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Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 ED Premium Lens Review

Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 ED Premium Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews this 25mm f/1.8 premium lens from Olympus for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8
Price : £360
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus M Zuiko 25mm F1 8 Premium (4)

This standard lens for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to a 50mm lens used on a 35mm format camera and sports a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture.  The lens is available from around £300 and we'll take a look at how it performs in this review.

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Handling and Features

Olympus M Zuiko 25mm F1 8 Lens (4)

The lens barrel is constructed from high quality plastics, with a glossy silver or black finish and the bayonet is metal. The lens feels quite robust, even though it weighs only 137g. As a result, this lens balances well with the Panasonic Lumix G6 camera body used for testing.

Olympus M Zuiko 25mm F1 8 Lens (9)

As focusing is performed internally the 46mm filter thread does not rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. The manual focusing ring is nicely damped, which makes applying adjustments a pleasure. The minimum focus distance is 25cm, which is ideal for close ups, or shooting in claustrophobic environments. A hood is provided with the lens, which is attached via the bayonet fitting hidden under the 'decoration ring' on the front of the lens barrel. This means you can keep your lens looking smart, even if you don't want to take the hood with you, if that's important to you, of course.

Olympus M Zuiko 25mm F1 8 Lens (6)

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Performance

At f/1.8, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already excellent, and clarity towards the edges of the frame is good. Stopping down improves performance across the frame, with sharpness in the centre reaching outstanding levels between f/2 and f/8. Clarity towards the edges of the frame reaches excellent levels between f/5.6 and f/8.

MTF
MTF

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are well controlled hovering around the half pixel-width level towards the edges of the frame between f/1.8 and f/11. This low level of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in large reproductions of images, or harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

CA
CA

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix G6 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is well controlled for a fast aperture standard lens. At f/1.8 the comers are 1.21 stops darker than the centre of the image and stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination across the frame.

Distortion is well corrected in camera, but even so, Imatest was only able to detect 1.07% barrel distortion. This low level of distortion should pose few issues and the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying corrections in image editing software afterwards, relatively straightforward.

A deep circular hood is supplied with this lens, which does a reasonable job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with loss of contrast or flare. Even without the hood in place, this lens is very resistant to flare and contrast levels hold up well when shooting into the light.

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Sample Photos


Value For Money

Currently, this lens is available for around £360. As the closest equivalent available at the moment is Panasonic's 20mm f/1.7 II Pancake Lens, which costs around £270, I'm sure there will be room to manoeuvre on price in time, as the case for this lens isn't that compelling over the alternative, even though it performs well. However, it is a fair old jump up in price for Panasonic's 25mm f/1.4, which costs around £420, so this Olympus lens is good value if you simply must have a 25mm lens for your Micro Four Thirds camera.

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Verdict

This lens is certainly capable of producing excellent quality images, with sharpness being excellent in the centre of the frame from maximum aperture. It's well built, lightweight and reasonably compact. The price of this lens may limit its appeal a little, even though it's not really an expensive lens. £300 just seems like a fair chunk of money for a lens equivalent to a 50mm f/1.8, which was always amongst the cheapest lenses available for 35mm format cameras. I suppose the field of view is the only aspect that is the same here.


 
  The Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 produces excellent quality images in a compact, lightweight and well built lens.
 

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Pros

Excellent sharpness from maximum aperture in the centre
Compact and lightweight
Robust build
Smooth manual focus ring
Low CA, distortion and falloff

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Cons

May be a touch expensive for a 50mm f/1.8 equivalent

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Olympus M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 Specifications

ManufacturerOlympus
General
Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Lens
Focal Length25mm
Angle of View47
Max Aperturef/1.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size46mm
35mm equivalent50mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus25cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements9
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens cap, lens hood
Dimensions
Weight137g
Height42mm

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