Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Review

A close up look at the silver version of the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens.

For micro four thirds portrait and event photographers, the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens is a must-have.

Per the dictionary: leg·end·ar·y – remarkable enough to be famous; very well known.

My first mirrorless camera was the diminutive, but extremely capable Olympus OMD-EM5 body which came out in 2012.

It was to be my travel camera, but once I picked up this lens to mount on it, I started to use them both for engagement and portrait sessions.

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The quality and light-gathering of the optics, along with the subsequent release of the pro body Olympus OMD-EM1 II, soon had me using it professionally at weddings and events.

This telephoto lens gives the equivalent focal length of 150mm (micro four thirds is a 2x crop) in the 35mm format.

So question is, is this one of the best micro four thirds lenses out there? Let’s take a closer look.

Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens Specs

 

  • 75mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 150mm)
  • Telephoto
  • Prime lens
  • 10 Elements in 9 groups
  • 9 Rounded aperture blades
  • 58 mm (Front) thread
  • Weight: 10.8 oz / 305 g
  • Dimensions: 2.52 x 2.72″ / 64 x 69.1 mm

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Build & Ergonomics

Olympus 75mm f/1.8 review

The front element of Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens along with hood and cap.

The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens is an all-metal lens available in silver and black.

This bright telephoto prime lens balances perfectly on the Olympus OMD-EM1 II and Olympus OMD-EM1X pro bodies as well as Panasonic micro four thirds bodies such as the Panasonic G9 and Panasonic GH-5.

The Olympus 61F Lens Hood is an all-metal, screw-in type that will definitely protect the front glass and minimize flare. However, it’s a separate purchase and doesn’t come in the box with the lens.

This lens is part of the Olympus Premium lineup and doesn’t have the Pro moniker like the Olympus 45mm f/1.2. This is only due to the lack of weather sealing, as the performance of the lens is pro caliber.

Focus Performance

Olympus 75mm f/1.8 sample photograph

New Photographer – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/125 at f/1.8 ISO 200

The more I used the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, the more I realized I could use it in a professional setting –whether it be senior portrait sessions or engagement sessions.

Focusing is quick and accurate and built with both stills and video in mind.

Leaf Fight – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/100 at f/2.2 ISO 200

In low light, the bright f/1.8 aperture really helps to keep the ISO low and minimize noise, which can help when shooting a smaller sensor camera.

Focusing was not an issue in dark churches and reception ballrooms.

I often use the 75mm f/1.8 for cocktail hour wedding reception candid photos. It’s fairly small and unobtrusive, although the black version would definitely be more stealth.

First Dance – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/200 at f/1.8 ISO 3200

Image Quality

Olympus 75mm f/1.8 portrait

Senior Portrait – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/125 at f/1.8 ISO 200

What’s made the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens legendary is its incredible sharpness with great out-of-focus falloff.

At a 150mm equivalent focal length on full frame, the lens is on the long end for portraits.

However, this compression combined with the f/1.8 aperture makes for very pleasing bokeh.

This is one of the lenses you want to get if you really want to emulate the look of full frame depth of field in a smaller and lighter set up.

Gazing on the Pier – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/125 at f/1.8 ISO 200

I have noticed some purple fringing in extreme backlit images, but it hasn’t been a major problem.

Church Ceremony – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/160 at f/2.8 ISO 3200

Value for Money

Mayor Of Chicago – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/125 at f/1.8 ISO 400

At around $900 in price (latest pricing here), the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 is not an extravagant purchase for a telephoto prime with a 150mm equivalent field of view.

However, the lack of weather sealing and an included lens hood sours the value a bit.

Many of the lenses in the Olympus 1.8 Premium line have Pro versions now with weather sealing and faster apertures – such as the Olympus 25mm f/1.2 Pro and the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 Pro. I’d love to see a 75mm with weather sealing and 1.2 light-gathering even if it meant a larger size and price tag.

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Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens Review | Conclusion

Romance – Olympus EM1 II + Olympus 75mm f/1.8 | 1/320 at f/2.8 ISO 200

The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens is simply my favorite in the system due to its great sharpness and beautiful background rendering. It’s perfect for close up portraits and low light event work.

I can see having this legendary lens in my bag for as long as I’m shooting the micro four thirds system on either an Olympus or Panasonic body.

Likes

  • Incredible sharpness
  • Pleasing bokeh rendering
  • Small and light for its reach
  • Solid build quality

Dislikes

  • No weather sealing
  • No lens hood included
  • Some fringing in extremely backlit scenes
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Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Steve Vansak is lead photographer and owner of Region Weddings, shooting wedding and portrait photography in Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Features7
Build Quality7
Ergonomics & Handling 
10
Autofocus10
Image Quality10
Value7

1 Comment

  1. Marees on March 20, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Can you do a pros & cons of olympus 75mm f1.8 vs Sigma 56mm f1.4

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