Olympus M.Zuiko 45 mm f/1.8 for Music Concert Photography

To begin with, I have to say that I wasn’t even going to buy Olympus 45 mm 1.8 lens, which is the cheapest wide aperture lens Olympus has to offer. Not because it would be a bad lens, but because the focal length is hard for me. You can’t really use it indoors to shoot photos of your friends, because you can’t fit them into the picture unless you go very far away. Additionally, it’s not suitable for vlogs either, even if someone else is doing the talking, since at the time you get far enough from the talker, there too is too much reverb included. To me more usable length would be something like 17-25 mm.


However, as I spotted an unbelievably cheap offer of Olympus 45 mm 1.8, I had no other option but to buy it. Even though it’s not that good for indoors or vlogs, it’s good for music concert photography. It has wide aperture, which allows you to use lower ISOs and faster shutter speeds than with basic lenses. The tele-ish focal length is also good for big venues, where the stage and the artist are far away.


I went to test E-M5 Mark 2 and Olympus 45 mm 1.8 to the gig of Colorblue, which played in Elmun Baari, Helsinki, Finland. Since the venue is quite small, it’s only possible to shoot close-ups from the front row.


As I moved a bit further, I was able to shoot players with their instruments, which is quite important in my opinion. Photos with only the face of the guitarist could be quite awkward, just do a Google image search for “Gary Moore Solo” and you’ll know what I mean.


I was surprised that the auto-focus of E-M5 Mark 2 + Olympus 45 mm 1.8 works really well. I used only the center focus point, which focused quickly and always found the artist instead of the back wall. Working auto-focus in live view mode was one of the key features I wanted from my new camera, and E-M5 Mark 2 fulfills that need.


When I went even further, it was possible to include the whole band (except the drummer…) in to the same photo. Even the stage was small, I had to go behind the whole audience to be able to shoot this photo.


If you liked the look of these photos, you can download Lightroom presets that I created.

I shot also one video of the song “Colorblue – The Greatest Hits”. This video shows why I love about E-M5 Mark 2: videos shot with prime lenses are not shaky as Hell! With basic Canon + 50 mm lens watching the material would make you sick. However, here the footage is really smooth and it’s just a pleasure to watch it. For the audio I used Rode Videomic Pro plugged in to the E-M5 Mark2 mic input.

5 thoughts on “Olympus M.Zuiko 45 mm f/1.8 for Music Concert Photography

  1. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Looks like it was shot with either a steadi-cam or a jib-crane for the whole performance. Having another shooter up front would have been great but you can’t be in two places at the same time. Great video and the band would be really happy with the quality. I own the E-M5 and can’t believe the video that comes from it.

    • Yeah gotta like the IBIS in E-M5 mark ii, much better quality than with canon 60d. My goal was to shoot the video with zero effort. Another shooter and a steady gopro would be great addition

  2. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    In the future you can try one clip like you’ve captured above, then go front row and get players playing but not really focusing on their instruments, more on their expressions (lead singer only between lyrics, etc.) and you can use it as a secondary clip. No one will know it wasn’t from that specific song by the way you shoot it and then you have some decent b-roll footage to layer in if you want it. Just a suggestion.

    • I’ve done something like that too, some music videos also from live gig footage. However, it needs more editing but it’s usually worth the effort

  3. […] I went to see Colorblue to Elmun Baari, Helsinki, Finland. The singer Mikko (or Afromikko) was dressed in all blue. Here’s a photo of him shot with Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II + Olympus 45 mm 1.8. […]

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