So, I’ve always thought this lens was priced about right. That sounds a bit harsh, but it isn’t meant to be. I always felt it was a slightly soft portrait lens that looked worse on the E-M5 than the E-P3. After all, it couldn’t be too bad, I had still managed to get results like these out of it:
I even took this shot with my new G5 plus my 45mm and wasn’t too disappointed with it:
Then a week or two back and I did a quick and dirty comparison of the 45 and the 75 which I have previously raved about. This resulted in about 5 billion (OK I’m exaggerating) hits on my blog and many, many comments on my accompanying thread on DPreview. The nub of many of the comments seemed to be that all of my results with the 45 were unduly soft. I was surprised because my experience didn’t seem a million miles away from samples posted on review websites (PhotographyBlog would be one example) and it wasn’t until someone posted much sharper examples on the aforementioned thread that I realised that perhaps I really did have that dread of every photographer, a “bad copy” of a lens. To test this I ordered a second sample from Amazon and did another quick and dirty comparison this morning with my E-M5. I genuinely didn’t expect the results to be this different…
First, my original 45mm sample (with thanks to my Son, Daniel, for his modelling skills…):
Even I can see this isn’t sharp in any way! I took about 10 other shots at the same time and they are similar. To compare with my new sample of the 45mm:
The difference is like night and day in terms of sharpness. Clearly my new 45mm is much sharper. Unfortunately, because I would have been severely handbagged if i had tried, I couldn’t test the 75 at the same time.
What I would say is that notwithstanding that the new sample of the 45mm is (much) sharper (frankly my old sample looks like it was front focusing somehow, not sure how that would work on a CDAF AF system), the 75 continues to looks sharper to me. However, the real difference is the astounding microcontrast of the 75 vs the 45 – though at 3 times the price I suppose the 75 should be a bit better!
I’ll add to this post once I’ve been able to add some comparative shots from the 75 for reference. In the meantime, if anyone knows what to do with a defective second hand lens bought through amazon marketplace I would welcome their input!
Update 5 September: Some comparisons
A shot that don’t prove a huge amount vs the results above with the 75 (worse light, higher ISO)…
One from the 45mm (in similar conditions) for comparison:
Finally one with the PL 25mm: