Which lens close to 45mm in IQ?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Ketan, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Ketan

    Ketan Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 26, 2013
    I have the Olympus 45mm and find it's IQ to be exceptional. But the focal length is quite long for tight spots. Is there something that comes close but on the shorter focal length? I checked the 17mm F/1.8 and Leica 25mm 1.4. While they are good, the sharpness is not too close.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    The 20/1.7 wide open is easily sharper than the 45mm, at least in the center. On the 16mp sensors, the 45mm wide open could be sharper for my taste but improves significantly at f/2.8 in the center (albeit with softer edges than wide open, according to DXO at least), being uniformly sharp from edge to edge at f/4. That's its excellence optically.
    Mind you, sharpness isn't everything and while the 20/1.7 is as sharp as it gets, it renders quite clinical, with many preferring the look the 25/1.4 produces.
    The 20/1.7 MkI is the better bang-for-buck than the 25/1.4, I wouldn't dismiss the latter so easily though. Once you're over its ridicoulous price (2x what 50/1.4 cost for FF despite not even being a proper 1.4 DoF wise) I think it matches the 45mm quite well.
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    The 17/1.8 isn't as sharp as the 45, but with a little PP sharpening added, it's pretty close. I doubt that the 17/1.8 would limit anyone from taking some spectacular large prints.
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    My thoughts are you maybe judging sharpness from reviews and test charts as opposed to actual lens use

    the 25 is plenty sharp for my needs

    P6160068 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    as is the 17

    P2180100 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    both are excellent lenses....there is nothing better in those ranges for the system. My regular shooting kit is the 17, the 25 and the 75.

  5. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    All these M43 lenses are sharp. Even the 17mm 2.8 is sharp enough. It's not like old film glass that's hazy wide open. All these lenses were built from the ground up for digital! Select your budget and have fun. :wink:
  6. Ketan

    Ketan Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 26, 2013
    Sharpness is not of prime importance to me. A smooth Bokeh and Color/contrast are.
  7. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    The 25mm has very smooth bokeh to my eye. The 17mm 1.8 is more an environmental lens, while the 25mm will get you a bit better isolation. The 20mm is definitely sharp, at the expense of jittery OOF areas. :wink:
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
  9. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Well, I'm surprised you didn't find the 25mm to be as good as the 45mm. Here's Lenstip's resolution charts for the three lenses in question:




    The 17mm is good, but is about 10lpmm less than the other two. Is the problem for you with the 25mm simply that the corners are softer until f/2.8? Or something else?
  10. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    I'm continually amazed by the 25mm PL. I have the 45 too.
  11. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Voigtlander Nokton 25 mm f/0.95 ?
  12. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Let's not confuse out of focus areas with lack of sharpness. The PL 25 wide open at f1.4 will have a thin plane of focus, so the overall image might appear 'soft'.

    Edit: Also, your title states "Which lens close to 45mm in IQ?" Image quality consists of much more than sharpness...
  13. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    There are 3 very excellent midrange lenses that would pair up well with your 45/1.8... 17/1.8, 20/1.7, and 25/1.4. All 3 are sharp and contrasty. You should be more concerned about perspective as it relates to your shooting style and preferred subject matter. I never leave the house without the Rokinon 7.5/3.5 fisheye, Panasonic 20/1.7 pancake, and 45/1.8.
  14. Dalton

    Dalton Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2010
    Portland, Oregon USA
    Dan Ferrall
    The 17mm 1.8 won't disappoint.

    I wouldn't rule out the Olympus 17mm f1.8. It has surprised me at how good it actually is.
  15. bigbluebear

    bigbluebear Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2013
    I personally sold my 45mm since the FL didn't work well for the way I shoot. I really enjoy my 12,17,25,75 kit.
  16. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Then you should count out the 20.

    Either 17, Pan 25 and Sig 30 all have decent bokeh.

  17. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    I find the Panasonic 25mm equal in image quality to the Olympus 45mm.
  18. F/Stop

    F/Stop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    West Virginia
    Brian Y.
    the pana 25, oly 17 are close enough, i personally dont have the 45, but i can tell you the two lenses i listed are no slouches when it comes to IQ, but "IQ" is subjective...
  19. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    Gah. I don't wanna be pedantic, but I feel I need to disagree with this point everytime I see it. In my repeatedly tested experience, the 20mm has much better bokeh and specular highlight circles than the 25mm. The 25mm just produces more of it. What that means for your end result is up to you.

    From my previous thread on the issue:

    The 25mm:

    The 20mm:

    The 25mm produces these ugly busy gumdrop shaped bokeh circles, whereas the 20mm has a much nicer slight cat's-eye effect. Overall, the 25mm's bokeh is actually more jittery and busy, but since it just produces more of it for a given subject distance, we tend to not notice. This photo also shows the superior contrast of the PanaLeica (at least versus the 20mm MKI; the second is said to have slightly better contrast).

    One thing to note is that Lenstip measures on the old 12mp sensor(E-PL1). It doesn't seem like it'd make a difference, but their results are quite different from the tests from Lensrentals, which use the 16mp sensor. The lower resolution of the older sensor meant it sometimes favored contrast vs actual detail resolution. According to LensRentals, the 20mm is undoubtedly the sharpest wide angle-ish lens in the M43 line-up when mounted on the OM-D. http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/05/wide-angle-micro-43-imatest-results

    It's something I see time and time again. The 25mm looks sharper because of its far superior contrast. This is especially apparent in small print/web sizes. But for large prints/100% crops I never get this sort of corner sharpness from the 25mm at f2.8, like I do from the 20mm at F2.5. This is the very extreme corner or the image, and it should be sharper but this is actually noise reduced because exposure was pulled up by about a stop in LR.


    At the end of the day, both lenses are great. I really don't think one is superior to the other, all things considered. One is cheaper, sharper, and a lot smaller. The other is faster, more contrasty, and quicker to AF. I much prefer the 25mm's rendering, but I'd rather have the 20mm's focal length. Pick your poison.

    It's also worth noting that I believe the 20mm and 45mm make a much better tag-team than the 25mm and 45mm, imo. This may depend on your shooting style, but I find the 20mm and 45mm don't encroach on eachother's territory. The 20mm for street/wide shots, the 45mm for portraits/subject isolation. The 25mm feels just a bit too close to the 45mm, particularly given its wider aperture allowing for greater subject isolation, so oftentimes it just stays on my camera, with the 45mm getting much less use than it did when I had the 20mm.

    P.S. It'd be nice to see a comparison of the 20mm MKII vs the 25mm f1.4, given that the new version of the pancake is supposed to be mroe contrasty.
  20. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    I'd agree with Jonathan actually, I used both side by side for quite some time and the P20 did in fact have a slightly more 'nervous' bokeh compared to the PL25. I used both quite a bit for 4 months and found this to generally to be the case, the PL25 focus just rolled off nicely into OOF blur.....at least with the 2 lenses I had. I would also agree that the P20 was ever so slightly a sharper lens....I think generally speaking, the majority of reviews concur with all of the above.

    I chose the PL25, i chose the fractionally less sharp lens...I chose it because time and time again, it was producing a more interesting image rendering signature, albeit a fractionally less sharp one.

    To each their own.