Have you shot with the Olympus 75mm 1.8 lens? If you have I would love to hear your opinions about it.

I am vacillating between buying one of these
or buying one of the 42.5 Nocticrons.
I can't buy both at once. 
This one is half the price. 

What do you think of yours?
Or the one you've used?

I can read the review sites. 
I might just trust you more.



Pavel Emi said...

Tip: Compare photos on Flickr, so you can quite determine what the lens drawing. Maybe here: http://goo.gl/PfF9Qr or here http://goo.gl/5iDhOS I prefer a 75 mm lens even though I do not have it.

Dino Aranda said...

It is probably the best lens I have ever used. I have a Sony A7 with the 70-200mm f/4 and in my opinon, the 75mm outperforms it in a studio setting. Almost all of the shots linked were taken with the 75


Dino Aranda said...

It is probably the best lens I have ever used. I have a Sony A7 with the 70-200mm f/4 and in my opinon, the 75mm outperforms it in a studio setting. Almost all of the shots linked were taken with the 75


Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Have one, love it, even though it is a bit long and thus not so easy to use. It renders very brightly, and has extremely clear color rendition. Should be great for your stage photography. (Especially on your E-M5's and that E-M1 with great stabilization that you are edging towards.)


Here's a random example: http://www.pbase.com/skirkp/image/148586211 and there are others nearby.

Lyn Rees said...

I'm very fond of mine. It gives a lot of reach in a relatively small package, whilst still being a fast lens. It's well built and nice to hold/use.

It's sharp and out of focus areas are generally nice to look at.

Here's a pic where the reach was helpful, backlit and not the best light:

Another closer range, showing bokeh:

The 75mm is one reason I chose m43 over Fuji X (though, I still have an X-E1 and 18-55mm laying around!).

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

Have one, love it, even though it is a bit long and thus not so easy to use. It renders very brightly, and has extremely clear color rendition. Should be great for your stage photography. (Especially on your E-M5's and that E-M1 with great stabilization that you are edging towards.)


Here's a random example: http://www.pbase.com/skirkp/image/148586211 and there are others nearby.

Vito L said...

I have both. And they are both wonderful. But... There is something about the 75 that is very very special. Dare I say it's more special that the nocticron... Yes I do.

But, the focal length is limiting. The 75 is almost an " outdoor " lens to get the working distance it needs.

I find the nocticron as more useful as the focal length requires a shorter working distance, and can be used more easily indoors.

I will say, that if I could have only one... It would be the 75. the nocticron is better than the 45 1.8, but it's closer than you'd think, and to me there is nothing in my bag that comes close to the shots I get from the 75 wide open.

michael said...

I own the Olympus and it's a lovely little lens, sharp and light. I've also shot the Nocticron, which I absolutely adore but can't afford. As I remember the Leica is sharper in the corners wide open, though with this focal length I'm not looking for that at f/1.8. With your theater shooting edge sharpness might be more important, though.

The Leica is at least twice the weight. No surprise there with the larger aperture and built in stabilization. In the end, the Leica draws differently. If you like that look then it's absolutely worth the extra cost. If you like the Olympus look then the less expensive and lighter lens is a better deal.

Andre Y said...

It's awesome. I love mine. I don't shoot it wide open because there's some color fringing on high contrast transitions, like backlit subjects, but stopped down a bit, it's wonderful. But it is nice to have the f/1.8 for low-light situations.

I guess it depends on what you want to do with it. I use it because I can use a far perspective for lots of compression, which works for the kind of photos I tend to make. But some people think it's too long to be generally useful.

I often pair it with the Ricoh GR, which has a 28mm eFOV, 3:2 view, for walking around taking street photos.

Ken said...

Kirk, I've shot with the 75 side by side with the 35-100. The 35-100 is great, as you know, but the 75 is bitingly sharp. The resolution is higher, the micro contrast, quite simply it's the sharpest lens I've used on m43. I also shoot with the 12-35, 45 1.8, 17 1.8 and the aforementioned 35-100. Rented the 60 macro once and that came close. The 75 is obviously longer than the 42.5 but that didn't bother me as I've always liked the 135 focal length. Have fun buying a new tool!

Andreas Manessinger said...

It's an awesome lens, sharp as hell (if hell is sharp - maybe it's rather dull instead :)

Here are the 75mm images from my Flickr stream: https://secure.flickr.com/groups/1918701@N21/pool/24201453@N04/

Mind you, they're all post-processed though. Bonus is, that you get the full sizes :D

Andy Hendriksen said...

I haven't used the Nocticron but I did use the Oly 75mm for a few weeks when it first came out. I found it to be nothing short of remarkable. Lightning quick AF, very sharp (even wide open), great contrast, and pleasing out of focus highlights.

I put in my vote for that lens. If I were still shooting m4/3, I would absolutely own it.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend having a look here :

The author was an Olympus shooter long before becoming an Olympus employee. Regardless, very nice pictures, in my opinion...

David Kay said...

I have it and think it is the sharpest of all of my m4/3s lenses. It is, however and at least for me, a specialized lens that gets much less use than, for example, the 45mm, 25mm, and the 2 essential zooms, the 12-35 and 35-100. I am packing today for a week in Acadia NP and it will not be in my bag.

Jim Waite said...

Hi Kirk,
I can’t speak to the 42.5 but I’ve been using the 75mm f1.8 for just under two years. Bought it used. I primarily shoot live theater with a little portrait shooting on the side.

My current kit for shows is two OM-D E-M5 with full grips. One body has a 12-40mm f2.8 and the other has the 75mm. I keep an E-P3 in my bag just in case. The 75mm is the longest auto focus lens that I currently have. Sometimes I wish that I had a little more reach. The just announced 40-150mm f 2.8 is mighty tempting. I will probably sell a few things to get one. But my 75 will likely always be a keeper!

The stage work is obviously available light. The groups that I work with are all amateur so the quality of the lighting varies greatly from production to production. The 75 wide open performs very well. I find that I set it at 2.8 – 3.5 most of the time. I play with depth of field when I want to get different groupings of actors a certain way. Image quality looks really nice to me.

Focus is very fast, though not always where I want it to be, wrong performer, though that is a function of the camera, not the lens. When I find wrong focus to be an issue with the 12-40mm, I pull the focus ring back and focus manually. I wish the 75mm had that function. I guess I could set up a function button for manual focus, just thought of that. Another reason to get the 40-150mm.

I find the size and handling to be great. The finely ribbed focus ring is comfortable and easy to grip. I have average size hands.

Most of my portraits have been done with this lens, stopped down to 2.8. I have used the 45mm f1.8 a few times.

I know that you have other lenses in the 42mm (85mm) range that you seem to be happy with at this time. I think that you would be very happy with the 75mm f1.8. It’s a great performer. My Humble, Amateur opinion!

As always, thanks for the fun and informative reads.

Jim Waite

Richard Leacock said...

Having used the 75mm on occasion (but not owning it) my first impression was "Wow, this is a lens" in regards to the heft, the build of it and the large amount of glass. Owning the Sigma 60mm f2.8 didn't ready myself to the optics size and weight. Yowsers!...Similar perhaps in focal length but definetly not.
Using a 45mm f1.8 I'm used to being a certain distance from my portrait subject, interacting with them. Using the 75mm in that circumstance I found I felt I was further away than I actually was. A friends use of the lens benefited him immediately as he has a more fashion oriented bent towards his portraiture, certain wedding shots etc. It definitely has the ability to separate the subject from the surroundings. People, product etc. This lens has that certain something, that secret sauce. Like a couple of the Fujifilm lenses.
Not having really strictly used a focal length like this before (film or digital) I felt I was initially restricted by what I could use it for. But shooting with it over a couple of days (it was loaned to me) allowed me to really appreciate what this optic could do. It is hefty for a m4/3's lens unlike the Oly 45mm and it does share the image qualities results with it, but more so : )
If the 45mm is qualified as a little jewel by most owners then the 75 is on a whole different level. My only peeve to purchasing this for myself would be the fact the lens hood is not included with the lens, but sold separately. But…there's always the Christmas stocking stuffer from the loved ones ; )
As to the coffee/latte scale of economics between the 75mm and the Noctiron I'd be heading to the Oly. But that will be up to you and your barista to discuss.


Peter F. said...

Kirk, As soon as I get the pany 35-100 F2.8 (I use the EM1 and EM5) which is on backorder, I will likely sell the 75mm. It's just not as flexible for me as a zoom and F2.8 is only about one+ stop slower. Perhaps the 75 is sharper, but I'll never notice the difference. That being said I have enjoyed the shallow DOF of the 75 when attending a number of classic car lawn events where I can have a non-interfering working distance and take shots at small details like hood ornaments. I think I'll sell the 45 F1.8 as well.

Peter F.

Kirk Tuck said...

Exciting to see the admiration people have for the 75mm. This certainly helps me make up my mind. I had hoped to hear more from 42.5 people but it's such an expensive lens I guess there are many fewer samples out in the wild...

mike peters said...

The Oly 75 is great, I've shot with one, rented, a few times and it floats my boat in a very good way. However, I plunked down my cash for the 42.5 simply because the focal length is a better fit for what I need, which is environmental portraits, and natural light candids at events. I prefer to be closer to those that I'm photographing.

I very much liked my Canon 135 f2 lens, and used it a lot, however often it was too long. I had the 85 1.2 also, but the AF with my 5DII's was such that it was impossible to use wide open with an degree of trust.

The AF in the GH4, using face detect nails it each and every time. This link pretty much sums it up, all shot at 1.2: http://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Hold/425-Noctricron/ The images say all that needs to be said about the lens.

I will at some point get the 75, but it's not a need as much as it is a luxury. The 42.5 is a workhorse. And the IS in the lens is great too, which is sadly missing in the 75. Fine if you shoot Olympus, but not so much with Panasonic.

That being said, you can't go wrong with either, just be honest about which focal length is really better for what you do.

Anonymous said...

Don't get it. It too freaking sharp! I joke, of course. I love mine. This lens is magic

Mohammad Shafik said...

I already poured my heart here, you will not regret it. Also beware shutter shock with the E-M5.

Please let me know if you want to know anything, or you need full resolution samples ar RAW files.


Godfrey DiGiorgi said...

The M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 is compact, fast, focuses quickly and accurately, and produces lovely results. The manual focusing feel is quick, smooth, and precise despite being servo focusing rather than a mechanical helicoid. It's a longer focal length than I use often, but it is a delight whenever I use it.

The only slight gripe I have is that Olympus doesn't include the lens hood with it—you have to buy that separately and it's a $70 item. I don't care so much about the price but the fact that I have to order it separately seems odd for a lens in this price and quality class. Aftermarket replica hoods are available but I prefer to have the Olympus OEM part.

Rather than buy the Panasonic-Leica Nocticron 42.5mm lens, I chose the Panasonic-Leica Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH OIS. It doesn't have the ability to cut depth of field quite so razor thin, but it is sharp right to the corners even wide open, produces lovely bokeh, and has the advantage of also being a macro lens capable of 1:1 reproduction ratio without accessories. It's about half the price of the Nocticron, which wasn't an issue when I bought it because the Nocticron wasn't available yet. But it's a good alternative unless you really want the faster lens, and might perhaps want the macro ability too.

For my photography, the combination of Lumix 14mm, Summilux 25mm, Macro-Elmarit 45mm, and M.Zuiko 75mm lenses covers all the bases nicely for Micro-FourThirds.

Kirk Tuck said...

Godfrey, great suggestion re: the 45mm macro. I'll definitely add that to my list of...LENSES THAT MUST BE TESTED!

Jacques Gilbert said...

I have the Olympus and used it a few times with my EM-5. It is a great lens in just about every way. Except that I never use it because it is too long for my style of portraits, so I was thinking of putting it on eBay. I'd happy to send it to you to play with, if you want. If you like it, send me what you think it's worth, and send it back if you don't.

Anonymous said...

got 'em both, they are great; Nocticron is more great, just amazing.

Nathan said...

I have one and am in downtown Austin basically every day. I really like it as a walk around lens - a second to the 12-40. If you would like to borrow it on a street walking thing I would gladly join you for a morning/afternoon if you buy the beverage from Cafe Medici.


Joseph Kashi said...

The Oly 75mm is sharp as a new scapel, and with the best micro-contrast that I've ever seen in 45 years of photography. This lens is without any observable fault on a stabilized OM-D camera. I don't use it every day but would not consider trading it in. It would be nice to have a comparable 100mm M43 lens from Sigma or Olympus to round out the prime offerings.

Gerard Henry said...

Very recently went on a trip to South America, and bought this 75mm to use with a borrowed GH3. Within 2 days of using it, I knew it was a 'special' lens.

The photos were extremely sharp, and the colors were very "clear"; appeared even more impressive when they popped on my computer screen at home ! Definitely a gem, if the focal length suits you...

For this same trip, I also bought the Olympus 60mm macro, which is extremely sharp as well. Its photos / files definitely stand out.

If you like / use this focal length, I am also impressed by the recently issued Panasonic 15mm, which I bought along with the above lenses. Very sharp with excellent color rendition...

The only lens I was not satisfied with on this trip was the 25mm Olympus; OK but a bit soft at certain apertures...


Rev. Heng Sure said...

The 75 has an ephemeral quality: photos taken through it seem more peacefully composed. Airy-fairy, take it or leave it, that's the conclusion after looking at any hundred or so photos shot through other m43 lenses. My favorite frames are most often delivered through that optic. The 75 renders with a calm assurance that may be blended from micro-contrast, subject isolation, stitch sharpness and some special mojo. My favorite lens of all the outstanding Olympus and Panasonic primes. Don't own the Nocticron, but my second favorite, the Oly 45, plays second-fiddle to the 75 concert master. I position myself a bit further from the action when I can, simply so that I can render the scene through the 75.

Rick said...

Hi Kirk,

Can echo the positive comments on the 75--it's a "special" lens in a system already rich with great, fast primes. The focal length isn't for everybody, especially shooting portraits where you might find the distance from your subject greater than typical, but you had that dialed long ago.

Wide open it's all too easy to miss focus, so thin is the DOF, but when you hit it you really appreciate the subject isolation and pleasing bokeh. E-M1 face detection where you select eye priority actually works [shock].

It can throw significant purple fringing at wide apertures with strong backlighting--My sole criticism re. the optics.

Build is nice--beefy metal, nicely finished. I "Amazoned" a twenty-buck hood and have plenty of pouches, so that annoyance is temporary.

Cristina Brandon said...

I have both and consider them my two best autofocus lenses for m43 (especially when paired with the flagship Panasonic and Olympus bodies, which balance well with the lenses' weight and size).

I would have predicted that the 75 would be my favorite of the two, but the truth is I reach for the 42.5 an order of magnitude more often than the 75. There's just something about the 75mm focal length that seems too long for most situations but not long enough for others.

I agree with everyone's laudatory assessment of the 75 -- the pictures I DO take with it have that special magic -- but I feel the same way about my 42.5 images and I have so many more of them! If I did portraiture for a living the 75 would probably be my go-to lens, but I don't and feel the 42.5 is a very versatile focal length (at least for me).

I would cry if my 75 were to disappear, but I would truly go into mourning over the loss of the 42.5.

Rohith Thumati said...

The 75mm is a great lens. If you have a need for very fast glass in that focal length, you'll be really happy with it, I'm sure. Very sharp, very accurate color, and the blurry bits look good, too. I agree with Ming Thein's conclusion: it's a transparent lens.

As great as it is, I couldn't justify keeping it, and I ultimately returned it. I already had the Olympus 60mm macro, with which I am really happy. It is close enough to that focal length for me, and is exceedingly sharp and well behaved. If it gives up any sharpness to the 75mm, it's beyond my eyes to notice. I have to reduce sharpness on portraits with the 60mm as it is, anyway.

That being said, if I didn't already have the 60mm, I'd probably have kept the 75mm. It seems to me that you like longer focal lengths, so I'm sure you'd really like the 75mm an awful lot.

Ron Nabity said...

I can't speak to the Nocticron; I really like the Olympus 75mm. It is a very solid lens and extremely sharp. I use it as my primary portrait lens (I don't feel like I'm that far away from the subject for a head/shoulders frame.)

I also use the 75mm for events, like those business conferences with crappy stage lighting - and it's also good for audience candids.

It is well-balanced on the E-M1, with or without the battery grip. Just sayin' :-)

I bought a generic metal lens hood for under $10 for it. Works great.

Anonymous said...

I sold the PL 45 to buy the O 75 and now have the PL 42.5. The 75 one of the best lenses I have owned but I have had images ruined by shutter shock using it with the OMD EM 5. The PL 42.5 is -I think- even a bit nicer as long as I nail the focus (I shoot wide open most of the time). The size bothers me though on the EM 5. I kind of wish I had just kept the PL 45. Then again I shoot a lot in low light where 2.8 is not fast enough. On an EM 1 or GH4 the size might not be an issue.

Rusty said...

I have it, it is the best. You do portraits, try it and see for yourself.

Cpt Kent said...

Well I think things are covered by the comments above, but for what it's worth:
- the 75 is my favourite lens (of about 9)
- some say its a little long, but I like tight framing and it's enabled me to get close on outdoor shots of small moving children that I otherwise couldn't reach.
- I'd describe its strength as 'clarity'
- it doesn't have ios, but I use an M1/M5
- I don't own the 42.5. Yet. But I don't use my OLY 45 that much so I'm finding it hard to justify on that basis.
Which is better depends on your needs, but I've not heard of too many folk being disappointed by the 75mm

Anonymous said...

I own both of these lenses. I prefer the Lumix 42.5 for a number of reasons. Shorter focal length fits
into more photographic situations for me...I can get
closer to my subject and this helps me connect with
the person I am shooting. Also...sharpness, dreamy
out of focus backgrounds and the ability to shoot into
the light are superior to the 75mm. For me it has
more "presence" than the 75mm. The 75mm is a
great lens...terrific sharpness and for some portrait
situations the additional flattening of field provides a different but needed solution. You really need to have both....but I suggest you start with the 42.5mm.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to ad....the 42.5 has an aperture ring that
works with my GH3, but not with my EM-1....kind like the good old days when you could actually adjust the aperture with your left hand instead of having to
dial it in with your the thumb or index finger of your right hand. It also comes with a lens hood...unlike
the Olympus lens which demands that you spend another $100 or so to get one.

Anonymous said...

I own both. It is virtually impossible, for me, to consider one as competition to the other. Due to the crop factor, one is a telephoto while the other is a significantly longer telephoto. One has image stabilization built in, the other is dependent on in- camera stabilization. One (Nocticron) will render "Keepers" of my daughter, in the dark, with no other light than that emitted by her cell phone, the other will not. I have an EP5 and a GH4. I use the Oly with the EP5 and the Nociticron with the GH4. I would not want to give up either lens. Were it not for the fact that I have the Oly, I probably would have traded/sold the EP5 by now.

As you know, the differences are focal length and speed; and those differences are considerable. Because of the more manageable focal length of the Nocticron, I use it more frequently. For me, analyzing the image quality from either of these lenses is truly a case of picking nits......But as a pro, I am sure the "nit pickers" are a bigger consideration for you.

The Nocticron is more fun.

Anonymous said...

I guess saying the Nocticron is more "fun" is not really fair.

Here is an example:

You are sitting on the back deck with your elderly parents. It is evening, and the family cat jumps up on the bench next to your mom. Your mom, as she has done for years, begins telling the cat how handsome he is. It is a scene that you have seen repeated since you were a child. Of the two lenses, the Nocticron is the right choice for this shot.

Thanks again for the great writing.


Lucian Pintilie said...

Olympus has a 45mm f 1.8 as well. One review can be seen at http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2011/11/olympus-45mm.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk

The 75 and the Nocticron are both great. I especially like lenses in the range between 85 and 200 in the 35mm format. My favorite has been the Zeiss 13

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk

GAS has been bad for me lately. I can't seem to resist any of these lenses. I have both, and just pre ordered the new zoom, as well.

Fast primes between 85 and 200 have been my favorites since the old days of 35mm film. The 75 Oly and the Nocticron are two of the best that I have used. Due to the smaller size of m43 cameras, these lenses are actually not physically a pain to use, compared to their FF counterparts, yet the quality is still there. I have a Zeiss 135/1.8 on my A99, and these two compare favorably image wise, and are a lot easier to carry.

I find that the Nocticron handles better on one of the larger bodies, like the GH4 or the EM1. The 75 is fine on my EM1 as well my EM10 where it seems to be living lately. Its great that we have choices like this in the m43 system.


Ross said...

It's so sharp, it should come with a safety warning and a packet of Bandaids. I replace it on my E-M1 only when I absolutely have to.

Scott Braley said...

Hi Kirk. I'm selling 20 years of Nikon gear, bought the M1, M10, 12-40, and 75. The 75 is sometimes a little short (or long) for some event work, but is the sharpest and clearest lens I've ever used. I had been using a V1 with 35 or 50mm f1.8 when I didn't want to take the big body and 70-200, and it was _very_ good. But no IS, smaller sensor, at least a stop or more worse on noise. The only advantage was that V1 could be _completely silent_! Still, the Olys are quieter than any SLR I ever owned. And I'm so happy to be able to get a 2 body kit into one small bag!

One other thing to note: my SB800s and 600s work just fine with my Radiopopper JR and the M1. No ttl of course, but the same adjustment from the camera. Syncs fine at 320th. Even works at 400th if you can hide a tiny slice of shadow.

Mr said...

i freaking love mine! you can borrow it n try it out... itll cost you a non coffee drink at medicci!

Jens E said...

When I looked at some picture I shot with the Olympus 75/1.8 I was surprised to find that I shot them on m43. I was shure that they came from my full frame cameras. This lens really takes the best out of the m43 sensors.

Joseph Ferrari said...

I went with the Panasonic Nocticron. It's bigger but it has IS and allows run and gun with my GH3 and GH4.


Anonymous said...

Most comments you will get will probably be in favour of the 75 due to it being more affordable and available longer.

I had the 75, it was sort of alright. Felt nice but the bokeh wasn't as pleasant as any cheap 85 on full frame. Honestly,having used 70-200 and 135 f2 before, it was nice but wasn't "stunning".

I now own the nocticron simply because i am more comfortable with the 85mm equivalent focal length equivalent aperture. The closer MFD compared to traditional 85s is a bonus too. Combined with the GH4 quick AF, I was able to track models walking towards me on the catwalk at F1.2 easily.

However, the OIS for video was what sealed the deal for me. Truly unique and fun to use!

Ron Nabity said...

Hey Kirk, I just noticed GetOlympus.com has the reconditioned black 75mm 1.8 lens for $560. That is a killer price.

~ Ron

Romeo said...

After using Nikon (D300/D700) and Sony (NEX-7/A7r) now I use only Olympus.
Two body OM-D E-M5, one OM-D E-M5 with 25mm F1.8 and another OM-D E-M5 with 75mm F1.8.
No regrets for the past,for me small is beautiful.
Image quality of the Olympus with its lens is sharp, beautiful with gorgeous color.