Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens Review. Best Lens For Street And Concert Photography For MFT?

DISCLOSURE: AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES. AFFILIATE LINKS ARE MARKED WITH #ad. "I" IN THIS CASE MEANS THE OWNER OF FILMDAFT.COM. PLEASE READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 (also known as the M.Zuiko 75mm ED f/1.8) was released in July 2012. So this year marks its 10-year anniversary on the market.

I’ve used the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 for the Micro-Four-Third (aka MFT or m43) systems for years, so I thought it was time to show this lens some LOVE.

So why would I spend the time to review a 10-year-old lens, you might ask?

Because it still shines at what it does, and it’s the only lens that does what it does for the MFT system!

As with all my reviews, I will focus on real-world applications and less on all the technical stuff; specs can only tell you so much.

Design and built-quality

Olympus 75mm de lens review
Olympus 75mm f/1.8 on my trusted Panasonic GH5.

At 75mm with a crop factor of two on the m43 system, this lens has a field-of-view comparable to that of a 150mm lens on a full-frame sensor.

That’s niche territory which is why this lens is not for everyone.

It’s well built, with solid metal construction, which differs from the many plasticky designs of modern MFT lenses.

It’s available in silver and black. I went black since I’m shooting on a black Panasonic GH5.

Also, I find that black lenses tend to create fewer reflections when shooting through windows, e.g., from a plane window or a store.

Awesome sun hood

Olympus 75mm f18 sun hood

The optional sun hood is one of the best sun hoods I own. It’s an all-metal construction and rugged built. It attaches to the lens with a small pin, which is my favorite way to attach sun hoods.

I leave the sun hood on at all times to protect the glass. I definitely recommend getting this.

Focus ring and autofocus

The large focus ring (the only moving part on the lens) is smooth and easy to use.

However, I wish it had more resistance because it’s easy to give it a small push and lose focus accidentally.

Luckily, the lens focuses fast with autofocus and is also very silent. I recommend using back-button focus on your camera to capture your subjects fast – especially if you’re shooting sports events.

No optical image stabilization

Unfortunately, the Oly 75mm f/1.8 has no optical image stabilization (O.I.S.), which means you need to rely on a tripod or the in-body image stabilization (IBIS) of your camera.

I wouldn’t recommend this lens for a camera like the BMPCC 4k or GH5S because neither have IBIS. That is unless you put the camera on a tripod for an interview situation.

No weather sealing

The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 doesn’t have weather sealing either. It’s still well protected with the sun hood.

Still, I find this odd since it’s a lens that really shines outside.

Still one of the sharpest lenses for MFT cameras

The Olympus 75mm f1.8 is still one of the sharpest lenses you can get for the MFT system, comparable to the much more expensive Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 or the wider Sigma 30mm f/1.4 (link to Amazon).

That’s pretty impressive! You can even do macro to some extent with this lens:

Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens macro test 1
Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens macro test 2
You can even do macro to some extent with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8

As with most lenses, it’s sharpest when you stop down a bit to f/4 or less.

Real-world usage and applications

Olympus 75mm f1.8 hands-on review
The Oly 75mm f/1.8 with me on the job. It’s a great lens for taking concert photos.

So, where should you use the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 shines? It’s a pretty niche lens, after all.

I’ve used this lens for corporate videos from time to time. The aperture of f/1.8 and long focal length creates some nice bokeh in messy office environments.

But it’s when it comes to portrait, event, sport, street, and concert photography that the Oly 75mm comes to its right.

In fact, I’d say that the “Oly” 75mm f1.8 is still one of the best prime lenses for street and concert photos you can get for MFT cameras.

That’s not a small thing considering the plethora of great optics released for the m43 since 2012.

Olympus 75mm f/1.8 photo examples

Below you can see some photos shot with the Oly 75mm.

I’ve tried not to go overboard with the compression, so you can still see some of its sharpness. But to not kill your internet connection and use up all my storage at my hosting service, I’ve had to convert the pictures from raw to jpeg.

I hope you can still sense the image quality the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 can capture. Check out the gallery below:

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital Digital Ed 75mm f/1.8 specs

Check out the specs for the Oly 75mm f1.8 below:

Focal length75mm (35mm Full-Frame equivalent focal length: 150mm)
Maximum / Minimum apertureF1.8/F22
Lens constructionTen elements in nine groups (3 ED lenses, 2 HR lenses)
Angle of view16°
AF modeHigh-speed imager AF (MSC mechanism)
Closest focusing distance0.84m
Maximum image magnification0.1x (35mm equivalent maximum image magnification: 0.2x)
Minimum field size173 x 130mm
Number of diaphragm blades9 (circular aperture diaphragm)
Filter sizeØ58mm
Mount standardMicro Four Thirds
Size: maximum diameter x lengthØ = 64 x 69mm
Weight305g

Pros and Cons Summary

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of the Oly 75mm f1.8.

Pros:

  • Razor Sharp
  • Fast
  • Great built-quality
  • Awesome sun hood

Cons:

  • No Optical Image Stabilization
  • No weather sealing
  • The focus ring could have more resistance
  • Sun hood is not included as standard

Check the current price for the Oly 75mm f/1.8 on Amazon

Conclusion

The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 is a lens I pull out for concert photography, street photography, portraits, and sometimes nature photography.

With a FOV comparable to that of a 150mm on FF camera, the Oly 75mm f/1.8 is not your bread-and-butter everyday lens. It’s a niche lens designed for some very specific tasks.

It’s a fast lens with a big aperture of f/1.8 and combined with the 75mm focal length, it makes for some beautiful blurry background bokeh.

Even after all these years, it’s still one of the sharpest lenses for the MFT system, which says a great deal when you look at the prices of some of its competitors, such as the Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 (link to Amazon).

If you want a more versatile alternative that is still as sharp, I recommend looking at the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 (link to Amazon). A zoom lens with this resolution and sharpness is no small feat.

However, with Oly 12-100mm f/4, you won’t get that fast f-stop of f/1.8, which means you’re limited in low-light situations – fx at blue-hour dusk situations in the streets. But it’s a more versatile lens for sure.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Olympus M.Zuiko Digital Digital Ed 75mm f/1.8 lens review. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.


Me myself and I profile

About the author:

Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He’s the owner of filmdaft.com and of the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.