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.
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.
Table of Contents
Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens Specs
- Incredible sharpness
- Pleasing bokeh rendering
- Small and light for its reach
- Solid build quality
- No weather sealing
- No lens hood included
- Some fringing in extremely backlit scenes
- 75mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 150mm)
- 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
Build & Ergonomics
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have noticed some purple fringing in extreme backlit images, but it hasn’t been a major problem.
Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Sample Images
Check out these sample images taken with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8.
Value for Money
At around $900 in price, 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.
Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens Review | Conclusion
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.