The Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 PRO is the fifth portrait lens for the Micro Four Thirds system with a field of view close to 85mm in 35mm format, and the second premium AF lens after the Nocticron 42.5mm with a fast f/1.2 aperture.
As with all our most recent reviews, we’ve summarised our thoughts about this new prime in video format below. You’ll also find a bullet point list of our main findings and a series of sample images. Enjoy!
Ethics statement: The M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 was sent to us by Olympus for a two-week testing period. We were not asked to write anything about the lens nor were we provided with any other compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. Don’t worry – prices remain the same for you. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
- Focal length: 45mm (90mm in 35mm terms)
- Lens configuration: 14 elements in 10 groups
- Lens mechanism: Inner focus
- Angle of view: 27°
- Closest focusing distance: 50cm
- Maximum image magnification: 0.1x (Micro Four Thirds) / 0.2x (35mm format)
- Aperture blades: 9 circular aperture diaphragm
- Aperture range: 1.2 to 16
- Coating: Z Coating Nano technology
- Filter diamater: 62mm
- Weather sealing: Yes
- Optical stabilisation: No
- Dimensions: 84.9mm Ø, 70mm
- Weight: 410g
Table of contents:
- 0:32 – Design and Build Quality
- 1:24 – Optical Quality
- 3:31 – Autofocus / Manual Focus
- 3:43 – Conclusion
Summary of our findings
- the lens is larger and heavier than most other primes in the range because of its metallic weatherproof build and complex optical design
- it is more comfortable to use on larger bodies
- barrel features a sliding focus ring to switch between AF and MF and an L-Fn button to which you can assign various functions
- comes with the plastic LH‑66B lens hood which has an unlock button on one side and can be reversed over the lens barrel
- razor sharp right out of the gate at both close and long working distances and reaches peak performance between f/1.8 and f/4 at the centre of the frame
- the ideal companion for low light work due to excellent performance at fastest apertures
- bokeh is very creamy and pleasant
- possible to achieve good subject separation with the right background
- specular highlights assume a distinctive “cat’s eye” shape in all areas of the frame except the centre but become more circular as you stop down
- vulnerable to flare if a bright source of light such as the sun is directly in the frame
- chromatic aberrations, vignetting and distortion don’t pose a problem
- the inner focusing system of the lens is both fast and silent
All things considered, the M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 PRO is a wonderful addition to Olympus’ lens arsenal and will certainly appeal to professional photographers and enthusiasts who shoot portraits on a regular basis. At nearly $1200 US, it isn’t a small investment by any means but could certainly give you that extra sharpness and shallow depth of field you’re looking for if portraiture is your primary genre of interest.
And then there is the elephant in the room, the excellent Nocticron f/1.2 from Panasonic Leica. It may be a few years older than the Olympus lens but it has the same maximum aperture and is a favourite amongst portrait photographers due to its impressive sharpness and beautiful out of focus rendering. When we have the chance to compare them side by side on our mirrorless comparison website, we’ll be sure to post a link in this article!