Olympus 75mm Prime Review

And here we are, the end of my series on µ4/3 primes – Olympus 75mm Prime Review. We started out at the wide end of spectrum with the 12mm f/2 and now we end with the 75mm f/1.8

This is a lens that has generated and lot of mixed emotions not only online but with myself. The emotions I’ve seen expressed range from pure excitement to those of question. The people who seemed to be super excited were those who immediately recognized this as a candidate for awesome portrait work. Those who were full of questions and doubt were people who do not shoot portraiture and who are not comfortable with such a long focal length fixed lens. Where did I fall in this whole scheme? I actually went through both sets of emotions! But as you will see below, I eventually found that this lens (like any other) can work in many different situations and you only need to be open to that to fall in love with this lens.

Man That’s a Lot of Glass

The 75mm f/1.8 mounted on an Olympus OM-D and PEN E-P5

The 75mm f/1.8 mounted on an Olympus OM-D and PEN E-P5

One thing that is immediately obvious is that the front element is HUGE! I have been told it looks like I have a small telescope mounted to my camera by a fellow photographer. Given the size the weight of this lens is something to take into account. While lighter than your typical APS-C lens this is still one of the bulkier of the µ4/3 lenses. It feels great on my OM-D with grip attached, but on my E-P5 it is definitely front heavy! So keep this in mind when considering what you’ll be attaching it to. The lens is of metal construction and it has that hefty rigid feel that a good piece of equipment should have. When you pull it out of your bag you KNOW you are grabbing something that is made to perform, and perform well.  

What Should I Do With This Focal Length?

©2013 Jamie A. MacDonald

Well for starters the 75mm focal length on µ4/3 means it has an effective focal length of 150mm on a full frame system. This length gives you great background compression, and coupled with a wicked f/1.8 aperture you end up with some creamy backgrounds. I was recently asked to come on a shoot for a local car owner and instantly knew how the 75mm was going to be used. You can see above the results are in my opinion pretty darn good.

I have also used this lens for some wildlife photography as well. As I show below, given the right situations this lens gives enough reach to make for some stunning wildlife photos.

The 75mm is long enough to be used in certain wildlife situations as well.

The 75mm is long enough to be used in certain wildlife situations as well.

Another great use I found for this lens was indoor sports. Albeit the events I was covering were my son’s basketball games and not pro events, I still have strong feelings for how great this lens performed. Indoor sporting events always seem to be in poor light and often place the spectator a way away from the action. The 75mm w/ its ability to gather available light, and focus ultra fast made this my go to lens for all of my sons games.

The focal length and fast aperture and focusing made for a great indoor sports lens.

The focal length and fast aperture and focusing made for a great indoor sports lens.

What Would I Change About This Lens?

In closing I can really only offer what has been the standard go to complaint about the Olympus Prime lenses. And that is the lack of included lens hoods. And it is especially worth noting with this lens with its gigantic gleaming front element just waiting for some oblique lighting to cause flare. Or that stray foreign object to put a scratch on it! Admittedly the flare “issue” hasn’t really presented itself to me yet, but I can imagine it will at some point, if not with me than with someone.
I hope you enjoyed the prime write ups and I look forward to hearing what you have to say in the comments below. I would also like to ask you to let me know if there is anything you want me to cover that Olympus makes. I’d be glad to maybe do some more write ups.

If you have the Olympus 75mm 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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11 Responses to Olympus 75mm Prime Review

  1. Stuart September 9, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I use the 18,45 and this one, unless its long telephoto it’s all I need. I call them the trinity, just wish the 45 was metal but they all do a great job on the OM-D, tomorrow we get a new body for them all and I’m expecting great things

    • Jamie A MacDonald (@MacDonald_Photo) September 9, 2013 at 11:34 am #


      Thanks for reading and yeah I totally agree about the primes doing a bang up job. My Holy Trinity consists of the 12mm,45mm, and 75mm…With the 17mm being like an Apostle or something. LOL

      Keep an eye on this site because there is always something exciting to read. :)

  2. jeffself September 9, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    I rented the Olympus OM-D back in April. I ordered the Olympus 17mm and 75mm lenses to go with it. I kept the 17mm lens on it for most of my trip to New York City, but I did get a nice shot of my daughter at a baseball game the night before we left with the 75mm lens. Here’s the shot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffself/8614483459/

    This is an awesome lens. I am about 90% sure I will be selling off all my Canon gear and switching to the Micro Four Thirds format in the next year. And I will more than likely have the 12mm, 45mm, and 75mm lens for it. And maybe the 75-300 for those times I need a “big” lens.

    • Jamie A MacDonald (@MacDonald_Photo) September 9, 2013 at 11:58 am #


      Yeah the 17mm is almost ALWAYS on a camera when I walk out the door. It is my “default” lens to be honest. Going to head over to Flickr to browse your page…Glad you shared the link!!

      I look forward to hearing back from you when make the transition to µ4/3!!

  3. Dino Aranda September 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    This is my go-to-lens for almost everything. I am totally in love with this lens and “force” its use on everything I do. Great read. Thanks for sharing and great shot of the model & car.

    • Jamie MacDonald September 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm #


      LOL! I can totally understand why you would do that! I find myself re-thinking shots to get this lens into play. :)

  4. Heather @ Mirrorlessons September 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Mat is actually considering replacing the our Panasonic 35-100mm with the 75mm and using strictly primes for work. I would be nervous to use it without a lens hood though, I agree.

    • Jamie MacDonald September 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm #


      I shoot almost exclusively with the primes now. I do have the 75-300 on from time to time but for the most part it is always prime time for me. LOL.

  5. Murky October 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    I bought this 75mm lens to do photography for my niece’s wedding. I used it on an Olympus E-PL5, and I knew it’d be great for portraiture. And the wedding photos it produced are good beyond all expectation. I’ve never before obtained such detail in photographing faces, or food for that matter. The sharpness of this lens is amazing. Now my relatives are raining praise upon me, saying I have great talent with a camera. But it ain’t me that’s good. It’s the lens. All I did was point and shoot from a tripod with the focus on auto. Some of these photos will stay in my family for generations. I have no regrets shelling out $900 dollars for a lens of this quality.

    • Homer February 1, 2014 at 5:47 am #

      it woul be great if we can see some sample pics

      • Jamie A MacDonald February 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

        I can see the sample pics in the article. Are they not showing up for you?

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