Portraits with the Olympus f/1.2 Pro Lens

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO Lens

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO Lens

The rule of thumb for the ideal lens for portrait photography is that the focal length should be about twice that of the ‘normal’ lens.   For micro four thirds cameras that would amount to a focal length of 50mm.  The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro lens pretty much falls into that ‘perfect focal length’ zone therefore.

Olympus have had a lens of this focal length for a while and a dam fine lens it is too.  The f/1.8 lens is a superb piece of glass and wonderfully compact, I have had one pretty much since it was released.  Late last year however Olympus released a new lens at this focal length with an even greater maximum aperture of f/1.2.  You can read all technical stuff on this lens here.

The lens is bigger than it’s f/1.8 sibling and definitely has a more solid feel to it to earn its ‘Pro’ label.  This also means it is significantly more expensive, that extra stop pretty much making it six times more expensive at current retail prices here in the UK.  Although bigger, the lens is nicely balanced on the OM-D E-M1, especially with the optional battery grip in place.  According to Olympus the lens has “feathered bokeh” which, to be honest, I’ve no idea what that means.  The lens certainly has a nice creamy blurring effect with good drop off from the subject to the out of focus areas.  Whether this is better or indeed more “feathered” than any other similar class lens I’ve no idea.  It does certainly exhibit good ‘regular’ bokeh though.  Like the OM-D body the lens is also dust-proof, splash-proof and freeze-proof so both these bits of kit should make them pretty much a go anywhere combo’.

I’ve tried the lens on a couple of portrait shoots so far and the results are suitably impressive.  Is the lens worth six times more than its f/1.8 counterpart? Probably not in the short term but its solid, all metal construction and weather sealing certainly means it should last for a while to come and over time will pay for itself (that’s my excuse anyway).  Enough discussing this lens though, here are some images from the shoots I’ve done so far.  First of the model ‘Mal’…

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/800 @ f/1.2

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/800 @ f/1.2

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/1000 @ f/1.2

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/1000 @ f/1.2

Side Lighting with the Elinchrom Deep Umbrella

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/5.6

Side Lighting with the Elinchrom Deep Umbrella

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/5.6

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/8

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/8

Finally of the model ‘Kirstin’ with makeup by Laura May MUA…

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/8

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/8

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/8

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/8

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/10

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/10

Kirstin Gribbin

Olympus M.ZUIKO 45mm ISO 200 1/125 @ f/9

All images taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 (Mk I) using Elinchrom lighting, including the new deep umbrella, as well as natural light.

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