Review: Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 Macro lens

Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 macro lens

This review will be looking at the lens being used on Panasonic and Olympus bodies

Design and built

This is a well built and sturdy macro lens. It weighs 225g, heavier but also similar in size to the kit zoom 14-45mm lens. For a macro lens, it's pretty light. Mounted on the GF1 or E-PL1 type cameras, it is front heavy.

The lens comes with two switches. One's for focus limit switch, and the other for the lens stabilization.

This lens is capable of 1:1 macro focusing.

Macro with E-PL2 and Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 lens

One strange quirk about the lens is, when you shake it, you can hear that something is loose inside - it doesn't affect the functionality though.

Filter thread is 46mm.

Here's how it looks on the E-PL2.

Olympus E-PL2 with Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 macro lens

Autofocus

Autofocus speed is fast enough, but not the fastest among all other Panasonic lens. It also has to depend on what you choose on the focus limit switch. Autofocus is faster if you 'help' the lens by picking the correct focus distance so that it doesn't have to search from macro to infinite distance.

It focuses silently so it's great for shooting videos.

Manual focusing is great with the well damped focusing wheel. It uses focus-by-wire system and the focusing speed is determined by how fast your fingers are.

Sharpness

Centre sharpness is excellent so let's look at the edge sharpness.


The 100% crop is from the top right of this photo.

Panasonic 45mm sharpness test on Panasonic and Olympus bodies
As for edge sharpness, at f/2.8, it's slightly soft at the extreme corners - not really noticeable because it affects the extreme corners.

At f/4, it's sharp throughout.

Generally speaking, this lens has stellar sharpness.

Chromatic Aberration

Not noticeable on Panasonic bodies, and barely noticeable on Olympus bodies.

Vignetting

There's slight vignetting at f/2.8 which goes away at f/4.

Distortion

Not noticeable

Lens flare

Very well controlled, even when pointing close to the sun. You can fix a lens hood onto the filter thread if you want to.

Video

Here's a video shot on manual focus with the GH2.

Controlling the depth of field can be quite tricky at f/2.8. The depth of field is really shallow.

Conclusion

Even though the lens is pricey, it's a stellar lens in all aspect as a macro lens. So it's still good value for money.

It works well on both Panasonic and Olympus bodies.

At a glance
+ Sturdy build quality
+ Silent focusing
+ 1:1 macro focusing
+ Manual focus is fast
+ Chromatic aberration well controlled
+ Good image quality
+ Nice bokeh from the shallow depth of field
- Autofocus not as fast as other lens

Availability


The Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 macro lens is available on Amazon (US | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP)

Be sure to check out more reviews on Amazon.

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