The Oly 45mm has spoiled me, and I don't like my Pany 20mm as much. Is the 25mm a better choice?

Started Oct 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: Longggg response.

napilopez wrote:

Thanks for posting that comparison. Better for the purpose of inspecting blur disc behavior than any that I have seen before.

Indeed, those images discouraged me from saving up for the 25mm instead of the 20mm. At the time I shot many more shots at night than at daytime, so the unnattractive quality of the 25mm's bokeh was a deterrent, despite being faster.

I am afraid the properties of those blur discs is what defines the bokeh no matter what you look at. For example, the outlining of the blur discs (more pronounced on the 25/1.4 than on the 20/1.7 in this comparison) is what gives rise to the double contours that most people associate with harsh bokeh.

I agree, and this becomes clear in situations where there the background is only very slightly blurred as opposed to melted away. Not to mention I find the strange square-ish cut-off circle shape of the 25mm's bokeh much more unnattractive than the 20mm's cats'eye
However, since the 25mm will produce more blur overall wide open due to FL and aperture, I'm guessing the double images are just less apparent for regular usage. Except in high contrast scenerios, like in the image I posted.
From the same shooting point, the 20mm will probably have harsher-looking bokeh, because of the reduced overall amount making the edges more prominent, but adjust your perspective and I think it's clear the 20mm actually has superior bokeh performance.
All of this, I assume, is why people say the 25mm has "better" bokeh than the 20mm. Otherwise, I don't get it: more isn't necessarily better.

Interesting to exchange views about bokeh with someone who sees things just the way I do, and also interprets the views of others in pretty much the same way. Can't say that has happened very frequently. I can only add my +1 to everything you say above.

As to the question of what we might call the shape of the blur discs produced by the 25 towards the edges of the frame: What about "bottle-cap bokeh"?

Not sure exactly what you mean by "micro-contrast" here. It is a rather vague term that isn't used with much precision. Not your fault to be sure but a problem of communication in any "lens talk". When I use it, I mean detail contrast of a kind you can readily see at ordinary display size, without pixel peeping.

But in that regard, I find the 20 better at wide apertures. Higher up the aperture scale, both lenses do very well. Have a look at these samples from SLRgear, for example. Look at them at ordinary size, without peeping, and check for example the clarity of the detail, not least the color detail, in for example the paper napkins in the upper left corner (particularly the black and dark blue ones) and the artificial leafs towards the lower right. The rendering of the 20 is much crisper and more vivid.;;

Interesting comparison. I too use the term referring to detail contrast at regular viewing sizes. I haven't used the 25mm enough to make a fair assessment of it myself; it simply seemed like what I was observing. Either way, they are both plenty sharp.
I'm happy with my choice of the 20mm. The 25mm is attractive for many reasons; I've considered it for low light and focusing performance. But I don't think it's particularly superior optically. The 20mm really is a one-of a kind lens, and I can't get rid of it.  To each his own

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