mZuiko 45mm…A Prime Choice

Welcome to installment 3 of my Prime Time series. I’ve so far covered the mZuiko 12mm f/2 and the mZuiko 17mm f/1.8, now we narrow our field of view some and jump up to the mZuiko 45mm f/1.8! From portraits to sports the mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 may just be the ideal lens. Let’s have a look.


The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is also available in black now.

The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is also available in black now.

The Lens

The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is a diminutive lens considering its focal length. Even though it is designed for micro fourthirds I am still shocked by just how small this lens is. When compared to something like the 60mm f/2.8 macro or 75mm f/1.8 this thing is pretty darn small. It has a metal mount and the body of the lens feels durable enough. The focus ring has a very smooth action that I think works great for video, although it does seem to take a fair amount of time to work through the whole range of focus this way.



A Prime Lens for Portraits

The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is always on hand for natural light evening photoshoots.

The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is always on hand for natural light evening photoshoots.

The 45mm focal length on micro fourthirds as you know by now is equal to 90mm on full frame cameras. This focal length for me has turned out to be great for half length and head only portrait shooting. When shooting half length portraits it gives me enough distance to blow away the background with focal length compression and when coupled with the f/1.8 aperture this is even better. I love shooting people in natural light and the fact that at f/1.8 this lens is still very sharp I can now shoot natural light in the evening and get sharp clean results.






The color coming from this lens is stunning.

The color coming from this lens is stunning.

Color rendition matters

I am one of those people whose work 90% of the time sees some action in Photoshop or Lightroom for editing. I have an art background that was focused on watercolor and pen and ink drawing so I tend to play with color and light in post. With that said  I am not a purist, I didn’t “cut my teeth on film” so getting final result done “in camera” doesn’t even come close to describing my workflow 90% of the time. But there is that 10% of the time when I DO want the image representative of reality, or when time constraints prevent a trip through Adobe or Nik softwares. An example of this is my 52 Breakfasts project. And so far the images I have been creating with the 45mm f/1.8 have had this rich true to life color rendering that just floors me.  I’m not too sure of the coatings used on this lens but they are superb.


And everything else it does for me

The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is a shallow DoF machine.

The mZuiko 45mm f/1.8 is a shallow DoF machine.

In closing I feel the need to mention the mZuiko 45mm is a great all around lens. I have used if for a broad range of subjects. I’ve shot portraits, still life projects, indoor sports and even used it as a general walk around lens. The focal length may be a little long for some situations but for those used to shooting with primes, adjusting the distance between you and your subject is something that isn’t an issue.  As with all the mZuiko lenses a lens hood is NOT included with this lens but there are a multitude of low cost hoods available on Amazon and Ebay.


If you have the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 or another mZuiko prime lens, please let us know what you think by commenting below.  Also feel free to jump over to our Flickr group and share your photos.  You may even have the opportunity to be featured in our weekly Flickr Fridays collection.  Also remember to connect with us over at Google+, Twitter, and our new Facebook Page to keep up with the latest news and stories.

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About Jamie MacDonald

Jamie MacDonald is a nature and stock photographer living in Michigan’s lower peninsula. A husband and father of two boys who describes his love of photography as one that is, rooted in the desire to move people to see the world around them in new ways.

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12 Responses to mZuiko 45mm…A Prime Choice

  1. Joe Gunawan June 25, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    Funny thing, ever since I got the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, I almost always go for that lens for portraits rather than the 45mm f/1.8.

    That said, I did take this photo w/ the 45mm on a GH2. Lit with two Profoto Acutes:

    • sl33stak June 25, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      That is a stunning shot Joe! I love the 75mm too (it will be covered two articles from now;) but the only studio access I have is limited in depth so I don’t have the working room I need for it. I DO however use it outdoors a lot, and it also shines at indoor sports!

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing your work!

      • Joe Gunawan June 25, 2013 at 8:43 am #

        Thanks Jamie!

  2. Crabby Umbo June 25, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I switched over from Nikon APS-C to M4/3rd’s precisely because Nikon wouldn’t make any primes specifically sized and priced for the APS-C line. This lens, which is an equivalent of 90mm, as well as the 12mm, really sold me on the M4/3rd’s line, as well as the lens interchangeability between manufacturers. Nikon did have a 60mm Macro that would end up as a 90mm on APS-C, but it was 200 bucks more than this and at least one stop slower.

    • sl33stak June 25, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Aside from the prime lens lineup do you find any other benefits from the move to m4/3? What are you currently shooting with as far as m4/3rd’s body is concerned?
      I never tire of hearing about the people who switch from a “big” system to the more compact world of m4/3rds!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Do you have any links you want to share to your work?

      Take care.

  3. Mat - MirrorLessons June 25, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    We’re great fans of the 45mm. When my fiance went to Tuscany a couple of weeks back, she took a series of portrait shots of the kids she teaches, and the lens really showed its true colours (pardon the pun). (You can see them here if you’re interested: I’d really like to try the 17mm at some point, but finances are a bit limited these days.

    • sl33stak June 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm #


      Great set! I hope your wife shoots regularly as she seems to be good at getting a good natural look from kids. :) And thanks once more for the RT’s earlier :)

  4. John Pszeniczny June 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    This is funny, I just ordered this lens this morning and then find your review a few hours later. I can’t wait for the thing to show up now.

    • sl33stak June 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm #


      You are going to LOVE this lens! I in all honesty haven’t had a single complaint about it. I shoot so many different subjects with it and it always performs like a champ. Come back and share some photos once you get it!

  5. mthouston June 26, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    I love my 45mm..It is one of the sharpest lens I have ever owned

    • sl33stak June 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      Right on Mark!! It is said that the image files are sharp enough for Sushi chefs to prepare Sashimi with them. :P

      All kidding aside, it is a fabulous lens and I was super stoked to see a fellow Michigander posting here. :)

      You should swing by my photowalk at Kennsington Metropark this fall! I host one every year and should have some goodies from Olympus to give away. :)

  6. Susan January 20, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    I am a beginner with mirrorless photography and looking to purchase the 45mm lens to take photos of our grandchildren. (I do have the kit lens that came with my olympus pen PL5). My question is do I need to use a hood to shoot better photos with the 45mm or is the hood mostly for protection. Or both. Thank you for your site.

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