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Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 review

The Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 delivers a 150mm ‘effective’ focal length with outstanding image quality

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 review
(Image: © James Artaius)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The 150mm ‘effective’ focal length of this lens, combined with a fast f/1.8 aperture, make it a good choice for tight head-and-shoulders portraiture. It’s super-sharp while also delivering deliciously soft bokeh, and is wonderfully compact and lightweight. It’s certainly not an inexpensive lens but it performs really well and is good value at the price.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent image quality

  • +

    Fast, consistently accurate autofocus

  • +

    Compact and lightweight

Cons

  • -

    No optical image stabilization

  • -

    No AF-on/hold button

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    Quite pricey to buy

The Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f/1.8 Looks every inch the bigger but still very compact sibling to the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm f/1.8, with an identical look and feel. Similarities include being an MSC (Movie Stills Compatible) lens with clean styling and no switches, just an electronically coupled focus ring as its only moving part.

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8: Specifications

Mount: Micro Four Thirds
Full-frame: No
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilization: No
Lens construction: 10 elements in 9 groups
Angle of view: 16 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focusing distance: 0.84m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.1x
Filter size: 58mm
Dimensions: 64x69mm
Weight: 305g

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8: Key features

Build quality feels solid and robust, even thought the lens weighs a mere 305g. That’s only around half the weight some 85mm f/1.8 lenses for full-frame cameras. It feels a very natural and well-balanced fit on Olympus Pen and OM-D bodies, while giving a useful ‘effective’ telephoto focal length, equivalent to 150mm on a full-frame camera. With that in mind, an AF-on/hold button would have been a nice addition but it’s not featured. If you feel that 150mm is a bit of a stretch, there's also an Olympus 45mm f/1.8 that bridges the gap between the 25mm and 75mm lenses.

Additional up-market features, compared with the Olympus 25mm, include three ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements, and the inclusion of nine rather than seven diaphragm blades. The latter helps to ensure a particularly well-rounded aperture.

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8: Performance

In most respects, performance is extremely similar to the Olympus 25mm lens. Autofocus is fast, virtually silent and consistently accurate. Sharpness is outstanding even at f/1.8, while bokeh is delightfully smooth despite the modest aperture rating. Vignetting is minimal and color fringing is negligible but, whereas the 25mm produces noticeable barrel distortion, the 75mm gives a slight touch of pincushion.

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8: Lab results

We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the center of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and color fringing (chromatic aberration).

Sharpness:

(Image credit: Future)
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Levels of sharpness are not only outstanding but incredibly consistent across the entire image frame, from dead-center to the extreme edges and corners.

Fringing:

(Image credit: Future)
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Helped partly by automatic in-camera correction, color fringing is absolutely negligible right out to the corners of the image frame.

Distortion: 0.24

There’s a slight hint of pincushion distortion but it’s generally unnoticeable in real-world images.

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8: Verdict

The 150mm ‘effective’ focal length of this lens, combined with a fast f/1.8 aperture, make it a good choice for tight head-and-shoulders portraiture. It’s super-sharp while also delivering deliciously soft bokeh, and is wonderfully compact and lightweight. It’s certainly not an inexpensive lens but it performs really well and is good value at the price.

Read more:

• Best camera lenses (opens in new tab) to get
• Best Canon lenses (opens in new tab)
• Best Nikon lenses (opens in new tab)
• Best Sony lenses (opens in new tab)

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Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.