Comparing the Olympus 45mm f1.2 Pro to the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2

Nichole Wagner, Precision Camera - Austin, Texas (with Olympus)

Nichole Wagner, Precision Camera – Austin, Texas (with Olympus)

I went to another one of those Speakeasy Wednesday events at Precision Camera, which gave me a chance for quick equipment comparison. This one was from August, which was sponsored by Olympus. I’ve used the Olympus 45mm f1.2 lens a couple of times and have always been impressed. How does it compare against the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2, another well-regarded portrait lens?

With my Sony A7 III vs Fuji comparison I looked at image quality, color and ergonomics. This time I was just comparing resolution and sharpness. How would these two similar lenses compare?

First, despite my best effort at framing Nichole identically, the two example photos are far from similar. The pose, of course, but also the always changing background color. However, these are good enough for me to compare lens characteristics.

Nichole Wagner, Precision Camera - Austin, Texas (with Fuji)

Nichole Wagner, Precision Camera – Austin, Texas (with Fuji)

Converted to full frame equivalents, the Olympus is a 90mm f2.4, and the Fujifilm is an 84mm f1.8. Similar and both are classic portrait focal lengths. I focused on Nichole’s face. With the Olympus, the microphone, face and her t-shirt are in sharp focus. The microphone and her t-shirt are less sharp with the Fuji, even accounting for the twist in her body. On a computer, you can click on the photos to see a larger version. You can tell the Olympus has a little more depth of field.

Concentrating on the face, however, both appear equally sharp. I would need more stringently controlled tests to see any differences. The Fuji X-T10 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II cameras are both 16MP, so there’s no pixel count difference.

The Olympus 45mm f1.2 Pro list for $200 more than the Fuji. Ironically, the Olympus lens is larger and heavier, even though the Olympus micro 4/3 sensor is smaller than the Fuji’s APS-C. I’ve seen other tests where the Olympus 45mm Pro is sharper corner to corner even at f1.2. Both are excellent lenses, but the Olympus appears to be superior.

Did the larger APS-C sensor offer any additional sharpness? Not that I can see from this simple test. My unscientific conclusion? If a larger sensor does have any resolution and sharpness advantages, it may be possible to offset with an equal or better lens on the smaller sensor camera. Either way, this level of pixel peeping is more than I usually do. In this situation, it looks like the Olympus can hold it’s own against the Fuji.

I have a free monthly newsletter that’s perfect for busy people. Signup for the Newsletter to get the best of my posts, old and new, plus additional content not available anywhere else.

3 thoughts on “Comparing the Olympus 45mm f1.2 Pro to the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2

  1. I would expect a f1.8 equivalent lens, shot wide open, to have a shallower depth of focus than a f2.4 equivalent lens of similar focal lengths. (How much I’ll let someone else calculate.) Although I assume the test was shot with both lenses wide open to test sharpness that way. After all, what’s the point of having “fast glass” if you can’t shoot it wide open?

    A 2X crop factor versus a 1.5X crop factor also factors into depth of focus which makes an edge to edge sharpness direct comparison of the two lenses somewhat difficult to separate from a system comparison. Still, it is a fair conclusion that the Olympus combination results in a sharper image across the entire image.

    There are advantages to each sensor size. I don’t know how the two cameras would compare in low light/high ISO performance. I would be inclined to think, as a general matter, that a larger sensor might have an edge, but sensor and processor improvements have been made with each new generation of these cameras.

    As always, you present interesting observations worthy of consideration.

    1. Thanks for you visit, Rick. In theory, the Fuji has about a one stop advantage in high ISO performance. However, since the Olympus has IBIS, I can shoot with a lot slower shutter speed in certain cases.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.