is not perfect on this matter, I wondered if the P42.5 would be better of worse...

    Has anybody already switched from Oly 45 to Panny 42.5 or the opposite?
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  2. Rick F

    Rick F Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 5, 2015
    I own the Oly45, but not the P42.5 so can't say which is better. I'd suggest you look out for a secondhand lens and give them both a go until you're happy with one or the other & then sell the one you don't want.

    It's great that there's so much experience and advice here, but I feel these things tend to come down to personnel preference in the long term.
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  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    You've probably read my experience... I almost switched from O45 to P42.5 for better sharpness wide open, close focus, and OIS, but backed out after trying them side by side in the store because of the fringing and bokeh. I got my O45 used and the P42.5 wasn't a clearly superior lens for my purposes to justify the premium of a new purchase.
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  4. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    Hi wjiang, I've read some of your comments on the showcase thread but not your complete experience with lens.
    I'll search, because looking at some of the pictures taken with it, it's kind of what I feared...
    [edit] I found this thread:
    Can you recommend the P 42.5 f1.7 over the Oly 45mm?

    I was almost decided to make the purchase but I have doubts about the bokeh... The O45 is not perfect but gives pleasing pictures...
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  5. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    It's hard to find a second hand copy of this lens. However, there's currently a cashback on the lens, so the price for a new lens is not so high.
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  6. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I've never used he 42.5, but the lack of excitement about it since it's release has surprised me. Leaves me assuming that the 45 is still the cheap portrait king.
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  7. Pstmstr

    Pstmstr Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2016
    There is what appears to be a nice used copy of this lens on Fred Miranda right now.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I've gone back and forth on this as well. In the end I have the P42.5 (owned two of each now). Close focus and Pan bodies being the deciding factors for me. The Pan was a little sharper, Bokeh a little better on the Oly. While you could see the difference I'm not sure I'd call either bad.
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  9. Egregius V

    Egregius V Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 14, 2015
    Massachusetts, USA
    Rev. Gregory Vozzo
    I considered this, too, and decided to keep my Oly. 45. Here is what discouraged me about the 42.5 f/1.7 (subject to sample variation):
    - reportedly sharper across the frame at long distances only.
    - suffers more from aberrations, vignetting, and distortion.
    - more expensive - worthwhile only if you need its advantages.
  10. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    There is significant sample variation with the O45. I've owned or tested 6 copies total. Since they moved production to Vietnam I think it's more varied. A good copy of the O45 should be sharp wide open at close to medium focusing distances. The bad copies I tried were softish wide open with CA at all distances. None of the copies I tested are sharp wide open focusing to infinity, although this is probably not relevant for real world use (a good copy should be sharp at infinity when stopped down to about f/2.8 and beyond).

    Since I found a good-enough copy of the O45, I have no inclination to try the P42.5/1.7. From some videos, it appears the P42.5 makes clicking sounds when locking focus, which would bother me.
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  11. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    If using a GM5 or other Panasonic body without IBIS, I would get the 42.5/1.7. While I haven't compared these lenses myself, from everything I've read, I think the minor differences in image quality between these lenses are overblown.

    Check out the bokeh comparison on this page: 42.5 f1.2 vs 42.5 f1.7 vs 45 f1.8 - Lens Comparison - Max Camera! the bokeh rendering with the 45/1.8 and 42.5/1.7 looks extremely similar in the shot of the girl standing by the brick wall.

    This page shows some comparisons too: Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f1.7 review | Cameralabs - again, I see more similar than I do different in the way these lenses render. The reviewer points out some minor differences in bokeh shape here, but remember, he's looking at 100% crops of the bokeh balls, not something you would actually see in normal every day use when looking at a photo as a whole.
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  12. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    I was in a similar situation to you after buying my GM5.

    I had the 45mm1.8, I didn't think I had a great copy, was softish wide open and needed about F2.8+ to fully sharpen up. I felt I was regularly running into the MFD when using the 45mm.

    I bought the 42.5mm 1.7, first copy was decentred. I bought another copy which was better. Since the GM5 has no IBIS, the OS is really useful. My second copy of the 42.5mm is slightly sharper than the 45mm. I like the shorter MFD of the 42.5mm, lets me get closer and tighter shots.

    I don't have side to side examples, but I do think the 42.5mm is slightly busier with busy backgrounds.

    In the end I kept the 42.5mm for OS and shorter MFD.
  13. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    If you have to try 6 copies to get 1 good one, it seems that the good one is abnormally good and the 5 others corresponds to the specs;)

    For my use, the relative softness of my 45 is not a problem at all for portraits. The only time it was a problem is when I tried to do some landscape shots with low depth of field, with the focus point near one corner: the results were not usable.
    I even used it for low light pictures of a show, it was a softish but OK.

    What I fear is that if I buy the 42.5 I would find it better for some type of pictures, on worse for other and I would be tempted to keep both...
    My 2 main uses of the lens are: portraits wide open, where I need a nice bokeh. And landscapes around f/5.6.
  14. kajunito

    kajunito Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 6, 2012
    I must be lucky one! I got a copy of the 45mm that I really enjoyed and that I found really sharp. Sold it and bought the panny for IS as I my only body now is a GM5. I find the panny performing also brilliantly!!
    So, either I am very lucky or my standards are bellow yours. I always thought out of my experience that there was no bad choice when coming to these 2 lenses
  15. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2016
    I've tried the O45 and own the P42.5/1.7. Hard to go wrong with either. The OIS comes in handy on the IBIS-lacking GM body, and it performs just as nicely on the Oly body with "lens priority IS" selected. Also, I find the bokeh (obviously a very subjective metric) to be more pleasing on the Panny.

    If you're happy with the copy of the O45 you own, I think it's too close to call on an IQ basis. The switch would be worthwhile if you need to handhold in low light on your GM body, IMO. IIRC, there may be a difference in the macro capabilities as well - the Panny gets you a bit closer working distance.
    Stumbled across this article regarding the P42.5/1.7 (there's a link at the end of this article to a nice review):

    Open Mike: New King of Bokeh
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  16. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    Actually 3 of 6 I tried were good copies. I'm owning my third (and hopefully last) copy of this lens - I did a lot of system-switching the past few years before settling with MFT...for now. The "bad" copies weren't terrible (they were all sharp stopped down), but this is a lens that should be very good in the center wide open as well.

    For landscapes, yes it is soft outside the center at large apertures, but even if it wasn't, the edges would likely be out-of-focus anyway. But around f/2.8 it starts being usable. Here's a landscape shot I took with this lens last week at f/2.8 (behind a window so the details are muddied a bit):

    Attached Files:

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  17. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    It's images like this that made me think the bokeh gets a little nervous with busy backgrounds:


    However I tried search my catalogue for somewhat comparable images that have busy backgrounds from both lenses:

    Panasonic 42.5mm 1.7

    olympus 45mm

    I think bokeh with non-busy backgrounds is okay though. I like the shorter MFD, I don't bump into it as much when taking photos of my latest subject:

    Last edited: May 23, 2016
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  18. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    In the shots I have tried, the focus was made near the center. I didn't get any sharp shot.
    The results were disappointing anyway, as the background was too busy for what I wanted to achieve (it was not a bokeh issue either, just a background issue).

    I don't think my copy of the 45 is defective, it's probably "average" (statistically, which mean it gets good results, not bad nor stellar).
    But I would love making comparisons with a 42.5 (and maybe some other 45).
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  19. absolutic

    absolutic Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 21, 2011
    I used to own 45 many times before. In my latest entry into m43 world, I picked 42.5 since 1) price was pretty much the same ($270 amazon for imported version of 42.5) and one of my two m43 cameras is panasonic, so it was a no brainer for same price you get image stabilization, closer focusing distance, and 1.7 vs 1.8 (a tiny bit brighter). The lens has sturdier build and is made in Japan.

    P1180708-X2.jpg P1180789-X2.jpg P1190429-X2.jpg

    However, if I already had 45 1.8 I am not sure there is a compelling reason to switch, other than you are using a Panasonic camera without build in image stabilization.
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  20. Steven Norquist

    Steven Norquist Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2016
    Steven Norquist
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