Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. Review

4.5
December 27, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. is a macro lens for the Micro Four Thirds system of interchangeable lens cameras. Offering an effective focal range of 90mm in 35mm terms, the Panasonic 45mm lens offers 1:1 magnification, yet it's small enough to fit in your hand and only weighs 225g. Read our Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. review to find out if it's worth adding to your lens collection.

The Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. is a macro lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Offering a 35mm camera equivalent focal length of 90mm, the Panasonic 45mm lens uses both an aspherical lens and an ED lens in its fourteen lenses in ten groups. It incorporates an inner focus direct-drive linear motor with three groups of floating structure for focusing, and the inclusion of a stepping motor makes the focusing action smooth and silent for use in both photo and movie recording. The closest focusing distance can be instantly changed to 15cm or 50cm via a switch on the lens barrel. The LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens is available for £599.00 / $899.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S The LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens attached to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2

The LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. is quite small and light for a macro lens offering a 35mm equivalent focal range of 90mm, easily fitting in the palm of your hand.
Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Front of the lens

Zooming is internal, so it's a pretty compact affair for a lens that offers a short telelphoto focal length. It's also very light at only 225 grams.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Front of lens, isometric view

In terms of features, the lens doesn't have a distance scale, but there is a focus limiter with two settings, Full and Limit, which instantly changes the focusing distance to either 15cm or 50cm respectively, speeding up the autofocus for longer ranges. There's also image stabilisation which is turned on and off via a switch on the side of the barrel, an essential feature given the close-up nature of the lens. Note that the switches aren't very positive and can easily be knocked to the wrong setting.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Focus Limiter and Mega O.I.S. switches

The LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens may have quite a lot of plastic parts, but the lens mount is, thankfully, made of metal. Panasonic does not claim any sort of weather resistance for this lens, and indeed you cannot see a rubber seal around the mount (note that no current Micro Four Thirds camera is weather sealed anyway).

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Rear of lens, isometric view

Usefully the lens comes with a hood and a cloth storage bag, and it accepts 46mm filters.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Alongside the DMC-GH2

Focal Range

The lens has a diagonal angle of view of 27°, equivalent to that of a 90mm lens in a 35mm system.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Field of view at 45mm

Focusing

The LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens offers almost silent focusing. In use, we have also found the system surprisingly quick on the DMC-GH2, though not quite as zippy as the GH2 and 14-140mm lens combo.

The 46mm filter thread does not rotate on focus, which is good news for users of polarisers and graduated neutral density filters.

Manual focusing is possible in a focus-by-wire fashion. This should not put you off using it as it feels pretty natural in use, and actually enables the camera to display a magnified view of the subject automatically, i.e. without your having to press a dedicated button or enter the menu. The focus ring is slim but adequate for the job.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are only conspicuous by their almost complete absence, as shown by the 100% crop below.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S

Light Fall-off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture, there is no light fall-off in the corners.

Macro

TheLEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. has a closest focusing distance of 0.15m / 0.5ft and a maximum 2.0x magnification rating.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Close-up performance

Bokeh Examples

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens, Panasonic employed a diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in a pretty nice bokeh, at least in our opinion. However, recognising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a few examples for your perusal.

Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

Entry Tags

compact system camera, lens, lumix, micro four thirds, panasonic, macro, dmc-gh2, gh2, close-up, 45mm, close up, panasonic 45mm, Panasonic LEICA DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45mm F2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S.

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