Panasonic Leica-D Micro Four Thirds 45mm f/2.8 OIS macro lens

Written by Gary on October 22nd, 2009

Dpreview.com has posted a review of this superb and compact 1:1 macro lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras – see here for the details.

The review confirms that this expensive lens has superb optics and currently provides the only autofocus option for macro on MFT cameras, as well as being a reasonable portrait lens.

Despite it being a superb lens, its price and f/2.8 instead of f/2.0 aperture means it will not be as well accepted other than by those who can easily afford it.

It is great that it is compact, has superb optics, has an optical image stabiliser (but does not give any benefit in macro work), has focal distance range limiter for improved AF performance, 1:1 macro (that is it can shoot a subject the same size as the sensor which is 1/4 the area of a subject that a 35mm camera with 1:1 macro can shoot).

BUT, where it is NOT going to meet the demands of many photographers, is as a portrait lens.

MFT desperately needs a high quality but reasonably affordable and compact portrait lens such as a lens in the focal range of 45-60mm with an aperture of at least f/2.0 but preferably even wider – not f/2.8 as with this lens.

Thus if this lens is not going to fulfill the needs of a portrait lens, its price may make it not justifiable just for macro work.

Macrophotography is usually best achieved with manual focus – just set the focus distance for the desired magnification you need then move the camera to the subject until it is in sharp focus – best done on a tripod with a macro focusing rail for high magnifications. In this scenario, the MFT photographer has the luxury of using almost any macro lens ever made, and for many, these can be purchased at a very reasonable price on Ebay – just add some extension tubes or bellows and away you go.

Thus, although Panasonic are to be congratulated for offering high quality optics for MFT cameras such as the 20mm f/1.7 and now this 45mm macro, I must agree with dpreview.com that the 45mm macro may not sell as well as they hoped because of its f/2.8 aperture.

Will Olympus jump in and upgrade their Four Thirds 50mm f/2.0 macro and allow it to AF on MFT, or will they design perhaps a new MFT lens which will meet the needs of both macro and portrait work specifically for MFT?

And, while they are at it, please revamp the macro flash system to make the controller more compact and the ring flash fit the new lenses as well as Four Thirds lenses.

 

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