Best lenses for street photographyBy Kevin Carter - Friday January 10 2014 Lens Recommendations
The 20mm is the equivalent to a 40mm and the 45mm is comparable to a moderate 90mm telephoto lens on a 35mm camera. Both are discreet and highly portable. We’ve selected the 16-Mpix Olympus OM-D EM-1 for the presentation of the data – with no AA filter the E-M1 has currently one of the most discriminating sensors in this format.
Both models have good center sharpness wide open, the 20mm slightly more so than the 45mm though the latter has better uniformity across the field. Stopping down, marginally increases sharpness but the 20mm model’s field curvature means the periphery never really matches the centers – though they get pretty close at f5.6-8.
There’s some lateral chromatic aberration and there’s slightly higher than expected vignetting at maximum aperture but it has mostly disappeared by f2.8. Barrel distortion is a little higher than we would like to see but by all accounts this diminutive ‘pancake’ lens is an excellent performer. This cosmetically revamped version weighs just 3.07 oz (87g) and measures just 1.0” (25mm) in length.
It’s available now at $400.
Not much heavier at 4.09 oz (116g) and still compact with a 37mm filter thread and measuring 2.20” (56mm) in length, the 45mm f1.8 is an attractive option.
Although sharpness at the initial aperture is good it has excellent central sharpness by f2.8 though the edges aren’t really a match till f4-5.6 though by then sharpness is already beginning to tail off. Lateral chromatic aberration is well corrected and vignetting is very low at the maximum aperture, it’s just noticeable in the corners but has disappeared completely by f2.8.