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Portraits in nature. Can the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO be used for other purposes?

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO • F1.2 • 1/125s (7/10) • ISO 320

The new series of F1.2 PRO lenses has been specially designed for portrait and reportage photography. The M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO in particular has already made a name for itself in portrait photography with its viewing angle and very fast 1.2 aperture, but moreover its especially soft bokeh. Every photographer praises the sharp/blurred transition and the soft background. I thought that this lens might also be suitable for nature photography, especially in spring when everything is beginning to bud and blossom. I thought I’d make use of this time of year to play around with the lens and experiment in this genre. A photographer friend of mine, who uses a Nikon, swears by the Walimex Pro 135mm F2.0 for such purposes, because it too has a soft bokeh, which gives the pictures a very special character.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO • F1.2 • 1/200s • ISO 200

So we went out together a few times to compare the different image effects we got. With MFT you have to keep in mind that a shorter focal length is needed for the same viewing angle and the depth of field effect is less. It can be said that the M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO has an equivalent viewing angle to a 90mm small format lens and thus the depth of field of a 45mm lens. This leads to a difference of about 2 f-stops, making it quite similar to the Walimex.

The creamy foreground and background is beautiful and the extraction is adequate for photographing plants in most situations. The closest focusing distance of only 0.5 m provides further interesting possibilities. It is also important to point out that at 33% less distance, the 2 f-stops’ depth of field differences are neutralised compared to the 35mm format. And this is generally an advantage with Olympus. For example, the Sigma 85mm F1.4 has a closest focusing distance of 85 cm, whilst the previously mentioned Walimex has 80 cm, which is more than the 33% difference mentioned earlier, and therefore they are comparable in terms of extraction.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO • F1.2 • 1/400s (-3/10) • ISO 64

Of course, it is impossible to achieve 1:1 identical images, but this never-ending argument that MFT cannot capture images with depth of field as shallow as that of the 35mm format is simply misleading. It just requires a slightly different creative approach and the right lenses. With a weight of 410g and compact design, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II lens is easy to handle, and the swivel display means that even photographers with less mobility will not be put off by taking pictures close to the ground. I really love the freedom this gives you.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO • F1.2 • 1/30s • ISO 64

The lens achieves excellent sharpness and shows practically no colour errors, just like all other Olympus PRO lenses. Particularly with very fast lenses, I always encountered longitudinal chromatic aberrations. This was the case for all brands I used to work with in a 35mm format, even in the PRO segment. (Purple-green blurring before and after the focal plane). As is well known, this problem cannot be fixed using software. The coating ensures that it is dust and waterproof, making it ideal for use in varied weather conditions in fields, forests and meadows. You won’t have to worry about putting this piece of kit down in a dew covered meadow. Since I've been doing these tests, I've always found myself leaving it in my backpack when I go travelling: it’s been a great tool in many situations, particularly for delicate images or dreamy atmospheres.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO • F1.2 • 1/250s (-1) • ISO 64

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OM-D E-M1 Mark II
M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.2 PRO

  • Wonderful photos and a great detailed and educational evaluation of this lens
  • Wonderful photos of one of my most cherished subjects.... Could you kindly explain your choice of iso 64, I think I am missing a trick as I misunderstood that base iso ie 200 gave the lowest noise and widest dynamic range? I ask because I am interested in applying the technique if there is some advantage Thanks Mark

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