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Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm F/4.0 Pro Lens Review

John Riley has been testing the Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm F/4.0 Pro lens to find out how versatile it is, particularly for travel.

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Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm F/4.0 Pro Lens Review: Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO

Designed for MFT format cameras, Olympus introduces a new 8-25mm f/4 zoom lens that, in terms of field of view, equates to a 35mm-format 16-50mm. This is of course an extremely useful, general-purpose range and although an f/2.8 lens might be the norm, trimming the maximum aperture to f/4 holds the promise of a more compact optic. Armed with the 20MP Panasonic Lumix G9 camera body, let's see how the new lens performs and handles, and whether or not it could be an ideal travel companion.


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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 8-25mm f/4 PRO Handling and Features

Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm F/4.0 Pro Lens Review: Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO

The lens is reassuringly solidly built, weighing in at a reasonable 411g. It is splash and dust resistant and specifically claims to resist water to the IPX1 standard. This basically means that it will be resistant to condensation and to drops of water “falling vertically” on the lens. Maybe heavy rain should be avoided, but full marks for being specific about what splash resistance might actually mean.

Taking our tour of the lens from the front, there is a supplied petal lens hood that is necessarily quite slim to avoid vignetting at 8mm. It clips smoothly into place and is retained by a small catch. Within the bayonet, fit is a standard 72mm filter thread. Immediately behind this is a slim focusing ring. When pushed forward AF mode is engaged and when pulled backwards a distance scale is revealed and MF is engaged. It can be quite easy to accidentally engage MF, in which case it takes a moment to realise that AF is no longer operational. Focusing is down to 0.23m, or 9.1 inches, giving a maximum magnification of 0.21x. Although not macro, this is usefully close and adds to the versatility of the lens.

Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm F/4.0 Pro Lens Review: Olympus M. Zuiko 8-25mm f/4.0 PRO

A wider zoom ring instantly reveals that this is a compact lens that is stored retracted and needs to be extended to the 8mm position for use. The mechanism for this is very smooth and stable and there is no stickiness or wobble in the construction.

There is one small button marked L-Fn which, when pressed, will deactivate AF. It may be programmable for other functions, depending on the camera body used. AF uses a linear motor and is silent and fast. The AF locks on reliably.

Optical construction is 16 elements in 10 groups, including 1 Double-Sided Aspherical, 2 Aspherical ED, 1 Super ED, 1 Super HR and 1 HD. The diaphragm consists of 7 blades.

The lens is versatile and handles well, perhaps with the exception of the push/pull AF/MF operation, which could do with being slightly firmer to prevent accidental movement. Otherwise, operation is smooth and hazard-free.


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flyingvic Avatar
1 Sep 2021 10:54PM
I'm sure that this will have been asked before, but why is an Olympus lens not tested on an Olympus body? I will happily accept that the Panasonic is a perfectly good camera; but there must be many like me who feel that Olympus designers and engineers will be working together as their priority to ensure that the marriage of Olympus body and Olympus lens is as near ideal as possible - and that therefore the first review in a leading publication should be to test this marriage, not a coupling of body and lens from two different manufacturers.
johnriley1uk Avatar
1 Sep 2021 11:07PM
It's a fair question and the real answer is that it depends upon availability at any one time. On the other hand, it is standard MFT format and there are several partners in that system. Is it any worse than testing, say, a Tamron lens on a Nikon instead of on a Canon?
flyingvic Avatar
1 Sep 2021 11:20PM
A lot worse, I would say! Tamron make optics, not cameras - Olympus make both and should surely therefore be tested together. If the results for an Olympus lens are not good (for the sake of argument!) when paired with an Olympus body, who is going to try a different manufacturer's body instead?
johnriley1uk Avatar
1 Sep 2021 11:41PM
Conversely, as the results were rather good, is the end result achieved anyway? Rather than quality, which has been demonstrated, the main difference just might be some minor function that only works with one marque or another. I can't think of anything offhand, but it's possible.
flyingvic Avatar
2 Sep 2021 12:10AM
I simply wrote to express my puzzlement - and I would be astonished if the results of Panny+Oly were noticeably better than Oly+Oly!

With the mulitude of adapters available it would be possible in theory to connect any lens from any manufacturer with any camera you care to mention - but that would be too bizarre for words!

I've been using and loving my EM-1 for some time now - and I wouldn't dream of pairing it with a non-Olympus lens! That attitude has the added advantage that I'm not tempted to buy what I'm sure are very good lenses from other manufacturers . . .

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