Ever since first considering the idea of moving away from my Canon 5d Mk3 dSLRs and fast glass to the new world of Olympus & Micro Four Thirds, one slight concern I’ve had nagging at me was finding an equivalent set of lenses capable of delivering the kind of images I love to create.
On full-frame cameras, shallow depth of field is reasonably easy to achieve. Grab an f1.4 or f1.8 prime lens or decent zoom, & fire away. It’s a bit more challenging in the world of MFT, mainly due to smaller imaging sensors and lenses which do not generally use fast glass in the same league as their full-frame equivalents. I’m not going to get into the detail here as it’s an issue that’s been discussed on plenty of other websites & blogs over the years – but suffice to say, it takes a bit more effort / thought, and some outstanding glass.
After exploring various options from Olympus in the form of f2.8 PRO zooms, 45mm & 17mm primes, I think I’ve found a solution – and it comes complete with a strong heritage from Leica, which is a Good Thing in the photographic world! Built by Panasonic with a design under licence from Leica, the Leica DG 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron MFT lens is a masterpiece.
Razor sharp wide open, it delivers images packed with rich colours, gorgeous bokeh & bucket loads of contrast. It’s a good equivalent to the much-loved Sigma 85 f1.4 that used to be permanently attached to one of my Canon bodies, yet remains reasonably compact despite being one of the heavier lenses available for the platform. Alongside an equally brilliant Olympus 75mm f1.8, this has rapidly become a go-to lens for my E-M1’s and can be relied upon to deliver the goods every time it’s bought out to play; day or night!
There’s a certain look to the images which is simply not replicated by other lenses, except hopefully the Pana-Leica 15mm Summilux (waiting for one to arrive) which should share some of the Nocticron’s pedigree. I’ve heard this described as a “Leica look”, but whatever it’s called I’m suitably impressed with the results.
A handful of example images are below, and I’m glad I shoot with a pair of E-M1’s as this lens rarely comes off one of the bodies!
Until the 15mm Summilux arrives, my other key lens for portrait type work has to be the Olympus 75mm f1.8. Offering a 35mm equivalent focal length in much the same ballpark as the incredible Canon 135L f2.0, this lens is another jewel in the MFT line up. Again, it’s sharp & contrasty with suitably fast autofocus – and there’s something a little extra-special about the 135-150 focal length that can help make images “pop”.
All in all, as MFT photographers we’re somewhat spoiled by the excellent lenses available. They’re all generally physically small & reasonably lightweight, yet can happily hold their own against some of the most respected glass available on other platforms.
So far, it seems to be a reasonably robust winning combination!