Olympus 45mm f1.8 Lens Test at the Driskill

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #1

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #1 – Austin, Texas

I just download some photographs that I took earlier in the week with my new Olympus 45mm f1.8 and I was so excited by the results that I decided to do a quick blog post. In the post, Canon losing the buzz, why I’m not interested that I posted 2 weeks ago, I talked about my quandary about buying either the Olympus 45mm f.8 or the new Fujifilm X10 camera. Well, from this post, you can tell I went with the Olympus lens. I’ll go into the details of why I chose the lens over the camera in a future post but today, I wanted to show you the results I’m getting with this lens. It was the first real lens test I did outside my house in low light.

This past Wednesday, I went downtown with my friend Mike to capture some holiday images and get together for some dinner. I wanted a picture of the Driskill Hotel Christmas tree, which I’ve shot for the last several years. You can see that shot I got, along with some other noteworthy trees in my previous post, Three Christmas Trees for the Holiday Season. I used my Sony NEX-5 for that wide-angle but I also brought along my Olympus E-PL1 with the 45mm f1.8 lens to give it a workout. The results are spectacular and I’m very excited by the first real test results. The nice shallow depth of field and the fantastic bokeh (the quality of the out of focus areas) was what I was hoping for with this lens. So far, I am not disappointed.

I took a bunch more photos with this lens that night but I just wanted to show the images from the Driskill Tree in this posting. All of the images were shot at ISO 800 and wide open at f1.8.

Make sure to click on a photograph to see a larger image. Hover over the photo to see the exposure details.

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree and Glass Dome

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree and Glass Dome – Austin, Texas

A 45mm lens on a micro 4/3 camera like the Olympus has an 35mm equivalent of 90mm. You just double the focal length to get the equivalent. At 90mm, you get a fair amount of compression, which you can see above. The distances between objects are “compressed” so they appear close together than you see in reality. This is one of the reasons why a 90mm lens makes for a great portrait lens. It compresses the facial features so that you don’t have noses protruding as much.

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #2

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #2

I love this ornament. It seems so personalized for the Driskill. That’s also a picture of the Late President Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, in the background. At f1.8 and at this distance, the depth of field is quite shallow. You can even see that the entire note card is not even in complete focus, with only a slice of sharp focus in the center of the card. The lens appears to be very sharp even at its largest Aperture. Too bad my Canon prime lenses aren’t this sharp.

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #3

22011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #3

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #4

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Details #4

And finally, here is an closeup of the entire tree in portrait orientation.

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Portrait

2011 Driskill Christmas Tree Portrait

7 thoughts on “Olympus 45mm f1.8 Lens Test at the Driskill

  1. Merry Christmas, and congrats for the very nice results! The one for my wife is on order. Me? I have my ZD 2.0 50mm Macro, which is even sharper (and can get closer), so I’m pretty much covered, and will use the Pen for wide-angle or normal views. The Panny/Leica 1.4 25mm is on my list, for later (it’s a bit expensive, but maybe worth each Penny).

    1. Merry Christmas, Wolfgang. I heard the 50mm macro has legendary performance. I was considering the Panasonic Leica but it seemed relatively close to the 20mm f1.7 so I decided on the 45 f1.8. The good news is that there are so many great primes for the micro 4/3 format.

      Thank you for you visit.

  2. Thanks for the review. This was just the nudge I needed. I want this lens … AND I want a wide angle. I have been looking at the 9-18 Zuiko but it is so slow. The 20 panny is fine and fast, but not wide enough since I can get that on my 14-42. Unless I’m missing something, the WA prime I want doesn’t exist or at least I haven’t found it. All input on this really appreciated. Wide and fast … is it too much to ask for?

  3. Hi Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. Have you considered the Olympus 12mm f2.0? It is supposed to be a fine lens the only thing is its quite expensive running about $800 right now.

    1. I haven’t even seen it! That is rather pricey, but I’ll check it out. If I can’t buy it right now, I can “wish list” it and maybe in a few months … We live in hope! Thank you!!

  4. Oh wow! Thank you for these shots! I will add them to my personal album, if that’s ok. We love decorating The Driskill; such a beautiful hotel! The tree in the Grand Lobby differs in shape each year because it is a real tree. It is so much fun to work with!

    Again, thank you for posting your beautiful work!!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

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