Monday, February 03, 2014

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 Review Part 1

Important Note:
1) I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2) This review is a user-experience based review, from a photography enthusiast's point of view. 
3) All images were shot in RAW and converted to JPEG via Olympus Viewer 3. Noise Filter = OFF, Gradation Normal, Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness set to default "0". Image Setting Natural, Auto White Balance with Warm Color OFF. 
4) The images were almost straight out of camera, with slight exposure (brightness/contrast balance) tuning and white balance tweak. 

I have been getting a lot of requests asking me to do my review of the new Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens. I am still in the midst of reviewing the Olympus OM-D E-M10, but I figured why not pushing the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens out first, since this is one lens that I have been anticipating for a long time. 

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens, some technical specifications:
Lens Construction 7 groups 9 elements
Closest Focusing Distance 25cm
Size 57 Diameter, 42mm length
Filter thread 46mm
There is an option to attach the new Macro Converter, M-CON P-02 for higher magnification shooting. 
Lens Hood included (I hear some say Halleluia!)

To carry out my shooting test on the field, I used the OM-D E-M10 for this blog entry. I tried to shoot a wide range of subjects, including environmental portraits, headshot portraits, close-up shooting of various subjects including food, as well as a bit of tight landscape. Whenever possible I did my best to highlight the shallow depth of field rendering of the open wide F1.8 aperture. On the other hand, I also explored shooting with various aperture opening, stopping down to gain maximum depth of field. So how does the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens perform, in terms of image quality (sharpness, technical control of distortion and chromatic aberration), autofocus performance, and how does the lens handle with the new OM-D E-M10?

1/80sec, F22, ISO200

THE CLASSICAL 50MM PERSPECTIVE

I will be frank with you from the start, I am a 50mm shooter when it comes to wider perspective. (just to clear off some confusion, 50mm focal length in traditional 35mm format is equivalent to the M.Zuiko 25mm for Micro Four Thirds format). While I have no issues utilizing wider focal lengths and I do acknowledge the importance of using wider lenses when necessary to accomplish certain photography goal, the magic always happens for me, something I can describe as the sweetspot of turning the vision I had in my mind into photography reality, when I use the 50mm perspective. I have tried my best to love the M.ZUiko 17mm F1.8 lens, though it was great but I cannot quite achieve what I "saw" in my mind. I fully understand that this is subjective and can be a personal preference that differs from photographer to photographer, but if you are asking me to recommend a focal length to learn and improve in photography, and have something versatile and flexible to use in almost all shooting conditions, this new M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens is a must have lens in my book.


After doing some research and digging, I was not alone in condoning the 50mm perspective. Countless photographers have also highly recommended to just stay with one lens, which is the 50mm focal length to improve your vision. It has something to do with how natural and now normal the images look and feel from this perspective. The images appear more convincing and real, similar to what we can see with a single eye vision (hence it is close to what our eyes see shooting through the traditional viewfinder when you can see through the viewfinder with just one eye). I can do almost a little bit of everything with this lens, as you will see in my images on this blog review, I have landscape (wide enough to cover some shots, if you stand from a good enough distance), portraits and even close up shooting. It is the versatility of the focal length that truly made this lens stand out from many other prime lenses, and the 50mm lenses remain the most popular and highly recommended lens. 

The important thing I like about 50mm perspective is the "less distorted" view, especially when you shoot up close. Whether shooting from far or near, the images look and feel real, and believable without being purposefully forced. Wider lenses are more susceptible to perspective distortion (all lens will suffer perspective distortion, depending on how and where you shoot from) and 50mm perspective is just the right focal length to achieve the balance of natural output. 

1/640sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/250sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/1250sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/500sec, F1.8, ISO200

100% crop from previous image

1/1000sec, F1.8, ISO200

100% crop from previous image

1/320sec, F2.8, ISO500

100% crop from previous image

LENS SHARPNESS AND CONTRAST

The new Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens is VERY sharp. When I was reviewing the images, the sharpness of the lens reminded me of the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8. Although I did not do side by side comparison, I can safely testify that the sharpness level of the 25mm F1.8 is on par with 45mm F1.8 (if not slightly better than the 45mm!), very capable of resolving fine detail, and the sharpness is very even all across the frame. As usual, not a surprise coming from Olympus, the great sharpness can be achieved even shooting at F1.8 wide open with the 25mm F1.8 lens, and stopping down will improve the sharpness surely but not that significantly noticeable to me. 

There is something interesting about the contrast rendering of this M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens. It does seem like the images come out more punchy with higher contrast. This was especially noticeable when I switched lens immediately from the M.Zuiko 14-42mm F2.5-5.6 EZ Pancake Zoom lens. In fact the only time I remember seeing this kind of contrast level was when I was shooting with the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 lens. I admit that the 25mm F1.8 is not as sharp as the 75mm F1.8 (one of the sharpest lenses around in the market) but the look and feel of the images somehow came out with similar tones. This is the main reason, straight out of the camera, images from the 25mm F1.8 actually looks a tad bit better than the 45mm F1.8. 


BOKEH RENDERING

Yes we all know that Olympus using a smaller sensor will never accomplish as shallow depth of field as larger sensor format cameras, but seriously, for practical photography, when I was using Olympus system all this time, I never had issues creating shallow depth of field effect to isolate my subjects in my photographs. Just dig around my archive for the past 3-4 years of me shooting with Olympus system, in fact a handful of my blog readers commented that I had too shallow of depth of field and they would have preferred if some of my shots had been stopped down a little more to have more area in focus! However, if you absolutely MUST have the shallowest depth of field possible (as if shallow depth of field is the only defining quality of a camera) then kindly look for other systems. For me, what Olympus lenses can do is more than sufficient for what I need and usually shoot. 

Being an F1.8 lens, I am expecting the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens to deliver beautiful, smooth and creamy out of focus rendering, and the lens did not disappoint at all. In fact, in some of the 100% crops you will see that the depth of field rendering can be very, very shallow, and for practical shooting, you might need to stop down to F2.8 or more to get sufficient zone in focus. The out of focus area has very good "creaminess", with round shaped bokeh and overall looking very pleasing, not distracting at all. I do not know of any other words to describe the bokeh rendering, but please do look at the many,  many images of different subjects I have shot to get an idea of what the lens can do. 


My Favourite shot of the day. 
1/2000sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/640sec, F1.8, ISO200

100% Crop from previous image

1/1000sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/2000sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/800sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/2500sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/100sec, F4.5, ISO200

1/1000sec, F2.8, ISO200

CLOSE UP SHOOTING PERFORMANCE

The one thing that sets this Olympus 25mm F1.8 lens apart from other 50mm lenses in the market is the ability of the lens to focus very near to the subject. The rated minimum focusing distance is 25cm from the image sensor plane, hence it is about 20cm from the front of the lens to the subject, and that is respectable. 50mm lenses from other manufacturers will have about half a meter or more minimum focusing distance. Consequently this Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens can give you better close up shooting, with higher magnification capability, which can be useful especially when shooting smaller subjects, such as food! One way to create shallower depth of field, to compensate for the smaller sensor size, is to go nearer to your subject. Being able to focus so close can isolate the subject from the background even better, as you can see in many of my sample images here. 

DISTORTION AND CHROMATIC ABERRATION CONTROL

The lens has almost no noticeable barrel distortion, and very little chromatic aberration. I am not entirely sure of these flaws were already corrected by the lens, but I have a feeling that the Truepic 7 engine of the OM-D E-M10 did something to minimize the distortion and CA issues further. In very high contrast areas (at highlight clippings) of out of focus zones, there are some color fringing, but the issue is very minor. All lenses (not just Olympus) will suffer chromatic aberration to some degree, and Olympus lenses always have very minimal problem. Only when zoomed in to 100% view you will be able to identify traces of CA. In fact the only lens I know of from Olympus that almost had zero CA is the amazing M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens. Even the legendary M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8 lenses have minor CA issues, which was negligible in my opinion. 

AUTOFOCUS

Olympus continues the tradition of offering blazing fast AF, so there really is nothing new here. Focusing was extremely fast and silent, and deadly accurate. I almost never missed any shots, and if I did, it was my own error (timing miscalculation, finger not responding fast enough, etc). Olympus still claims to have the world's fastest AF. 

HANDLING WITH CAMERA

The Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8, for the first time I picked it up, it really felt like I was holding a slightly larger version of the M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens. The build quality and feel on hand are very similar to the 45mm F1.8 lens. In fact, the design and overall appearance look very identical, the only thing that separated both lenses apart was the lens barrel diameter size (25mm of course is larger). The M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens is still considered a very small lens, and very light. Mounting it on small and lightweight camera body such as the OM-D E-M10, it was a good match. Handling was very comfortable and I can hand-hold the lens very steadily. 

1/800sec, F1.8, ISO200

100% crop from previous image

1/40sec, F2.8, ISO200

1/1000sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/320sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/400sec, F1.8, ISO200

1/3200, F1.8, ISO LOW

100% Crop from previous image

1/1600sec, F1.8, ISO200

WAIT, THERE IS ALREADY A PANASONIC 25MM LENS

Panasonic already has a 25mm lens for Micro Four Thirds, which is the Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 lens. On paper, this Panasonic 25mm lens delivers wider aperture, able to gather more light and render shallower depth of field at F1.4, versus what Olympus can do with the 25mm at F1.8. The Panasonic lens is also larger and heavier, and retailing at almost twice the price of the Olympus new M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens. 

I am thinking of doing a side by side comparison between these two 25mm lenses, but this comparison (for my Part 2 of the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 review) will have to wait a little bit, since I do not have the Panasonic lens with me now. Am working hard to find one very soon. I am curious to find out how much advantage the F1.4 lens actually holds against the Olympus F1.8. 


THEN THERE IS THE OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO 17MM F1.8

This is a very personal perference, I have mentioned I am a 50mm perspective shooter, hence I am leaning toward the new M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8. However, if 35mm perspective resonates with you better, and if you do feel the need to shoot a normal view "wider", then the M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 is the right choice for you. It is very difficult to recommend single focal length lenses because I do not know how and what you shoot. Unless I know the photographer or friend, observing his shooting style and his preferences, I would usually answer by saying do your own experimentation (with the kit lens if you must) and find out which focal length (25mm vs 17mm) works for you better. In terms of image quality all Olympus lenses are consistently sharp. We have now a very extensive, impressive looking line-up: 12mm F2, 17mm F1.8, 25mm F1.8, 45mm F1.8, 60mm F2.8 macro and 75mm F1.8 lenses. Take your pick!

1/1000sec, F4, ISO200

100% crop from previous image

1/20sec, F11, ISO640

1/50sec, F8, ISO500

1/200sec, F1.8, ISO250

I have made available 9 full resolution image samples for download, and you may get it from the following link:


That is all for Part 1. For coming part (I intend to do just one more) I shall be shooting with the M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens in low light conditions, and do comparisons with Panasonic 25mm F1.4 lens (if I can source a copy). 

Also, I am still continuously working on my review of the Olympus OM-D E-M10, and still actively shooting now. 

The new blog update will be something rather fun actually, it will be the review of Olympus FISHEYE 9mm F8 Body Cap Lens! Below is a photograph taken with the Fisheye Body Cap Lens on an OM-D E-M1, by dear friend Jackie Loi.

Photo Credit: Jackie Loi

Photo Credit: Jackie Loi

I have lent Jackie the Fisheye Body Cap Lens to shoot for a few hours and he has updated his blog with some amazing sample images! Do head over to his blog to see the photographs while I am busy composing my own review. 

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You may also read my FULL user experience review blog entries of other Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses at Gear Review Page here (click). 

86 comments :

  1. I can lend you mine - the Pana Leica 25mm if you want. Nice review..!

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    1. You are so far away! Let me find closer one first.

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    2. We are at no distance at all in this internet world dude hahaha.. OK..!
      Can't wait to see your comparison, although honestly I am going to skip this focal length for now

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    3. Yeah you already have the F1.4 one. haha

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  2. Nice review Robin! The guy throwing the chicken, that's so funny. :D
    This lens seems to offer great image quality and I am pretty sure it will sell very well. I might dump my Pana 25/1.4 and get the Olympus instead. Not that I am not happy with the image quality, but the 25/1.8 ist much smaller and lighter.

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    1. Hey Robin,
      I have not used the Pana 25mm extensively enough to make any comments, hence I do want to do a comparison. I have a feeling the Olympus 25mm F1.8 does have some advantages. Lets test it out first before jumping into conclusions.

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    2. Robin, even if the Olympus is just as good as the Pana, I am definetily considering to switch just because of the size and weight advantages.
      Just by looking at your results you might be right, the Olympus could outperform the Pana at least when it comes to corner resolution. However the bokeh looks fantastic, that’s what I really love about the latest Olympus offerings. Most fullframe 50s suffer from poor bokeh and you better stop them down to get descent looking out of focus areas. That being said, the advantage of a bigger sensor isn’t that big if take this into consideration. Anyway I am really curious if the new 25/1.8 will be the lens of your choice for street shootings in 2014.

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    3. I think you already know the answer. I will surely have the new M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 for my street shooting and any other things that I shoot!

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  3. Very nice review and as always, nice photographs. There is noticeable chromatic aberration (tarp roof on the bulge photo and bokeh fringing on the hangers closeup) but this is not much of a problem for me (one click in Lightroom).

    I hope it comes soon to a distributor (here in the Philippines) so I can have my first 50mm equivalent lens.

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    1. I am hoping it comes soon too! I already decided to have this lens on in my bag. Thanks for the kind words.

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  4. I'm loving the E-M10 + 25mm combo. Awesome images as always.

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  5. I've rented the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 twice (for vacations).
    It is an outstanding lens, but I haven't bought it because I feel that it is a bit big, bulky and expensive. I'll probably buy this one.

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    1. My thoughts exactly. Having smaller and lighter lens, yet with high performing optics at lower price, it is easy to recommend the Olympus!

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  6. In Europe (Belgium), the Pana 25mm 1.4 costs €500 and the new Oly 25mm 1.8 quite close to that, €400. I wish the price was more similar to the Oly 45mm 1.8, which is €250.
    Looking forward to your comparison between both 25mm lenses. I think optically they are a very similar. Probably will be the 2/3 stop vs focus speed and size and the little difference in price that will make my decision. That Oly 25mm 1.8 sure seems a perfect match for my E-M5 ! Although I love my Pana 20mm, in less than good light it can be painfully slow... Made me miss some good shots already...

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    1. In Malaysia the pricing of the 25mm and 45mm are almost similar.
      The focusing of 25mm F1.8 is like any other Olympus lenses, superbly fast! Will do more extensive testing under low light conditions.

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    2. Well, if you look at the optics and the build quality, you would also expect similar prices. But apparently in Europe and the USA Olympus has a strange pricing strategy. €400 for a normal 1.8 prime is quite much, especially in comparison with other brands. Although I understand that €100/$100 is difficult to achieve, even at €250 this would have been a steal. I'm going to buy it eventually when I got the money to spare, but for the masses (in Europe/USA) this will be too high priced I guess.

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    3. I am in no position to comment on the pricing at other countries. Nonetheless, the M.Zuiko 25mm is still a great lens, and I highly recommend it!

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  7. Great review and great images as always. Loking foward to see your review with both 25 lenses pana and oly. :)

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Sebastiano. Will have to find a 25mm lens first. Do give me some time ya.

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  8. Thank you very much for your review!
    Actually it didn't make decisions easier, mostly because the Oly 25/1.8 is "just" 20% cheaper than the PanaLeica 25/1.4. So your comparison will be very interesting.
    I have to admit that the Oly (with a help of the photographer, of course!) creates stunning photos, for example the Petronas Twin Tower shot. (ok, they all are great, but I try to avoid severe flattering ;) )
    On the other hand the photo on the market with the three men and the pink bag shows where a faster aperture could (not necessarily must!) have advantages over the Oly's f/1.8.
    Anyway, it's obviously a great lens, shown to us by our dear and talented Robin. Thank you once more!
    (and now I'm waiting for the second part :D )

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    1. Dear Björn,
      Thanks for the kind words, you were being too kind. A great lens does help a lot in creating great images, and that is the main reason why I am staying with Olympus (this is true for all this time I have not started working for Olympus).

      Delete
  9. it seems that EM-10, unlike EM-1, does not correct Lateral CA... pity

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    1. I think it does. But it does not eliminate the CA completely. Even on E-M1 there are small traces of CA left in the image especially at the out of focus areas.

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    2. I believe you're seeing "Longitudinal" CA, which manifests lights near to the focal plane to be purple and far to the focal plane to be green

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  10. Thanks Robin ... maybe! Your usual excellent, real-world review and set of corresponding images. However, you've inadvertently exacerbated my long-term dilemma: 20 vs 25mm (40 vs 50mm full-frame equivalent) on my Oly E-PL1, or future E-PM2 or EM5/10. I started photography decades ago, with film of course (Remember film anyone?), with a "normal" 50mm f1.8 lens. It mimicked the way I "see" photographically, as you said of yourself. It felt and still feels visually comfortable, right for me though not everyone's cup of photographic tea. The P20 is a great lens as your own earlier review attests. Sure slower, though not really slow, to focus but no problem for me. It's very versatile: a little wide, a little normal, cropable without losing too much IQ. Like the later Rollei 40/2.8 Sonnar on my long-gone Rollei 35S, or the Minolta Rokkor 40/2 on my long-gone Leitz-Minolta CL rangefinder. But 50 was my first love. Hard to forget one's first love, no? With the 20/40 one always has a little bit extra FOV and can move or crop to get a tighter image. With the 25/50 one cannot add in more FOV post. Thus my conundrum. I know you won't have an answer. I know both the P20 and the new Oly 25 are both better quality than I am as a photographer. So here I sit, "between a rock and a hard place," as we say here in the western US. Help....... ulfiecat

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    1. Hey Ulfiecat,
      If you are still comfortable with the 20mm then no worries, stay with it. My only concern with that lens is the focusing issues, especially when shooting in low light conditions. If that condition is bearable I see no reason why not to stay with it.

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  11. Hey Robin,

    Nice pictures. Anyway please could you elaborate a bit more about your camera settings (sharpness) ? Is it that new camera engine which makes those ugly noisy (unnutural looking noise) ISO 200 images ?
    Or what is that ? Or is it caused by overprocessing tone curve too much ?
    Regards

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  12. Hey Daniel, he covers this at the start of the post:

    3) All images were shot in RAW and converted to JPEG via Olympus Viewer 3. Noise Filter = OFF, Gradation Normal, Saturation, Contrast and Sharpness set to default "0". Image Setting Natural, Auto White Balance with Warm Color OFF.
    4) The images were almost straight out of camera, with slight exposure (brightness/contrast balance) tuning and white balance tweak.

    I can't see the 'unnatural noise' you are referring to.

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    1. I thought I had to get my eyes checked! Thanks for confirming,

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  13. As usual, a wonderful review with tons of energy and great photos too. Thanks for posting this. I've been interested in that 25mm.

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    1. Hey Kirk!
      Thanks so much for the kind words!

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  14. Hi Robin,
    I think I am falling in love at first sight with this 25mm f/1.8. I will have to dig some where in the piggy bank to get this lens...lol...it's that good to me, Robin.
    Thank you for sharing your ever superb images and valuable info on the lens.
    May you have a great day.
    John Ragai

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    1. For Olympus shooters, especially street shooter, this is a must have lens!

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  15. Thanks again Robin for all these great pictures. Nobody seems to be asking when will all these new goodies be available? Can we expect them by end of February like the US?

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    1. March would be a safer bet. Thanks for the kind words

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  16. Brilliant work as per usual Robin!! Nice to see good examples so soon after the announcement of this lens which showcases the versitility of this lens =)

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    1. Thanks Sam! Doing my best to shoot as much as I can.

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  17. Wow !!! great shoots Robin .
    Did you take the foods with 25 or 17 ?
    The foods look so delicious :D
    thanks for info .

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In case you have not noticed, this blog entry is an Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens review write up.

      Delete
    2. Sorry ... because there is sub title "THEN THERE IS THE OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO 17MM F1.8" before the food pics, so i think you compared with it hehe..
      Will wait for the next review Robin

      Delete
  18. Yay more and more people like fisheye lens =DD

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. First I thought about the PanaLeica, then about the Sigma 2.8 30mm (very friendly price) and now there is the Olympus 25mm. If it's just as good as the 45mm, which I like very much, the Oly might be a winner! And the M-10 could make my E-P2 a nice second body. Robin and Olympus you make me poor, but happy! ; )

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    1. It is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable!

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  21. As usually your photos hit the eye. I love them. I already own PanaLeica 25mm, since like you I have a "50mm" eye (although I'm getting used and used to the unfairly misunderstood 17mm f18) and I'm really curious to see a comparision between that and the Zuiko lens. The first thing you'll notice is probably the "rattling" of PanaLeica version when mounted on an Olympus camera, under bright light. Then let's see the rest. ;)

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    1. Thanks Marco for the kind words! Yeah I have experienced the rattling before too!

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  22. The lens seems very nice in terms of sharpness and specially the bokeh but one thing is nagging me: there seems quite a lot of bokeh fringing, specially in the shirts hangers shot, like the purple fringing in the foreground bokeh and green in the background bokeh. That time of color fringing is harder to fix in PP or LR ... anyways the lens seems awesome enough to want/need one. I only with now for a more budget friendly wide angle like 14mm f 2.8 (that 12mm f 2 has a pretty high price tag),

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    1. Those color fringing are very normal in very high contrast area and is present in any bokeh of any lenses. I'd say it is very well controlled for this M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 lens.

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  23. I forgot to ask you: how's the built quality? I would have preferred a metal barrel, perhaps with a snap ring as 12mm and 17mm, but it would certainly pumped up the price of this lens. And coming a long time after Panasonic version, I think the best strategy was that of offering a less expensive alternative. Having said so, is it built similarly to 45mm? My 45mm got scratched after a week of use (the plastic barrel, not the glass!)..

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    1. The build quality is exactly the same as the 45mm F1.8 lens.

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    2. I guess I'll go for the black version then! ;)

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  24. Optically I would say doubtlessly yet another winner for Oly. Great images, tack sharp, with very little aberrations even wide open, and what is there is completely negligible. Besides, there's no such thing as the perfect lens, but Oly's stuff comes awfully close. I had to laugh about your remarks about shallow DOF: the forum DOF equivalence police is constantly whining about it. If people absolutely "need" crazy-super-shallow DOF they should shoot large format sheet film. The DOF with M4/3 is fine - use a longer lens, get closer, shoot wide open - same excellent results. I must say that these lenses perform beautifully wide open as well. Very impressive.

    You'll find the Pana 1.4 to be very good as well, I expect. From what I have seen it's a very good design optically, and it better be, since it's quite pricey.

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    1. Dear Andrew,
      Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for resonating with me about the shallow depth of field craze which can get annoying some times. It is true that we need shallow depth of field to isolate our subjects but I always find myself stopping down and not shooting wide open with Micro Four Thirds to achieve sufficient zone in focus!

      Delete
  25. Thanks for reviewing this lens. I'm looking forward to your comparison with the Panasonic 25mm. I was planning to get the Panasonic 25mm but ever since Olympus announced their 25mm I've put my purchase on hold. At the moment I shoot with a Panasonic GX1 so I would be interested in the performance of these lenses on Panasonic bodies. Although I might switch back to Olympus., the EM10 looks very tempting. Too bad it doesn't do phase detect af (I've god some old Olympus pro lenses)

    ps. I think point 3 and 4 of your important notes contradict each other.

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    1. I used Olympus Viewer 3 as a way to emulate the exact same JPEG quality of the camera to achieve the sharpness and color tones. Of course I am not a perfect photographer, I do mistakes, with slight under or overexposure which I corrected with very minor adjustments.

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  26. These pics are fabulous, Robin!

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  27. Hello, Robin -- Thanks for another great set of impressions. It looks as if the 25 will be a must-have for me. I already have (and like) the 17/1.8 -- but for me the 17 is more of a "reportage" view angle, while 25 is a great "people" angle!

    Suggestion: Next time you are exercising the 25, could you try a few shots with the M-CON P-02? I don't do enough super-close photography to justify buying a macro lens, but I do sometimes want to get close to subjects such as food details. With the 25's built-in close focusing plus the M-CON, I am thinking this might be a light, compact option for occasional macro needs...

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    1. Dear Ranger 9,
      M-CON P-02 is in my list of items to review. However it shall come a bit later. I do have a lot of things to review subsequently!

      Delete
  28. Robin, Thanks for another wonderful review. I recently picked up the E-M1 and 12-40 2.8 Pro. When I compare the output at 17mm, I am hard pressed to find a substantial difference between the Pro and 17mm 1.8. I am wondering if that is also true for the 25mm. Generally, I think of primes as offering superior performance, but with the E-M1, I just don't see it. Any thoughts from others or your comparisons would be really welcome.

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    1. Rüdiger, I'm in the same boat. I tested the 12-40 against the 17 1.8 and (at least to my old eyes) there was no significant difference: if anything, the 12-40 was better. I'd like to see a comparison between the 12-40 and the 25. Of course, the primes are a little faster, but I seldom need that.

      Great review, Robin!

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    2. The 25mm F1.8 is noticeably sharper than the 12-40mm. However the difference is not that much, and in most practical usage it is negligible. However the advantage of the 25mm is the F1.8 wider opening aperture, rendering shallower depth of field and having low light shooting advantage.

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  29. Robin, Thanks for another wonderful review. I recently picked up the E-M1 and 12-40 2.8 Pro. When I compare the output at 17mm, I am hard pressed to find a substantial difference between the Pro and 17mm 1.8. I am wondering if that is also true for the 25mm. Generally, I think of primes as offering superior performance, but with the E-M1, I just don't see it. Any thoughts from others or your comparisons would be really welcome.

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  30. Just placed my order though your link! Thanks for the review!

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  31. Can't wait for your Panasonic 25mm f1.4 and Olympus 25mm f1.8 comparison.
    Did you managed to source the Panasonic 25mm f1.4?

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  32. Robin, I'd like to get your professional opinion. I'm a beginner enthusiast, and I'm looking to buy the E-M10 with a couple of lenses. Would you ever consider just buying a 25mm 1.8 *and* a 45mm 1.8, and forgo the 14-42 pancake lens? It's inconvenient to have to switch back and forth, but do you think having two primes is better overall? Thanks in advance.

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  33. I'm really looking forward to your O25 vs PL25 comparison. Luckily, I was able to pick up a used PL25 for the same price of a new O25 recently so I guess for me there's really no need to see if I should get the O25 at this point. But I'd still be interested on your thoughts on the two lenses

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  34. Nice review. Waiting patiently on your part 2 with the PL25mm1.4 comparison, but even more so on the low light performance. I am looking for a great solution for low light situations. Used to carry around a Canon 50mm 1.4 on my 50d. Right now I work with an OM-D EM5.

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  35. Robin, As always your reviews are very informative.

    I have the E-M1 with 12-40 Pro zoom and wonder if it would be possible for you to post comparison shots of the same scene between the 25mm prime and the zoom to show any difference. I suspect the prime would be better, but is it enough to justify buying one when I have the fantastic Pro zoom? Sure the prime also gathers twice as much light and is twice as fast.

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  36. hey robin, any idea when it will be available in KL? Thinking of swapping out my 45 - its an amazing lens, but I think the 25 will be better for me :)

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  37. Thanks for the review. Can you give any feedback on low light focus results and speed. You where shooting in bright light and I shoot street scenes and people at night using available lighting and want to know if this lens can handle focus with minimal light and contrast.

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  38. I am new to photography and recently opened my own ecommerce store - selling handcraft jewelleries.

    I purchased a E-PL7 camera with olympus 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 ez (the new pancake version) lens for the purpose of taking product shots (for my online shop)

    After reading your review on the 25mm f1.8 lens, I am wondering if I should purchase this additional lens for my purpose, so that I can take close up and sharp pics of my products?

    Thanks

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    1. If you're looking for a lens for product photography, I'd recommend the 60mm Macro.

      The problem with your present lens, from a product photography standpoint (besides not being true macro), is diffraction. In 35mm film, we thought of f8 as the sweet spot for most lenses. In m4/3, that tends to be around f4 (I find the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens works best wide open). f5.6 usually works OK, but things get noticeably softer above f8. So your 14-42mm lens's maximum aperture already is near the diffraction limit for the m4/3 format. It's just a matter of physics.

      The 25mm f1.8 would be a definite improvement over what you now have, and a good walkaround lens if you don't mind the single focal length. If you don't need the capabilities of a true macro lens, it's a good choice. As an aside, the 25mm is a true "normal" lens on m4/3 (22.5mm diagonal of the imaging rectangle) v. 35mm on the 35mm film/full frame digital format (36mm diagonal): 50mm, which we've come to think of as "normal" on the latter format, actually is a slightly long focal length. Add to that the slightly chunkier proportions of m4/3, and your perspective will be slightly different from what you're used to (if you are used to it) with the 35mm film/50mm lens combination.

      As always, good lighting, composition, and proper technique (camera on tripod, image stabilization off, critical focus verified before shooting, use remote release or time delay) trump equipment considerations.

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    2. I forgot to mention: you could get a set of extension tubes to improve the close focusing and macro ability of the 25mm lens if you don't want the 60mm Macro. Dedicated m4/3 tubes are available and inexpensive.

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  39. Hi Robin,

    Did you use any filters while shooting?

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  40. Nice Post, Get the Rent camera in Mumbai in mumbai, using Mutterfly Apps. We carry a wide range of equipment on rent for commercial photographers....

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  41. Hello Robin!

    I'm torned between the M.Zuiko 25mm f1.8 and the M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8. I'm currently travelling around, and would like to take in consideration of portraits and landscape photography. Which lens will will recommend to fit my EM10. I'm using the kit lens and is really great! I would just want to explore a lens that can give me a wider perspective. Would be nice of you to give me some suggestion. I'm a really amateur photographer but I'm hooked and I really want to be a better photographer! I actually carried my camera for only 4 months! Thanks in advance!

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  42. Hi robin, does 25mm has a manual focus ring? Ive read that it lacks that mechanism for manual focus. Thanks :)

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  43. hi Robin, love your review. i am going to buy this prime because of it. Did you do any processing for the photos above? cos they look REALLY NICE

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