of the Olympus 75mm f1.8
Images & text
Copyright by David Young
75/1.8 m.Zuiko: (Tested
on the E-M1 with firmware v 1.1.)
The m.Zuiko lenses, for Micro-Four-Thirds (mFT) cameras seem to be
divided into two or three categories. Those in the basic
(standard) line are low-cost, mainly plastic-bodied lenses. They won't
stand up to the rigors of professional use, but in the hands of the
average user, they provide good optics and give excellent value for
the money. One, the 12~50/3.5-6.3 EZ is weather-sealed.
Above the consumer lenses stand the Premium and Pro lines.
premium are prime lenses feature absolutely top-quality optics that
their own with
any lenses, no matter where they are made, and a professional,
all-metal build that will survive professional use. Again, so far, just
been made with full weather sealing - the 60mm 2.8 Macro.
Starting with the latest 12~40/2.8 zoom (classed as
the PRO designation
has been applied. The PRO designation is to be used with the
40~150/2.8 zoom, which will also be weather-sealed.
The PRO designation seems, at this point, to be reserved for constant
aperture zooms. However, the coming and the 300/f4 super-Tele
prime lens (due out in early 2015) will gain the Pro designation, as
if you want the absolute best lenses in the
line-up, the Premium or PRO grade prime lenses are the way to go.
I was young, lo
those many years ago, I shot with a Nikon F, which was the
professional's camera of the day. But, I could only afford
lenses. I had my wide angle lens (the 85mm f1.8 Nikkor-H short tele) and
my normal lens (the 200mm f4, Nikkor-Q).
Those three peices remained my "kit", for the next 18 years.
And I loved them!
So, unlike many, I've always seen "long". Thus, the
75/1.8 Premium lens (with
its 150mm equivalent field of view) fit right
into my photography like a hand in a
struck me first, was the fit and finish of this Japanese made
lens. The all metal lens is finished as well as anything I've
ever owned by Leica - who are generally accepted as the gold standard
for photographic manufacturing quality.
The focusing ring is silky-smooth. Because it is a
system, it does not have the resistance of a real, manual helicoid
focusing threads, but the system is very responsive, with no overshoot
- a problem with some focus-by-wire systems.
Still, the manual-focus abilities are almost irrelevant, as the fast
1.8 aperture, combined with the lighting fast, and deadly accurate AF
system in the E-M1 are so good, I doubt you'll ever need to use the
I was disappointed to find that the lens does not come with a matching
hood, and that Olympus want $79.95 + tax + shipping for their LH-61F.
So, being a thrifty soul, I purchased
lens hood, on eBay, for $29.95 including shipping, and with no tax!
It is beautifully made and while I cannot prove it, if I were
betting man, I'd bet that JJC (or
whoever actually made the JJC) is the
OEM who also makes the genuine Olympus hood. I can see no
difference, other than the label - and the price!
There is little to say, beyond this, except to say that the optical
performance (that's why you buy a lens, isn't it?) is simply stellar!
I've not been as happy with a lens, since I purchased my
Leica 90/2 Summicron! In fact, though I've not done any scientific testing, I suspect the 75/1.8 Zuiko is
sharper than my Leica Summicron!
hand-held, casual portrait was taken with the E-M1, at a distance of roughly 5
meters (16 feet).
Exposure was 1/750th, @ f2.8 - ISO 320.
at high ISO's, the clarity of this lens comes through. Even
though this lens is not weather sealed, I took the shot below, during a heavy
snow-storm (at -7C or about 19 Farenheit). I gave the lens a
gentle wipe with a Kleenex tissue, once back in the car. All
The shot was made, with the Oly E-M1, hand-held, using
1/250th, f5.6, at ISO 1600.
All is not perfect in the land of Zuiko. Just moving the camera
around, when turned on, would cause the lens to emit a "clicking"
sound, as the aperture changed. This did not affect stills
photography in any important way, but was most annoying. (In fact, it's loud enough that my wife has asked "What's that noise?" when sitting across the room from me!) A piece of top-quality gear, of any brand, simply should not do this! More
importantly, this sound was picked up by the built-in microphones and
was reproduced in videos shot with the lens (and other Premium series
lenses, as well as the 14-42 Zuiko EZ zoom lens, I'm told) when recording. Not good!
[UPDATE] To the delight of
picky people like myself ... and videographers
everywhere... the Premium Series lenses, and the 14-42 EZ Zoom are now quiet, as all good lenses should be.
Olympus solved the problem in the original E-M1 with firmware
update 4.0 using something they called "Smooth Aperture Support".
[Mk II UPDATE] Surprisingly, the
noise is back, with the EM-1 MK II. I'd have thought, having once
figured the solution, they'd have incorporated it into the MK II firmware from
the start, but not so. While merely an annoyance for the
stills photographer (me) it could be a deal breaker, for a
videographer. I can only hope that this is corrected in the next
[MK II - FURTHER UPDATE] As of the 3.1 firmware update (issued July 9, 2019), "Smooth
Aperture Support" has been added to the Mk II, so using the 75/1.8 is
once again, a joy. Why it has taken Olympus 2 years to add a
feature they already had, I'll never know!
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Thanks for reading.
updated: 18 JUL, 2019